1. Definition of the Tithe

Introduction on tithing

The Tithe?

1.  Definition of the Tithe

(Please read all sections in their proper order)

The issue of tithing has been a doctrinal dispute among Christians for centuries. The Word of God tells us, as believers in Christ, to study to prove oneself worthy unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). It is, therefore, important that we rightly divide the word of truth when it comes to tithing.

Tithing can mean various things to believers. Some churches preach mandatory tithing, while others teach it as a principle that is good to follow. Some claim that the tithe is 10% of one’s gross salary, while others claim it is 10% of one’s net – after the taxes are taken out. Supporters of the tithe claim it predates the Law of Moses, and therefore, must be followed after the law, meaning today. Some churches claim the tithe can be distributed to various needs, while others state it must go to the local church.

On the flip side, there are churches which do not support the giving of the tithe, claiming it simply to be an Old Testament law, and since it is not referred to in the New Testament as a requirement for believers, Christians are not required to tithe. These believers support the giving of offerings and pledges to the church and the needy. This then raises the question about offerings. Are offerings above and beyond the tithe for supporters of the tithe, or is it simply the New Testament way of giving?

From the New Testament, we see that it is clear that every Christian should give to meet the needs of the church and the poor. The question is - how then can one be scriptural in giving? This series of articles examines every scripture verse on tithing, or it implication, as well as scripture verses on giving.  It is important that you, as the reader read every article on tithing, and in the order given.  The intention is to settle the issue regarding the tithe once and for all.

The following chart lists the Old and New Testament scriptures that relate to tithing and giving.

Old/New Testament scripture verses on tithing

New Testament scripture verses on giving

Gen 14:17-20

2 Chron 31:1-12

1 Cor16:1-2

Rom 14:12

Gen 28:20-22 (tenth)

Neh 10:37-38

2 Cor 8:1-12

Gal 6:9-10

Lev 27:30-34

Neh 12:44

2 Cor 9:7-9

Eph 4:28

Deut 12:1-19

Neh 13:5&12

Mt. 6:1-4; 12:50; 19:21

Phil 4:15-18

Deut 14:22-29

Mal 3:7-10

Mk 12:30-31

1 Tim 5:17-18

Deut 26:12-13

Matt 23:23

Luke 6:38; 10:2

James 1:27

I Sam 8:14-17

Luke 11:42

Luke 12:33-34; 19:11-27

1 John 3:17

Amos 4:2-6

Luke 18:9-14

John 14:12-13


2 Chron 29:35

Heb 7:1-19

Acts 2:44-45



Hebrew and Koine Greek Definition of the Tithe

The Hebrew and Koine Greek definition of the word “tithe” simply means “a tenth.” The numeric of ten represents “completeness,” meaning the tithe symbolizes giving one’s all to God. [i] Beyond this simple definition, however, lies a more complicated understanding in the defining of what is in the contents of the tithe, as written in the Old Testament. Cultures down through the ages have complicated it even further. For instance: The American Heritage Dictionary defines the tithe as a noun and a verb. The noun means a tenth part of one’s annual income. The verb refers to the contributing or paying the tenth - something that is due as a tax, especially for the support of the clergy or the church. While some of these meanings hold credence, there are people who would strongly disagree on portions of this definition.

All words should be examined in its original language and content.  Since “tithe” is a biblical word, it must, therefore, be examined in its original language, not in an English or any other dictionary. Between language transmission and culture changes, as well as idioms phrases, its meaning can become distorted and change completely from its original meaning. Since we are dealing with a Hebrew and Greek word, we need to examine it in light of its original language and in accordance with the Word of God. Again, the Hebrew and Greek definition of the “tithe” simply means “a tenth.” Let us now study the complexity of this word as it is taught in the Word of God.

To continue on to section #2 on tithing, click here

Written by Pastor Joyce A. Erickson

Believers Bible School, Founder https://believersbibleschool.com/