Jose de Carvalho

Upfront it must be said that some people do not agree with the following concept. Nevertheless, it is my opinion that there were three different tithes in the Old Testament; this assertion is well supported by early writers in Israel’s history.

The first tithe was for God’s workers (Lev. 27:30-32)

The second tithe was for a community meal (Det. 12:12,22-23)

The third tithe was for the needy (Det. 14:28-29)

If the interpretation here is correct, then the total of three tides in the Old Testament adds up to more than 20% per year. There was 10% for the Lord’s workers, 10% to be used within the family celebration and 10% every three years for the needy.

These were the mandatory offerings, it must be noted that there were other voluntary/freewill offerings.

Considering that New Testament believers are not obliged by the Law, offerings by percentage do not apply. Including the traditional assertion that 10% is a good standard to apply. Those that agree with this statement revert to the principle of generosity. However this may not be very helpful either.  

Biblically the principles that underline the tithes are repeated in the New Testament. Therefore, God’s people are to give towards God’s workers, in celebration as a family in the presence of the Lord and in support for the vulnerable amongst us.

In précis, what is clear is that the emphasis is not on percentage, but on principle.