TITHES, OFFERINGS AND ALMS
A SCRIPTURE STUDY OF BIBLICAL GIVING
All Scriptures are taken from the KJV unless otherwise indicated
“I cannot apply the Word I don't know; but, if I don't apply the Word I do know, I wasted my time learning. If I learn and apply the Word selfishly, I missed the whole point of knowing it.”
Many calculate that the tithe of their weekly $900 paycheck to be $9 and that he/she should also give with it an offering of maybe $2, making the weekly giving total $11. The following Thursday they wonderwhy the remaining $889 didn't last till the next check. And, in their lack they inquire, “What is an 'alms'?”
I have seen some tithe faithfully ten percent of all their increase, sacrifice a biblical offering every week and obediently give alms while never allowing their left hand to know what their right hand was doing (Matt 6:3). But, alas, their reward for doing so fell far short of the biblical promise. What went wrong. Has God lied about the rewards of biblical giving?
I hope that the following study of the Scriptures will afford those taking the time to read it some answers to the above questions. Simply stated here is this study's equation of successful biblical giving:
TITHES TO THE STOREHOUSE, OFFERINGS TO THE LORD AND ALMS TO THOSE IN NEED
APPLIED BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES OF FINANCE
RECEIVING ALL GOD'S PROMISES CONCERNING FINANCE
Many deny that tithing is a New Testament principle of giving, therefore Christians are not bound by Scripture to give a tenth of their increase in the house of God. Before agreeing with them, we might consider these scriptures:
BIBLE FIRST MENTION OF TITHING
18 And Melchizedek [King of righteousness] king of Salem [Peace] brought forth bread and wine [Elements of New Covenant communion]: and he was the priest of the most high God.
19 And he [Melchizedek] blessed him [Abram], and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he [Abram] gave him [Melchizedek] tithes of all.
19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
1 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;
2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; [The New Testament Kingdom of our God has its root here in Abraham's encounter with Melchisedec: Rom 14:17 (KJV) For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.]
3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
4 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:
6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.
NOTE: WE ALSO WERE IN THE LOINS OF OUR FATHER ABRAHAM (See Romans 4:16 and Gal 3:26-29 below) WHEN HE MET AND PAID TITHES TO MELCHIZEDEK, WHO IS TYPICAL OF JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD, CALLED A HIGH PRIEST FOREVER AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDEC (See Heb 6:20 above)
Rom 4:16 (KJV)
16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
Gal 3:26-29 (KJV)
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
OUR FATHER ABRAHAM PAID TITHES TO MELCHISEDEC, KING OF SALEM, WHO WAS AN OLD TESTAMENT TYPE OF OUR KING AND PRIEST, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. AS ABRAHAM'S OLD TESTAMENT SEED PAID TITHES TO MELCHISEDEC BECAUSE THEY WERE IN HIS LOINS WHEN HE DID, SO DID WE, FOR WE ARE ALSO ABRAHAM'S SEED. AND, WE, ABRAHAM'S SEED WHO LIVE IN THIS DAY, PAY TITHES NOW TO JESUS CHRIST, THE NEW TESTAMENT REALITY OF WHOM MELCHISEDEC WAS A TYPE AND A SHADOW.
BUT, YOU MIGHT ASK, DID JESUS ENDORSE OR EVEN MENTION TITHING? YES, HE DID:
Luke 11:42 (KJV)
42 But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these [Judgment and the love of God] ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other [Tithing] undone.
OLD TESTAMENT LAST MENTION OF TITHING
Mal 3:7-11 (KJV)
7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?
8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse [Treasury], that there may be meat [Word of biblical Truth] in mine house [Local Church], and prove me now herewith [With your faithful tithe], saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.
1/Verses 7&8: “Return unto me”
A/ Abraham's first act of worship toward Melchizedek was to give Him a tenth part of all his increase. So is it with the New Testament Seed of Abraham toward Jesus Christ
2/ Verse 9: A curse: the result of stealing the tithe
3/ Verses 10 and 11 reveal the result of the curse for stealing the tithe and the blessing of bringing all the tithe:
A/ Verse 10 The Curse: A famine of hearing the Word of God as prophesied by the prophet Amos:
11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land,
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they
shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.
B/ Verse 10 The Blessing: “Open the windows of heaven.”
1/ These windows are neither the “blessing” of checks in the mailbox for which we have rendered
no labor, nor are they the “charlatans” that rob us for furnishing an emotionally good time in
the name of super-spirituality; but, they are ministers of God who open the Word of Truth to
the eyes of our understanding, even Truths concerning our wasteful ways and biblical
finance principles that will cause our 90% go farther than the 100% ever did when we
stealing the 10%.
Eph 1:15-23 (KJV) [Valid ministries open the windows of heaven]
15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit
of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope
of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to
the working of his mighty power,
1 Tim 5:17-18 [Our tithes supply the natural needs of valid ministries]
17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who
labour in the word and doctrine.
18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
1 Cor 9:9-11 [Our tithes supply the natural needs of valid ministries]
9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?
10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.
11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
C/ Verse 11 The Rebuke
1/ As the “Windows of Heaven” open the treasury of God's Truth to our understanding of the
practice of tithing, they will also teach us biblical principles and practices that will
“increase” our work income and “rebuke” any wasteful and “devouring pestilences.” I
personally remember the increase of household income that the Word brought when I
abandoned my financially wasteful old way of life
4/ The tithe frees and “opens” the “Windows” to teach us, by precept and example, biblical principles of work and income (Work that supplies goods and services which promote a biblical lifestyle and good health)
A/ A biblical work ethic with a negative natural incentive:
2 Thess 3:7-10
7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly
8 Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night
and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:
9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.
10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work,
neither should he eat [The negative incentive to work mentioned above]
B/ Income #1 A day's work for a day's wage
Eph 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands
the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
2 Thess 3:11-12 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not
at all, but are busybodies.
12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness
they work, and eat their own bread.
Matt 20:1-2 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went
out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.
2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
C/ Income #2 Buy and sell and get gain
James 4:13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue
there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
D/ Income #3 Investment for usury
Matt 25:27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my
coming I should have received mine own with usury.
E/ Income #4 Inheritance
Luke 12:13 And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide
the inheritance with me.
JUST A THOUGHT: WE BRING OUR TITHES INTO THE HOUSE WHERE WE EAT OUR SPIRITUAL MEALS
IS THROWING IN A COUPLE OF DOLLARS OVER THE TITHE IN OUR SUNDAY GIVING ACTUALLY A BIBLICAL OFFERING?
A BIBLICAL OFFERING IS A NON-MONETARY SACRIFICE. THERE ARE THREE NON-MONETARY OFFERINGS (SACRIFICES) EVERY NEW TESTAMENT BELIEVER IS TO OFFER UNTO GOD EVERY DAY
OFFERING #1: OUR BODIES
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service [NASU translation: Spiritual service of worship].
Note; We title our singing of songs in a corporate meeting as our "worship service." We may even call our Sunday gathering a "worship service." In truth, our presenting our bodies to God in obedience to our Father's Will, whether in a corporate gathering, in our times of singing praises, or in service to Him in any way, at any time, and on any day, is scripturally our reasonable service, our "spiritual service of worship." (See NASU translation below)
1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. NASU
OFFERING #2: OUR PRAISE TO GOD CONTINUALLY
15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
OFFERING #3: TO DO GOOD AND TO FELLOWSHIP
Heb 13:16 But to do good [Beneficence; With our bodies] and to communicate [Fellowship; see Thayer's Greek definition below] forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Communicate (Heb 13:6)
1) fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse
1a) the share which one has in anything, participation
1b) intercourse, fellowship, intimacy
1b1) the right hand as a sign and pledge of fellowship (in fulfilling the apostolic office)
1c) a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, as exhibiting an embodiment and proof of fellowship
Part of Speech: noun feminine
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G2844
Citing in TDNT: 3:797, 447
WE CHRISTIANS COMMIT WILLFUL SIN WHEN WE RECLAIM OUR BODY FOR OUR OWN PURPOSES OUTSIDE THE WILL OF GOD. NO LONGER IS OUR BODY A LIVING SACRIFICE GIVEN TO GOD'S PURPOSE IN CONTINUAL SACRIFICIAL PRAISE, FELLOWSHIP AND DOING GOOD; AND, AT THAT TIME, THERE REMAINS NO MORE SACRIFICE FOR OUR SINS
Heb 10:24-27 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
THE HOLY GHOST DOES IMPLORE US ALL: GIVE THESE OFFERINGS, THESE SACRIFICES, TO GOD CONTINUALLY. BELOW IS A GREAT INCINTIVE OFFERED BY THE APOSTLE PAUL FOR BRINGING THESE OFFERINGS OF OUR BODY UNTO THE LORD:
1 Cor 9:24-27
24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
GIVING ALMS IS NOT TITHING. GIVING ALMS IS NOT OUR SACRIFICAIL OFFERING TO THE LORD. TITHES OPEN THE WINDOWS OF HEAVEN. OFFERINGS ARE GIVEN IN DEDICATING OUR BODY TO GOD'S EXCLUSIVE USE. ALMS IS A GIFT WE ANONYMOUSLY GIVE TO ONE IN NEED; AND, FOR THAT ANONYMOUS GIFT, GOD PROMISES AN OPEN REWARD, AN UNNAMED REWARD CERTAINLY, BUT EASILY RECOGNIZED WHEN IT ARRIVES
1) mercy, pity
1a) especially as exhibited in giving alms, charity
2) the benefaction itself, a donation to the poor, alms
Part of Speech: noun feminine
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G1656
Citing in TDNT: 2:485, 222
BIBLE INSTRUCTIONS FOR OUR ALMSGIVING
6 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.
2 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.
3 But when [not “if”] thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. [NOTE THAT ALMSGIVING IS GENERALLY DONE IN SECRET BUT HAS AN OPEN REWARD]
ALMSGIVING BUILDS INCORRUPTIBLE TREASURE IN HEAVEN
Luke 12:32-34 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
CORNELIEUS' ALMSGIVING WENT WITH HIS PRAYERS BEFORE GOD:
Acts 10:1-4 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
ALMSGIVING COMES FROM WITHIN AND IS CLEANSING
39 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.
40 Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also?
41 But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.
42 But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment [Offering our bodies]and the love of God [Almsgiving]: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other [Tithing] undone.
JESUS UPBRAIDED THE PHARISEES FOR BEING SO METICULOUS ABOUT TITHES
BUT IGNORING JUDGMENT (OFFERING OF SELF) AND THE LOVE OF GOD (ALMS).
YES, OFFERING AND ALMS WE OUGHT TO DO, BUT NOT LEAVE THE TITHING UNDONE
WANT TO GIVE BIBLICALLY THAT YOU MIGHT RECEIVE BIBLICALLY? UNDERSTAND AND PRACTICE TITHES, OFFERINGS, AND ALMS