Monetary Tithes (Not a Building Block of the Church)
by Ronald W Robey
(written April 18, 2018)

Although Jesus taught much in the Gospels, He said very little concerning tithing. Let us look into the instances where Jesus spoke on this subject, shall we?

In Matthew 23, we read:

Matthew 23:23 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.

Matthew 23:23 is almost identical to Luke 11:42.

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.

Therefore, I will address both verses as if they are but one.

First, we must acknowledge the fact that Jesus had not yet gone to the cross at this point in time. Therefore, although the Books of Matthew and Luke are found in the New Testament section of our Bibles, what Jesus is saying in these verses is still under the jurisdiction of the Old Testament.

Hebrews 9:16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise, it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

It took the death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross in order for the New Testament to be in force. In Matthew 23:23 & Luke 11:42 Jesus had not yet died. He was speaking under the Law to a people governed by the Law. He even affirms in Matthew 23:23 that tithing is a less weighty matter of the Law.

Since Jesus identified tithing as a matter of the Law, we must remind you that the Law said that the tithe was to be agricultural. That tithes were agricultural is clearly seen when Jesus describes elements found in the tithe that was given by the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus said they included, mint and anise and cummin; rue and all matter of herbs…all agricultural herbs from gardens. And Jesus said, “These ye ought to have done.”

In other words, Jesus was telling them that they were tithing exactly what was required by the Law that they were under. Not once in either Matthew 23:23 or Luke 11:42 does Jesus mention money being tithed. Nor does He say that money should be tithed. Not once.

This begs the question…Since Jesus did not say money was to be tithed, how is it that Pastors are convincing church members that Jesus commanded tithes of money?

The only other tithe Jesus mentions in the Gospel is found in Luke 18:12. Let’s look at the surrounding text to better understand what is being said…

Luke 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

11 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.

12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

13 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.

Luke 18:14 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.

Luke 18:12 is part of a parable…an illustration to expose the self-righteous attitude of the Pharisees, and to reveal to them that their pride in their works will not be rewarded by God. The parable did not actually happen. It was a story to expose the pride of the Pharisees.

And there we have it…the only three instances in the New Testament where Jesus speaks of tithe…exposing self-righteous attitudes that is a sin, and the tithing of agricultural increase. Nowhere in any of the texts did Jesus endorse, or command monetary tithing.

If the Chief Cornerstone of the Church didn’t speak of monetary tithing, monetary tithing clearly was never meant to be a building block in the doctrines of the Church.