Do we have to tithe only to the church?

I have received this question from a reader of the portal Moldova Creștină and I come with the answer in this article.

Every tithe is the Lord’s

The tithe is the tenth part (1/10) or 10% of the income a man has, and God says that the tithe is only His:

Thus all the tithe of the land, of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S; it is holy to the LORD. If, therefore, a man wishes to redeem part of his tithe, he shall add to it one-fifth of it. For every tenth part of herd or flock, whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the LORD. (Leviticus 27:30–32)(NASB)

In those times all the income of a person was from his activity as a farmer or as a breeder. In other words, the verse shows that 10% out of any income belongs to God from the beginning, it is a thing devoted to God and if anyone, at a certain point of view was not able to give them to God, then he had to redeem that later, paying 20% from the total quantity of the tithe he had to give to the Lord in time. And this was done, so that we could remember that this was a worship to God.

The tithe is the inheritance of the Levities

Levities were one of those 12 nations of Israel that were given the priest-hood service by God, they had to teach people the Word of God and to lead them to a true worship. When the land was divided, God did not allow the Levities to receive land, so that they might dedicate themselves totally to their service and not to be hindered by business that could take their time and passion. So, here is what God said:

To the sons of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they perform, the service of the tent of meeting. The sons of Israel shall not come near the tent of meeting again, or they will bear sin and die. Only the Levities shall perform the service of the tent of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations, and among the sons of Israel they shall have no inheritance. For the tithe of the sons of Israel, which they offer as an offering to the LORD, I have given to the Levities for an inheritance; therefore I have said concerning them, ‘They shall have no inheritance among the sons of Israel.’” (Numbers 18:21–24)(NASB)

As God had established regarding Levities in the Old Testament, the Lord Jesus also set that those who work in the church may be provided by the Christians whom they serve, as it is written:

Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar? So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:13–14)(NASB)

And Apostle Paul writes in the Epistle addressed to Galatians so:

The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. (Galatians 6:6)(NASB)

Administer the tithe in a right way

God gave specific commands to the people of Israel regarding the administration of the tithe they had to give God and He said:

You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year. You shall eat in the presence of the LORD your God, at the place where He chooses to establish His name, the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and your flock, so that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. If the distance is so great for you that you are not able to bring the tithe, since the place where the LORD your God chooses to set His name is too far away from you when the LORD your God blesses you, then you shall exchange it for money, and bind the money in your hand and go to the place which the LORD your God chooses. You may spend the money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household. Also you shall not neglect the Levite who is in your town, for he has no portion or inheritance among you. At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town. The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do. (Deuteronomy 14:22–29)(NASB)

Tithe is a New Testament practice

The Lord Jesus let the tithe to be a Christian practice when He said:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. (Matthew 23:23)(NASB)

Christians have to help the saints

All Christians from the whole world are brothers because they are in the same covenant. That’s why, when somewhere happens a misfortune, or there is a great need, Christians have to help each other, and this thing must be a stable practice of the church, as Paul wrote to the church from Corinth:

Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. (1 Corinthians 16:1–2)(NASB)

The leaders of the church are called to administer the tithes in a right way

In the I Epistle to Timothy, Apostle Paul teaches his disciple how to administer the local churches and when he writes how to use the resources given by Christians and the tithes, he wrote:

The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” (1 Timothy 5:17–18)(NASB)

There will always be many financial needs in the local churches and they have to be fulfilled, but the leaders have to be aware that honoring the workers in the gospel is a priority. In the same way, every Christian has to maintain a personal relation with those who teach them from the Word of God, as Apostle Paul writes in Galatians:

The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. (Galatians 6:6)(NASB)

Translated by Felicia Djugostran