Benefits of Tithing | Personal Bible Study

Are there benefits to tithing? Is it just a responsibility that we have as Christians? Personal Bible study of why I should tithe.

Tithing is an important ritual that Christians do in church. 10% of my income should go to the church, I was taught. I confess I struggled with it. It was hard for me to offer my money to God.

I question why church members MUST tithe. Why can’t I decide where my tithe goes to? Why a tenth? What is the significance of the tithe?

As the years go by, I learnt more about what tithing is. It is not me sacrificing to God. Now, I do it with deeper understanding and not just to fulfil my duty.

Genesis 14

The first mention of tithing in the Bible is Genesis 14:17-20,

17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley), after his return from the [a]defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him.

18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said:

“Blessed be Abram of God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
20 And blessed be God Most High,
Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.”

And he gave him [ba tithe of all.

Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils of war he won against the kings of Shinar, Ellasar, Elam and Goiim to Melchizedek, the King of Salem, High priest of the High God.

Thanksgiving

When Abraham tithed to Melchizedek, he agreed that it is the most High God that gave him the victory (verse 20). Abraham gave out of his own heart because of thanksgiving. There is no law or instruction to do so before this.

In the same way, I tithe out of a heart of thanksgiving. It is not MY money. God supplied the money to me. I acknowledge that my supplies come from God. Not just with words but in action too.

When I prepare my tithe, I thank Abba God for supplying all my needs according to his riches. (Philippians 4:19). Monthly tithing gives me an opportunity to thank God each month.

Leviticus 27

The Commandments the Lord gave to Moses at Mount Sinai mentioned the tithe in Leviticus 27:30-34,

30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy to the Lord. 31 If a man wants at all to redeem any of his tithes, he shall add one-fifth to it. 32 And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord. 33 He shall not inquire whether it is good or bad, nor shall he exchange it; and if he exchanges it at all, then both it and the one exchanged for it shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.’ ”

34 These are the commandments which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel on Mount Sinai.

The tithe is holy

Verse 30 states that the tithe BELONGS to the Lord. It is holy to the Lord. The title is from both the seed and the fruit of the tree, as well as from the herd and flock. The seed needed for sowing. The fruit from the harvest. The beginning and the end of our production cycle.

Verses 31 to 33 described the holiness of the tithe. God discouraged exchange and redemption regarding it. This reminds me of people who want to donate their tithes to worthy causes. They believe it will be a better use of their money. It sounded like a reasonable thing to do, especially when the church is already doing quite well, or when there is distrust in the church’s leadership.

But the tithe belongs to the Lord. God is the one who made it holy. We don’t have to redeem it or exchange it according to our human understanding.

Abba God can deal with what belongs to Him. I don’t have to help Him. My part is to tithe my portion. 

Deuteronomy 14

Deuteronomy 14:22-29 describes the use of the tithe.

22 “You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. 23 And you shall eat before the Lord your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always. 

24 But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the Lord your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the Lord your God has blessed you, 25 then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the Lord your God chooses. 26 And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household. 

27 You shall not [a]forsake the Levite who is within your gates, for he has no part nor inheritance with you.28 “At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. 29 And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

Use of the tithe

Verse 23 to 26 shows the loving heart of God. The tithe which is His, He gave back to the giver. To enjoy in the place where His name abide. Where does God abide now? I believe the place now is the local church and His people. Jesus in John 15:4 said,

“Abide in Me, and I in you.”

On top of that, the tithe of the third year is to be shared. Abba God name the Levites, stranger, fatherless and widows as the beneficiaries of the third year tithe.

Is not our modern day church doing that? The tithe supports the activities of the local church and our church workers. The local church supports the less fortunate in our communities.

My tithe goes to my local church.

Malachi 3:8-12

8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 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.

How can a man rob God? By withholding tithes and offerings according to Malachi 3:8-12. This sounds serious.

Have you heard about this teaching? “If you don’t tithe, God will curse you. “It is based on Malachi 3:9, “You are cursed with the curse, for you rob me.”

This curse didn’t come from God. The world is under the curse because Adam sins. The world I live in now is a fallen world. As a result, work is back-breaking and harvests are not guaranteed. Everything I touch or produce is cursed.

Jesus broke the curse

Malachi 3 looks to me like God set up the tithe offering to break the curse. For Romans 11:6 states,

16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

The tithe is basically a tenth or the first fruits. When I give a portion to God, He made the rest holy. The Devil cannot touch what is holy, let alone steal it. This is God’s kindness towards me.

This is comforting because I was one of those who had a scarcity mentality. I thought that I will have less when I tithe. I guess I did not fully understand how good God is. My focus is the little I had in my hand and not on the fullness in God’s hand.

Jesus is our blessing

In verse 10, He made a promise. Tithe and break the curse. He promised to “open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.

I used to interpret this passage as God promising overflowing blessings but Shane, a visitor left a comment correcting that. The blessing is singular.

What is this blessing? Shane argued that the tithe is an OT type for Jesus. What a powerful revelation. Jesus is God’s overflowing blessing.

Jesus Christ came and broke the curse. I find this passage very touching. God speaking to a recalcitrant group of people who do not obey Him. Yet, he promised to pour out Jesus.

This is bigger than my salary. I have received much more. Much much more. What is a tenth when I have Jesus.

God also promised to rebuke the devourer so that “it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes“. I see that as a protection of the work of my hands. What I do will come to fruition and have great impact.

I tithe because the tithe reminds me of Jesus, the blessing overflowing from God.

Hebrews 7:1-10

Hebrews 7 recounted the first tithe by Abraham to Melchizedek.

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.

Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the [a]spoils. And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. 

In verse 4, Abraham, the Jewish patriarch demonstrated Melchizedek’s greatness by giving him a tenth of the choicest spoils.

Jesus is alive

In the same way, when I tithe, I acknowledge that Jesus Christ is great. The person I give money to has great stature. I honour Him.

Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.

It may seem like it is the church or its human leaders that are receiving the tithes. However, verse 8 argues that Jesus Christ receive them too.

My salary represents my time, blood, sweat and tears. Therefore, when I give a portion of it to Jesus, I am giving a piece of my life to Him. He knows it. He blessed me in the same way He blessed Abraham.

I find the idea that Jesus is alive and has the power to do mighty things with my little tithe exciting. It gives greater meaning to the little act of placing the tithe envelope into the offering bag. It represents an opportunity to participate in the work of the Lord. 

1 Corinthians 15:20-22

20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have [d]fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 

1 Corinthians 15:20 refers to Jesus Christ as the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. He is a tithe Himself. God tithed Him to make the rest of us holy. He rose, so all of us will rise.

The truth that Jesus Christ is God’s tithe could be the most important benefit. My salvation is anchored on Christ’s finished work on the Cross.

When I tithe, I am called to remembrance that Christ is God’s tithe to make me holy.

James 1:18

In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of firstfruits among His creatures.

Believers are called firstfruits in both James 1:18 and 1 Corinthians 15:23. We are a tithe too. Through us, we shall reach the world.

When I tithe, I am reminded that I am a tithe too. I am the salt and light of the world. My life should bring glory to the name of God to those who do not know Him yet.

Conclusion

The bible verses I studied support the idea that God is the one who constituted the tithe.

The principle of tithing runs through the whole Bible. From the Old Testament to the New.

The church did not make it up because they needed money. The tithe is more than giving money to the church.

The benefits of tithing is Jesus. He is the blessing of Malachi 3; breaking the curse on the world. He is God’s tithe. He is the one who receive my tithe and multiply it for His purpose. When I tithe, I thank Him for my blessings, and declare He is alive and He is Great.