Abraham's Tithe

We have a completely different and much better relationship with God than Abraham had. It calls for a totally different way of living and giving—led by the Spirit and tailored to each person uniquely and individually.

Consider the differences between a believer in Jesus Christ and Abraham:

  • Abraham had not been redeemed by the blood of Jesus.1
  • Abraham's sins were not remitted (totally forgiven and washed away) they were only temporarily covered and overlooked.2
  • Abraham had not been baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit.3
  • Abraham was not in an actual spiritual union with God.4
  • Abraham's old nature had not been crucified with Christ.5
  • Abraham had not been born again and spiritually re-created with God's own divine nature in him.6
  • Abraham was not a son of God with the same standing as Jesus Christ in God's family.7
  • Abraham had not been made the righteousness of God. (His faith was only counted for righteousness.)8
  • Abraham could not say, “It is Christ that lives in me.”9
  • Abraham was not the temple of God. God did not dwell in him.10
  • Abraham did not have the indwelling Holy Spirit to lead him.11
  • Abraham had not been delivered out of the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God's Son.12
  • Abraham had not been made alive with Christ, raised up with him, and seated with him at the Father's right hand.13
  • Abraham had not been blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ.14
  • Abraham was not a joint owner of all things through spiritual union with the resurrected Christ.15
  • Abraham did not have access to all authority in heaven and earth through the name of Jesus.16
  • Abraham could not do the same works as Jesus and even greater works that Jesus said we would do, nor could he grow up into full stature in Christ.17

See Notes for scriptural references for each statement.

Chapter 6

New Covenant Giving

The New Covenant has a higher financial commitment than the tithe, but it's based on a completely different paradigm. Tithing is never mentioned as an instruction to New Covenant believers—not as a law, a principle, or a voluntary practice. The apostles exhorted believers to give financially, but it had nothing to do with tithing. When they instructed believers to assist the poor, the widows, and the fatherless and to support the ministers of the gospel, they never quoted scriptures about tithing.

Paul wrote more on the subject of financial giving than the other writers of New Testament epistles. When he instructed believers about their obligations to give financially he quoted Old Testament scriptures to support his teaching, but not the ones about tithing. There is no basis to say the New Testament church considered tithing to be the pattern for financial stewardship. There is no scriptural evidence to say the apostles considered tithing to be an eternal principle for all ages or the key to financial blessing for Christians.

In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul presents an extensive teaching on why ministers of the gospel have a right to be supported financially and why the body of Christ is obligated to do so. He appeals to several theological arguments to prove what he is teaching. This would be the perfect opportunity for him to quote a verse on tithing as the scriptural authority for what he is saying but he doesn't.

In 1 Corinthians 9:7 he begins his instruction by appealing to common sense.

Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?

In verse nine he refers to the Law of Moses which says: “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.” (Deut. 25:4)

In verse thirteen of 1 Corinthians 9, Paul refers to the Old Testament principle that those who serve in the temple and at the altar are ordained to partake of those things that are brought as sacrifices and offerings. In verse fourteen he quotes the words of Jesus:

Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

This is a reference to what Jesus told the disciples when he sent them out. (Matt. 10:10, “for the workman is worthy of his meat,” and Luke 10:7, “for the labourer is worthy of his hire.”)

In 1 Timothy 5, Paul teaches believers to support the ministers of the gospel. He again quotes Deuteronomy 25:4 and the words of Jesus but he says nothing about tithing.

Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. (1 Tim. 5:17–18)

Jesus also said many things on the subject of giving that were not based on tithing. A thorough study of all the New Testament exhortations that apply to financial giving reveals a different perspective than what is often preached today. Jesus himself is the highest example of the motivation and purpose of all giving. He gave because he loved and he gave to bless.

The church does not need tithing to finance the work of God on earth. New Covenant giving is based on a better process. The born-again Christian is one with Christ and owned by him. His new nature is to live for Christ with all of his heart, mind, soul, strength, and money.

The following list includes some of the scriptural exhortations and perspectives related to giving in the New Testament. These can be applied to financial giving in the church today. Many of these are often overlooked because of the preoccupation with using the Old Covenant principle of tithing to motivate people.

  1. To give glory to God.
    Matthew 5:16; 2 Corinthians 9:13.
  2. To express the nature of God.
    Matthew 5:42, 45; Luke 6:35; 2 Corinthians 9:9.
  3. You have freely received.
    Matthew 10:8; 2 Corinthians 9:15.
  4. The workman is worthy of his hire.
    Matthew 10:10; Luke 10:7; 1 Corinthians 9:4–14; 2 Corinthians 11:8.
  5. It's a family responsibility.
    Matthew 15:3–6; Mark 7:9–13; 1 Timothy 5:8–16.
  6. To show compassion.
    Matthew 15:32, 18:27; Mark 8:2.
  7. To have treasure in heaven.
    Matthew 19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 12:33, 14:12–14, 18:22.
  8. Do it as unto the Lord.
    Matthew 25:40,45; Luke 8:3, 19:31; Colossians 3:23.
  9. To follow the example of Jesus.
    Mark 8:34–35; Luke 9:23–24; Ephesians 5:2.
  10. To obey the Lord.
    Luke 6:30; 2 Corinthians 9:12–13.
  11. It shall be given unto you.
    Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:6–11; Galatians 6:7–9; Ephesians 6:8; Philippians 4:10–19.
  12. To keep a pure heart.
    Luke 11:41; 1 Timothy 6:10.
  13. To be a good steward.
    Matthew 25:14–30; Luke 12:42–48, 16:9–13, 19: 12–26; 1 Corinthians 4:2; 1 Peter 4:9–10.
  14. To promote God's kingdom.
    Luke 18:29; Philippians 1:3–5; 2 Corinthians 8:1–5, 11:7–9.
  15. To show love for the brethren and all men.
    Acts 11:29; 2 Corinthians 8:8, 24; 1 John 3:16–18, 4:11; 3 John 5–6.
  16. To support the weak.
    Acts 20:35; Galatians 6:2; 1 Timothy 5:16; James 1:27, 2:15–16.
  17. It's more blessed to give than to receive.
    Acts 20:35.
  18. It's an obligation to those who minister to you.
    Romans 15:25–27; 1 Corinthians 9:11; Galatians 6:6; 1 Timothy 5:17–18; 2 Timothy 2:6.
  19. It's a response to the grace of God.
    1 Corinthians 16:1–3; 2 Corinthians 8:1–9.
  20. To minister to the other members of the body.
    2 Corinthians 8:4, 9:1; Galatians 6:10; Ephesians 4:28.
  21. For a future reciprocation.
    2 Corinthians 8:14–15.
  22. As you purpose in your heart.
    2 Corinthians 9:7.
  23. It's a good work that we were created for.
    Ephesians 2:10; 1 Timothy 6:17–18; Titus 3:8, 14; Hebrews 13:16; James 2:14–26.
  24. To bear fruit.
    John 15:1–16; Romans 15:28; Philippians 4:17; Colossians 1:10.
  25. To keep our trust in God.
    Mark 10:23–25; Philippians 4:19; 1 Timothy 6:17.
  26. To enter into the true life.
    1 Timothy 6:19.