1 Corinthians 9:13-14 are two verses that many preachers like to use in their pulpits to teach their congregation that God requires a monetary tithe.  After all, the verses first reveal that the Levites lived off of the tithe, and in the same manner those who preach the Gospel should also receive tithe for their support.

But is that what the verses are saying?  Let’s have a look at them in context, shall we?…

Now, in order to see them in their proper context, we must look at surrounding verses in the Chapter, and even look into that which the priest’s ate at the altar.

1 Corinthians 9:7-15 (KJV)
7 Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?
9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?
10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.
11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
15 But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.

Now, it is clear that the minister of God is to be supported.  The leading verses above clearly show this to be true.  But who was Paul referencing in this Chapter of his first epistle to the saints at Corinth?  Verse 15 reveals that he was referencing himself when he says, “But I have used none of these things…”  Context shows Paul was speaking of himself in this passage of Scripture.

What kind of support was Paul speaking of?  Was it tithes as the modern preacher claims?  To find out, we must go to the Old Testament to see what it says.
There are only three verses in the entire Old Testament that give a clue as to what was eaten at the altar (they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar)

Leviticus 10:12 (KJV) And Moses spake unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons that were left, Take the meat offering that remaineth of the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and eat it without leaven beside the altar: for it is most holy:
Deuteronomy 12:27 (KJV) And thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, upon the altar of the LORD thy God: and the blood of thy sacrifices shall be poured out upon the altar of the LORD thy God, and thou shalt eat the flesh.

Numbers 18:30 (KJV) Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress.
31 And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: for it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation.
32 And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best of it: neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die.

In the above verses, we see that the only things the priest partook of at the altar were the flesh from the burnt offering and the meat offering .  The Levites tithe to the priest was heaved before the altar and the best part of the heave offering was given back to the Levites to eat anywhere they chose to eat it.  There is no mention in the Word of God of the Priests eating of the tithe at the altar, only of offerings.

The Levites kept 90% of the tithe that they received in their Levitic cites.  They took 10% of the tithe that they received to the Tabernacle/Temple and the Priest, after heaving the tithe that the Levites brought gave the best portion of that heave offering back to the Levites so they could take it and eat it where they desired.

After studying what was eaten at the altar and in the Temple,  it is evident that 1 Corinthians 9:13 is not speaking of a monetary tithe, nor was it speaking of the Israelites crop, fruit and livestock tithe.  It was speaking of offerings.

And the Apostle Paul said, “Even so, ..those who preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel.”  The Apostle was encouraging the giving of offerings to the preacher of the Gospel… not tithes.

If pastors would rightly divide the Word of Truth when preparing their sermons, they would not be guilty of mishandling the Word of God as they do when teaching 1 Corinthians 9:12-14 is endorsing a monetary tithe.  There was no monetary tithe when the Apostle penned his first epistle to the Church at Corinth, the tithe consisted of crops, flocks and herds as recorded in Leviticus 27:30-34.

Leviticus 27:30 (KJV) And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD.
31 And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.
32 And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.
33 He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.
34 These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.