Does the Bible Support a “Tithing Contract”?

i think it’s clear that God would have made the 10% tithe figure a requirement in the commandments, statutes, and laws that he says Abraham kept, and that Abraham passed a knowledge of this requirement, along with other requirements, responsibilities and opportunities, to Isaac, who passed it on to Jacob…Jacob didn’t just come up with the 10% tithe figure, noted in the text, out of the blue…

clearly, Jacob understood that tithing was part of the covenant commitment with God that he saw in his dream he had inherited, and he was at a place where he was able to engage in that covenant with his full heart and consent…the commandments, statutes, and laws he had received from Abraham through Isaac became written in his heart, as they were with Abraham and Isaac…

i definitely believe egw is the power of God, no question…i find the breadth and quality of her wisdom every bit as valuable as anything found in the bible…i also believe that where egw comments, her interpretations are definitive, although not necessarily exhaustive, in the same way i believe this of the bible writers…for instance, i see the meaning of Abraham paying tithe to Melchizedec, which neither Abraham nor Melchizedec could have understood, as the subsumption of the OC by the NC purely because the inspired writer of Hebrews says it is, and not because some bible scholar studying what it could have meant to either Abraham or Melchizedec, or onlookers, says so - not that any scholar would ever imagine such a thing outside of the writer of Hebrews’ output…

i believe inspiration is supreme…it is on a plane entirely separate from purely human endeavor…

This is a total assumption. There is nothing in the text except your conjectures injected into it. There is also no evidence that Abraham and his progeny paid a systematic tithe in support of any priesthood. Nor was there any evidence that Jacob ever made good on his promise because he never returned to the land.

Even if one assumes that the writers of Torah were anachronistically showing that Abraham and his immediate progeny were in compliance with some form of law, one can’t extrapolate that they had a written code or that there is any evidence that they systematically tithed according to the Levitcal system. It’s utter nonsense. Even more nonsensical is to use this as evidence for the imposition of tithing upon the NT church. There was no storehouse, there is no evidence of collection of produce or livestock, etc. That’s what tithe was and how it worked in support of the Levitical priesthood. Hebrews makes clear that the system was obsolete…systematic tithe was inextricably bound with it.

You said it…she does your thinking for you when it comes to scriptural interpretation. In that sense you place her above the biblical writers themselves.



God clearly has established a system of giving that has enabled His remnant church to prosper. The following is the financial status of the SDA Church :

"Seventh-day Adventists (United States)- $15.6 billion The Adventist Church has about 1.2 million believers in North America and over 18 million worldwide. Also regarded as the most racially diverse denomination, SDA in the USA is growing at a high rate. As of 2021, they rank 4th as the world’s wealthiest church, with an estimated net worth of $15.6 billion. Read more: 15 richest churches in the world 2021: Ranked by their net worth -

Unfortunately, most members do no return their tithe faithfully. Can you imagine if all, or even most, did?

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Frank, do you really think Jacob came up with the 10% tithe figure on his own, out of the blue…keep in mind, the Genesis narrative is minimalist literature…you can’t expect every detail that may occur to you to be delineated…the only thing we can definitively exclude is what is specifically contradicted in the text…in this case, we don’t see a specific text contradicting Jacob’s vow to return tithe…we only don’t see how or where he returned it…obviously Moses, whom i believe wrote Genesis, didn’t think this was an important detail…the fact remains that Moses does say that Jacob vowed to return tithe - hundreds of yrs before the Levitical priesthood was set up…this is the important detail to note…

i see you left out “although not necessarily exhaustive”…

there’s plenty of room to think about themes present in the bible and egw without feeling a need to contradict their explicit teachings…for instance, Abraham’s generosity and respect for Melchizedec isn’t particularly dwelt on by the writer of Hebrews…

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Now you’re using an ends justifies the means argument. That says nothing about what the scriptures and particularly the NT is saying. Systematic tithing to support the ministry of any denomination is based on the Levitical system…not the one off tithe of Abraham or Jacob’s bargain with God. It’s just that the Levitcal tithe was in produce and livestock brought to the temple storehouse, tied to the entire system that Hebrews says was passing away. Further, there is no evidence that Paul imposed any new form of this on Gentile congregations. If he had, there would have been some form of instruction regarding such, considering how greatly it would have had to have been modified. There is none. There is only instruction regarding freewill and generous giving. The principle is what counts.

Again, if the Adventist denomination feels that systematic tithing is the best way to give, and if the denomination seeks to use that as its method to ensure funding, that’s their choice. Just don’t try to justify it as being scriptural and impose it as rule and regulation upon members. That’s simply another legalistic burden regarding giving that should actually be left open to the Spirit, and how people respond to the gospel, the grace and generosity of God in giving us Christ…and more.



i’ve seen statistics that suggest that fewer than half of many congregations return tithe…

If wealth is held up as evidence of God having established the system of wealth accumulation, then perhaps the Mormons are God’s true church. They’ve accumulated far more wealth than the SDAs.


I never said what you have concluded. My point is that God has established a system that is very effective to accomplish His work on earth.

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It is not practical for the church to enforce tithing by all its members. The best the church can do is to have a policy that only tithe paying members should hold an office in the church. Furthermore, the church does not ensure that the amount of tithe returned is 10 per cent; that is done on a honor system. In the end, we will all have to give an account to God.

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Yep. From my Jewish friends, they don’t tithe either anymore. That went away with the Temple.

Instead, to be a member of a Synagogue, you agree to membership dues which support the Synagogue, based on your ability to pay. Then you get a monthly bill, and if you don’t pay, you’re out.

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So why are there so many local churches suffering due to a lack of finance? Yet the org has billions in assets maintaining a multi-layered structure. Seems to me we have a tithing structure not fit for purpose and definately needs to be looked at.


The Systematic Benevalance system set up by the pioneers served a purpose with the establishment of the church and its early development, the tweaks over the early years put it on firmer ground which I have no issue with, its just that we need to be mature enough to admit that the system they came up with was not biblical, either OT tithing or NT freewill giving.

We need to admit that the solution they came up with and fully endorsed by EGW was reactive to the economy of the day and could not or should not be replicated globally. The concept as suggested by Beverley of only tithe payers holding office is rotten to the core and so open to abuse as to be totally unbiblical.

In my opinion, the best way forward is to get back more in line with the NT model of freewill giving to support all in the community (home church) and not just a huge corporate structure. I get that that would be a bitter pill for the org to swallow as so many would lose their jobs as they have it now but at least the money would be used where its needed the most and not accumulated in the “storehouse” which is so big now as to be the 4th largest in the world!!! That’s not a statement of blessing, its a statement of greed.


I see no evidence of God having established the SDA tithing system. I see plenty of evidence of SDA clergymen having established the SDA tithing system. That this system has been effective in enriching the corporate organization does not appear to me to be evidence of divine design.


Because there isn’t any.

The SDA organization has guilted people for decades that this is the “right thing to do” thus saith the Lord.

There was no church organization in the Bible, so how could the Bible teach that’s what tithing is about?

EGW wrote that “the tithe is used for one purpose, to sustain the ministers whom the Lord has appointed…”. That could be in any ministry, any non-profit/501c3 anywhere, not necessarily a church organization.


Since there’s nothing biblical about an ecclesiastical hierarchy, it’s best to consider the local congregation for what it is, a social club. And like any social club, only dues-paying members are invited to participate fully in the decision-making process and operation of the club. This is normal.

Back when I played rugby, if I didn’t pay my club dues, not only was I not eligible for a position on the board of directors, I’d have been ineligible to play. We did make exceptions for certain players who were experiencing financial hardship, but generally all members paid their dues. The difference of course is that virtually all of the dues contributed to the operation of the club, and only a small portion went to the league association to cover league expenses (referees and some administration). In the SDA church, the majority of “club dues” are sent up to the central organizations where the members have little to no say in how the funds are administered, managed and spent.


I appreciate your perspective, certainly makes sense and has a lot of value in it. I think the challange is though that as disciples of Christ we shouldn’t think of it as being a member of a club, Jesus was accepting of all which contrasted to the religious system of his day, that placed him in direct conflict with the church then. Our church now seems to be acting in s similar manner so we should call it out as well.

If most are happy to be a member of the adventist social club and pay its dues then so be it but I believe being a disciple of christ is more than that.


Jeremy, I enjoy reading your exposition, your reading between the lines of scripture. It has a midrashic quality. I think it shouldn’t be relied upon as “gospel” but read as something to consider.

El diezmo era una practica civil preAbrahamica…

Are you also making the point that the Children of Israel, while slaves in Egypt, were tithe payers?

Also, why was there a hierarchy of priests? Why did Melchizedek “rank” higher than Aaron. What is meant by “superiority” in the priesthood?

Yes. I’m not Frank, but yes. That’s how the scripture is written.

Let’s talk “commands” and “requirements”:

What is your response to Micah’s what doth the Lord require of thee?
“to do justly, to love mercy, and to live humbly with your God.”


A new commandment I give you that “you love one another.” --Jesus, Himself

If this is true, why is the church boarding up schools and colleges? My academy closed, AUC closed, many schools have closed. Adventist Book Centers throughout the Lake Union are gone. Only one is left in Indiana. Where is that $15.6 billion going?

Doesn’t our church totally reject the New Testament model of sellinig our goods and putting the funds together for the good of the people? If we are going to refer to the Biblical model of the priesthood back to Abrahamic times, what is it with Adventists ignoring the New Testament commands? Beverly, what response do you have to the “commune” model?

“Love one another as I have loved you,” is a New Testament QUOTE from Christ, Himself, about caring for our obligations. Instead of bemoaning that less than half the church are tithe-paying members, why not publishing a quarterly with the real stewardship principle set forth by Christ Himself?

Then there is the New Testament principle of not allowing your left hand to know what your right hand is doing?


Yeah I guess your right, we certainly don’t follow the NT model to the tee but realistically, the “commune” model can’t scale to 20 million + members without it positively becoming a cult, however, we can take the best of the model by making the local churches the centre of the community, the majority of the money stays within the community to support each other and especially those who need it the most, think single parents, unemployed, homeless etc.

Once the local church achieves a critical mass to support its community then further afield projects/missions can be added quite easily to its portfolio providing opportunities for all/anyone. It may still make sense to have a coordinating layer (Union conferences) but this doesn’t have to be the only solution. Giving with joy becomes default when people see the results and that can only happen when the money stays local.