What Did Jesus Say about Tithes?

Answer:  In short, not much.  According to the Bible, Jesus only mentioned the word tithe three times.

Jesus references tithes in the following verses:

Matthew 23:23-24

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.   Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel (KJV).

Luke 11:42

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 ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone (KJV).

 

Luke 18:9-14

And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:   Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.  And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted (KJV).

It’s important that these passages are place in context.  There are some Christians who believe that these passages as evidence that Jesus taught and/or commanded Christians to tithe.  However, when we rightly divide the word and understand what Jesus was saying in the context of the scriptures we find that this is not true.

First, Jesus never commands anyone to tithe.  God had already established the tithe command through Moses and the Mosaic Law (Law of Moses), for ancient Israel.  According the Bible, tithing was part of Jewish law that was practiced among ancient Jewish people – not Gentiles (including Christians).

Second, Jesus,

like the scribes and Pharisees, lived under the Mosaic Law (Law of Moses).  The New Testament had not been established when Jesus walked the earth.  As an ancient Jewish person, Jesus observed the Mosaic Law because it was the covenant that God established with ancient Israel.

When Jesus references tithes he is not speaking to a Gentile (or Christian) audience because Gentiles (or Christians) were not required to tithe under the Mosaic Law (Law of Moses or Jewish law).

Third, the Gospels are four versions of the same Jesus story.  If you notice, Matthew 23:23-24 and Luke 11:42 are two version of the same quote.  So, technically, Jesus only mentions tithes twice in the Gospels.

In the Gospels, Jesus is addressing the scribes and/or Pharisees who, according to the Mosaic Law (Law of Moses), must pay tithes.  In the verses, Jesus scolds the scribes and/or Pharisees for paying tithes while neglecting the more important issues such as justice, mercy and faithfulness.  As far as Jesus was concerned, the tithe was one of the least important commandments of the Mosaic Law (Law of Moses).  Keep in mind beloved, that when Jesus mentions tithes he is referring only to tithing as practiced under Jewish law (or Mosaic Law).

Finally, in Luke 18:9-14 Jesus shares a parable.  In this parable, when Jesus mentions tithes, he is speaking as a Pharisee would speak.  He is expressing the thoughts, beliefs and words of the Pharisees. The Pharisees thought that they were better than other people because they knew the Mosaic Law inside and out and followed all the commandments of the Mosaic Law. Therefore, Jesus is exposing the religious self-righteousness and hypocrisy of the Pharisees.

Conclusion

The Bible only cites three references of Jesus mentioning in tithes and two of the references are two versions of the same quote.  Furthermore, Jesus only mentions tithes in reference to the Mosaic Law (Law of Moses or Jewish law).

The focal point of Jesus’ message in these verses is not about tithing.  The verses illustrate how critical Jesus was of religious legalism, self-righteousness and hypocrisy.

What Jesus was teaching in these verses is that following religious laws, rituals and traditions is not the same as knowing God and having an intimate relationship with God.  He was also encouraging humility.  He was making it clear that practicing religious laws, rituals or traditions does not make a person better than someone who does not do those things.

Resources

Free Tithe Study Guide

The Tithing Hoax

6 comments for “What Did Jesus Say about Tithes?

  1. Blessings
    July 10, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    Have been going thru all these thoughts. I must addmitt that my mind and my understanding about Tithe has changed. I believed on what i head from what people within the church, and all this time never had time to get into the Bible myself and find out what realy the Bible say about Tithe. My streingth was on what i just head. Now i do know that my hearing from people who infact never went deep into the Bible to try and teach more on the Subject of Tithe. But thank God for all what you shared. Its very clear now that many people are in the Dark over this matter. I will try and share more with my friends as the Lord God permits, because this is a great subject which needs the Spirit of the Lord on you to understand it. Thats my Prayer for others. Surly we out of the Mosaic law, and not under law. We are the NEW TESTAMENT people who are SAVED by GRACE. We did not buy salvation, and we can never buy it. Thank God for Jesus the Christ, who has brought this salvation in our lives. Am very thankful to you all. God bless!

    • R. Renee
      July 14, 2013 at 2:36 PM

      Thank you for visiting and sharing your comments.

  2. Elder
    September 4, 2014 at 12:39 AM

    I am glad to know someone else believes this. I have believed and taught this for about 30 years and in fact have written a book on it titled “New Testament Tithing?”

    • R. Renee
      October 15, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      Thank you for visiting. Keep speaking and teaching the truth!

      Peace & Blessings

  3. September 27, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    Very good information. I knew of an individual struggling to pay tithes because she thought that God worked on tithe giving and would not even have money to put gas in her car or pay light bill. When I got this knowledge and tried to share with her, she acted as if I was trying to stop her tithe paying. I even suggested that she pay half and not pay to the point that she has to beg for gas money or food but that was ignored also. But I have always felt bad for her and many other people that are single parents sometimes with two or more children, one pay check and the church constantly asking for money for the Pastor’s birthday, Pastor’s Anniversary, Church Anniversary, First Lady’s birthday and any other occasion deemed fit to ask for money along with tithes and offerings. The purpose has been lost and the lost and wanna be saved lost with it.

    Soul saving and giving to the house of God so that there will be a place of refuge for the sinner to be taught the gospel is all that is required to get us on the path to getting to know who God is, why He died for us and that He is coming back for us.

    • R. Renee
      October 15, 2014 at 12:16 PM

      Thank you for visiting and sharing your comments.

      Peace & Blessings

Comments are closed.