Summary: God appears to have established a set of laws that were recognized by Abraham long before the giving of the law to Moses and Abraham must have known that the tithe was due to God.
Matthew 6:21 - For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Tithe means one tenth, or a tenth part of the whole. In its broadest sense, it means a tenth of one’s income contributed to a local church.
There are many Christians today who do not practice tithing because they believe tithing was established under the Old Covenant law and is not applicable today. They say that they are no longer under law and believe that grace has done away with tithing.
The first record of giving to the Lord is found in the book of Genesis.
Genesis 4:4-5 - Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?”
Proverbs 3:9 - Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the first fruits of all your increase.
This principle was established hundreds of years before the Old Covenant law which shows clearly and unambiguously, that God wants us to bring the first part of our income as an offering to Him.
The first time tithing is mentioned in the Bible is also found in the book of Genesis, but a few hundreds of years after Cain and Abel brought their offering to the Lord.
Genesis 14:18-20 - Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all.
This took place 400 years before the Law of Moses when the Levitical priesthood was established after Israel left Egypt.
As time went by, Abraham's grandson Jacob, the one through which the covenant would be fulfilled, also pledged to give a tenth to God.
Genesis 28:22 - And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God's house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.
This was also long before the giving of the Law of Moses which simply embraced this practice of Abraham and Jacob.
God appears to have established a set of laws that were recognized by Abraham long before the giving of the law to Moses and Abraham must have known that the tithe was due to God.
Jesus and tithing
Jesus endorsed the works of Abraham. This included the practice of tithing.
John 8:39 - They answered and said to Him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham.
Matthew 23:23 - Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.
Tithing is for today
Hebrews 7:8-9 - Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak.
Today, believers are known not as the children of Moses, but as the children of Abraham.
Galatians 3:7 - Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.
The tithe has always been God's plan to support the priesthood or the ministry. Abraham paid his tithe to Melchizedek because he was an ordained representative of God. The tithe supports the work of the local ministry which has always been God’s financial plan to provide for His work and workers. Paul links the tithe of the Old Covenant directly to the support of the ministry in the New Covenant.
1 Corinthians 9:14 - Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.
Malachi 3:10 - Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this," Says the LORD of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.
God was very clear about where the tithes were to go. They were to be brought to the storehouse. That was the place that was intended for the tithe of God to be stored.
Benefits of tithing
God encourages His people to prove Him or test Him in their finances. Scripture associates the outpouring of God’s blessings with the practice of giving to Him.