The Scripture sets forth three distinct categories of giving which
appertain to the Justified walking in the Way of Life. The first and
most vital category is support of the local Shepherd, that he may
teach the Word of God. The second is support of the Evangelist, that
he may proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The third is relief
of fellow saints who have fallen into economic distress. Of the three
categories, the oft-quoted criterion, “not grudgingly or of
necessity,” applies only to the latter two.
Contrary to the general teaching of the Protestant Pulpit, the Tithe is the criterion for the first category of giving. The Scripture records that both Abraham and Jacob paid the Tithe to Melchizedek, and that Christ Jesus is a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Thus, the Tithe was instituted long before institution of the Old Covenant, and the Tithe continues in force in the present era of the New Covenant.
This study looks in detail not only at the valid categories of giving, but also at the categories which bring discipline and cursing. It enumerates the blessings associated with giving and the judgment which results from failure to give. Throughout, particular attention is paid to the ministry of the apostle Paul, and to the example which it provides regarding the ownership of physical assets of a ministry or local congregation.