What is a tithe? The standard Christian teaching today is that “tithing” is giving the first 10% of your gross income to your local church. Although most churches teach that this is not required for salvation, they say that God commands us to tithe throughout the Bible. Refusing to tithe would therefore be disobeying God. This can lead to a lack of blessings from God.
Like many of my other articles, I’m here to prove them wrong.
First off, the word for “tithe” in Hebrew is maaser and in Greek is dekate. Both mean a tenth part, 1/10, or 10%. What are the different ways tithes were used in the Bible? There are three of them:
1. The Social Tithe – the regular tithe based upon production and agriculture for all those who had normal jobs such as farmers, teachers, musicians, record keepers, doctors, etc. paid to Levities (Lev. 27:30-33)
2. The Festival Tithe – paid during the feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles in honor and celebration of God (Deut. 14:22-27, 16:3,13,16)
3. The Poor Tithe – paid twice in 7-year Sabbath cycle to provide for the poor, widows, orphans, and homeless (Deut. 14:28-29)
All of these uses of paying tithes were the equivalent of today’s modern tax system. They were used to maintain social order in the community. Individuals cannot be trusted to help everyone else, so tithing or taxes are paid to a government which is trusted to spend them fairly on everyone’s behalf. For a more in depth analysis, let us look at some specific Biblical examples:
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