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The Bible by the Numbers > Day 17

The Tithe (Malachi 3:8-12)

The tithe—ten percent of our income—represents the whole of our due to God, as well as God’s claim on the whole.


Many argue that the tithe is no longer binding on modern-day Christians. They insist that we are no longer under the law, but under grace. Yet, the tithe predates the law by more than 400 years (Genesis 14:17-24). 


Others argue that tithing is neither mentioned nor taught in the New Testament. However, the words “tithe” and “tithing” appear eight times in the New Testament (Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42; 18:12; Hebrews 7:5-6, 8-9). In two of these instances, Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42, our Lord lends considerable weight to the tithe by telling the Pharisees that it “ought” to be paid. 


Of course, there are always those who argue against tithing on a personal level. They simply insist that they cannot afford to tithe. The Bible, on the other hand, teaches us the opposite. According to the Bible, we can’t afford not to tithe! The ancient Prophet Malachi taught that all who refuse to tithe are guilty of robbing God (Malachi 3:8-12). Consequently, they are under God’s curse rather than His blessing. 


The Hebrew word for “offering” means “freewill offering.” Our offering to God is whatever we give of our own freewill above and beyond the required tithe. To put this matter of stewardship succinctly: We give God the tithe because He demands it and we give Him our offerings because He deserves them.


Contrary to popular opinion, tithing is not a foregone practice of a bygone era that is no longer binding on modern-day believers. Instead, the biblically mandated tithe is still obligatory to the people of God today. In view of this, the number ten just might be the lest favorite of all biblical numbers among contemporary churchgoers.

Don Walton