Comparison Of What The Old And New Testaments Say About Tithing And Giving

This article is part of a sub-series: Should We Obey The Entire Law Of Moses? - What The Old And New Testaments Say, which is about Old Testament laws on morality and tithing, customs like animal sacrifice and the celebration of the Passover Festival, and what the New Testament says about them.
This is Part 9 (of 13) in Section 5: "Should We Obey The Entire Law Of Moses? - What The Old And New Testaments Say".

To read an overview of the way Christians should regard the Law of Moses, visit: Bible Quotations on Whether Christians Should Obey the Law of Moses.

Some parts of the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation are very unpleasant. If you become offended by anything, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.

In the New Testament, the Bible says:

2 Timothy chapter 3 (GWT)

16 Every Scripture passage is inspired by God. All of them are useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God's approval. 17 They equip God's servants so that they are completely prepared to do good things.

In the Old Testament, the Bible says that Moses said to the people:

Deuteronomy chapter 14 (TEV)

22 "Set aside a tithe-a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. 23 Then go to the one place where the Lord your God has chosen to be worshiped; and there in his presence eat the tithes of your grain, wine, and olive oil, and the first-born of your cattle and sheep. Do this so that you may learn to honor the Lord your God always.
24 If the place of worship is too far from your home for you to carry there the tithe of the produce that the Lord has blessed you with, then do this: 25 Sell your produce and take the money with you to the one place of worship. 26 Spend it on whatever you want-beef, lamb, wine, beer-and there, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families are to eat and enjoy yourselves.

27 "Do not neglect the Levites who live in your towns; they have no property of their own. 28 At the end of every third year bring the tithe of all your crops and store it in your towns. 29 This food is for the Levites, since they own no property, and for the foreigners, orphans, and widows who live in your towns. They are to come and get all they need. Do this, and the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.

Deuteronomy chapter 18 (GWT)

1 The Levitical priests--in fact, the whole tribe of Levi--will receive no land or property of their own like the rest of the Israelites. They will eat what has been sacrificed to the LORD. These sacrifices will be what they receive. 2 So the Levites will have no land of their own like the other Israelites. The LORD will be their inheritance, as he promised them.

3 This is what the people owe the priests whenever they sacrifice an ox, a sheep, or a goat: the shoulder, jaws, and stomach. 4 Also, give them the first produce harvested: grain, new wine, olive oil, and the first wool you shear from your sheep.

5 Out of all your tribes, the LORD your God has chosen the Levites and their descendants to do the work of serving in the name of the LORD forever. 6 A Levite from any of your cities in Israel may come from where he has been living to the place the LORD will choose. He may come as often as he wants 7 and may serve in the name of the LORD his God like all the other Levites who do their work in the LORD's presence. 8 If he does, he'll get the same amount of food as they do, in addition to what he gets from selling his family's goods.

Deuteronomy chapter 15 (GWT)

19 You must dedicate every firstborn male from your herds and flocks to the LORD your God. Never use a firstborn ox for work, and never shear a firstborn sheep. 20 Every year you and your family must eat these animals in the presence of the LORD your God in the place the LORD will choose.
21 But if an animal is lame or blind or has any other serious defect--never sacrifice it to the LORD your God. 22 Eat it in your city. Clean and unclean people may eat them together as if they were eating a gazelle or a deer.
23 But never eat the blood. Pour it on the ground like water.

Exodus chapter 13 (TEV)

1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 "Dedicate all the first-born males to me, for every first-born male Israelite and every first-born male animal belongs to me."

Exodus chapter 20 (GWT)

22 The LORD said to Moses, "This is what you must say to the Israelites:

Exodus chapter 22 (NLT)

29 "Do not hold anything back when you give me the tithe of your crops and your wine.

"You must make the necessary payment for redemption of your firstborn sons.

30 "You must also give me the firstborn of your cattle and sheep. Leave the newborn animal with its mother for seven days; then give it to me on the eighth day.

Deuteronomy chapter 26 (TEV)

12 "Every third year give the tithe-a tenth of your crops-to the Levites, the foreigners, the orphans, and the widows, so that in every community they will have all they need to eat. When you have done this, 13 say to the Lord,

"None of the sacred tithe is left in my house;
I have given it to the Levites, the foreigners, the orphans, and the widows, as you commanded me to do.
I have not disobeyed or forgotten any of your commands concerning the tithe.
14 I have not eaten any of it when I was mourning;
I have not taken any of it out of my house when I was ritually unclean;
and I have not given any of it as an offering for the dead.
I have obeyed you, O Lord; I have done everything you commanded concerning the tithe.
15 Look down from your holy place in heaven and bless your people Israel;

In the last book of the Old Testament, believed to have been written about a thousand years after the time of Moses, the prophet Malachi prophesied:

Malachi chapter 3 (TEV)

1 The Lord Almighty answers,

7 You, like your ancestors before you, have turned away from my laws and have not kept them. Turn back to me, and I will turn to you.

But you ask, "What must we do to turn back to you?'

8 I ask you, is it right for a person to cheat God? Of course not, yet you are cheating me.

"How?' you ask.

In the matter of tithes and offerings. 9 A curse is on all of you because the whole nation is cheating me. 10 Bring the full amount of your tithes to the Temple, so that there will be plenty of food there.
Put me to the test and you will see that I will open the windows of heaven and pour out on you in abundance all kinds of good things. 11 I will not let insects destroy your crops, and your grapevines will be loaded with grapes. 12 Then the people of all nations will call you happy, because your land will be a good place to live.

In the Book of the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament, which is about the first Christians, the Bible says:

Acts chapter 11 (NLT)

27 ... some prophets traveled from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them named Agabus stood up in one of the meetings to predict by the Spirit that a great famine was coming upon the entire Roman world. (This was fulfilled during the reign of Claudius.) 29 So the believers in Antioch decided to send relief to the brothers and sisters in Judea, everyone giving as much as they could. 30 This they did, entrusting their gifts to Barnabas and Saul to take to the elders of the church in Jerusalem.

In his letters to the Corinthian Christians in the New Testament, The apostle Paul (otherwise known as Saul) wrote:

1 Corinthians chapter 16 (TEV)

1 Now, concerning what you wrote about the money to be raised to help God's people in Judea. You must do what I told the churches in Galatia to do. 2 Every Sunday each of you must put aside some money, in proportion to what you have earned, and save it up, so that there will be no need to collect money when I come. 3 After I come, I shall give letters of introduction to those you have approved, and send them to take your gift to Jerusalem. 4 If it seems worthwhile for me to go, then they can go along with me.

2 Corinthians chapter 9 (NLT)

1 I really don't need to write to you about this gift for the Christians in Jerusalem. 2 For I know how eager you are to help, and I have been boasting to our friends in Macedonia that you Christians in Greece were ready to send an offering a year ago. In fact, it was your enthusiasm that stirred up many of them to begin helping. 3 But I am sending these brothers just to be sure that you really are ready, as I told them you would be, with your money all collected. 5 ... But I want it to be a willing gift, not one given under pressure.

6 Remember this - a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 7 You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully.

13 You will be glorifying God through your generous gifts. For your generosity to them will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.

2 Corinthians chapter 8 (NLT)

11Give whatever you can according to what you have. 12 If you are really eager to give, it isn't important how much you are able to give. God wants you to give what you have, not what you don't have. 13 Of course, I don't mean you should give so much that you suffer from having too little. I only mean that there should be some equality. 14 Right now you have plenty and can help them. Then at some other time they can share with you when you need it. In this way, everyone's needs will be met.

In Paul's letter to the Christians in Rome, he wrote:

Romans chapter 15 (TEV)

14 My friends: I myself feel sure that you ... are able to teach one another. 15 But in this letter I have been quite bold about certain subjects of which I have reminded you. I have been bold because of the privilege God has given me 16 of being a servant of Christ Jesus to work for the Gentiles. I serve like a priest in preaching the Good News from God, in order that the Gentiles may be an offering acceptable to God, dedicated to him by the Holy Spirit.

17 In union with Christ Jesus, then, I can be proud of my service for God. 18 I will be bold and speak only about what Christ has done through me to lead the Gentiles to obey God. He has done this by means of words and deeds, 19 by the power of miracles and wonders, and by the power of the Spirit of God. And so, in traveling all the way from Jerusalem to Illyricum, I have proclaimed fully the Good News about Christ.

24 ... I would like to see you on my way to Spain, and be helped by you to go there, after I have enjoyed visiting you for a while. 25 Right now, however, I am going to Jerusalem in the service of God's people there. 26 For the churches in Macedonia and Achaia have freely decided to give an offering to help the poor among God's people in Jerusalem. 27 That decision was their own; but, as a matter of fact, they have an obligation to help them. Since the Jews shared their spiritual blessings with the Gentiles, the Gentiles ought to use their material blessings to help the Jews. 28 When I have finished this task and have turned over to them all the money that has been raised for them, I shall leave for Spain and visit you on my way there. 29 When I come to you, I know that I shall come with a full measure of the blessing of Christ.

In the Law of Moses, the Bible says:

Exodus chapter 20 (NLT)

22 The LORD said to Moses, "Say this to the people of Israel:

Exodus chapter 23 (NLT)

19 "As you harvest each of your crops, bring me a choice sample of the first day's harvest. It must be offered to the LORD your God."

Leviticus chapter 27 (TEV)

30 One tenth of all the produce of the land, whether grain or fruit, belongs to the Lord. 31 If you wish to buy any of it back, you must pay the standard price plus an additional 20 percent.

32 One of every ten domestic animals belongs to the Lord. When the animals are counted, every tenth one belongs to the Lord. 33 You may not arrange the animals so that the poor animals are chosen, and you may not make any substitutions. If you do substitute one animal for another, then both animals will belong to the Lord and may not be bought back.

34 These are the commands that the Lord gave Moses on Mount Sinai for the people of Israel.

Numbers chapter 18 (TEV)

21 The Lord said, "I have given to the Levites every tithe that the people of Israel present to me. This is in payment for their service in taking care of the Tent of my presence. 22 The other Israelites must no longer approach the Tent and in this way bring on themselves the penalty of death. 23 From now on only the Levites will take care of the Tent and bear the full responsibility for it. This is a permanent rule that applies also to your descendants.

The Levites shall have no permanent property in Israel, 24 because I have given to them as their possession the tithe which the Israelites present to me as a special contribution. That is why I told them that they would have no permanent property in Israel."

25 The Lord commanded Moses 26 to say to the Levites: "When you receive from the Israelites the tithe that the Lord gives you as your possession, you must present a tenth of it as a special contribution to the Lord. 27 This special contribution will be considered as the equivalent of the offering which the farmer makes of new grain and new wine. 28 In this way you also will present the special contribution that belongs to the Lord from all the tithes which you receive from the Israelites. You are to give this special contribution for the Lord to Aaron the priest. 29 Give it from the best that you receive. 30 When you have presented the best part, you may keep the rest, just as the farmer keeps what is left after he makes his offering. 31 You and your families may eat the rest anywhere, because it is your wages for your service in the Tent. 32 You will not become guilty when you eat it, as long as you have presented the best of it to the Lord. But be sure not to profane the sacred gifts of the Israelites by eating any of the gifts before the best part is offered; if you do, you will be put to death."

Deuteronomy chapter 33 (TEV)

1 These are the blessings that Moses, the man of God, pronounced on the people of Israel before he died.

8 About the tribe of Levi he said:

" Lord, 9 They showed greater loyalty to you Than to parents, brothers, or children. They obeyed your commands And were faithful to your covenant. 10 They will teach your people to obey your Law; They will offer sacrifices on your altar.

11 Lord, help their tribe to grow strong; Be pleased with what they do. Crush all their enemies; Let them never rise again."

In the New Testament, in the apostle Paul's letter to the Galatian Christians, the Bible says:

Galatians chapter 6 (NLT)

6 Those who are taught the word of God should help their teachers by paying them.

Paul wrote to his fellow Christian worker Timothy in his "First Letter to Timothy" in the New Testament:

1 Timothy chapter 5 (NLT)

17 Elders who do their work well should be paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, "Do not keep an ox from eating as it treads out the grain." And in another place, "Those who work deserve their pay!"

In a book of the Old Testament that appears much later than the books of Moses, the prophet Ezekiel prophesied:

Ezekiel chapter 44 (GWT)

5 The LORD said to me,

28 "'The priests will have no inheritance. I am their inheritance. Don't give them any possessions in Israel. The priests belong to me. 29 They will eat grain offerings, offerings for sin, and guilt offerings. Everything in Israel that is devoted to the LORD will belong to them. 30 The priests should have the best of all the first ripened fruits. The best of every gift from all your contributions must go to the priests. The best of your dough must go to the priests. This will cause a blessing to rest on your home.

Paul wrote to the Philippian Christians in his "Letter to the Philippians" in the New Testament:

Philippians chapter 4 (GWT)

10 The Lord has filled me with joy because you again showed interest in me. You were interested but did not have an opportunity to show it. 11 I'm not saying this because I'm in any need. I've learned to be content in whatever situation I'm in. 12 I know how to live in poverty or prosperity. No matter what the situation, I've learned the secret of how to live when I'm full or when I'm hungry, when I have too much or when I have too little. 13 I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me. 14 Nevertheless, it was kind of you to share my troubles. 15 You Philippians also know that in the early days, when I left the province of Macedonia to spread the Good News, you were the only church to share your money with me. You gave me what I needed, and you received what I gave you. 16 Even while I was in Thessalonica, you provided for my needs twice. 17 It's not that I'm looking for a gift. The opposite is true. I'm looking for your resources to increase. 18 You have paid me in full, and I have more than enough. Now that Epaphroditus has brought me your gifts, you have filled my needs. Your gifts are a soothing aroma, a sacrifice that God accepts and with which he is pleased. 19 My God will richly fill your every need in a glorious way through Christ Jesus.

Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth in his letters to the Corinthians in the New Testament:

1 Corinthians chapter 9 (TEV)

3 When people criticize me, this is how I defend myself: 4 Don't I have the right to be given food and drink for my work? 5 Don't I have the right to follow the example of the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Peter, by taking a Christian wife with me on my trips? 6 Or are Barnabas and I the only ones who have to work for our living? 7 What soldiers ever have to pay their own expenses in the army? What farmers do not eat the grapes from their own vineyard? What shepherds do not use the milk from their own sheep? 8 I don't have to limit myself to these everyday examples, because the Law says the same thing. 9 We read in the Law of Moses, "Do not muzzle an ox when you are using it to thresh grain." Now, is God concerned about oxen? 10 Didn't he really mean us when he said that? Of course that was written for us. Anyone who plows and anyone who reaps should do their work in the hope of getting a share of the crop. 11 We have sown spiritual seed among you. Is it too much if we reap material benefits from you? 12 If others have the right to expect this from you, don't we have an even greater right?

But we haven't made use of this right. Instead, we have endured everything in order not to put any obstacle in the way of the Good News about Christ.

13 Surely you know that the men who work in the Temple get their food from the Temple and that those who offer the sacrifices on the altar get a share of the sacrifices. 14 In the same way, the Lord has ordered that those who preach the gospel should get their living from it. 15 But I haven't made use of any of these rights, nor am I writing this now in order to claim such rights for myself. I would rather die first! Nobody is going to turn my rightful boast into empty words! 16 I have no right to boast just because I preach the gospel. After all, I am under orders to do so. And how terrible it would be for me if I did not preach the gospel! 17 If I did my work as a matter of free choice, then I could expect to be paid; but I do it as a matter of duty, because God has entrusted me with this task.

1 Corinthians chapter 9 (NLT)

18 What then is my pay? It is the satisfaction I get from preaching the Good News without expense to anyone, never demanding my rights as a preacher. 19 This means I am not bound to obey people just because they pay me, yet I have become a servant of everyone so that I can bring them to Christ. 20 When I am with the Jews, I become one of them so that I can bring them to Christ. When I am with those who follow the Jewish laws, I do the same, even though I am not subject to the law, so that I can bring them to Christ. 21 When I am with the Gentiles who do not have the Jewish law, I fit in with them as much as I can. In this way, I gain their confidence and bring them to Christ. But I do not discard the law of God; I obey the law of Christ. 23 I do all this to spread the Good News, and in doing so I enjoy its blessings.

2 Corinthians chapter 11 (NLT)

7 Did I do wrong when I humbled myself and honored you by preaching God's Good News to you without expecting anything in return? 8 I "robbed" other churches by accepting their contributions so I could serve you at no cost. 9 And when I was with you and didn't have enough to live on, I did not ask you to help me. For the brothers who came from Macedonia brought me another gift. I have never yet asked you for any support, and I never will.

2 Corinthians chapter 12 (TEV)

12 The many miracles and wonders that prove that I am an apostle were performed among you with much patience. 13 How were you treated any worse than the other churches, except that I did not bother you for financial help? Please forgive me for being so unfair!

14 This is now the third time that I am ready to come to visit you-and I will not make any demands on you. It is you I want, not your money. After all, children should not have to provide for their parents, but parents should provide for their children. 15 I will be glad to spend all I have, and myself as well, in order to help you. Will you love me less because I love you so much? 16 You will agree, then, that I was not a burden to you.

2 Corinthians chapter 2 (NLT)

17 You see, we are not like those hucksters - and there are many of them - who preach just to make money.

In the Book of the prophet Micah in the Old Testament, the Bible says:

Micah chapter 3 (NLT)

11 You rulers govern for the bribes you can get; you priests teach God's laws only for a price; you prophets won't prophesy unless you are paid. Yet all of you claim you are depending on the LORD.

Paul wrote to the new Christians in Thessalonica:

1 Thessalonians chapter 2 (NLT)

1 You yourselves know, dear brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not a failure. 2 You know how badly we had been treated at Philippi just before we came to you and how much we suffered there. Yet our God gave us the courage to declare his Good News to you boldly, even though we were surrounded by many who opposed us. 3 So you can see that we were not preaching with any deceit or impure purposes or trickery. 4 For we speak as messengers who have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He is the one who examines the motives of our hearts. 5 Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you very well know. And God is our witness that we were not just pretending to be your friends so you would give us money! 6 As for praise, we have never asked for it from you or anyone else.

7 As apostles of Christ we certainly had a right to make some demands of you, but we were as gentle among you as a mother feeding and caring for her own children. 8 We loved you so much that we gave you not only God's Good News but our own lives, too. 9 Don't you remember, dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that our expenses would not be a burden to anyone there as we preached God's Good News among you. 10 You yourselves are our witnesses - and so is God - that we were pure and honest and faultless toward all of you believers.

In the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, the Bible says:

Acts chapter 20 (TEV)

17 Paul sent a message to Ephesus, asking the elders of the church to meet him. 18 When they arrived, he said to them, "You know how I spent the whole time I was with you, from the first day I arrived in the province of Asia. 19 With all humility and many tears I did my work as the Lord's servant during the hard times that came to me because of the plots of some Jews. 20 You know that I did not hold back anything that would be of help to you as I preached and taught in public and in your homes. 21 To Jews and Gentiles alike I gave solemn warning that they should turn from their sins to God and believe in our Lord Jesus. 33 I have not wanted anyone's silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that I have worked with these hands of mine to provide everything that my companions and I have needed. 35 I have shown you in all things that by working hard in this way we must help the weak, remembering the words that the Lord Jesus himself said, "There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.' "

If you would like to read an article on the unbiblical nature of the prosperity gospel, visit: The Gospel of Health and Prosperity

The next file in this section (Part 10), is entitled: "God's True House, and Holiness".

If you have found parts of the Old Testament or the Book of Revelation offensive, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.

The selections of Bible quotations have been put together by Diana Holbourn.

Throughout this series, wherever the initials TEV appear, they stand for Today's English Version (The Good News Bible).

Other initials: