Tithe Definition

Dictionary definition of tithing
There are many people that ask about the definition of the tithe. In the broadest sense, the tithe definition means a tenth of one’s increase – Deuteronomy 14:22. That is the simplest definition of the tithe accepted by a majority of the population. Although, there are many more branches of the definition that explain the tithe even further. For instance, some would say that a true tithe is given to the local church. Others debate on whether it is off your gross increase or your net increase. These branches, along with many more, of the tithing definition exist due to how one interprets specific scenarios in the bible. For example in Malachi 3:10, the tithe was delivered to the local storehouse, and in Proverbs 3:9 we are to honor the Lord with the first fruits of our increase.

Scholars and theologians constantly debate about the tithe definition. There is much debate largely because tithing was detailed in the Old Testament under the nation of Israel, and yet this prescription was not outlined for the Church in the New Testament. There seems to be many holes and many opportunities for personal interpretation of how we should prescribe the tithe into the New Testament Church.

The definition of the tithe was very simple and plainly laid out for Israel. They were to gather their harvest and count the tithe out from what they’ve gathered. For instance, if you had 100 apples, you must count them out from one-to-ten, and the tenth one you set aside for the Lord – Leviticus 27:32. As is stated in the previous verse, it did not matter if that tenth one was bruised or under-sized, you still set it aside. Note, that you set the tenth one aside, not the first one aside.

There were other rules under the tithe definition. First, the tithe generally went to the Levites, and in turn the levites gave a tenth of their tenth to the priestly line for the work of the temple. Next, there were generally three different “types” of the tithe. first, was the poor tithe – Deuteronomy 26:12. Second, was the feast tithe – Deuteronomy 14:22-23. Third, was the Levitical tithe – Numbers 18:24. Practically, the tithe included the poor and the Levites all the time, but those are generally how the tithe is categorized. The feast tithe was the most unique and was consumed by the whole nation of Israel as a feast celebration.

Most people argue that the total amount of tithes given by Israel equaled over 23%. I don’t follow that logic, just for the simple fact that when the bible says 10% of all your increase, generally it means just 10%. Maybe that’s too simple minded? I don’t know.

Now that we have an abridged version of the tithe definition for Israel, what about the definition for the Church? Truthfully, you are asking the wrong person. I feel the definition of the tithe for the church is far more complicated than the IRS tax code. Like i said above, the definition of tithing for the New Testament Church has many holes and opportunities for personal interpretation. I’m of the persuasion that it doesn’t belong in the Spirit-led Church anyway. I know. . . I know what you’re saying, how can the Church operate without the tithe? Well, we obviously know how to operate without Levites, so i think we can survive without their salary requirements.

The Church operates under the capacity of the Holy Spirit in tune with the principles of God’s word. I realize that we need to understand the definition of a principle but we’ll make that for another post. In the end, we should all give willingly, cheerfully and liberally.

I know this was a quick synopsis of the definition of tithing, but without writing a few chapters and without a few hours, this seems to work out fine. If anyone has any thoughts or ideas that i missed that describes the tithe definition, we need to hear them. Please share them below.

Jared Bartholomew is the author of www.tithing.com. There are over 300 articles written on research and reviews about tithing information.

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71 comments on “Tithe Definition
  1. Jane says:

    whom should the pastor’s wife give the tithe if she is an employer?

    • moe says:

      To the poor directly the needy the ones who eat out of garbage cans, wear torn clothing and that person will now if jesus does really walk with him cause let me tell you god answers his people in observing and being quite, its not really something to break your head over, peace with you  

  2. Pat K Sensing says:

    What should the tithe be used for ?

  3. james gibbs says:

    Matthew,23,23 Jesus made reference to specific groups tithes of mint, anise and cummin. He stated they ought give judgement, mercy, and faith, that these are weightier. I spiritually believe giving to the poor, is giving to GOD, as Christ stated. Give your tenth and more if its how your heart lead you, cause the heart is what GOD judges. But give where theres true need, not mere greed. That’s why this subject isnt detailed in new testament. We have HIS spirit to guide and council. The least you’ve done for one of these, you’ve done for my FATHER in heaven. GOD bless.

  4. watson says:

    Until you Tithe, The Devil will Tied you.

  5. john says:

    People can read their whole bible and never have read it at all. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide and direct you! Then read with understanding. The love of money is the root of all evil(1 Tim 6:10)He replied, “Collect no more money than the government requires.”(Luke3:13)
    Jesus said give to God what is Gods and give to Ceaser what is Ceasers.
    I cannot tell you what you should do. You should ask your teacher what you should do. Gods commandments should be written on your heart and the direction of the Holy Spirit will lead you down the narrow path.
    God will reward you if you are faithful to him.

    • john says:

      Did God not Give you 24 hours a day to live and breath? Then where is his 10% of that time? This generation has given into worry of riches and wealth of this world. They can not be taken with you. Should a man be so busy that he can not give God what he asks? What God asks can be taken with you.

      • travis says:

        thats right John. how can we go with a day without worshipping, praising God. for he gave us the breath of life for everyday. what is only 1 hour just to owe God. the rest you can do what you like. c’mon guys. Lets not rob God. Malachi 3:8-10

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