THE TITHE IS THE LORD’S Leviticus 27:30 We purpose, the Lord willing, to trac~the tithe through the Old and New Testaments beginning with Cain and Abel. In Genesis 4:3-5 we read: “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the !mit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abe4 he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. “We also read in Hebrews 11:4, “By faith Abel offered unto God a more etcellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”
Great and varied have been the discussions as to why the Lord had respect unto Abel’s offering and not unto Cain’s. We appreciate the fact that Abel’s offering was from the flock and Cain’s was the fruit of the field. We also recognize the fact that apart from the shedding of blood there is no remission. But we want to call to your attention something that has been recognized by Bible scholars through the ages, but of which we have heard little in recent years. The Hebrew word used for offering, or present, or gift in Genesis 4:3-5 is MINCHA, which simply means “a present” and has no reference whatever to blood. The Hebrew word used for blood offering is ZEBACH, which means “a sacrifice with blood.” In Deuteronomy 26:1-11, in a discussion of the law of the offering of first fruits, you will see that if a man was a keeper of the flock his gift would be a lamb; but should he be a tiller of the soil his gift would be of the fruit of the field. We are told in Genesis 4:3-5 that Abel brought the first fruits of his flock, and not only first fruits but the fattest or the best thereof, while Cain simply brought an offering but not the first fruits, neither was it the best. In Hebrews 11:4 we read that by faith Abel offered a more ABUNDANT (Greek: pleiona thusian) offering than Cain. The Greek words just quoted have a reference to the quantity and not quality. It was by faith Abel brought the first fruits which means that God had told Cain and Abel about the offering of the first fruits. Abel obeyed God and Cain disobeyed. The Septuagint version of the Bible (the Greek translation of the Hebrew text which was made about two hundred years before Christ) translates Genesis 4:6-7 as follows: ‘And the Lord God said to Cain, Why art thou become solTowful and why is thy countenance fallen; hast thou not sinned as thou hast brought it rightly but not rightly divided it?” This makes Cain’s sin to be not in bringing the offering to the Lord but in not bringing the right amount which was the tithe, or the first fruits. The early writers connected the rejection of Cain’s offering with tithing:
Clement of Rome, in the first century, wrote that Cain’s sin was in not. bringing the first fruits as did Abel.
Irenaeus, in the second century, wrote that the difference between Cain’s and Abel’s offerings was in the fact that Abel brought a tithe of his flock, but Cain did not bring the tithe of his crops.
Hilary, Bishop of Poictiers, in the fourth century, maintained that the experience of Cain and Abel told us that the command to tithe began in Eden. Hugo Abbott of St. Victor’s, and Peter Comestor, in the twelfth century, both maintained that God had respect unto Abel’s offering because it was the tithe but had not respect unto Cain’s because it was not the tithe. Grotius, in the seventh century, wrote that Cain did not offer the best, neither did he give the right proportion, the tenth, which from the ancient ages was the amount due God.
In a comprehensive study of the Word of the Lord you will find that as long as time exists God has reserved unto Himself one-seventh of that which He has given man, and as long as man has material possessions, God has reserved one-tenth of that which He has bestowed upon him. This gives man a concrete way to acknowledge the sovereignty of God: honoring the Sabbath in the Old Testament, the first day of the week in the new, and paying unto the Lord the tithe.
ABRAHAM’S AND JACOB’S TITHE
“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all” (Genesis 14:18-20).
One of the most persistent objections to the tithe is in the general statement, “We are not under law but under grace.” In the experiences of Abraham and Jacob we find both of these men paying tithes before the law was given and while both were under grace. In Galatians 3:19 we read that the law was added because of transgressions till the seed should come to whom the promise was made. The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by the Lord Jesus Christ; so only that law which was added by Moses passed away when Jesus Christ the Seed came. Moses did not institute the tithe; its origin dates from antiquity. However, he did add a second and third tithe (which we will discuss in the next article) that passed’ away when Jesus came. In Genesis 14:20 the Hebrew brings out very clearly that Abraham paid tithes of all that he had and not just of his spoil which he took from the kings. There is nothing in the Greek text of Hebrews 7:4 which would indicate that Abraham tithed only the spoils. Melchizedek, the king-priest of Salem, is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ who will be the KingPriest during the millennium. The superiority of Melchizedek over Abraham and the superiority of Christ over us is set forth in the example of their receiving tithes of those subject to them. It was strictly and absolutely under grace that Abraham paid tithes of ALL that he had.
The initial teaching is that “the tithe is the Lord’s.” We do not need any specific command for Abraham to tithe any more than we did for Cain and Abel to bring their offerings. These Old Testament saints moved by faith; and Romans 10:17 tells us that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. When one acts in faith, even as Abel and Abraham, he can only do so because God has commanded him concerning worship. Even as the gospel of grace was revealed in Abraham’s faith, so is the grace of tithing revealed in his own personal example.
When Jacob is forced to flee from his home because of his fear of Esau, the Lord revealed himself unto him at Bethel (Genesis 28:1-22). Jacob realized the dangers that attended his way, and being hopeful of securing the blessings of the Lord, he vowed a vow, saying, ‘”. .. If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace,’ then shall the LORD be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee” (Genesis 28:20-22). Notice the expression of Jacob in the closing portion of the twenty-second verse: “”. . . of ALL that thou shalt give me I will surely give THE TENTH unto thee.” The point of interest and enlightenment is the definite article “THE.” THE TENTH is the way Jacob describes his offering unto the Lord. Had he used the indefinite article “A,”one might imagine that Jacob was entering into an arbitrary bargain with the Lord; but when he used the definite article “THE “, he told all peoples that there was a responsibility on the part of the people of the Lord to render unto the Lord THE tenth. There can be no doubt whatsoever but what he got that in his worship at home from his father Isaac and his grandfather Abraham.
Surely the tithe is the Lord’s, and has been since the dawn of the history of the human race. ISRAEL’S THREE TITHES “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD ‘8: it is holy unto the LORD. And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. 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. 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” (Leviticus 27:30-33).
This particular passage of Scripture calls attention to the sacred truth of the Word of God that “the tithe is the Lord’s.” This is the tithe referred to in the experiences of Cain and Abel, Abraham and Melchizedek, and Jacob and the Lord. This tithe was paid annually, and if the seed of the land or fruit of the tree was redeemed the tither must add one-fifth of the value thereto. The increase of the flock could not be exchanged for cash, and if attempted, both animal and exchange value were declared holy unto the Lord and both must be given to Him. In Numbers 18:21-24 we find that this tithe went to the Levites themselves and not to the temple nor the widows and orphans, but only to the priests for their personal living account. In Numbers 18:26-28 we read that when the Levites received the tithe from the other twelve tribes that ,they themselves must take the tithe of their tithe and give unto the high priest. This is of particular interest because some ministers today say that the servants of the Lord are not supposed to tithe; but this Scripture states otherwise.
Israel’s second tithe is to be found in Deuteronomy 14:22-27. There were three annual feasts in Israel to which every adult male was to appear; namely, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. This second tithe was to be set aside every year to supply the means for the celebration of these three feasts. If a man lived too far away to carry the livestock and produce with him, he could sell them and take the money with him and purchase such as was necessary at the place of the feast. Incidentally, this will throw some light on the trading and trafficking in the temple at the time of these feasts. The purchasers were buying not only animals for sacrifice but redeeming their second tithe in order to have the food necessary for the celebration of the feast. All this second tithe, according to Deuteronomy 12:6, 7, was under the personal administration of the individual. THIS SECOND TITHE WAS ADDED BY MOSES.
The third tithe is mentioned in Deuteronomy 14:28-29. Some individuals confuse tbis tithe with the second tithe, but a close study of the Scripture will reveal that they are separate and distinct. This third tithe was a tithe to be taken after the first and second had been set aside, and was to be used for the Levites, strangers, fatherless, and widows. It did not go to the priest; it was not to be consumed by the tithers but was for these four particular groups above mentioned, which sets it aside entirely from the first and second tithe. You will observe that the first and second tithes were to be paid every year, but this third tithe was a tithe on the increase, and only on the third year.
Again I call your attention to Galatians 3:19, “It (the law) was added. . . till the seed should come. . . ” The second and third tithes were added by Moses, and when the Seed (Jesus Christ) came, these two tithes passed away; but the first tithe, which is the Lord’s, was not added by Moses and did not pass away with Christ. The first tithe has existed since time began and will continue until time shall be no more.
THE TITHE FROM MOSES TO CHRIST
After the establishment of the three tithes in Israel by Moses we find no change until Christ. The obligation to pay the three tithes continued upon Israel even into captivity and after she returned from Babylon. It is well to keep the fact in mind that God gave the tithe to man for a blessing. It was not given by God that He might have funds, for God has need of nothing that man has. The Scripture says “apart from Me ye can do nothing”-NOT that God apart from man can do nothing. One of the greatest blessings God has bestowed upon man after salvation is the privilege of tithing.
During the captivity and soon thereafter Israel grew negligent in regards to the tithe, and when Nehemiah visited Jerusalem the second time he found the Levites in the fields at work instead of ministering in the temple. Upon investigation Nehemiah learned that the tithes were not being brought in, and the Levites themselves, weakened in their faith, had failed in teaching the children of Israel to tithe. My own personal conviction here is that the Levites failed even more than did the people of Israel. They were not supposed to work in the field-they were to care for the temple and its services and perform a spiritual ministry for all of the children of Israel. Perhaps the human equation entered in and they (like some of my friends in the ministry) hesitated to preach upon the financial responsibility of man to God for fear they would be accused of preaching for money. The Levites, as well as the Christian ministers, were supposed to preach and teach God’s truth regardless of what anyone said. Nehemiah quickly set things in order, put the Levites back in the temple, showed the children of Israel their responsibility to bring in the tithe to which they gladly responded, and all was well once again. It was soon after this experience that Malachi spoke these words: “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse,. for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:7-10).
The tithe belonged to God and man’s withholding of it constituted robbery, which Webster defines as “taking from one’s person or presence that which is his against his will but with his knowledge.” So, God’s description of man’s refusal to pay the tithe is all summed up in the comprehensive word, robbery. I have known men active in the church who when sitting on a jury have sent individuals to the penitentiary for stealing a chicken, horse, or cow, while they themselves have robbed God of thousands of dollars with no compunction whatsoever. I have long advised men that if they had to choose between stealing from man or robbing God that it would be better to steal from man as far as subsequent consequences were concerned.
Through Malachi, God has promised to bless all who tithe. (Some of you may want to interject a dispensational aspect of tithing just here, but if you will bear with me until the next article, we hope to clarify that for you.) First of all, we have God’s word for the promised blessing. Secondly, my own personal testimony through the years is unequivocally and asbolutely to the truth that God’s blessings attend tithing. I have never known a tither who could not praise the Lord for His manifold blessings, both spiritually and materially. I have known individuals who have tithed and subsequently ceased to do so, but their testimony has been that they were happier and far better off when they tithed than when they didn’t. That, in a nutshell, is the fruit of the tithe, both to the tither and to the non-tither.
An interesting sidelight on the storehouse is to be found in the fact that prior to the ascension of our Lord into the Holy of Holies as our great High Priest, the tithe was brought into the place where the Lord met with His people. That one meeting place was the temple at Jerusalem. Since the veil was rent in twain, God’s meeting with man has not been restricted to time or place. God now meets with man in the various churches, missions, groups, or assemblies; and it is possible that He does not meet him in some of the above organizations. Storehouse tithing (so-called) is not possible in this Christian dispensation because there has been no storehouse since the removal of the Holy of Holies to heaven where our High Priest is now making intercession for us.
TITHING IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
In discussing the tithe as we find it in the New Testament we purpose to examine it at two points of view: First, the example and teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ; and second, that of the Apostle Paul. It might be well here for us to give our testimony concerning the progessive revelation of the Lord as we have it in His word. We do not belong to that group which is clamoring, “away from Paul and back to Christ,” or “away from the Epistles and back to the Gospels.” We recognize a fuller and more complete revelation in the Epistles than was given in the Gospels; hence, our cry is “on to the deeper things of the Lord as they are set forth in the Epistles”; while at the same time we recognize the full and complete inspiration of the Bible from Genesis to the Revelation.
Now concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and the tithe, we observe first, that He never broke a law of Moses; therefore, we know first of all that by example He, too, paid tithe of all He had. In following His experiences with the apostles we find Him directing them in a threefold use of their money. That is, Jesus and the apostles used their money: first, for personal necessities; second, for temple services and worship; and third, for alms, or for ministering unto others. The Lord was very adamant in His teaching pertaining to the law of Moses. How often He said, “I came not to destroy, but to fulfill the law”; so, His teaching as far as the tithe is concerned would be to include it along with the rest of the law in His great teaching, which was a fulfillment of this law. Many people teach that Jesus did away with the law; consequently, we do not have to tithe, we do not have to set aside a certain day for worship, and by that same process of reasoning, one is free to break any of the ten commandments he so desires. However, on the contrary. Jesus said that whosoever is angry with or hateth his brother shall be in danger of the judgment and is a murderer. The law of Moses restricted the sin of adultery to the overt act, but the Lord Jesus Christ applied it even to a look. As the laws of Christ seemingly start with the law of Moses and go on to deeper and fuller meanings, we cannot eliminate the tithe from Christian giving, but must recognize it as marking the beginning of Christian responsibility. It is a law of interpretation of Scripture that the lesser is included in the whole, and tithing of necessity must be included in the whole of Christian giving. The specific teaching of Jesus concerning the tithe was “”. . . these ought ye to have done and not to leave the other undone.”
While we shall now speak of Paul’s teaching concerning the tithe, we must recognize the fact that Paul and Christ were at one in their teaching because both were guided by the Holy Spirit; consequently, we do not expect any difference other than a fuller revelation from the pen of Paul as the mysteries of the church were revealed unto him. In I Cor. 9:7-14 we read, “Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eatest not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eatest not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? 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? 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. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 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. 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? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. ”
The Apostle Paul ministered to the Corinthians and made tents for a livelihood, accepting nothing by way of remuneration from them; however, in Paul’s second epistle to the Corinthians he acknowledged that he sinned against the church at Corinth in receiving help from other churches, but not permitting them to contribute to his necessities. In the above quoted passage, the Spirit of God is establishing once and for all through the Apostle Paul that they which preach the gospel should also live of the gospel. The way in which he explains this is very clear and emphatic. Having set forth the truth that a soldier was to have all his expenses paid, a vine-dresser is to eat of his own vineyard, the keeper of the flock is to eat of his flock, and even the ox that treads out the corn is to be unmuzzled that it may eat, the Spirit further says that if one group of people is free to labor in carnal things and another group is called to minister in spiritual things, that each is to share with the other. It calls attention to the fact that the priest in the temple lived solely and only on the tithes and offerings which were brought into the temple. Please notice the clear-cut way in which the Holy Spirit connects the means of livelihood of the Old Testament priest and the New Testament preacher. In I Cor. 9:14 the two words “even so” mean “in the same manner”; “in exactly the same way”; “according to the same means.” As the tribe of Levi lived on the tithes which the other twelve tribes brought in, even so the Christian minister is to live on the tithes which are rendered unto the Lord by the Lord’s people. The Christian minister is not relieved from paying his tithe, but is likewise required to render a tithe unto the Lord even as was the tribe of Levi.
We repeat the statement of Lev. 27:30, “The tithe is the Lord’s.” As long as we have to do with time, one-seventh belongs in a peculiar sense to the Lord; and as long as we have to do with material possessions, one-tenth belongs to the Lord. You may use the Lord’s day for your own personal pleasure and you may use the Lord’s tenth likewise, but you will never profit from either.
Possibly the most recurring question in connection with the tithe is, “to whom shall it be paid?” I can only answer again in the words of the Scripture: “The tithe is the Lord’s.” If you think that the whole tithe should be put in the church I would have to ask, WHAT CHURCH-for manifestly many churches are not the Lord’s and there is much of the Lord’s work being done by other groups and individuals.
Just remember, THE TITHE IS THE LORD’S, and you can safely trust His leadership as to its administration.
“Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts. ”
PAYING THE PREACHER
It is our purpose, D. V., to show in this article that according to the New Testament the preacher and Bible teacher are to be supported by the tithe just like the priests of the Old Testament. “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? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? 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? 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. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 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. 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? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel” (I Cor. 9:7-14).
Herein, we have five steps in the presentation of this subject by the Holy Spirit, leading up to the preacher and teacher being supported by the tithe. These five are:
1. Natural analogy.
2. Scriptural proof.
3. Intrinsic justice.
4. Comparison with the Old Testament.
5. The command of our Lord.
Now we take these up in order. 1. By natural analogy-verse 7: (A) When a man joins an army and goes to warfare for his country he doesn’t have to, neither is he expected to defray his own expenses. Food, clothing and shelter are provided by the country for which he fights. (B) Whosoever plants a vineyard expects to eat of the fruit that he grows in his own vineyard. (C) The owner and keeper of the flock of sheep drinks of the milk and eats of the meat of that flock.
All three of these teach that a man partakes of the fruit of his own labors. 2. Scriptural proof-verses 9, 10: The law of Moses forbids the muzzling of the ox while he treadeth out the corn. The purpose of the muzzle was to keep the ox from eating of the corn while treading it out. This law was put in the law of Moses not just to insure the ox being fed but that we might profit by the lesson and know that according to the Scripture, anyone who ministered the Word would expect to be cared for by this ministry.
3. Intrinsic justice-verse 11: Common sense of fairness and the law of compensation teach us that if one devotes himself to prayer and study of the Word in order to minister the Word to those who give their time to the reaping of material blessings, those who accumulate material things should share them with those who minister unto them in spiritual things. A doctor devotes years and years of hard labor, study and practice in order to equip himself to help suffering humanity. Then when he helps suffering humanity, those whom he has helped in return give him of their money to repay in part for his years of preparation which made it possible for him to help them. Likewise, a minister or teacher gives himself to years of study and prayerful preparation in order to minister to the spiritual needs of the people of the world. Then those to whom he has ministered give of their money to sustain such a preacher or teacher in a material way. The amount to be given will be shown later.
4. Comparison with the Old Testament-verse 13: As the Lord divided the children of Israel into tribes there were thirteen so designated. However, one tribe-that of Levi-was not permitted to have an inheritance in the land, neither to labor for material possessions. They were to minister in things spiritual to the other twelve tribes, each of which had a possession in the land with herds, flocks and money. The livelihood and sustenance of the priests were derived from certain portions of the sacrifices which God designated for them. But in the main, the priests were supported by the tithes which were brought in by the other twelve tribes. With each of the twelve tribes bringing in a tenth, you can see that the tribe of Levi received twelve tenths of the total increase of the children of Israel. This was their own personal possession of which they took then a tenth and gave to the high priest, which in turn became his possession. None of this tithe went directly to the temple, its services or upkeep. This tithe in its entirety belonged to the tribe of Levi. The widows and orphans were supported by another tithe which was paid every third year, and the temple and its services were supported by another tithe which was also paid every third year. So that the Old Testament system of tithing consisted of three tithes-first, one paid every year which went to the priests of the tribe of Levi; then every third year, two additional tithes were collected, one for the widows and orphans and the other for the temple.
5. The command of the Lord-verse 14: The key expression in this verse is to be found in the two words, “even so.” That means, “in like manner,” “in exactly the same way,” “in precisely this way.” The Lord has commanded that they which minister the gospel shall live of the gospel. That means that every minister or teacher of the Word is to draw his livelihood from those to whom he ministers. That means that those who minister the Word are to live on the tithes of those to whom they minister. That means that those who minister the Word are not to seek a livelihood in secular employment for themselves but are to be ministered unto by those to whom they minister. Paul confessed to the church at Corinth that he sinned against the Lord by supporting himself with tent making instead of letting the church care for him with their tithes. (See II Cor. 11:7,8.)
In conclusion: Now the question arises, to what minister, preacher or teacher should these tithes be given? I Cor. 9:11 gives the answer very plainly. They are to be given unto those who have sown unto you spiritual things. The one who feeds you spiritually is to be ministered unto by you in carnal things. I must emphasize once again that THE TITHE IS THE LORD’S-not the church’s, not the preacher’s, not the denomination’s, but the Lord’s (Lev. 27:30).
What is the difference between tithing as taught in I Cor. 9:7-14 and the proportinate giving of I Cor. 16:2? Just this-the tithing as taught in chapter 9 is for the sustenance of the ministers and teachers of the Word. The proportionate giving (profit) of the 16th chapter was for the poor members of the church at Jerusalem.
What Is It? “Upon the first day of the week let everyone of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come” (I Cor. 16:2).
Vincent’s WORD STUDIES: “Upon the first day of the week let everyone put by himself, treasuring (put by at home) whatsoever he may prosper in that there may be no collections then whenever I may have come.”
Alford’s GREEK NEW TESTMENT: “Upon the first day of the week let each of you lay up at home whatsoever he may by prosperity have acquired (that is, whatever profit he may have made) that there may not, when I come, then be collections to be made.”
Darby’s NEW TRANSLATION: “On the first day of the week let each of you put by at home, laying up whatever he may have prospered, that there be no collections when I come.”
Panin’s NUMERIC ENGLISH NEW TESTAMENT: “Upon the first day of the week let each of you lay by him in store, as he may prosper, that when I come no collections be then made.”
Young’s BIBLE TRANSLATION: “On every first day of the week, let each of you lay by him, treasuring up whatever he may have prospered, that when I may come, then collections may not be made. ”
Rotherham’s EMPHASIZED BIBLE: “On the first day of the week let each one of you put by itself in store as he may be prospering, lest as soon as I come, then collections should be in progress.”
Goodspeed’s AMERICAN TRANSLATION: “On the first day of every week each of you is to put aside and store up whatever he gains, so that money will not have to be collected after I come.” Schonfield’s THE AUTHENTIC NEW TESTAMENT: “The day after the Sabbath let each of you put by savings as he has propered, so that collections do not have to be made when I come.”
EMPHATIC DIAGLOTT: “Every first day of the week, let each of you lay by something by itself, depositing as he may be prospered, so that when I come collections may not then be made.”
EXPOSITOR’S GREEK TESTAMENT: “On every first day of the week, let each of you (at home) lay up-making a store (of it) whatever he may be prospered in, that there may not be, when I come, collections going on then.”
Robertson’s WORD PICTURES IN THE NEW TEST AMENT: “On the first day of the week let each one lay by him in store (by himself in his home) as he may prosper (whatever profit he has made) so that the collection will already have been taken before I come.”
Bloomfield’s GREEK TESTAMENT: “On the first of the days of the week let each lay by him at home, according as he prospers so that no collection will be necessary when I am come.”
I want now to give you my own translation in the light of the above and many other different translations to which I have access. “On the first day of the week let each one of you lay by and save at home whatever profit you have made so that when I arrive it will not be necessary to take up a collection.”
That the above second verse of the sixteenth chapter of First Corinthians is not the law, rule, order or way of New Testament giving is evident from the following reasons.
1. That was a special offering, for a special people in a particular place by particular persons.
(a) It was for the poor saints at Jerusalem-not the pastor and work at Corinth.
(b) It was for the members of the church at Jerusalem personally and not for the administration of the Jerusalem church.
(c) The offering was to be the PROFIT a person made the previous week. “Whatever one has prospered” is whatever profit he has received. He was to give all of it-not a proportionate part of it.
(d) The length of time in which this offering was in force was from the time Paul wrote the letter to them until he arrived in Corinth, which manifestly was not too many weeks.
2. This weekly profit was to be stored up by each in his own home and given to Paul when he arrived. None of it went into the church at Corinth but was all sent to Jerusalem. This was a particular offering and was not a stated system of church finance. All Christians could not give all of their profit every week and live for long. For the way to care for the servants of the Lord, see previous article, “Paying The Preacher.”
What is the difference between tithing as taught in I Cor. 9:7-14 and the proportionate giving of I Cor. 16:2? Just this-the tithing as taught in chapter 9 is for the sustenance of the ministers and teachers of the Word. The proportinate giving (profit) of the 16th chapter was for the poor members of the church at Jerusalem.