Does Jesus endorse tithing?


John Piper, in a sermon Toward the Tithe and Beyond:

Some of God’s people are called not to do moneymaking business in the ordinary ways. They are called to be pastors and ministers and missionaries and ministry assistants, and so on. The rest of God’s people (call them “lay ministers”) are to be gainfully employed and support the “vocational ministers”—and the costs of that ministry. In the Old Testament God laid down that this be done by tithe.

If the question is raised whether Jesus, in the New Testament, continued this principle for the sake of his church, one of the strongest arguments that he did is Matthew 23:23 where he says,

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.

So Jesus endorses tithing: don’t neglect it. It is not as essential as justice love and mercy; but it is to be done.

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2 thoughts on “Does Jesus endorse tithing?

  1. Hi,

    I don’t think John Piper considered the context of Mathew 23 and he also appears to misapply the Old Testament tithes.

    The Old Testament tithes which was always food never money was to be used to feed the priests, orphans, strangers, widows and the tithers themselves. The Old Testament priests were barred from doing secular work and owning property while the remaining eleven tribes were barred from coming into the tabernacle. This was a kind of clergy-laity divide which no longer exists in the New Testament as all believers in the New Testament are priests and all can approach God.

    There is no scriptural evidence that supports the theory that some of God’s people are not called to do money making businesses while others should work to support them. This more importantly is because there is no clergy-laity divide in the New Testament. Such structures are purely man-made and not God ordained.

    If the question is raised whether Jesus, in the New Testament, continued this principle for the sake of his church, one of the strongest arguments that he did is Matthew 23:23
    This is completely false as Jesus was not addressing the New Testament church but the Old Testament Jews. The Old Testament was still very much operational because Jesus had not yet gone to the cross. Jesus not only endorsed the tithe but also every single Old Testament law; he was dedicated at birth in the temple in accordance with the law of Moses, He was circumcised on the 8th day as required by the law of Moses, He observed the Sabbath, He paid the temple tax etc. He even told those lepers He healed to perform the purification rites as commanded by the law.

    God bless.

  2. Lisa,
    Here is the whole truth. Jesus did not teach the church to tithe – Jesus rebuked the pharisees in Matt 23:23 in the context of the Law. If you say that Jesus endorsed tithing for the church today then the next logical quesiton is this: are we still under the Law?

    Paul answers this question for us in Gal 5 however. Here Paul makes it clear that if we try to observe a single part of the law we have become a debtor to the whole law. As a result we have fallen from GRACE. To say we are under any part of the old testament law is to fall from grace. There is a new law in Christ (see Heb 7). Please do study this topic carefully.

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