With megachurches increasing the traditional 10% tithe to 15%, Benny Hinn becoming a multimillionaire out of preaching, I think it’s time to look at what the Bible actually says about tithing.
Deuteronomy, Chapter 14, 22-29, King James Version:
22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
23 And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.
24 And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
25 Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:
26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,
27 And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.
28 At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:
29 And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.
In other words, keep back a portion of your food, and eat it in a feast dedicated to the lord. Invite the poor and the preists (“the Levites” were the priest caste).
Numbers 18:26 clarifies how much the priests should get of this money held back:
26. Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe.
Not a tenth part of your income! A tenth part of the money and goods held back for this grand celebration.
Worse, why have a lot of modern churches upped even the semi-traditional (if unjustified) 10% to 15%? How on earth can they justify this?
…I suppose, in the end, it comes down to this: not only is 15% tithes unbiblical, and motivated by sheer greed, even the traditional 10% tithe isn’t biblical, though there is a reasonable case for 10% towards charity and fellowship (a party being fellowship, and inviting the poor, widows, and so on to the feast being charity). If the church is highly active in charity, and has a strong social aspect not given over to somberness (“thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household”), it may be justifiable as a modern interpretation of the older social format, and 10% might be appropriate. If it is not, particularly if the pastor is getting rich off of it, then this church is failing at the basic reasons for a church to exist: fellowships and good works. It is thus a scam, a hypocrite, and motivated by greed.