Is tithing Biblical? Sure, if you happen to be a non-Christian Jew who is still erroneously living under Old Testament law**. But tithing is not Biblical for Christians.
As shocking as this may sound, tithing is a literal fraud (mostly unintentional) that has been perpetrated for many years upon most of Christianity in general. Christians have been literally robbed by people that are so deceived in this area that they think it is God’s will and mandate for them to do so. Very few modern tithe teachers realize that they have no rights whatsoever to exact a tithe from Christians. And very few are open to a warning on the subject. Many have become so entangled in “needing” this money, among other things, to pay massive building debts (debts they had no Biblical right to incur in the first place).
Tithing is strictly for the non-Christian Jew and many Jewish scholars will gladly tell you this. Jewish people who have become Christians (Judeo Christians or Messianic Jews) are actually free from the tithe and from all Old Testament ceremonial law although some of them may not realize this. While the moral law and much of the civil law remains (such as in ethical standards), Christians are not under the ceremonial law of the Old Testament. According to Galatians 3, those who try and keep any part of the ceremonial law must keep the whole law. It is a vain and futile thing to attempt.
In brief, tithing is never once taught in the New Testament, which is the blueprint for the Church and for Christian living. Some argue that Jesus upheld tithing in the New Testament. But what they fail to recognize is when Jesus told various men in the New Testament that they should not neglect the tithe is because those men were Jews, not Christians and Jesus had not yet died and rose from the dead redeeming us in general from ceremonial Jewish law.
Malachi 3:8-12 is widely used as a hammer by church authoritarians who are determined to fund their grand ambitions, but these Old Testament verses were written specifically to Israel not to Christians.
8"Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, 'How have we robbed You?' In (tithes and offerings. 9"You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! 10"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. 11"Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes," says the LORD of hosts. 12"All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land," says the LORD of hosts. Malachi 3:8-12 NASB
There are very few Christens who are unfamiliar with the ungodly misapplied pounding of the above verses into their heads. Many unbelievers are also quite familiar with these verses from Malachi as well, often more familiar than any other verses in the Bible. That should tell you something! The tithing error is big business. This is what funds lunatic false teachers in the pulpit. We as Christians are commanded to not give under compulsion but rather as cheerful givers. But here’s the thing:
It is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to keep the Bible’s command to not give under compulsion while believing that we owe a compulsory tax of 10% of our income to some charlatan to spend any way that he wants.
Tithing is a system of policed and enforced “giving”, which is not voluntary giving at all but an involuntarily taxation. This is not remotely close to cheerful givers commanded to not give “under compulsion” as the Bible clearly teaches in 2Cor 9:7.
“Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2Cor 9:7 NASB
But how can one do as he has purposed in his own heart if he or she is at the same time forced to tithe? Well, some tithing advocates who pound Malachi 3 claim that the voluntary aspect of 2Cor9:7 pertains only to additional offerings or choosing where to tithe. But if the “where” was optional, then why does Malachi 3 set the storehouse as the exact “where” or place where the tithe must be given? The where is not optional. The problem is Malachi 3 does not apply in any way to Christians but rather only to Israel. Many of these tithe teachers mix Old and New Testament Scriptures together in a random haphazard way in order to try and get the Bible to say whatever they want it to say. This erroneous approach to Bible interpretation is often quite evident in many of their other teachings as well.
Briefly, you should NOT tithe. But, this is one of the hardest false teachings and false “church” habits to break. The reason is because we have been so utterly pounded with endless fear tactics and other mental gymnastics in order to keep us tithing. We think we’ll lose our job or our car will break down or some other fear based lunacy that these guys teach. It’s all unbiblical nonsense. Who is the direct beneficiary of the tithe teaching? You guessed it. The tithe teacher!
A few quick bullet points (but there is much more to be said on this subject):
- Tithes were never collected in cash (livestock and crops only).
- Tithes were collected only by Levitical priests.
- A Levitical priest must be Jewish.
- A Levitical priest must own no personal property. (Have you seen any pastors lately who own no personal property?)
- There are presently no more of these priests in existence today so we know we have lots of counterfeit Levitical priests running around.
- Tithes were often mandated by God for other uses such as giving to the poor. Tithes were sometimes to be used for the personal needs of the person who tithed. (When have you ever seen a pastor give the tithe back to the giver?)
The same men who teach the tithe gladly eat pork (which is OK for any Christian to do). But anyone who keeps any Old Testament ceremonial law (such as tithing) must keep all the Old Testament ceremonial laws (including the law that states that eating pork is forbidden). We also do not see these tithe teachers slaughtering bulls and goats as sacrifices to God (not that any Christian should). The point is, these men pick and choose to pull forward from the Old Testament law whatever they want and they have chosen to keep the tithe and throw out what is inconvenient (such as the prohibition on owning personal property, the prohibition on eating pork, animal sacrifices, etc.) in a nutshell whatever they don’t like and whatever does not suit them.
This is only a brief introduction to the tithing error. Again, much more could be said on this subject.
**Tithing is only "biblical" per se for an unbelieving Jew strictly from the perspective of and within their religion and theology of Judaism. The Old Covenant with its laws, ordinances and observances has passed away and is no longer is in force for anyone. Jewish people are not actually under the Old Covenant and of course they too need Christ in order to be saved. A Jewish person is not even Abraham's descendant without faith in Christ: Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham...And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise. Gal 3: 7, 29