Is Tithing Scriptural?


“The impression is becoming quite common that the sacred disposition of the tithe no longer exists. Many have lost their sense of the Lord's requirements.” E.G. White, {7MR 136.5}


The Bible principle is very plain: "... they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel" (1 Corinthians 9:14).


"As long as the truth is progressive, the claims of God rest upon men to give of that which He has entrusted to them for this very purpose." Testimonies, Vol. 4, p. 469.


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The notion is being taught by some apostate Seventh-day Adventists, and some of other denominations that tithing is not Scriptural. That is a “strange fire” teaching. Some teach that only food was given as a tithe. Food would not keep for long as a “collection” item:


1Cr 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.


 1Cr 16:2   Upon the first [day] of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as [God] hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. 


 1Cr 16:3   And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by [your] letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. 


29 For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. John 13:29.


Judas was known to have been the treasurer of the group of disciples. If you will click on the word bag in the above verse you will get the meaning. Here is the “especial” meaning of bag:


“esp. a casket, a purse to keep money in”


Also, the Temple collected tithe. Jesus commended the women who gave her all. If tithing was wrong, surely Jesus would have not commended the woman, but would rather have corrected her:


41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.

42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:

44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. Mark 12:41-44.


Those who believe that tithing is not encumbent upon the believer today, might just as well indict Jesus (above) and call Ellen White a false prophet, and thereby speak against the Holy Spirit gift to the church which, according to Scripture, is unpardonable sin.


The Lord has shown me that what the detractors to tithing are really striving against is a selfish, covetous, non-sacrificing spirit. They would not work for nothing, but they expect the gospel worker to do so. God says that the laborer is worthy of his/her hire and that those who preach the gospel should live of the gospel (receive their livelihood from the giving of the gospel).


"Not a particle of covetousness or selfishness can God approbate. He hates it, and he despises the prayers and exhortations of those who possess it. As Satan sees his time is short, he leads them on to be more and more selfish, more and more covetous, and then exults as he sees them wrapt up in themselves, close, penurious and selfish. If the eyes of such could be opened, they would see Satan in hellish triumph, exulting over them, and laughing at the folly of those who accept his suggestions, and enter his snares." 1 Spiritual Gifts, pp. 181, 182.

     "Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." [1 COR. 6:19, 20.] He whose body is the temple of the Holy Spirit will not be enslaved by a pernicious habit. His powers belong to Christ, who has bought him with the price of blood. His property is the Lord's. How could he be guiltless in squandering this intrusted capital? Professed Christians yearly expend an immense sum upon useless and pernicious indulgences, while souls are perishing for the word of life. God is robbed in tithes and offerings, while they consume upon the altar of destroying lust more than they give to relieve the poor or for the support of the gospel. If all who profess to be followers of Christ were truly sanctified, their means, instead of being spent for needless and even hurtful indulgences, would be turned into the Lord's treasury, and Christians would set an example of temperance, self-denial, and self-sacrifice. Then they would be the light of the world. {GC88 475.1}


MR No. 451 - The Tithe


The Use of the Tithe

            [A basic source of Ellen White's 9T 248-251 statement]


     "Thou shalt command the children of Israel that they bring thee pure olive oil, beaten, for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always." This was to be a continual offering, that the house of God might be properly supplied with that which was necessary for His service. His people today are to remember that the house of worship is the Lord's property, and that it is to be scrupulously cared for. But the funds for this work are not to come from the tithe. The tithe is to be used for one purpose,--to sustain the ministers whom the Lord has appointed to do His work. It is to be used to support those who speak the words of life to the people, and carry the burden of the flock of God. {7MR 135.1}


     But there are ministers who have been robbed of their wages. God's provision for them has not been respected. Those who have charge of our church buildings are to be supplied with the means that is necessary to keep these buildings in good repair. But this money is not to come from the tithe. {7MR 135.2}


     A very plain, definite message has been given to me to give to our people. I am bidden to tell them that they are making a mistake in applying the tithe to various objects which, though good in themselves, are not the object to which the Lord has said that the tithe is to be applied. Those who make this use of the tithe are departing from the Lord's arrangement.



                                    -136- {7MR 135.3}


     God will judge for these things. One reasons that the tithe may be appropriated to school purposes. Still others would reason that canvassers and colporteurs should be supported from the tithe. But a great mistake is made when the tithe is drawn from the object for which it is to be used,-- the support of the ministers. There should today be in the field one hundred well qualified laborers where now there is but one. {7MR 136.1}


     God cannot look upon the present condition of things with approval, but with condemnation. His treasury is deprived of the means that should be used for the support of the gospel ministry in fields nigh and afar off. Those who proclaim the message of truth before great congregations, and who do house-to-house work as well are doing double missionary work, and in no case are their salaries to be cut down. {7MR 136.2}


     The use of the tithe must be looked upon as a sacred matter by our people. We must guard strictly against all that is contrary to the message now given. {7MR 136.3}


     There is a lack of ministers because ministers have not been encouraged. Some ministers who have been sent to foreign lands, to enter fields never worked before, have been given the instruction, "You must sustain yourselves. We have not the means with which to support you." This ought not to be, and it would not be if the tithe, with gifts and offerings, were brought into the treasury. When a man enters the ministry, he is to be paid from the tithe enough to sustain his family. He is not to feel that he is a beggar. {7MR 136.4}


     The impression is becoming quite common that the sacred disposition of the tithe no longer exists. Many have lost their sense of the Lord's requirements.



                                    -137- {7MR 136.5}


     The tithe is sacred, reserved by God for Himself. It is to be brought into His treasury to be used to sustain the gospel laborers in their work. For a long time the Lord has been robbed, because there are those who do not realize that the tithe is God's reserved portion. {7MR 137.1}


     Many ministers are lying in their graves, brought there by sorrow and disappointment, and by the hardship brought upon them because they did not receive sufficient for their labors. {7MR 137.2}


     Let us remember that God is a God of justice and equity. There would today be many more ministers in the field, but they are not encouraged to labor. Many workers have gone into the grave heartbroken, because they had grown old, and could see that they were looked upon as a burden. But had they been retained in the work, and given an easy place, with a whole or part of their wages, they might have accomplished much good. During their term of labor, these men have done double labor. They felt so heavy a burden for souls that they had no desire to be relieved of overwork. The heavy burdens borne shortened their lives. The widows of these ministers are never to be forgotten, but should if necessary be paid from the tithe. {7MR 137.3}


     Read carefully the third chapter of Malachi, and see what God says about the tithe. If our churches will take their stand upon the Lord's word, and be faithful in paying their tithe into His treasury, His laborers will be encouraged to take up ministerial work. More men would give themselves to the ministry were they not told of the depleted treasury. There should be an abundant supply in the Lord's treasury, and there would be if selfish hearts and hands had not made use of the tithe to support other lines of work.



                                    -138- {7MR 137.4}


     God's reserved resources are to be used in no such haphazard way. The tithe is the Lord's and those who meddle with it will be punished with the loss of their heavenly treasure, unless they repent. Let the work no longer be hedged up because the tithe has been diverted into various channels other than the one to which the Lord has said it should go. Provision is to be made for these other lines of work. They are to be sustained; but not from the tithe. God has not changed; the tithe is to be used for the support of the ministry. The opening of new fields requires more ministerial efficiency than we now have, and there must be means in the treasury.--Ms 82, 1904. ("The Use of the Tithe," 1904.) {7MR 138.1}



                              The Second Tithe


     The Lord desires the churches in every place to take hold more diligently of the church school work, giving liberally to sustain the teachers. The question has been asked, "Could not the second tithe be used for the support of the church school work?' It could be used for no better purpose.--Ms 67, 1901, p. 5. ("The Church School," July 29, 1901.) {7MR 138.2}


     I do not see the wisdom of the school depending on the second tithe to meet so much of its expenses. I fear that if the brethren rely so much upon this, difficulties will arise. You should labor patiently to develop those industries by which students may partly work their way through school. Let each family try to pay the expenses of the students that it sends to school.--Letter 167, 1904, p. 1. (To Brethren Santee and Owen, April 27, 1904.)



                                    -139- {7MR 138.3}


     In regard to the school work, I have been instructed that the plan of charging students nothing for tuition, depending on the second tithe to support the school, will always leave the school in the condition of financial embarrassment. When I first heard of this movement I thought I would let it be worked out, but I tell you now that the light given me is that other plans will have to be made than the plan of supporting schools from the second tithe. Students should be charged a reasonable price for their tuition. There will be an abundance of places to use the second tithe in doing earnest missionary work in new places.--Letter 103, 1905, p. 5. (To E. S. Ballenger, April 7, 1905.) {7MR 139.1}


     We are now wrestling with the debt on the Fernando college. If our people will take hold earnestly of the sale of Christ's Object Lessons a great deal may be accomplished. The plans for supporting this school in the past were not wisely laid. I hope that no one will endeavor to go over the same ground again and make similar mistakes.--Letter 279, 1905, p. 1. (To Clarence Santee, October 4, 1905.)


Released November 10, 1975. {7MR 139.2}