First Timothy 5:17 has also been used as a basis for preachers to receive your “tithe” money. It says: “Let the elders that rule well [“Serving” is actually a more accurate word than “ruling” Matt 20:25-28, 23:11; Mark 10:43; Luke 22:26-27, 1Peter 5:3] be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.”
Tithe promoters say that “honor” means money, because the Greek word means “of value”; and because the following verse, Timothy 5:18 states: “For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward [or hire].”
Once again, the pro-tithers are hanging their hat on this scripture about the ox. We have already gone through what “muzzle the ox” means and it has nothing to do with tithing. For the same reasons mentioned earlier it indicates that they are not talking about tithe, or even money with this statement either.
So where do these preachers get a money aspect to 1Timothy 5:18, let alone any connection to a tithe?
They claim that the word “reward/hire” means money. To justify their position the pro-tithers quote Matt 20:8 “So when even was come, the Lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the laborers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.” As well as James 5:4 “Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud,…”
Then the preacher explains that the Greek word for “hire” is the same in both of these scriptures. So, since Matt 20:8 is supposedly talking about money as payment (or hire), and James 5:4 “probably is too”, they state that 1Tim 5:17 is referring to cash as well.
They come to this conclusion by ignoring the fact that the word “hire” can actually mean anything at all. It could be the praise and appreciation given to volunteers, for example, but usually it is something of material value such as room and board, food, or even another service given in exchange for services rendered; a fact that makes the “muzzle the ox” metaphor all the more appropriate; emphasizing the concept of basic physical maintenance as being the only requirement.
(The procedure that they use to create fallacies like this is very important to understand. To see exactly how all this was done, in a step-by-step manner, along with evidence of its intentionality, see Appendix A: Anatomy of a Deception. It is definitely worth the trip.)
2Thessalonians 3:10 says “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”
We have been conditioned to think they do not eat because they have not been paid money with which to buy food, because people today are almost always paid with money. Paul did not say “neither should he be paid”. The true meaning of this verse is that the pay was the food – the daily bread, and this is consistent with other scriptures as well as much of history.
During the Great Depression, for example, people worked on farms just for food, a place to stay, and twenty five cents a day. So payment in basic necessities is not a concept that is unknown.
Another possible example: Luke 12:41-42 “And the Lord said, Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall set over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.”
This scripture implies that food was the payment of the household staff. That is in line with Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 10:10, and Luke 10:7. Luke
10:7 in which Jesus says “and in the self same house abide ye, eating and drinking such things as they have; for worthy is the laborer of his hire“. There is no guesswork here. This is not an implication, but a flat-out statement that room and board constituted their pay.
John 10:1-8 Says that any preacher that does not abide in the instructions of Jesus first and foremost is a “thief and robber”. This is referring in part to preachers for profit; any of them who accept money as personal gain for preaching.
Paul sums up the sentiment of a true worker for Christ in 1Timothy 6:8 – “having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”.
Actually, I have short-changed you a bit with that scripture. Let us look at 1Timothy 6:3-12 in its full context because it really spells it all out:
“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness [a non-materialistic, moneyless lifestyle mentioned above];He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that [financial] gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
But godliness with contentment [non-materialism] is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
Paul is not going so far as even addressing the subject of a tithe fraud, he is talking about plain old religion-based capitalism of any sort: preachers who want to prosper financially from preaching.
So, having had their way with the word “hire” they then proceed to abuse the word “honor” in 1Timothy 5:17 by claiming that the word there means a monetary payment: “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy ofdouble honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.”
The Greek word for “honor” in that scripture is Strong’s #5092, which is very close in meaning to #5091 which means to regard as valuable, or to esteem highly as being precious. The difference being that #5092 has the added
connotation of recognizing a value by paying respect or expressing appreciation for the person’s worth. It can represent monetary payment, but is also used figuratively, according to Strong’s as “esteem of the highest degree”. This would certainly be the case in this instance, given the context and circumstances.
One is an inner feeling, and the other is an outward expression of that feeling. Acts 28:10 is a good example: “Who also honored  us with many honors ;
The second half of that verse (and when we departed…) is not directly tied to the thought in the first half, so it is not like they were “laded with honors”.
They outwardly paid them honor, with words expressing their inner feelings of appreciation that they had for these men.
The point is that there is no indication of money involved. If there was, it would be only as much as necessary to cover the immediate overhead costs, for instance to pay their way as ship passengers.
As an additional note, look again at the second half of Acts 28:10 above: “Who also honored us with many honors; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary.”
Paul healed many of these people, and they showered him with honors of appreciation, but they only “laded us with such things as were necessary”. It sounds like no bags of money, or jewels, or credit account at the bank, or other material wealth as the pro-tithers would have us believe. It involved just enough provisions as they could use in the short term (“as were necessary”).
This once again, is exactly as it is supposed to be for the bond-servants, according to the Master, Jesus.
As we covered earlier, tithing to someone as a means of honoring them with a financial reward was a practice of the ancient pagan cultures. Pro-tithers take a decidedly poignant Christian situation described in Acts 28, and interpret it in worldly terms of a pagan culture when they read this monetary reward into the act of honoring those who are in service to Christ.
If “honor” really meant payment of money as pro-tithers claim, it would have been word #591, just as it is in any other place in the New Testament where it is referring to material wealth, or an Earthly reward of some type.
1Peter 5:3 says to teach and minister to others “willingly, readily, without payment of money, without assuming authority over them, but leading by example.”
How can this scripture be true if, as the tithe promoters assert, Paul was in effect telling Timothy to hold out for double pay (double honor), (plus “first fruit tithes”, plus offerings, according to some) as part of his contract negotiations? Who is wrong here – Peter and Paul, or the money-coveting preachers?
Once again we see that the pro-tithe preachers take a perfectly innocent, honest statement of scripture – in this case 1Timothy 5:17-18 about respect and brotherly love – and do it violence; twisting and perverting it to give it a monetary, commercially marketable application; making fantastic statements about plain words in Scripture and in the process denying that other scriptures like 1Timothy 6:8 and 1Peter 5:3 mean what they say. (See appendix A).
A 24% Tithe?
Let’s think about the pro-tithe spin on the “double honor” concept for a minute to delve into the asininity of it.
If, for the sake of argument we ignore all the pertinent scriptures that indicate otherwise and assume that the “reward” spoken of here is money; then following pro-tithe logic, you should now be paying 20% because “double honor” = double pay = double tithe, according to the pro-tithe myth.
Wait, not so fast; this is a cash redemption, so as we established earlier it’s not 10% but instead is 12% that is being doubled, for a total of 24% off the top of your income from all sources that these preachers would want, not 20%.
No, wait one more time. This is the same preacher who wants you to hand over your “first fruit tithe” first, and then pay your regular tithe, and then double it all because he is “ruling well” as a preacher. If you doubt that he is ruling well, just ask him and he will assure you that he is.
So in order for us to “honor God” or to “follow God’s Law”, this conceited jamoke wants 34% of your income to go to him, or is it 44%? Is the first fruit tithe also supposed to be doubled? I’m losing track of it all. Maybe they will do a thirteen-part study explaining that subject as well.
So, I wonder if I understand this correctly… They say that 20/24% (double honor = double tithe) is supposed to go to the preachers that actually do study, and use their honest knowledge to preach, teach, or perform any other service that is generally of value and are therefore ruling well.
Aside from that, you would pay only 10/12% to those preachers that do not seem to do much of anything other than lie around in the church lounge, plagiarize a few sermons, and call themselves a preacher, man of God, etc.; and who therefore are not ruling well, but they still have that 10% coming anyway according to the theory, or else you are “robbing God” by not giving it to them. Is this correct?
Hebrews 13:5 says “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have;”
But this pro-tithe preacher tells us not only to pay them something that they do not rightfully have coming to them, but to then double it. What is wrong with this picture?
This cannot be the only preacher claiming this, nor can it be the only outlandish, ungodly scam that criminal preachers have counterfeited from legitimate scriptures. This is only one of many examples of what I meant when I said earlier that their incomes were limited only by their imaginations.
|“This double tithe doctrine is more “double Dutch than anything else.”|
Hebrews 13:7 follows up, and explicitly instructs us to expect non-materialistic behavior in our preachers or anyone else of a supposedly mature Christian nature in a leadership position (these are not necessarily the same person), and to be looking for good examples. Or does that mean we should keep a wary eye out for bad examples? Probably both, but you will not know which is which if you allow yourself to be fed scripture without critically examining it to see if you are being provided intelligent truthful information. As it is today, people see even the worst of preachers as being righteous, even while they take the congregation’s money. This is because the preachers are the ones who have formed the people’s definition of what righteousness should look like.
In this process the preachers have tailored that definition to match their own behavior, thereby portraying themselves as being righteous. That definition of Christian righteousness includes you paying them a tenth of what you have worked for, and it also includes them being righteous when they take it.
An independent reading of scripture will quite readily dispel the illusions that paid or materialistic preachers are acceptable to God. Anyone who supports a preacher that promotes an abomination like this “double honor equals double tithe” doctrine, quite frankly deserves what they get.
Scripture does not allow the practice of preaching God’s Word for a profit, though in their ignorance there may today be well-intentioned people who do so. That same statement could also be said of those who preach today’s tithe in general; they actually think they are doing something good.
However there is something fundamentally dark and wrong about the heart and mind of a preacher who goes to such great lengths to misrepresent scriptures by devising and promoting such embarrassingly obvious frauds such as this “double tithe” premise. “Double tithe” is unheard of in God’s Old Covenant Law. Has that fact ever crossed the mind of any tither in that preacher’s flock? Yet the “Kingdom law teacher” that I have heard it from and who probably invented this false doctrine, labels those who disagree with him as anti law or anti kingdom, etc. Even though this double tithe doctrine is more “double Dutch deception” than anything else.
Ephesians 5:3-7 is emphatic about worldliness: “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
|“He’ll teach spiritual concepts the way a first-grader explains to his classmates how babies come from a cabbage.|
Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
To clarify a few key words and terms: the word “uncleanness” means the carnal emotions that are not quite as egregious as lust and fornication. This might be traits like envy, pride, indignation, and self-centeredness, etc.
The word “covetousness” is not limited to blatant larcenous, I want the world J.P. Morgan type of psychopathy. Covetousness means selfish desire in even small amounts, and it certainly includes the amount of self-interest and greed that it takes to deceive their brother into the vassalage of giving up a tenth of his income; better known as today’s tithe.
That term “nor covetous man, who is an idolater” is not listing two separate conditions of “covetous” and “idolater”. Instead it is identifying covetousness (or greed) as being a form of idolatry; a man is by definition an idolater because he is covetous. This is supported a little more clearly by Colossians 3:5-6 “Put to death therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry; for which things’ sake cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience: wherein ye also once walked, when ye lived in these things;
Even the obfuscated KJV makes this point clear “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:”
It goes on to say that this type of person is not qualified for God’s Kingdom, and that anyone who follows them will incur God’s wrath as being disobedient.
This disobedience is being assumed because it basically goes without saying that if you follow a worldly preacher, no matter how slick his presentation is, you will be on the track of ignorance and disobedience right from the start. His words are vain because worldly people do not have the capacity to fully grasp, let alone teach spiritual concepts. He will teach spiritual concepts the way a first-grader explains to his class mates how babies come from a cabbage patch, and others will believe him because they have nothing better to go by.
They say that in the land of the blind, a one-eyed man is king. Likewise, in the land of the scripturally ignorant: excessive ignorance aggressively presented is perceived as expertise. Particularly when the assumed expert, the preacher paid to operate the local church, is the cause of the general ignorance in the first place.
1Timothy 3:3″Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not abrawler, not covetous;”
1Timothy 3:8 “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;”
That term “not greedy of filthy lucre” also found in Titus 1:7, 1:11 and 1Peter 5:2, is a somewhat exaggerated translation. A more accurate rendering would be “any motivation toward personal financial gain at all above and beyond immediate basic needs”. “Greedy” in that scripture, can be defined as “desiring anything beyond that which is required for basic health and wellbeing”; anything beyond what is needed to meet the needs of that particular day.
You will not hear this fact from most preachers because they fail this greed test miserably, but pretend that they have not. This is due to the extreme way that these scriptures are translated and represented in the most widely published Bible versions, which almost paint a picture of a Snidely Whiplash type of villain. They have been worded in this manner for the purpose of lowering the bar of acceptability to the point that almost any preacher can avoid being identified as unqualified. This protects both the preachers, and the trade.
This non-materialistic requirement in 1Timothy 3:3 is stated by the phrase “not greedy of filthy lucre”, but it is then underscored in the same verse by the addition of the redundant term “not covetous”. Covetousness is usually defined as being of an extreme degree that incites immoral action, but in reality that term “not covetous” indicates a state of discipline having no interest whatsoever in having more worldly comforts or pleasures than that which providence provides at the moment. It is a form of humility in which total acceptance and contentment with current personal circumstances is the rule. As Paul demonstrates in 1Timothy 6:8 “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”
In contrast to the way that the above mentioned negative terms have been translated in an extreme manner, the positive nature of the word “blameless” found in Titus 1:6,7; 1Tim 3:2,10, 5:7 is very under-stated in many translations. This English word “blameless” is a very mitigated rendering of the original Greek. This word does not mean that a person merely stays out of jail and maintains an acceptable, civil behavior on par with the society in which he lives.
This word translated as “blameless” in scripture is an emphatic word that means an exemplary, shining, living example of all that a Christian should be: honest, selfless, courageous, humble, faithful, etc.; someone with the self-control and discipline to the degree in which of whom it would be impossible to find a moral fault.
This is the person who has a need in his heart to help others, even if it costs him money to do it; Paul, Peter, Timothy or Titus, for example. It is not someone who is there because he is paid to do the job.
I am getting off on another subject, so I will stop right here. The point is that any preacher for pay, let alone one who actively defrauds through a tithe doctrine, is not even in the same moral ballpark as that which scripture requires.
1Timothy 5:17 simply means what it says – give the person the extra respect and honor that they have earned, especially if they are trying to teach you something, and particularly when they are sacrificing their own comfort and personal wants to do it. This act of honoring may, or may not involve providing material goods and/or money if their current need calls for it. This concept of honor certainly does not make money paramount in these situations, however.
There is no secret meaning to this verse. We have many cashless ways to show respect and give honor, even double honor to those we hold in high esteem. Read this scripture without the assumptions and superimposed dollar signs that pro-tithers insert into it, and it is all very simple.
“Living of the Gospel”
As with the “muzzle the ox” scripture 1Corinthians 9, let us quickly examine Paul’s comment in 1Timothy 5:18 a little further, because this concept is foundational, and very important. He states “For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward[hire].”
So, where did God ordain this “reward” that Paul is referring to? What does this reward consist of? This is not in reference to Old Covenant tithe law in any way. This is a term taken from the New Covenant.
As we just mentioned, that statement refers to Matthew 10:10: “and in the self same house abide ye, eating and drinking such things as they have; for worthy is the laborer of his meat“. and Luke 10:7 in which Jesus says: “for worthy is the laborer of his hire”.
Notice that this is once again, talking about food, drink, and lodging only. “Meat” is Strong’s #5160 which means food, plain and simple. When Paul quotes Jesus he uses the word reward which is #3408 which means “pay for services” either literally or figuratively. We know from the context Jesus is talking about a payment in the form of food and lodging. “Hire” in Luke 10:7 is also #3408.
So these parallel scriptures equate food with hire (meaning payment) by using the two different words in the two accounts describing the same event. This basically makes them synonymous and interchangeable for the purposes of our study. It also renders any pro-tithe assertion that the hire of God’s workers is supposed to be money, particularly lots of money, as being practically impossible.
Someone may flog a dead horse and try to infer from those two passages that the disciples also got paid some cash for their journey, or for personal gain, but this is an assumption without evidence. This would have been violating Jesus’ specific instructions of not carrying a (coin) purse. He even forbade them from accepting gifts of such items as basic clothing, unless it was in immediate need.
In Luke 22:37 Jesus explained that He was prophesied to be counted among the transgressors (spurious religious groups). In order for His followers to qualify, or at least appear as such, Jesus instructed them in verse 22:36 to be found at the time of His arrest carrying food provisions, money, and to be armed, just like the various typical religious cults of the time were.
|“The lure of easy money attracts a certain type of person. That personality type has no business calling himself a man of God.”|
You might notice that, while they did produce a couple of swords, no one in the group was able to produce any money or food.
There is a perfectly good reason for shunning financial prosperity – You can’t serve God and mammon (wealth, i.e. materialism);
Matthew 6:24 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Luke 16:13“No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”
Notice that these do not say “Ye cannot serve God and mammon, except to a certain degree”, “Except to a middle-to upper-class level”, “unless you are a preacher”, or “Therefore let your accountants and financial consultants serve mammon and deal with your money for you, while you concentrate on honing your marketable speaking and preaching skills so you can make even more money”.
The worldliness of money is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the spirituality required of any of us, but especially of a true man of God. In Matthew 13:22, Matt 4:18-19, and Luke 8:14, Jesus explained “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.”
The lure of easy money attracts a certain type of person. That personality type has no business calling himself a man of God. How can this type of person even truly receive and absorb the Word, let alone convey it to others honestly? That is why you do not see many bankers, investment brokers, or casino owners who have an interest in preaching God’s Word. Except of course for money.
Scripture identifies the reward for preaching the Word of the True God as being treasure in Heaven, not riches on Earth. To a person like this the reward may simply be the satisfaction of being of service to God and to his fellow man (strange concept to some, I know). The reward for doing God’s work should not be in the form of a competing false god (money). Why would God reward a good servant with that which turns His stomach (the abomination of worldliness)? That’s kind of defeating the purpose. It is like rewarding your Eagle Scout for his merit achievement with a bag of dope and a bottle of whiskey.
It appears that the handling of petty cash is allowable only to those who are incorruptible and who can be trusted to use it only as a tool of convenience (John 4:8, 13:29), or (in the event of larger amounts) to help others (Eph 4:28), but it did not nullify the austere nature of the job. A coin purse is not a temptation to someone with the discipline, maturity, and non-worldly focus of true discipleship, and it was therefore allowed with caution, and to a very limited degree.
Look at so-called Christian churches today – lots of money, little truth. On the other hand, how do you bribe or corrupt a preacher that is detached from materialism and who accepts only as much as he can wear on his back or fit into his belly? Someone who truly wants nothing more than the basics of life in order to do his job?
Paul was a determined, living example of what he preached. 2Corinthians 10:11 “Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present.”
In other words Paul is saying “you will see when we get there that we live what we preach”.
Also, Acts 8:18-24 implies that it is an affront to God to even tryto mix money with Spiritual things. In this story Simon offered money to receive a Spiritual gift, and Peter strongly upbraided him for it. If Simon was so chastised for offering money, what would Peter say to profiteers today who claim to be Christian, and yet charge (as in fees, dues, or a fraudulent mandatory tithe) for Spiritual services? Even if Peter rebuked Simon because he discerned that he had a profit motive of his own, it still makes the same point as far as our study goes: money is to stay out of the picture of spiritual matters. Preaching is not to be commodified for financial gain.
As mentioned earlier – In Acts 28:7-11 Paul was shipwrecked and he befriended and healed many of the inhabitants of the area. Of which Paul said:“ Who also honored us with many honors; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary.”
These people were extremely grateful and thought Paul was a god, if Paul wanted riches he could have had some there and then. Yet Paul accepted only a reward of necessary things. Why? Simply because that is part of the rules for men of God. Why carry suitcases and a money belt when God is going to provide your needs as you go?
Render Money Unto Me
Another example of this money-centric, limited-only-by-their-imagination mindset of tithe promoters is their interpretation of Jesus’ “Render unto God” statement.
Matt 22:17-21 “Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute untoCaesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.
The pro-tithe account of that scripture goes like this: Since Jesus was talking about a Roman coin, he was talking about money. Since Render unto Caesar meant to give money unto Caesar as he demands it, then Render unto God likewise meant to give money unto God as He demands it, which of course “we all know” is the tithe.
So according to this pro-tithe declaration, love, humility, truth, or prayers are fine, but what God is really looking for is cold hard cash, and He wants you to make sure you give lots of it to Bubba in the pulpit wearing the nice outfit.
Apparently the things of God are not spiritual things, but are financial instruments of some sort.