Bible Question:

Someone told my congregation that if you do not pay your tithes you are cursed and quoted Malachi 3:6-9. Is this true?

Bible Answer:

The passage you refer to is as follows:

For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD of hosts. “But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!” (NASB) Mal. 3:6-9


Old Testament tithes were actually taxes that the Israelites were required to give to God in support of Israel’s civil government, welfare system, and support of the priesthood. In the Old Testament the word “tithe” occurs thirty-one times, but in the New Testament the word occurs only five times (Matt. 23:23, Luke 11:42, Luke 18:12, Hebrews 7:8-9). The New Testament never asks or commands us to give tithes to God. But God asks us to give to Him freely as we desire. Tithing is not a biblical concept for Christians. It was for the Israelites and the Old Testament saints. It was Israel’s national taxation system. You may want to read a study entitled “Tithing or Giving?” It will explain this in detail.


Consequently, if tithing is not for today, we cannot be cursed. The person who said that the congregation could be cursed does not understand the biblical teaching about tithes and giving. Malachi’s prophecy was for ancient Israel and not for Christians. The scriptures do not teach that believers should give ten percent (or a tithe) to God. That was only for Israel. The New Testament calls us to give freely from the heart. Our giving should be for the support of our local church and missions.


How should we give? If we look at what God has given us, we should probably give God more than ten percent. He has given us physical life, a place to live, food, clothes, but most of all he has given us eternal life with Himself. That is something that we do not deserve.