Kingdom View, Volume IV, Issue 2
Proverbs 3: 9,10
SOMEONE HAS SAID, "THERE ARE THREE KINDS OF GIVERS: the flint, the
sponge, and the honeycomb. To get anything out of the flint, you have
got to hammer it. Then you only get chips and sparks. To get water out
of the sponge, you have got to squeeze it. The more you squeeze, the
more you get. But the honeycomb simply overflows with sweetness.
When a people understand what God has done for them, you don’t have
to prime them to give and you don’t need ten collections. They
understand that He is a great God. In fact, at offering time, we ought
to jump to our feet and applaud that we are here to give, have something
to give, and have been blessed to have strength enough to work that we
might be able to give. We ought to just applaud the privilege of giving.
Today, we want to explore what the writer of Proverbs 3:9, 10 says in
this area concerning giving.
The writer exhorts his readers to honor God from their wealth and
first fruits of their increase (v.9). There are many ways that we can
honor God, but here, the writer is concerned about honoring Him through
giving. The Old Testament scholars Keil and Delitzsch briefly declare,
"It may surprise us that the Chokma [Heb., wisdom], being separated from
the ceremonial law, here commends the giving of tithes." Within the
Body of Christ there are two major views concerning giving, i.e.,
"tithes and offerings" and "grace giving." The former (tithing) is said
by some to be under the law and is no longer binding and the later is
viewed by some as the proper New Testament mandate for giving. Let us
briefly examine the claims.
In hermeneutics, which is the art and science of biblical
interpretation, there is a principle called the law of first mention
regarding a word. We trace that word throughout the Scriptures to
understand its use and meaning. Accordingly, the first mention of
tithing in the Bible is found in Genesis 14:20, where Abraham gives
Melchizedek a tenth of the spoils that he had acquired from four kings
that he defeated in battle (14:1-16). This passage is significant for a
couple of important reasons. First, Abraham’s offer of a tenth to
Melchizedek transpired several centuries (ca. 400 to 500 years) before
the institution of the Mosaic Law. Second, the writer of the Book of
Hebrews contrasts the superior Melchizedekian Priesthood of Christ with
that of the inferior and abolished Aaronic Priesthood in the NT (Hebrew
7). In addition, it is worth noting that tithing (or giving a tenth) is
not peculiar to the Jews; archeological evidence reveals that other
ancient people groups (non-Jews) during the patriarchal period practiced
this form of giving too.
Accordingly, there is a lot of theology built around the mystical
figure of Melchizedek and Abraham’s actions. However, this article
cannot thoroughly examine them. Nevertheless, we can say that he is a
type of Christ. What does the word type mean? The word "type" is an OT
person, institution, office, event, action, place, or thing that God
intended to correspond with a NT reality or truth in His redemptive
plan. Now, per Hebrews 7:8-10, we see Jewish Christians tithing at the
Temple in which they are no longer under the Law since Christ is the end
of the Law, which is marked by His death at Calvary some 30 or so years
later (John 1:17; Romans 10:4). Again, space does not allow me to
elaborate in detail.
Thus, in contrast, grace giving is sacrificial giving (2 Corinthians
8:9). Paul commends the Macedonians for their sacrificial gifts given
towards the "Jerusalem Relief Fund" to aid those affected by the famine
prophesied by the prophet Agabus (Acts 11:27-30). Therefore, Paul is
encouraging the Corinthian church to follow the example of the
Macedonian church (2 Corinthians 8:1-5). Finally, I would encourage an
in-depth study of both passages (Heb. 7 & 2 Cor. 8-9).
In conclusion, my thesis is simple: "Tithing is a justifiable New
Testament practice." If you disagree with this supposition, then
consider this thought. If tithing is under the Law and the OT saints did
it, then our giving under grace should be much more with the tithe
being the minimal starting point; just thinking - Selah!