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Bible Q

What did the tithe represent?

A tithe means a tenth. Under the Law of Moses, the Israelites were asked to pay one tenth of their produce and one tenth of their flocks to God (Leviticus 27:30-32). This is called “tithing”. The basic principle in tithing is that everything actually belongs to God, and the giving of one-tenth acknowledges this.

If they wished, they could pay the value of the produce, plus an extra one-fifth, in money instead of the actual produce. The tithe was to be paid to the Levites (Numbers 18:21) in return for their religious duties since they had no source of income. Part of the tithe was to be used for the benefit of sojourners, orphans and widows (Deuteronomy 14:28-29).

The New Testament does not demand the payment of tithes, but followers of Christ are taught to give willingly and generously (1 Corinthians 16:2, 2 Corinthians 9:6-7).

3 Replies to “What did the tithe represent?”

  1. What is the difference between saved by grace and following the book of moses? If we are saved by grace, do we discount following the old testament or ten commandments?

    • To describe the difference simply in the words of Paul: “Now that no man is justified by the law (of Moses before God is evident, for, “The righteous will live by faith.” The law (of Moses) is not of faith, but, “The man who does them will live by them.” (Galatians 3:11-12).
      In the first place Paul is quoting Habakkuk 2:4 and in the second from Leviticus 18:5 or Ezekiel 20:5. Certainly, having a new priest, Jesus Christ, means there is also a necessity of the change of the law (Hebrew 7:12).
      Elsewhere, he describes the law as our tutor who was to bring us to Christ and that the “law was added because of our transgressions UNTIL the seed (Jesus) should come to whom the promise has been made.” (Galatians 3:19).

    • We are not under the law of Moses, but under the law of Christ (which certainly repeats some aspects of the law of Moses and makes other demands of us). However, while that means that we no longer to required to follow the minute details of the law of Moses, I think reading it can still provide a useful insight into how God thinks and what he might expect of us.

      Hebrews describes it as following a new and better law, led by a new and better high priest (Jesus).