Does the Bible really define the tithe as 10%?

I was engaged in a series of discussions with a pastor over this issue of the tithe. And according to him, tithes and offerings are freewill offerings with the tithe of 10% a bible commanded guide to giving. He is one of the millions who define the tithe as 10%.

I visited another sister’s blog where she has written a post extolling the effectiveness of the tithe. I and Several others left comments and she wrote a rebuttal to counter some of the comments she did not think were “scriptural”.

I proceeded to comment on her rebuttal and while writing out my comment, I was suddenly aware that nearly everybody defines the tithes in percentages and that is not at all scriptural!

I pointed this out to the pastor and he told me I was wrong but still ended up proving my point. He pulled out every reference to tithing in the bible including their Hebrew names and all called the tithe A TENTH and not 10%. How do both differ?

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, the TENTH is a position and not a percentage. And the tithe is the TENTH part of agricultural produce alone. And the tithe of crops was determined by grouping them into 10 equal parts and separating the TENTH part as the tithe. No portion of scripture ever commands us to tithe money; it is practically impossible. While the tithe of livestock was determined by separating every TENTH animal. No tenth, no tithe!

30 “One tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him as holy. 31 If you want to buy back the Lord’s tenth of the grain or fruit, you must pay its value, plus 20 percent. 32 Count off every tenth animal from your herds and flocks and set them apart for the Lord as holy. 33 You may not pick and choose between good and bad animals, and you may not substitute one for another. But if you do exchange one animal for another, then both the original animal and its substitute will be considered holy and cannot be bought back.” 34 These are the commands that the Lord gave through Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites. Lev 27

The only time percentages were ever used in relation to the tithe was in terms of its MONETARY VALUE. Further proof money could not be tithed even though it was present at the time.

In the portion of scripture above, we see one of the references to the monetary value of the tithe. God instructed that if anyone wanted to buy back his tithe, he should pay the MONETARY VALUE of the tithe plus 20% of this value. And this poses this question, if money could be tithed, how would it be possible to buy back money with money thus redeeming your tithe?

The other reference to the MONETARY value of the tithe was with regards to the tithing banquet. Here God commanded that if the venue was too far, the tithe could be converted into its monetary value and every cent spent on anything the tither liked.

24 “Now when the Lord your God blesses you with a good harvest, the place of worship he chooses for his name to be honored might be too far for you to bring the tithe. 25 If so, you may sell the tithe portion of your crops and herds, put the money in a pouch, and go to the place the Lord your God has chosen. 26 When you arrive, you may use the money to buy any kind of food you want—cattle, sheep, goats, wine, or other alcoholic drink. Then feast there in the presence of the Lord your God and celebrate with your household. 27 And do not neglect the Levites in your town, for they will receive no allotment of land among you. Deu 14

This 10% lie has been preached far too long and many people believe it to be true.

God made Aaron and his descendants priests and gave them the entire tribe of Levi as helpers. As such the tribe of Levi were not given any allotment within the promise land. God commanded that the tithe of agricultural produce the remaining 11 tribes brought was to be received by the Levites who in turn gave a tithe of the best portions to the priests.

22 “From now on, no Israelites except priests or Levites may approach the Tabernacle. If they come too near, they will be judged guilty and will die. 23 Only the Levites may serve at the Tabernacle, and they will be held responsible for any offenses against it. This is a permanent law for you, to be observed from generation to generation. The Levites will receive no allotment of land among the Israelites, 24 because I have given them the Israelites’ tithes, which have been presented as sacred offerings to the Lord. This will be the Levites’ share. That is why I said they would receive no allotment of land among the Israelites.” 25 The Lord also told Moses, 26 “Give these instructions to the Levites: When you receive from the people of Israel the tithes I have assigned as your allotment, give a tenth of the tithes you receive—a tithe of the tithe—to the Lord as a sacred offering. 27 The Lord will consider this offering to be your harvest offering, as though it were the first grain from your own threshing floor or wine from your own winepress. 28 You must present one-tenth of the tithe received from the Israelites as a sacred offering to the Lord. This is the Lord’s sacred portion, and you must present it to Aaron the priest. 29 Be sure to give to the Lord the best portions of the gifts given to you. 30 “Also, give these instructions to the Levites: When you present the best part as your offering, it will be considered as though it came from your own threshing floor or winepress. 31 You Levites and your families may eat this food anywhere you wish, for it is your compensation for serving in the Tabernacle. 32 You will not be considered guilty for accepting the Lord’s tithes if you give the best portion to the priests. But be careful not to treat the holy gifts of the people of Israel as though they were common. If you do, you will die.” Num 18

Now does the tithe being practised in today’s church resemble this in anyway? And since the New Testament calls every single believer a priest, who then are the Levites that give a tithe of the tithe to us the priests? Also who are those that are representative of the remaining 11 tribes that will bring their tithes to the Levites?

All those who teach that the Lord’s tithe is 10% of money and compel other believers to part with it are guilty of theft by deceit. Those who give 10% of their gross or net earnings as God’s tithe and believe it to be scriptural lack knowledge.

The belief that God commands a 10% minimum to be given cannot be found anywhere in the bible. And the New Testament teaches us plainly that anything we give, as far as we give willingly and cheerfully is acceptable to God. No minimums or 10% guide is commanded.

I found this link describing the Biblical tithes in a bit more detail. A very good read!

Found another link that gives the history of tithing!


Some things never change!

41Jesus was sitting in the temple near the offering box and watching people put in their gifts. He noticed that many rich people were giving a lot of money. 42Finally, a poor widow came up and put in two coins that were worth only a few pennies. 43Jesus told his disciples to gather around him. Then he said: I tell you that this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 44Everyone else gave what they didn’t need. But she is very poor and gave everything she had. Now she doesn’t have a cent to live on. Mark 12

The common trend amongst today’s Christians particularly amongst popular tele-evangelists is to conform scriptures to suit their beliefs. And as far as they are concerned, everything has to point to money in one way or the other. Money is most definitely their God.

Nearly everyone who has attended church has heard this story of the widow preached just before offering time. It is usually employed to tug on the heart strings of the faithful to ensure they part with large sums of money under the guise of funding God’s work.

Did Jesus use this scenario to teach tithing, firstfruits or sacrificial giving? I would say no to all three. Obviously, this had no bearing on tithing and firstfruits as money could never be given as tithes or firstfruits. And nowhere in scripture are we encouraged in scripture to give our entire livelihood to fund ‘God’s’ work.

On careful study of scripture, we see that a lot of things are off with this widow’s offering as there is no portion of scripture that commands widows to give their livelihood to the treasury.  Instead, Jesus used the plight of this widow to highlight the false teachings of the teachers of the law.  The poor widow had been cheated out of her home!

38As Jesus was teaching, he said: Guard against the teachers of the Law of Moses! They love to walk around in long robes and be greeted in the market. 39They like the front seats in the meeting places and the best seats at banquets. 40But they cheat widows out of their homes and pray long prayers just to show off. They will be punished most of all. Mark 12

In the Old Testament, God did command that all males over 20 years of age should pay ransom money for the upkeep of the tabernacle. The same amount was levied on both the rich and poor but there was no mention of widows ever paying such dues. The manipulation of the Pharisees and Sadducees was definitely at work.

14 All who have reached their twentieth birthday must give this sacred offering to the Lord. 15 When this offering is given to the Lord to purify your lives, making you right with him, the rich must not give more than the specified amount, and the poor must not give less. 16 Receive this ransom money from the Israelites, and use it for the care of the Tabernacle. It will bring the Israelites to the Lord’s attention, and it will purify your lives.” Exodus 30

This same manipulation is still very much evident in much of today’s church. Unscrupulous preachers twist scriptures to ensure they continue to receive a steady revenue stream.

Tithing your time? How silly!

I dare say unequivocally that the concept of Christianity seems completely lost to many and rather than look to God to gain more insight, they make up their own doctrines as they go along. Where is it written in the bible that you can give a portion of your time to God. Who told you your time was yours to apportion as you wish in the first place?

During the biblical times people were allowed to keep slaves.  And once bought, a slave became the property of his master. His time and his whole life were spent doing his master’s will. His time was his master’s,  everything he owned was his master’s and as such it was completely absurd for the slave to think that he was fulfilling his master’s will by dedicating part of his time or money to his master.

Scripture makes us understand that we are now slaves of Christ as we have been paid for by His blood. As such our lives are no longer ours and everything we own are not ours either: they all belong to Christ! If this is the case, how possible is it to tithe your time? Shouldn’t all of your time be God centred? So if you give God 10% of your time, how do you spend the remaining 90%?

There is no such thing as tithing your time; God should be seen in every endeavour you engage in 24 hours of the day. Hence scriptures tell us that everything we do should be done unto the Lord. Unfortunately, the lure of filling the pews every Sunday is so difficult to resist that preachers invent these clever doctrines. So in the minds of many, giving your time to God means volunteering in “church” or God’s house while to others taking time out to promote your local assembly is actually tithing your time. How unscriptural!

God’s house is not a building but the assembly of God’s people is. And your entire life should be spent doing what God expects from you and not doing what you think is noble or right.

Don’t delude yourself into thinking God wants 10% of your time, He already owns you and as such all of your time.