A Little Bible Q & A For Your Day
Posted by: Eddie Ingram
Date: Mar 31 2017 12:55 PM
I hope your week has been a blessing. I pray that your weekend is a safe one. I look forward to your presence Sunday at 9 for Bible class and 10 for worship. So come see us, we'd love to have you.
For today, here is a little Q & A.
Dear Sir: Where in the Old Testament does God command 10% be given? Where in the New Testament are we told to give a tenth? Preachers keep asking for tithes, but God didn't demand 10%.
"Thus all the tithe of the land, of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S; it is holy to the LORD. If, therefore, a man wishes to redeem part of his tithe, he shall add to it one-fifth of it. And for every tenth part of herd or flock, whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the LORD" (Lev. 27:30-32). God commanded Israel to give one out of every ten things they produced to Him. This money was used to support the priestly tribe of Levi, who received no land in the settling of Canaan. The tithe was a ten percent "tax" to support the priests. Every Israelite was to give this amount from everything produced. The Pharisees of Jesus' time were very careful in this, even measuring out one tenth of their spices (Matt. 23:23).
The practice of giving a tenth dates from ancient times. It was common among Middle Eastern cultures for one tenth to be collected to support armies and kings. Abraham, following his victory to rescue Lot, gave one tenth to the priest of God, Melchizedek. "And he blessed him and said, Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand. And he gave him a tithe of all” (Gen. 14:19-20). So, long before the command was spelled out in the Law of Moses, the custom was in place to offer a tenth to God.
The New Testament contains no specific command to give a tenth. We read of people giving, but never are told what percentage of their income was expected. Instead, what we read about is overwhelming generosity. "Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need" (Acts 2:44-45). "Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold" (Acts 4:34). "Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God" (2 Cor. 8:1-5). These examples of giving by Christians of the first century shows that they were not bound by a percentage. They gave without concern for percentage, but out of concern for need.
So, when believers saw that people were in need they gave. They were not motivated by a law requiring 10%, but by love, love for man and love for God. "So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work" (2 Cor. 9:7-8). The command from God in the New Testament is to give according to your love and faith in God. For some that might be 10%of their income. For others it might be less and for others, more, maybe even much more.
Finally, for preachers to ask people to give is not wrong, although it seems sad to try to command and require people to do what their hearts won't motivate them to do. In fact, even the apostle Paul had to encourage people to keep their commitments financially to the ministry of the church. "But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also ... but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have" (2 Cor. 8:7,11). The whole theme of 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 is to encourage the Corinthian believers to keep the commitment they had made much earlier to give to Paul's ministry to help poor people in Judea. The Corinthians had made a commitment, Paul wanted them to keep it. Today, preachers are still right in encouraging people to give and to keep their promises about what they can and will give to the church and its ministries.
I hope this helps.
Have a great weekend!
Enon Church Of Christ
1366 Enon Rd.
Webb, AL 36376