What is the purpose of Hebrews 7:4-10? Can this passage be used in support of strict tithing? Can we use 1 Corinthians 16:2 & 2 Corinthians 9:7 combined to say that it's good to have a goal for giving (how you have prospered and what you have purposed)? Matthew 23:23 in the New Living Translation has "...You should tithe, yes, but you should not leave undone the more important things." Does this apply to the Pharisees only (verse 1 says he was talking to the crowds and to his disciples)? Could it mean that it was still common practice for the disciples? Are there any extrabiblical sources which support tithing (Didache 1:14-20 & 13:6-8)? Lastly, for the sake of practicality, is it ok to say that 10% is a good starting point for giving, since many can give more than that? -- A brother in the Philippines
Hebrews 7 cannot be used in support of tithing. This passage is making a point about the preeminence of Christ. It nowhere instructs Christians to tithe. (Though I believe most of us, in the US especially, should easily be able to do this.)
As for 1 Corinthians 16 and 2 Corinthians 9, I see nothing here about having a "goal" for giving, though deciding what to give and then sticking to it may well be the general idea. I am reluctant to concede the point because, more often than not, our "goals" are given us by someone else! That is, they do not flow from our own hearts and convictions.
In Matthew 23:23, Jesus is speaking to Jews living under the old law. I am not convinced by attempts to make it apply to us. (If it did, we should also be tithing on our garden herbs, right?) The early church does not seem to have enforced a tithe. In later centuries, the tithe became a sort of "tax." But not in the 1st century.
As for 10% being a good starting point, yes, I believe it is a good starting point for most of us in first world countries. Many have wrecked their lives with debt, and must get out of the hole. Why don't more people give at a level of 10, 15, or 20%?
Thank you for your question. Give cheerfully, give sacrificially, and keep in mind all the biblical principles (Malachi 1, 3; 2 Corinthians 8-9; etc) on the topic, which will keep your heart pure.
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