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James Carriere, Fargo, Published March 01 2014

Letter: Biblical mandate for tithing less clear than 10 percent rule

From what I’ve been taught, tithing was not mentioned as a specific number in the Old Testament, and it was first mentioned when Abraham gave back 10 percent of the spoils after defeating Sodom. We do not know exactly what Abraham gave before this event. More or less?

In Leviticus 28:32, one reads that the 10th animal that passes under the shepherd’s rod was to be given in sacrifice. This was property owned. We do not know for sure whether the firstlings were considered in on this tithe or not. It’s difficult to know all the Jewish customs and laws from just the Old Testament alone, or how to interpret how they were truly administered.

God gave a tithe to the Levites but allowed the Levites to eat at least a portion of their tithes during festivals. Is this an adding and subtracting application?

Bring your whole tithes into the storehouse: Malachi 3:8-10.

A direct command of 10 percent never seems to be specifically mentioned in scriptures, let alone 23 percent mentioned, as is testified by the report by Lloyd Omdahl in a recent column.

The New Testament proclaims to Christians that Jesus wants a living sacrifice, which seems appropriate for the New Agreements text context: A want of our lives in service of the Gospel.

One could make the argument that Christ command to “give up all you own and follow me” was more than just symbolic or more symbolic alone.

But in my life, regardless of the Old or New agreements laws, commands and customs, I have always been taught that the Jewish culture was one that gave until it hurt. Maybe I was taught wrongly or misinformed. That seems to indicate a lot of giving.

Different applications, different types of tithes or of interpretation, as we find determining tithes seems always a question. Jesus mentions or points out a woman who gave a small coin. Was that 10 percent?

Often it’s stated and implied, not to make your tithes known before men like the Pharisees did in a display, lest one becomes boastful and full of pride.

I see a lot of desire for self-recognition nowadays, the “look at me approach.”