Tithing, Giving and the New Testament: Preface

I became a Christian in early 1991 in a home fellowship in Thessalonica, Greece. The fellowship very strongly emphasized the Bible as the infallible and inerrant Word of God and had an equally good balanced view on the Holy Spirit. There I heard for the first time that to be saved it was enough to believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9). There I heard about salvation by grace, about becoming a child of God, about asking God freely as my Father and receiving from Him. The Mosaic law was no longer valid, I learned. Christ had fulfilled it all. It was such a great time and such a great fellowship. I was born again and believe me it felt like this! Then, on one of the shelves of the fellowship leader and dear friend Dimitris - who was spending, with love, all the time needed to answer the dozens of questions I had - I saw a small book speaking about the “tithe”. I was wondering what was this. The word “tithe” was unknown to me and I hadn’t seen it in my reading of the New Testament (now I was soaking the Word like a sponge, reading and taking in, several chapters per day). I borrowed the book and I started reading. I was startled to find that it was full of Old Testament quotations from the law, supporting that the tithe was still valid and that as a Christian I should give 10% of my income (barely enough at that time to pay my rent and food) to church organizations. I felt pretty guilty after reading the book and this was the first time I felt so in the few months I was a believer. Though we did not apply tithing in our little fellowship (Dimitris, the leader, despite all the time that he was spending with us, young believers, he was also a full time worker plus a student, earning his living with hard work) the question remained. Here was this organization that appeared to have a clear understanding of the Word of God and yet they were preaching about the Old Testament principle of tithing. But, I thought, if tithing was still valid why was the sacrificing of bulls was not valid too? Were not both parts of the same law? I put the matter aside but the questions remained. Since then I changed locations and visited various churches. What I invariably found is that though these churches were in many things different, they had at least one thing in common: they were pointing out the tithing or believed in the law of tithing. The reference to the tithe was less frequent or even absent (though it was the acceptable principle) in big or medium size congregations but very frequent, almost weekly, in small congregations. Apart from that, though our fellowship in Greece didn’t have a budget, many of these churches had budgets that were hundreds of thousand dollars strong! Enormous amounts. However, most of these budgeted amounts were for staff salaries, building expenses and bills. This also didn’t sit well! Didn’t the New Testament say to help the poor? Weren’t we supposed to support missionaries that spread the Word? And yet out of these enormous budgeted amounts, only a meager portion was for missions and almost no portion at all for the poor. That was a second hit. Then early in 2008, I got a question from a reader of my online magazine, the Journal of Biblical Accuracy, concerning this very matter, the matter of tithing. I set out then to see this matter from the perspective of the Word of God and settle this, years old for me, question. This book contains the results of this study. It is done to throw light from the Word of God concerning the validity of tithing and what the New Testament says about giving. How should we give and what were the first century churches supporting with their contributions? I’m fully aware that this book is going to be considered controversial by some. But I also hope that it is going to be liberating for some others, who may have struggled with the same questions as me concerning this matter. It is to them that I would like to devote this study.


Tassos Kioulachoglou






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