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Tithing, Giving and Alms

Updated on February 23, 2012
Tithe = 10% Gross Income
Tithe = 10% Gross Income

The Covenant of the Tithe

"Tithing" under the New Covenant is one of the hottest debates in the church today. Are Christians commanded to tithe? Do not be deceived! The Bible is clear about this issue; Jesus taught about it and so did His apostles. Let's take a look at what the New Testament teaches.

As the economy continues to deteriorate, churches rely on the financial support of their members, who in turn are financially strapped due to loss of work and global inflation. Some churches have increased their topical preaching on this subject, and members are feeling an increased burden to keep this “commandment of God”. IS tithing a commandment of God?

A tithe is a PAYMENT, and is a word used only in the Old Testament (as it was a commandment given through the Old Covenant, the Law of Moses), with the exception of two New Testament verses that address this Old Testament ordinance. In fact, these two verses are admonishing the tithers for disregarding the justice and love of God, though they were faithful in tithing 10% of their mint, rue and garden herbs. Keep in mind the tithing Jews Jesus addressed were a part of the Levitical Priesthood after the order of the High Priest, Melchizedek. As Abraham tithed to Melchizedek, Israel brought all tithes to the Levitical Priesthood.

A prophesied change in priesthood is found in Psalm 110:4 and was fulfilled upon the death of Jesus Christ, recorded in Hebrews 7:11-22. When Jesus became our HIGH PRIEST, the ordinances of the Old Covenant were no longer a requirement under the New Covenant. The 10 Commandments, summed up in two categories of loving God and loving our neighbors, do not state tithing as a requirement within this Covenant. We now have a more gracious directive given throughout the New Testament.


The Law of God is the 10 Commandments. The Takanot is the Rabbinic Law added to the Law of Moses (Torah) and have indeed been CHANGED because of the change in priesthood. Please notice this scripture: "For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of Law also."

Hebrews 7:11-14

"Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron?

"For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of Law also.

"For the one concerning whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar.

"For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests."


Remember, to embrace the Old Covenant nullifies the New Covenant! Galatians 2:21 states, "I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly."

2 Corinthians 9:7 states, "Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

Support Church Ministries
Support Church Ministries

Giving to God through the Church

Mark 12:41-43: “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on."

Comment: Knowing we are to first provide for our family, I’m certain the poor widow did not neglect the needs of her family, but gave what she had to give. The rich put in out of their wealth and could have indeed given much more, had they sacrificially given as the widow did.

Now, let’s look at what happened when yet another Pentecostal experience happened in Acts 4:31-35:

“And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak the word of God with boldness.

And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own; but all things were common property to them.

And with great power the apostles were giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.

For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales, and lay them at the apostles’ feet; and they would be distributed to each, as any had need.”

Comment: So, we can see that this was FAR beyond a “tithe”. It doesn’t mean we are to go to this extreme, but rather see that generous giving is a fruitful heart of thanksgiving and love for God and the brethren. 

OFFERING to the Church
OFFERING to the Church

The New Covenant of Giving

2 Cor 8:3 "For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability they gave of their own accord."

2 Cor 8:8 "I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also."

2 Cor 8:10 "And I give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this (giving), but also to desire to do it."

2 Cor 8:12 "For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a man has, not according to what he does not have."

2 Cor 8:14 "at this present time, your abundance being a supply for their want, that their abundance also may become a supply for your want, that there may be equality."

2 Cor 8:16 "But thanks be to God, who puts the same earnestness on your behalf in the heart of Titus."

2 Cor 8:24 "Therefore openly before the churches show them the proof of your love and of our reason for boasting about you."

2 Cor 9:7 "Let each one do as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

2 Cor 9:12 "For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. Because of the proof given by this ministry they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all." 

Meet the needs of the family
Meet the needs of the family

More Important RULE

1 Tim 5:4 "But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God."

This goes right along with Matthew 15:3-6 “And He answered and said to them, ‘Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment [Honor your father and mother] of God for the sake of your tradition?’ But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God,’ he is not to honor his father or his mother.' And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition."

1 Tim 5:8 "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever."

Comment: Many live lavishly and this is not suggesting this an "excuse" for not giving to the Lord. But, if you're a single mother raising children and are struggling to make your rent and food needs, don't feel you are obligated or under a law to give. Just give as the Lord enables you.

Feed and clothe Jesus!
Feed and clothe Jesus!

Giving to God through Humanity (Alms)

Let’s look at the giving of the heart, the giving of love for which the reward in heaven will be great! Matthew 25:34

“Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'

"Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'

"The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'

James 2:5 “Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”

Luke 6:35 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.”

Luke 16 tells us the account of the rich man who goes to Hades (hell) and the poor man, Lazarus who goes to the bosom of Abraham after dying.

Romans 12:20 “But "if your enemy is hungry, feed him. For if he is thirsty, give him a drink. If you do this, you will pile burning coals on his head."

Giving to the poor is called "alms". Matthew 6:2 tell us "So when you give to the poor (KJV states "when thou doest thine alms"), do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full."

The Giving of God to Us

Luke 6:38 "Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure-- pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."

2 Cor 9:10 "Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality..."

Just remember that prosperity preaching can be considered sinful, as God says you cannot serve both God and mammon (money) in Matthew 6:24. Also, remember the account of the rich man who kept all the commandments of Mosaic Law, and yet could not sell what he had and give it to the poor, as Jesus requested (as a test of where his "treasure" was) in Mark 10:21/Luke 18:22). Luke 12:34 states "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Worth the View - Get Educated about the Tithe


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    • Rosualdo Ponce profile image

      Rosualdo Ponce 

      4 years ago from Gawad Kalinga Village Ticad, Bantayan, Cebu, Philippines

      Amen, some people think that they can trade their good works for God's favor and salvation.

    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      4 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Amen, Rosualdo. It's all about the heart, amen. I can't get past the fact people 'tithe' and somehow feel that they've 'paid' their way to heaven. God isn't going to check His receipt log or ask for our receipts. Some people 'tithe' and then live like the devil, though they've somehow reconciled for their sin. This simply takes Jesus, our payment, our Firstfruit, out of the equation, doesn't it?

    • Rosualdo Ponce profile image

      Rosualdo Ponce 

      4 years ago from Gawad Kalinga Village Ticad, Bantayan, Cebu, Philippines

      Thank you, Judah's daughter, God needs our heart not our wealth. God bless you!

    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      4 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Hello Rosualdo Ponce and bless your heart. From the beginning, Cain and Able brought their 'firstfruits' of crops and herds to the LORD -- the tithe, even under the Law of Moses, was about crops and herds. We know Jesus is the Bread of Life (crops/grain) and the Lamb of God (herds), who rose from the dead on the Feast of Firstfruits! The unleavened and spotless sacrifice that fulfilled the shadow of the 'tithe' under the Old Covenant. "Freely you have received, freely GIVE." (Mat 10:8) Money and all the things of this world will perish, and I think of what Peter said in Acts 3:6 "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk." May the naked be clothed in His robes of righteousness, the thirsty be filled with His Living Water and hungry feast on the milk and meat of His Word. The New Covenant is Spirit, not physical, any longer. May God bless you as you continue to walk in understanding.

    • profile image

      Rosualdo Ponce 

      4 years ago

      What a blessed hub, it enlighten my mind regarding tithing issue. I think I'm the one holding the view that the old covenant and it's rules has been replace by a new and eternal covenant. A covenant of freedom from Christ. I am blessed by your insights. Thank you, and continue to be a light to the world. God bless You!

    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      7 years ago from Roseville, CA

      ak thomas – india, Let’s go back the first ‘tithes’ to God by looking at Cain and Abel. Cain brought the firstfruit of his crops; Abel the firstfruit of his livestock. Under the Law of tithing, crops and animals were provided to the Levites, not money. Speaking of the Levite priests, they used the blood of goats for the sin sacrifice (Lev 4) and the ram, totally consumed by fire (burnt offering) as the sacrifice to impute righteousness upon themselves and their congregation (Lev 1). Likewise, the grain offerings had their spiritual purpose. For example, Lev 2:14 “If you bring a grain offering of firstfruits to the LORD…”

      Now, in Gen 22 Abraham ‘believed God’, which was counted to him as righteousness (James 2:23), by taking Isaac up to Mount Moriah to sacrifice him as a ‘burnt offering’, yet God provided the ‘ram’ (imputed righteousness). Who does that ram symbolize? Jesus Christ, our LORD.

      We no longer sacrifice animals (livestock) and grain (crops)...He was the firstfruit, the ONLY acceptable sacrifice. We don't sacrifice cash ~ we sacrifice our hearts ~ 1 Samuel 15:22: “Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.”

    • profile image

      ak thomas - india 

      7 years ago

      Praise be to God our father in christ Jesus.

      Hebrews 7:9,10 says "Heb:7:9: And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.

      Heb:7:10: For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

      Melchizedek is a High priest, Levi was a priest, Abraham was a BELEIVER.

      A beleiver in God Abraham tithed to Preist Levi ( who was in the loins of Abraham ), then, Levi thithed to Melchizedek, i think this may be the way how Abraham thithed to Melchizedek.Thithing of Abraham was a heathen practice of his day, then God honoured his thithing to be a future commandment to Israel in order to bless israel and show to the heathen or to the world that the God of Abraham is the Only One God who blesses those who obeys Him abd His commandments. Though Melchizedek was not in the lineage of Levi, yet He was.

      I say this because, Levi was there as a priest, but Melchizedek was a High Priest of God Almighty means M

    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      7 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Hi brother, Lone Ranger! lol ~ I don't think Pat Robertson's the only preacher preaching that message...

    • profile image

      Lone Ranger 

      7 years ago

      But what about when Pat Robertson brought up the spiritual law of "Reciprocity". If I give money to the Lord through the 700 Club, it will come back to me many times over.

      Best wishes - L.R.

    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      7 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Patrick, I'm also glad we agree on the Word. God bless you!

    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      7 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Fred Howard-Smith - Heb 8:13 "By calling this covenant "new," He has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear."

      Definition of obsolete:

      ob·so·lete/?äbs??l?t/Verb: Cause (a product or idea) to be or become obsolete by replacing it with something new: "we're obsoleting last year's designs".

      Adjective: No longer produced or used; out of date.

      Synonyms: antiquated - out-of-date - outdated - old-fashioned

      The Old Covenant was not cancelled; the Covenant is eternal. The requirements of the Old Covenant have been replaced with the requirements of the New. The Law is NOT of faith (Gal 3:12) and without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6).

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I am so glad we agree on the issue of "tithe"

    • profile image

      Fred Howard-Smith 

      9 years ago

      You miss apply your reference to the Law of tithe and miss represent St. Paul's teaching on Christ as the fullfillment of the law and NOT the ABOLISHMENT of the law. Tithe is sacrificial giving! Christ and his life of love (agape) not (Philiws) is self scarifial and that includes fullfillment of the tithing and more... Please do not twist the WOWRD of GOD to fit your prescript. Pax Christi

    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      9 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Well, Jerry, you better not bet with your tithe money. Who's judging here?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I would bet that those who have commented against New Testament tithing do not give hardly anything to their church (if indeed they have one). God will judge this also.

    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      9 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Thank you, Thomas ~ I appreciate the clarification and have corrected my hub to be most accurate in that regard. God bless you!!

    • profile image

      Thomas Andrews 

      9 years ago from Arkansas

      This is a corrective note not needing to be posted. The high priest Melchizedek was not associated with the Levitical order. Aberham did pay him tiths. But the Levitical order came much much later. They used the tiths to feed the Levitical Priest and take care of the temple of God. Just a note nothing special.

    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      9 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Hallelujah, mjandtkent! Right on! Motive is everything, for the motive is in the HEART, whereby God knows what is in the heart of Man. All that we do is birthed out of our love for God and giving is a "proof" of this love for God. Likewise, giving in order to receive is a "proof" of the love of self.

      I think about Paul telling Titus in 1:11, "They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach." This "shameful gain" is translated lucre or money.

      How many times does one consider the tax write-off when giving monetarily? Do we resent giving money to our family members when we can't write it off? This hub obviously shows that we are not to give to "God" and neglect the needs of our own flesh and blood.

      You are preaching the truth and I am blessed you shared here!! Thank you and God bless you as you continue to serve and worship Him in spirit and truth.

    • mjandtkent profile image


      9 years ago

      I agree! But I will say that in giving and tithing it is not required by command but under the New covenant we are asked to love God. When I see people ask if I have to do this or that in order to be accepted by God, then I want to tell them to get saved. Or at least get a better understanding of who God is. God loves us but do we love God? If I love God I want to please God in all aspects of my life. I don't give out of commandment but out of my love for God. The same goes for all other aspects of His commandments. I don't obey out of commandment but because of my love for God. The old covenant was commands. But when you understand the commands you gain a greater understanding of God. If you command your child not to touch the hot stove it is out of love for your child. If your child touches the hot stove they will reap the consequences of touching the stove and be burned. The same goes for telling your child to clean their room. If they clean their room they will be rewarded with an allowance. They clean their room and they reap the consequence of an allowance. When we obey God we reap the consequence of obeying God. If we disobey God we reap the consequence of disobeying Him. When we tithe we are blessed through tithing. When we give we are blessed through giving. When we don't we don't receive the blessings that giving brings. The thing is people give for many various reasons other than just giving to God. They give to a church, or a man, or to receive a blessing, or whatever. We should give for one reason and that is out of our love for God. We give to God not a man or building. We don't give to get a blessing, we just give out of our love for God. God will greatly bless us when we give out of love for God as opposed to giving for any other reason. Let me ask this question, How many churches would close their doors if the government took away tax breaks for those who gave to a church? My guess is many. Why? because many of the people who give in churches are looking for the tax break instead of just giving to God. Also, once you give, it is no longer yours but God's. The person who receives this money now has the responsibility to handle God's money the way it should be handled. If they don't they will answer to God for mishandling God's money not anyone else. Once it is given if it is truly given is no longer yours. I have seen so many times where someone gives a large sum of money and then feels it is now their right to tell the pastor what he can preach on and what he can't. Or try to control the church because they give more than someone else in the church. If God is in charge in a church then God will control how things are done. If God is not in charge of the Church, what are you doing there anyway?

      Be Blessed in all you do, and have a God filled day!

    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      9 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Hi Sister Pam! I surely loved your comment on the question of tithing! I loved how you said we'd have to still sacrifice animals and stone people, etc. etc. etc., for if we're going to keep one of the Laws of the Old Covenant, we need to keep them all! LOL ~~ AMEN!! Oh, may people "get it" ~ and not be oppressed by the condemnation that comes when they simply can't afford to keep up with their "tithe" ~ they get into debt, sacrifice the needs of their families...bondage! We give from the HEART as God leads, whether it be money, food, clothing, ministry...I love you, sis! God bless you.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 

      9 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Saw the video. I love Dr. Piper. He reminds me so much of the Pastor who lead me to the Lord. So humble...


    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      9 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Thank you, brother. I'm glad you are a New Covenant brother in every way! We are set free from the Law and curse of the Old Covenant because of our Lord Jesus Christ! Now we walk according to the heart of Christ in loving as He loves us. God bless you :-)

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 

      9 years ago from Rochester, New York

      As I thought, my sister, we are on the same page. I am blessed and give of my heart. May the God of peace keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. I love you. Bob.

    • profile image


      9 years ago


      "What you do not have" is not to be taken literally as having NOTHING AT ALL.

      It is a matter of semantics. He is saying that is unacceptable if you do not have enough, not if you do not have anything at all. That would be an absurd suggestion. We could not give if we had nothing at all even if we wanted to.

      If someone asks me to borrow money I can say I do not have it, not because I have nothing in my bank account but because I just do not have it in light of my present obligations. Its not that I do not have it.

      For instance if I have 1000 in my account but my rent will be due soon for 900, then I do not have 1000 to lend or to give. Technically, I do have the money in my account but I do not have it to lend or to give. Thats exactly what Paul is talking about-- Of course it is impossible to give if you literally have nothing but also it is not acceptable to give if you do not have enough to give.

      ANd that is the problem with many a preachers today. They will stong arm people to give a little they have when they cant even pay their rent or buy food. If they have to pay rent then they DO NOT HAVE it to give. There are alot of people givng what they do not have and as a result are struggling financially. I think this is a direct word to people to stop giving what you do not have because of your misconception that you are under law or compulsion to do so.

    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      9 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Amen, Mel. God is about love and everything we do is to be done with that motive...not obligation. He loves us; He loves our families. Our Father does not want to see us enslaved to "religious works" ever!! That's what cheerful, heart-felt giving is all about. While obedience is better than sacrifice, it means to follow His Word (the New Covenant!) first and foremost. The Law was restrictive and oppressive; His grace and freedom under the New Covenant is what we embrace! In fact, to stay enslaved to the Law makes His sacrifice of no avail, the Word says!! Gal 2:21 "I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly."

      Church leaders or even parents, grandparents, etc. that enforce tithing 10% are, as the Pharisees did, "transgressing the commandment of God for the sake of their tradition". Pastors want to know they have financial support and can keep a consistent "budget" knowing their members will follow along by keeping the Old Covenant Law of tithing 10% ~ and many members are preached into giving more (as though it is a commandment)!

      Our sister is in some sort of church that teaches religious works and I prayerfully uplift her and those of her denomination to come to know the fulness of the gospel. Her church teaches we are not saved until we are baptized in water face-down; we must worship on Saturday, not Sunday; Christmas is pagan, etc...the list goes on and on. Please, Lord, may we come to know You and understand your glorious gospel!! God bless you, Mel.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Judah's Daughter,

      I fully agree with you. There is no scriptural support for Tithing as law for the NEw Testament believer. Unfortunately there are those that believe it is not because God says so but out of tradition or what they grew up hearing from the pulprit.

      Take Einron;s comment for example. How many times have we heard it said that "The Tithe belongs to the Lord". Where did we get that from?

      Now we should never use this to justify not giving at all. God loves a cheerful giver and I believe that cheerful givers give above and beyond at times. It is just that people that are stuggling to pay their rent should not compromise their habitat just to give out of some misguided compulsion. They're first priority is their families.

    • Judah's Daughter profile imageAUTHOR

      Judah's Daughter 

      10 years ago from Roseville, CA

      einron, one is moved to either tithe, give or give alms and all are blessed by the Lord; however, we must be sure to meet the needs of our family as shown. Giving to God is not to be an oppressive thing, nor is it commanded, but to give joyfully brings blessings we cannot fathom! God bless you!

    • einron profile image


      10 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

      Judah's Daughter,

      You have done a great job and covered all aspects.

      YOU WROTE: 2 Cor 8:12 "For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a man has, not according to what he does not have."

      ANSWER: It is impossible to give what you do not have. No one would be foolish enough to borrow to give to the church unless he or she is expecting some money and the need in the church is urgent, the person may borrow money temporarily.

      I have written on TITHES AND CHARITY: To Tithe or Not to Tithe.

      If you love God, you would have no problem to tithe because the tithes belong to God.


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