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Meaning of Tithe

Word meaning “tenth,” used of the offering of a tenth for religious purposes. Abraham gave a tenth to Melchizedek, the priest-king (Gen. 14:18-20). The Israelites were required to give a tithe to the Levites (Num. 18:21, 24), and the Levites in turn were to give a tithe of the tithe to the priests (Num. 18:25-28). The tithe was taken from things like grain, fruits, and animals (Lev. 27:30-32). There is no command to tithe in the New Testament (cf. 1 Cor. 16:2), but many Christians believe that the concept is a useful guide in their giving.

The Shaw Pocket Bible Handbook, Walter A. Elwell, Editor, (Harold Shaw Publ., Wheaton , IL; 1984), p. 360