Where Does the Bible Discuss the Tithe?
The Old Testament:
The tithe appears early in the Bible and is probably discussed more in the first five books than anywhere else. The first appearance of the tithe is in Genesis 14:17-20 when Abram gives the priest Melchizedek a “tenth of everything” from the spoils of a victorious battle. Not long after that, Jacob promises God a tithe (in exchange for God’s care and protection) in Genesis 28:20-22. Then, the Old Testament continues this discussion with various other passages and laws concerning the tithe:
Deut. 8:17-20 (implications of wealth)
Deut. 12:5-19; 14:22-29
2 Chron. 31:4-12
Neh. 10:36-39; 12:44; 13:5, 12
Malachi 3:8, 10
In Jewish tradition, and in accordance with these passages, there were 3 types of tithes in ancient Israel:
The first is a tithe to the Levites (Num. 18:21-32 and Deut. 14:27); of which one tenth was passed on to the priests or to the house of God.
The second is taken from the remaining nine tenths and is a special tithe that was actually eaten by the members of the family (at festivals in Jerusalem). See Deut. 14:22-26.
The third was a tithe for the poor, which was collected every third year (Deut. 14:28-29).
While the primary New Testament passage that is referenced in regard to giving is Paul’s exhortation to give with a cheerful heart (2 Cor. 9:7), there are other passages that either directly or indirectly talk about the tithe:
These four passages are accompanied by numerous other verses that talk about giving and generosity such as the verses in 2 Corinthians 8-9 and 1 Timothy 6.
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