Many today believe that tithing came to an end after Christ’s earthly ministry and crucifixion—that it went out along with the Old Covenant, the special agreement that God made with the nation of Israel at Mt. Sinai following the Exodus from Egypt. “Old Testament tithing has been replaced by New Testament giving” is the way this idea is often expressed. In application, this belief means that people should now determine for themselves what percentage, if any, of their incomes to give to God. But is this what the Bible teaches?
The fact is, the Bible reveals that God gave many of His laws to mankind prior to the institution of the Old Covenant at Sinai. Indeed, God had revealed the principle of tithing and other commandments, statutes and laws to those with whom He was working centuries earlier (Genesis 14:16-20 Genesis 14:16-20 16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.
17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale.
18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20 And blessed be the most high God, which has delivered your enemies into your hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
American King James Version×; Genesis 26:5 Genesis 26:5Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
American King James Version×; Genesis 28:22 Genesis 28:22And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that you shall give me I will surely give the tenth to you.
American King James Version×). Because these laws reflected God’s love for mankind and guidance on how to have an abundant life, they were included in the Old Covenant that God made with Israel.
When the Old Covenant was replaced by the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:6-8 Hebrews 8:6-8 6 But now has he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
8 For finding fault with them, he said, Behold, the days come, said the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
American King James Version×) at the time of Christ’s crucifixion, God’s instructions for mankind’s happiness and benefit that had preceded the Old Covenant did not come to an end. Instead, the New Covenant makes it possible for people to have God’s laws ingrained in their minds and hearts (Hebrews 8:10 Hebrews 8:10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, said the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
American King James Version×). The bottom line is that tithing—giving a tenth of our increase—to God remains His expectation of those who wish to honor Him through obedience to His instructions.
To learn more about this important principle, read our Bible study aid booklet What Does the Bible Teach About Tithing? And for a comprehensive understanding of what is expected of Christians under the New Covenant, read The New Covenant: Does It Abolish God’s Law?