Tithing 1....Tithing 2 ....Tithing 3 .....Music as a Burden .... Kregg Hood: Take God at His word

Tithing - New Testament Giving - III

The Law of Giving, church giving,: Is the failure in tithing robbing God by robbing the priests? No. Malachi said: And now, O PRIESTS, this commandment is for YOU. Malachi 2:1

"Laying by in store" is not a weekly act of giving money."

Whatever our religion, most of us have a deep itch to know what the Bible teaches and are deeply troubled when it is used to whack people over the head. These notes are from our web page and are prompted by one of the most popular questions on the Internet: "Do Christians have to tithe?" The Bible clearly says, "No." Everyone is free to give everything but no one is free to demand anything but love. Romans 13:8.

You ask: If I am free from the legal tithe, do I have any responsibility to others? The answer is, yes.

The fact that Christians do not tithe does not minimize freewill offerings for mutually-arrived at purposes. Therefore, our goal is to show that there is no "law of giving" because we live under the "law of liberty" and not under Israel's like the nations king.

This is important for both scriptural and practical reasons. For instance, when the Jews tithed by law, the poor usually went hungry. However, when the Tabernacle was built with freewill offerings, people gave so much that Moses had to "pass a law" to stop it:

And they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the Lord commanded to make. Exodus 36:5

And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing. Exodus 36:6

To make giving a legal act of worship causes people to look for legal ways to get around the "law." On the other hand, Christianity is a religion of the mind, heart, and spirit, and should not be smothered by efforts to produce spirituality through external means.

Jesus and Tithing

Only as an added SHOW of righteousness, the Jewish leaders tithed even their spices. Jesus said: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint, and anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ye ought to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Matt 23:23. Jesus wanted personal right living and social justice.

Because they "took away the key to knowledge," Jesus said:

Ye blind guides! which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Matt 23:24

Throughout His ministry, Jesus showed that they viewed the law of Moses as a means of salvation, when in fact the Old Testament pointed forward to the Messiah. He would pay all of the debts and put an end to all of the legal, religious festivals by fulfilling them. With no institution other than the ekklesia or synagogue or school of the Bible there is not FUNCTION requiring a law of giving or tithing. A jointly-held shelter from the snow and rain is not condemned but it does not pass into the hands of a clergy any more than a time-share condo can be confiscated by others.

The elders as the only pastor-teachers are required to "teach the word as it as been taught" or to "give attendance to the public reading and explaining." Therefore, there is no PREACHING role which calls for support.

The Temple Tax has been Paid by Grace

When Jesus and His disciples came to Capernaum, the tax collector was right there and asked, "Doth not your master pay tribute." This annual half-shekel tax by males over the age of twenty years (Ex. 30:11-16) was to "make atonement for yourselves." It was for the service of the Tabernacle and was added for the like the nations kingdom. Jesus referred to this by asking:

What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Matt. 17:25

Not even secular kings forced their own children to pay taxes to support the ruler and institution.

Peter observed correctly that it was from strangers, and then Jesus said:

Then are the children free. Matt. 17:26

To contrast the old law with the coming good news, Jesus provided the tax from the mouth of a fish. He came to give rather than to take from his children. A child of God is free and ransomed, and will never be sent a bill for a "child of God" tax or for an Atonement purchased through Christ's final Jubilee.

So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir. Gal. 4:7

The Lutheran scholar, Lenski, notes that:

"To be sure, earthly kings do not make their own sons, the princes of the royal house, pay taxes for the entire royal family is supported in regal estate by taxing the people. Kings collect taxes only 'from outsiders,' ...other than their own immediate families" (Lenski, on Matthew, p. 674).

"Thus, like the sons of earthly kings, these spiritual sons of the 'great King' are, therefore, 'free,' and

no one can with divine right levy any Temple tax upon them." (Ibid. p. 675).

Paying for that new "temple" is not wrong for anyone who wants to participate. However, to build it and then insist that the "law of giving" insists that you pay for it as a foreigner serving a king is not legal in Christianity.

The Widows Mite

The story of the Widow's Mite shows that the condition of the heart is more important than the condition of the bank account:

And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. Mark 12:41

And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. Mark 12:42

The mite was a bronze or copper coin so thin that it was called a "scale," like the scales of leprosy. It would take about four to make a penny.

The message of Jesus is that God is not in need of money but of a humble, sacrificial spirit.

Giving of Alms

TAKE heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Matt 6:1

Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. Matt 6:2

But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: Matt 6:3

That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. Matt 6:4

A Pharisee did ALMS by asking Jesus to dine with him:

And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat. Luke 11:37

And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner. Luke 11:38

And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. Luke 11:39

Ye fools, did not he, that made that which is without, make that which is within also? Luke 11:40

But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you. Luke 11:41

It is unbiblical and immoral to ask people to pledge something they do not have.

Ananias and Sapphira

In some "ministries," when you inherit Aunt Sally's sofa or sell a cow you might be told that "your revealer of tithes" gets 10% to 30% -- up front!

BUT a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, Acts 5:1

And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles feet. Acts 5:2

But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Acts 5:3

Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. Acts 5:4

Peter said that the property belonged to Ananias; even after it was sold he had no legal duty to give any of it to the poor. This is the heart and soul of "the law of liberty." Vocal force is unseemly.

Giving in the modern institutional organization of the church is based on a contract and not a vow: we will do this if you give and support it. Unfortunately, too often the "Law of giving" creates a King-Slave relationship where you are commanded to give but you are not permitted to participate as a "son of the king." Paul would call that extortion and the Corinthians were not to feel extorted even by an Apostle.

Background to Giving in Corinth

The Bible is often used as a "source book" or "grab bag" out of which we are all tempted to pick isolated verses out of context to make a new set of Ten Commandments. We know that the Corinthians volunteered to help relieve a famine in Judea. Therefore, we know that Paul was just telling them how to set things in order so that there would be no collections taken while he was there. This would eleminate feelings of extortion.

Without knowing "the rest of the story," we could see 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 as a law for a weekly "temple tax." However, rather than being a command or law, much of Paul's letter to Corinth answered specific questions. He listened to them and wrote back:

NOW concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order (orderly arrangement) to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 1 Cor 16:1

Paul had not issued a legalistic command but given Galatia instructions for the orderly free-will collections: you cannot collect even voluntary money without a plan to collect it. However, you cannot make that one-time arrangement into an act of worship which is to say a legally binding ritual.

While Titus was involved, it is thought that a circular letter informed all of the churches of the suffering in Judea but no command to give had ever been sent as a Christian law:

"Since the Corinthians know about this collection and ask for further instructions from Paul, the question arises as to when and how they had been told" (Lenski, Commenting on 1 Cor. 16:1, p. 756)

Corinth's voluntary offer to help was used by Paul to motivate other churches. Now, he was worried that they had not saved from their small first-day income and everyone might be embarrassed when the delegation arrived to collect their savings.

But, what about Paul giving orders? The Hebrew word for "order" in 1 Cor. 16:1 is diatasso; it means to arrange thoroughly. For instance, Luke "set forth in order" the things accepted among the believers (Luke 1:1). Rather than a legal command, Luke's letter was an orderly account.

Furthermore, Paul wrote the second letter because his first letter had little effect. Indeed, they might have misunderstood his motives. By keeping the money "by themselves" and by electing someone to help take the total church contribution to Judea, they would be more confident. Therefore, he wrote:

I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. 2 Corinthians 8:8

On the other hand, the Greek for commandment is:

Epitage (g2003) ep-ee-tag-ay'; an injunction or decree; by implication: authority, commandment.

After showing that he was not commanding them to give anything, but was ordering an honest system to do it, Paul continued to say:

Upon the (1) first day of the week let every one of you (2) lay by him in (3) store, as God hath (4) prospered him, that there be no (5) gatherings when I come. 1 Cor. 16:2

Now, surely this verse is not the basis for writing a new creed with a new "act of worship." Well, we should move carefully through Paul's letters because Peter warned that they could be dangerous stuff if we don't really study out of a love for the truth. (2 Peter 3:16).

Because the Greeks did not observe a seven-day week with one day for "rest" and one for "church," we need to understand the meaning of "first day of the week."

1 - On the First Day

Tertullian, Apology, b. c. 155, /160, Carthage [now in Tunisia] d. after 220, , Carthage

In like manner, by public law you disgrace your state gods,

putting them in the auction-catalogue, and making them a source of revenue.

Men seek to get the Capitol, as they seek to get the herb market, under the voice of the crier, under the auction spear, under the registration of the quµstor.

Deity is struck off and farmed out to the highest bidder. But indeed lands burdened with tribute are of less value;

men under the assessment of a poll-tax are less noble; for these things are the marks of servitude.

In the case of the gods, on the other hand, the sacredness is great in proportion to the tribute which they yield; nay,

the more sacred is a god, the larger is the tax he pays. Majesty is made a source of gain.

Chapter XXXIX notes that:

The tried men of our elders preside over us, obtaining that honour not by purchase, but by established character. There is no buying and selling of any sort in the things of God.

Though we have our treasure-chest, it is not made up of purchase-money, as of a religion that has its price.

On the monthly day, if he likes, each puts in a small donation;
but only if it be his pleasure,
and only if he be able:
for there is no compulsion;
all is voluntary.
[On ordinary Sundays, "they laid by in store," apparently: one a month they offered]
This is consistent with Paul's demand: they laid by themselves in store until the money was called for and on one Sunday they put it into the hands of the messengers to Judea.

These gifts are, as it were, piety's deposit fund.

For they are not taken thence and spent on feasts, and drinking-bouts, and eating-houses,
but to
support and bury poor people,
to supply the wants of
boys and girls destitute of means and parents,
and of
old persons confined now to the house;
such, too, as have suffered
and if there happen to be any in the mines, or banished to the islands, or shut up in the prisons,

for nothing but their fidelity to the cause of God's Church,
they become the nurslings of their confession.

But it is mainly the deeds of a love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us.

Most people worked twelve hours and were paid each day (Matt 20:1-10). On the way home they might buy the day's food, take a bath and buy just the necessities of life. If they were fortunate or "prosperous" they would "lay by in store" a small surplus in the "cookie jar" on the first day of the week.

Again, because pay came when work was completed for the day, Paul did not command that the Corinthians save up their surplus for seven days but for just the first day.

To the Jews, Sunday began at sunset (not 6:00) at the end of the "seventh of the Sabbath" or our Saturday night. Paul wrote within a Jewish context to churches who might meet on what we call Saturday night. However, night meetings were dangerous and later outlawed but they could meet the next morning which would still be the First Day of the week or the Lord's Day. Later,

"Pliny the Younger, governor of Bythynia ordered that no group, including the Christians, could meet at night. Pliny then described an early service of the Christians. Forbidden to meet at night, they met for the observance of the Supper at the only other hour available to them on the first day of the week: early in the morning before they went to work." (Holman Bible Dictionary, Lord's Day.)

Let's say it again: when they finished work on "the first day of the week" they bought their food for the day and were asked to save up whatever was surplus for just that day -- "Lay by himself on the first day of the week."

The word "day" is not in the Greek text. The phrase "first day of the week" is literally "one of the Sabbath." His use of "mia" and "sabbatoån" shows that Paul followed the Jewish practice--our Saturday at sunset until our Sunday at sunset.

Jewish members would keep the "seventh of the Sabbath" rest and would have no income for that day. Acts 20:6-7 shows that Troas met at night, with Paul ready to depart the next day. He could not travel on the Sabbath but when the sun arose he could travel on the first day of the week.

The first day was their first day of work; to meet on Sunday night after sunset would be the second day of the week. The later shift to Sunday morning would still work for both Jew and Gentile but it would still mean that "Sunday night" was the second day of the week.

The first day would also be their first pay for the week. As first priority, Paul asked them to remember the poor Judeans.

Upon that day they were to "lay by him" something in the "cookie jar" earmarked or "heart purposed" for the poor people in Judea.

Paul called this the koinonia which was fellowship or giving by those with a little surplus to those who were starving. (Ro 15:26)

2 - Lay by Him

Lenski notes that in state religions such as that of Egypt, "the taxes were paid from month to month while the Christians were to retain their gifts at home until such a time as they should be called for." Of "laying by him in store," the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia notes that:

"Worship is here not explicitly mentioned. The Greek of 'by him' is the usual phrase for 'at home'."

Paul did not make a law but defined a method or order for all participating churches to get ready:

> "Sunday by Sunday let each of you lay by by treasuring up... Each member is to keep the growing amount 'by him,' in his own home, and is not to deposit it with the church at once." (Lenski, p. 1 Cor 16:2)

"Lay" is from the Greek Tithemi and means "put, arrange, commit or purpose in the heart."

In Acts 4:35 they "Laid money at the apostles feet." In 1 Cor 16:2 they "laid money by him." Therefore, the command was to lay it by themselves:

> "Every one was to lay by in store, have a treasury, or fund, WITH HIMSELF, for this purpose. The meaning is that he should lay by as he could spare from time to time, and by this means make up a sum for this charitable purpose. The Greek fathers rightly observe that this advice was given for the sake of the poorer among them.

They were to lay by from week to week,
and NOT bring into the

that by this means their contributions might be easy for themselves, and yet grow into a fund for the relief of their brethren." (Theological Dict. of the N.T., p. 599).

> Augustine speaking of those who tithed even twigs of spices notes that one TITHES or lays by in store. Out of that "cup" or storage place he is then able to give ALMS.

3. When He had spoken thus, doubtless they thought that they did give alms. And how did they give them?

They tithed all they had, they took away a tenth of all their produce, and gave it. It is no easy matter to find a Christian who doth as much.

See what the Jews did. Not wheat only, but wine, and oil; nor this only, but even the most trifling things, cummin, rue, mint, and anise, 5 in obdience to God's precept,

they tithed all;
put aside, that is, a tenth part,
and gave alms of it.

> John Chrysostom Homily XLIII. He said not, "Let him bring it the church," lest they might feel ashamed because of the smallness of the sum; but "having by gradual additions swelled his contribution, let him then produce it, when I am come but for the present lay it up," saith he, "at home, and make thine house a church; thy little box a treasury. Become a guardian sacred wealth, a self-ordained steward of the poor. Thy benevolent mind assigns to thee this priesthood."

> Vincent Word Studies In The New Testament

2. Upon the first day of the week (kata mian sabbatou). Kata has a distributive force, every first day. For week, lit., Sabbath, see on Acts xx. 7.

Lay by him in store (par eautw tiqetw qhsaurizwn). Lit., put by himself treasuring. Put by at home. 137 As God hath prospered (o ti an euodwtai). Lit., whatsoever he may prosper in. See on Rom. i. 10; 3 John 2; and on Acts xi. 29 for the verb eujporew in the similar sense of making a prosperous journey.

No gatherings, etc. Rev., collections. The amount would be greater through systematic weekly saving than through collections made once for all on his arrival.

> Albert Barnes

"Let him lay up at home, treasuring up as he has been prospered. The Greek phrase, "by himself," means, probably, the same as at home. Let him set it apart; let him designate a certain portion, let him do this by himself, when he is at home, when he can calmly look at the evidence of his prosperity.

Let him do it not under the influence of pathetic appeals, or for the sake of display when he is with others; but let him do it as a matter of principle, and when he is by himself. The phrase in Greek, "treasuring up" may mean that each one was to put the part which he had designated in the common treasury. This interpretation seems to be demanded by the latter part of the verse. They were to lay it by, and to put it into the common treasury, that there might be no trouble of collecting when he should come. Or it may, perhaps mean that they were individually to treasure it up, having designated in their own mind the sum which they could give, and have it in readiness when he should come. This was evidently to be done not on one Sabbath only, but was to be done on each Lord's day until he should come."

> R.C.H. Lenski

"Each member is to deposit with himself each Sunday the amount of his gift for that week and preserve it as a store or treasure...Each member is keep the growing amount 'by him'..., in his own home, and is not to deposit it with the church at once. The probable reason for this advice is the fact that at this early date the churches supervised by Paul were not yet organized to the extent of having official treasurers who were duly appointed to take charge of congregational funds....Paul's purpose in ordering contributions from Sunday to Sunday is that, when he finally arrives in Corinth, the work may be entirely done. The plural logiai, "collections'' refers to the accumulations made by the individuals; each would have his logia made....The collections are not to proceed after Paul arrives. Then it will be necessary that each individual simply bring in his accumulation."

> Matthew Henry

1. The manner in which the collection was to be made: Every one was to lay by in store (v. 2), have a treasury, or fund, with himself, for this purpose. The meaning is that he should lay by as he could spare from time to time, and by this means make up a sum for this charitable purpose. Note, It is a good thing to lay up in store for good uses. Those who are rich in this world should be rich in good works, 1 Tim. 6:17, 18. The best way to be so is to appropriate of their income, and have a treasury for this purpose, a stock for the poor as well as for themselves.

By this means they will be ready to every good work as the opportunity offers; and many who labour with their own hands for a livelihood should so work that they may have to give to him that needeth, Eph. 4:28. Indeed their treasury for good works can never be very large (though, according to circumstances, it may considerably vary); but the best way in the world for them to get a treasury for this purpose is to lay by from time to time, as they can afford.

Some of the Greek fathers rightly observe here that this advice was given for the sake of the poorer among them. They were to lay by from week to week, and not bring in to the common treasury, that by this means their contributions might be easy to themselves, and yet grow into a fund for the relief of their brethren. "

> Robertson's NT Word Studies

16:2 {Upon the first day of the week} (kata mian sabbatou). For the singular sabbatou (sabbath) for week see #Lu 18:12; Mr 16:9. For the use of the cardinal mian in sense of ordinal prwten after Hebrew fashion in LXX (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 672) as in #Mr 16:2; Lu 24:1; Ac 20:7. Distributive use of kata also. {Lay by him in store} (par' heautwi tiqetw qesaurizwn). By himself, in his home. Treasuring it (cf. #Mt 6:19f. for qesaurizw). Have the habit of doing it, tiqetw (present imperative). {As he may prosper} (hoti ean euodwtai). Old verb from eu, well, and hodos, way or journey, to have a good journey, to prosper in general, common in LXX. In N.T. only here and #Ro 1:10; 3Jo 1:2. It is uncertain what form euodwtai is, present passive subjunctive, perfect passive indicative, or even perfect passive subjunctive (Moulton, _Prolegomena_, p. 54). The old MSS. had no accents. Some MSS. even have euodwqei (first aorist passive subjunctive). But the sense is not altered. hoti is accusative of general reference and ean can occur either with the subjunctive or indicative. this rule for giving occurs also in #2Co 8:12. Paul wishes the collections to be made before he comes.

3 - In Store

"The expression 'in store' is sometimes used to support the 'storehouse' found in Malachi. The phrase 'in store' actually means to save up in a kind of 'piggy bank.' The Greek words par heauto mean 'by oneself' or 'at home.' The idea behind Paul's remark is that they should accumulate their gifts (which could include money and other goods, like raisins), so that when his company arrived Paul would not have to make any special effort to consummate the collection. (Searching Together Magazine, Winter, 1987)

"In store" at home is different from the final "collection." Store in Greek is:

Thesaurizo (g2343) thay-sow-rid'-zo; to amass or reserve, lay up treasure, keep in store, (heap)

On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. 1 Corinthians 16:2NIV

Paul might spend the winter--up to three months--in Corinth, but he still insisted that he wanted no collections during this time to avoid the feeling of extortion.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:11

Jesus spoke of the COMMON TREASURY "collection plate" which was the:

Gazophulakion (g1049) gad-zof-oo-lak'-ee-on; from 1047 and 5438; a treasure-house, i.e. a court in the temple for the collection-boxes: - treasury

And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the market places, Mark 12:38

And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: Mark 12:39

Which devour widows houses, and for a pretense make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation. Mark 12:40

One such "Scribe" was asked by a widow who lived on wellfare and foodstamps: "Do I have to tithe?" "Yes, that is the law." This is the prime example of those who could read and write taking the food off the widow's table:

And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. Mark 12:41

And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. Mark 12:42

Paul would command and demonstrate that the "scribes" should work with their own hands so that they would have something to give to the widow who had no insurance or "retirement plan." If the "father" forces the children to support him he is worse than an infidel.

4 - As You Have Prospered

"As you have prospered" does not mean everyone gave a certain percentage of their income. A widow who now makes 400 dollars a month cannot give much and indeed ought to be supported. One making $100,000.00 can give 25% or more. The literal word "prospered" means, "help on the road, succeed in reaching the journey." Luther translated it, "as he may be fortunate or prosperous." It literally teaches, as Paul will show later, "out of what you have" collected already. About 150 A.D., Justin Martyr agreed:

And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit;

and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. (Justin: First Apology, I.67.6)

We noted that Tertullian said, "Everyone makes a small contribution on a certain day or when he chooses; provided only he is willing and able, for no one is compelled, all is voluntary." He further says that this general fund is used to feed the poor.

This was not a command but a free will gift to the POOR FELLOW-CHRISTIANS.

The notion that the CHURCH must have a ministery to drunks and homosexuals is absolutely not included in the command to the church:

Give to the godly man, but do not help the sinner. Ecclu 12:4.

Do good to the humble, but do not give to the ungodly; hold back his bread, and do not give it to him, lest by means of it he subdue you; for you will receive twice as much evil for all the good which you do to him. Ecclu 12: 5.

For the Most High also hates sinners and will inflict punishment on the ungodly. Ecclu 12: 6.

Give to the good man, but do not help the sinner. Ecclu 12: 7.

If this was not the case then Christianity would not be different from Judaism where the clergy laid the burden on the "children" so that they could live in ease.

There is no "law" to collect money for anything but the poor. This is not a ritualistic act of worship which you have to perform. This is what Paul commanded and what the church practiced until the "scribes" again got control of the widow's purse.

5 - That There be no Collections

Paul might spend the winter in Corinth but the "collection" of the "accumulations made by the individuals" wer not to continue after he arrived. His presence might make it seem like extortion. Barclay notes that:

"Here he calls it a 'logia'; the word means an extra collection. A logia was something which was the opposite of a tax which a man had to pay; it was an extra piece of giving. A man never satisfies his Christian duty by discharging the obligations which he can legally be compelled to fulfill. The question of Jesus was, 'What more are you doing than others?' (Matt. 5:47)" (William Barclay, The Letters to the Corinthians, p. 163)

Because of the false teachers, the Corinthians were caused to doubt Paul's motives even though he never demanded pay. Therefore, to make sure that he could not be blamed, he told them:

Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you,

and make up beforehand your bounty,

whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty (speaking well of), and not as of covetousness (extortion). 2 Cor 9:5

If passing the collection plate is a legal law of giving then Paul demanded that they violate the law.

The individuals had saved up their small surplus from week to week and especially on the first day which was the first work day of the week. Saving up on the first day did not demand that they save up on the second day or third day or for the whole week. Paul's ministers would collect the sums into one "collection plate" and secure it to be delivered only to the poor of Judea. Whatever the members decided to do for their local work, it was not a commandment or a law of giving.

Like the Greek ekklesia the members would continue to look out for those in need: food, clothing, shelter or travellers. They would determine the need, ask those who had prospered for the week (meaning a surplus) to help these people. What was left over, would be in the hands of the "president" in later churches. It would be the worst form of extortion to ask people to mortgage their homes or sell their belongings to give.

The Motive

The danger of making a "law of giving" is that Jesus will always give us one more jot (or smallest part) or tittle (tiny, horn-like tip over a letter) to obey. Legalism never works because you will always go home asking, "I wonder if Jesus loves me for giving 10% when I could have given 11%?"

Jesus provided an example. When the rich young ruler claimed to have kept certain laws perfectly,

Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. Luke 18:22

By making "giving" into a law or act of worship, we may fall under Christ's demand to "sell everything we own and give it to the poor." However, when the motives are pure, there is never a shortage of money, because:

"Self-denial and liberality were among the distinguishing virtues of the early Christians; and to be a Christian then implied that a man would freely impart of his property to aid the poor and the needy... Let him do it not under the influence of pathetic appeals, or for the sake of display when he is with others;

but let him do it as a matter of principle, and when he is BY HIMSELF" (Albert Barnes, commenting on 1 Cor., p. 327)

If giving to the poor is not a law then what is our motive? Paul said, among other things,

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9

Paul did not send Corinth a "tax bill" but if they were going to "lay" the money where they had laid by with their mouth or purpose, he "motivated" them by saying of the Macedonians:

How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 2 Cor 8:2

For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; 2 Cor 8:3

Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 2 Cor 8:4

The somewhat better-off Corinthians had not performed or collected for the entire year. However, Paul wants them to give what little they had "laid by." That would be good enough because the famine was less severe but their show of love to Judea would be important:

And herein I give my advice (opinion, consent): for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. 2 Corinthians 8:10

Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. 2 Corinthians 8:11

For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. 2 Corinthians 8:12

The Corinthian church apparently had not passed the collection plate for the whole last year and yet Paul didn't condemn them for violating the law of giving. Never mind, Paul says, you still have a bit of time so just give what you have because your show of love is the clear object of this giving.


Everyone approved by God always walked by faith, before, during and following the Law of Moses.

Remember that the tithe was imposed to support the ceremonialism performed by the Levites for those not permitted to "come boldly before God's throne." Therefore, the tithe is no longer a law because there is no place in Christianity for any one to "perform" the worship in order to "bring the worshipers into the presence of God."

By adopting the ceremonial legalism of performing loud rituals for the worshiper, we silence and defeat the purposes of Christ as Wonderful-Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace or quietness. (Isa 9:6).

Therefore, in future notes we will look at the external worship under the Law of Moses in contrast to the quiet, internal, in-mind or in-spirit worship as a first principle of the gospel.

Tithing ] 1 [ ] 2 [ ] 3 [
Kenneth Sublett

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