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Tithes & Offerings

In the Bible we see three types of tithes (tenths).

The first tithe was the Levitical tithe which went towards the support of priests and Levites who served the people, (Leviticus 27:30-33 and Numbers 18:21-32).

The second tithe was that of the agricultural produce which the land would provide. This was to be used for the worship celebration of convocations at the sanctuary (Deut 14: 22-26), 

The third tithe was a welfare tithe offered every three years (Deut 14:28; 26:12 ).

In Malachi 3 the Lord pointed out that the people had not brought the required tithes and offerings, referring  to all the tithes and offering including temple taxes used to fund the theocracy, the Levites, the natural religious festivals, and the poor. In not paying their taxes, and so robbing God, they had robbed themselves too, because God had withheld His blessing. 

Now listen to this;

“Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man : for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.” Matthew 22:15-22

Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. What things do you think are God’s?

There is a little mention of tithes in the New Testament. It doesn’t say we should pay or not pay. But it is every believers’ responsibility to pay taxes to whom it is due, and that also include tithes. In Matthew 17:24-27 “… the Temple tax collectors came to Peter and asked him, “Doesn’t your master pay taxes?” [25] “Of course he does,” Peter replied….Jesus said…we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the shore and throw in a line, and open the mouth of the first fish you catch. You will find a coin to cover the taxes for both of us; take it and pay them.

Paul says in Romans 13:1-7, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good…Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due ; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

  • there is no authority except from God. 
  • be subject to governing authorities, whether it is the government or church.
  • Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” Romans 13:2

In 1 Corinthians 16:1 Paul says, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.”

2 Corinthians 8:10-12 he says, “And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. Now therefore perform the doing of it ; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.”

Do you want to know why you should pay your tithes and offerings? We saw above that Jesus said…we don’t want to offend them, find a coin to cover the taxes for both of us; take it and pay them.

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Laurence Muzembi (Th.D, D.D, MDiv, B.A in Biblical Studies, Cert in Counselling & Psychotherapy ) is author, pastor, life coach and business consultant. Tired of seeing Christians stumble and crush landing, he sets up Muzembi.Org as a guiding beacon for them, and to make a difference.

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LC Muzembi

Biblical advice for new and growing Christians