Ask Your Preacher
I give 10% of my income bi-weekly (tithes) as instructed from the church. I give offerings as afforded, as instructed by my church. I know the lights need to be paid, the mortgage paid, and the needy assisted when they go to the church for assistance. I can see why we should give to the church who serve the people. But, I need to know; is tithing a commandment that will truly bring on a curse to the withholder and blessings on the giver? (Malachi 3:8-9) I have struggled financially and wonder if it means I have no faith if I give less than 10%. I mean, tithes and offerings are necessary, but many churches need money to sustain itself, a place to worship, a place to fellowship with other saints. Does God need my money to show I believe He will provide for me? Is it a form of sacrifice to the temple or a means to take care of the church? I struggle with the Old Testament applicability today.
Dear Perplexed Giver,
Mal 3:8-10 teaches some principles about giving, but it doesn’t uphold the “10% or doom” preaching that many money-grubbing churches constantly harp on. Tithing is a Jewish commandment, not a christian one (more on this in a bit), but the Old Testament is full of examples that give us principles to live by (1 Cor 10:11). The principle behind Mal 3:8-10 is that when we give to God as He asks, He will bless us for our faithful trust in Him. This is true in our finances and in every other area of life. However, just because we give financially doesn’t mean that we won’t ever suffer or have needs. The belief that giving to God will always get you more money is called the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ – read “Cash Cow” for specifics on that false doctrine.
Now, let’s deal with the specifics of tithing. Tithing is an Old Testament commandment (Num 18:24), not a New Testament one. Jews tithe; christians “lay by in store as we have prospered” (1 Cor 16:1-3). God doesn’t give a specific percentage that christians should contribute. We must prepare beforehand what we will give (that’s the “lay by in store” part – 1 Cor 16:2). He also commands that we be “cheerful givers” and that we give as we have “purposed in our hearts” (2 Cor 9:7). Though tithing (which means ‘one tenth’) is a good rule of thumb for giving… it isn’t a command. The church is instructed by God to take up a collection once a week – you must decide for yourself what a cheerful and faithful giver looks like.
How old was David when he slew Goliath?
Dear Faithful Slinger,
We have absolutely no idea. All we have to gauge David's age is that Saul referred to him as a "youth" (1 Sam 17:33) and that David said that he was old enough to slay a bear and a lion (1 Sam 17:34). Youth is a pretty generic term that could refer to anything from a baby to someone in their late teens, early twenties. From David's statements, he was probably somewhere in the range from fifteen to twenty... but as we said, we can't be sure.
Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart when Aaron went to tell him to let His people go? Doesn't that go against free will??
Chisel In Hand
Dear Chisel In Hand,
It is true that Ex 7:3 says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, but Ex 8:15 says that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. Both are true. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart by sending Moses to take Pharaoh’s slaves away, and Pharaoh chose to allow the plagues to anger and harden his heart instead of soften it. God sent the events that affected Pharaoh’s heart, and Pharaoh chose how he would react to them.
It is the same as the statement, “I made him angry” versus “He got angry with me.” It is true that our words and actions can cause a reaction from others, but at the same time, when someone gets angry, that is still their choice. Pharaoh was the kind of person that when confronted with the signs and wonders from God, he hardened his heart and became angry. God sent the signs and wonders; Pharaoh chose to react like he did.
We apply the four gospels to our life today, but, of course, Jesus had not died yet during the time of His preaching. So are the gospels still under the Mosaic Law?
Dear Timeline Troubles,
Jesus was a Jewish man who lived under the Jewish law, and His life records that fact. Jesus commanded His fellow countryman to obey the Mosaic laws for cleansing and sacrifices (Lk 17:12-14). He taught that Moses’ law was right and good, even when the Pharisees and scribes weren’t (Matt 23:1-3), and He answered questions regarding Moses’ laws – like the laws concerning divorce (Matt 19:3-9). So if Jesus’ entire life was a Jewish one, why are the gospels part of the New Testament? The answer: Jesus’ preaching.
Jesus lived as a Jew, spoke to Jews, answered Jewish questions, and preached Christianity. Jesus preached the good news of the kingdom which was to come. Matt 4:23, Matt 9:35, Matt 11:5, Mk 8:35, Lk 4:18-19, and Lk 7:22 all say that Jesus came preaching the gospel to His kinsmen. Jesus preached that there was a change coming and that all the world needed to be prepared for it. Jesus preached the message of a kingdom that was soon to be, the kingdom of Christ that He would buy with His own blood (Acts 20:28). Another reason that the four gospels are part of the New Testament is that we are commanded to be imitators of Christ (1 Cor 11:1). The way Jesus lived is the way christians should live. Jesus preached about a new law, He lived as an example for those under the new law, and He died that we might have a new law. The four gospels are all accounts of the life of the Man that gave us the New Testament.
Gen 11:1 states that there was only one language, but how is this possible if Gen 10:5, 20, and 31 seem to say that there were more languages before the tower of Babel was built?
The book of Genesis is like all history books and sometimes gives us a big-picture view of events and then goes back to fill in the details. Genesis 10 gives us the genealogies of the nations and peoples that descended from Noah after the Flood (Gen 10:1). These genealogies cover the time before the Tower of Babel, and they also cover the generations after the Tower of Babel. After giving a full picture of those who descended from Noah, Genesis 11 goes back to fill in the details of how people got their different languages and what caused them to spread out across the globe.