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Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Friday, December 8, 2017

Galatians (6:6) (Lesson 23)



Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

Established November 2008                                                       Published Weekly on Friday

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men (and women) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (1Timothy 2:3-4)

Galatians (6:6)                                                                      (Lesson 23)

Welcome to HBS.

One of my unswerving prayers is I never teach y’all something that does not line up with Scripture.  The other positive thing I attempt to do each week is I try to make this Bible study interesting, and I have to admit it isn’t effortless.  Certain books of the Bible lend themselves to storytelling and this, naturally, attracts readers because people enjoy a good story.  I offer Genesis and Exodus as two examples.  Hollywood moguls thought so too because several motion pictures were produced based on characters and events from these two books.  But I’ve yet to see a movie based on Galatians or Ephesians and probably never will, and that’s my point.  Some books of the Bible just don’t “light up the big screen” like other books.  Some people would call them “dry” or “boring.”  It takes a mature Believer to understand the entire Bible for what it is; “a love letter from the Creator God to His creation, inviting us to be reconciled to Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:18).

Our salvation is just the first step in a process known as sanctification, thus I urge y’all to remember why we’re here:  For in Him we live and move and are.  ‘As also some of the poets among you have said, “For we are also His offspring (Acts 17:28 – Berean Literal Bible).

But the One sanctifying and those being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brothers (Hebrews 2:11).

Our life in the Spirit isn’t just a walk it’s a journey.  There are no short-cuts to learning how to walk by the Spirit (Romans 8:4-25).  You can take comfort in knowing you’re not journeying alone (Romans 5:3-5; Philippians 1:6).

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Please open your Bible at Galatians 6:6.

Galatians 6

6: The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.

The one who is taught – the word taught is from the Koine Greek word Katecheo, (Kat-ay-kleh’-o), Verb, Strong’s Greek #2727, which means to instruct.  Paul means to say the Galatians are involved in a regular, ongoing ministry.  Being taught the word of God is (or should be) a normal part of their life from now on. 

We worship God at church, that’s a given, but the primary reason Believers attend church services is to be taught the word of truth from the Bible.  To mature in the faith the Believer must hear from God regularly?  One of the ways a Believer can achieve this is by listening to the word being taught in their church.  It was done this way in the O.T. and in the first century church.  Those house churches would spend the majority of their time listening to the word of God. 

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12-13).

The Bible isn’t a dead language; this is the world’s viewpoint.  It’s living and active because its author is the One, true God.  When we read and study God’s Truths, His living power invades our hearts and grows within us; His power changes us from the inside out.

The word – we find this term in John 1:1, referring to Jesus Christ.  The word is the gospel of and about Jesus Christ.  Our Apostle Paul uses a variety of ways to refer to this “word.”  

The word of God – 1 Corinthians 14:36; 2 Corinthians 2:17; Philippians 1:14; Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:13
The word of the Lord – 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Thessalonians 3:1
The word – Galatians 6:6; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; Colossians 4:3; 2 Timothy 4:2

At the risk of upsetting some people, I need to point something out to y’all.  Some time ago many churches in an effort to bolster their membership ranks and in an attempt to halt the flow of families leaving the church decided to provide some “glamour and glitz” to their Sunday services in hopes of producing the “Wow” effect amongst the congregations and this trend is ongoing.  But here’s the thing, despite all the effort, energy, and money diverted to this program, and it is substantial, the church is not a member of the entertainment industry.  It’s not about the church leader, their diverse programs, or the spectacle they can provide.  These can all go away, but what must not diminish is the word of God or its Truths; its content (nothing added and nothing taken away) must be taught regularly to the Body of Christ.  Sadly, this is exactly what has diminished in the church today.  In the one place where God’s Truth should be found, and heard routinely, many churches are failing.    

Is to share – this phrase relates to the law of spiritual sowing and reaping.  Those who are taught the word are under the spiritual responsibility to share in the ministry of those who preach and teach it.

In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul writes about his use of liberty re: ” sowing and reaping, “the plowman ought to plow in hope and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops” (9:10b).

In other words, let those who are being blessed by the ministry of their faithful church preachers and teachers remember the words from our Apostle Paul:  So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel (9:14). 

is to share is a command from the Lord and mature Believers understand this (1 Corinthians 14:37).  However Paul did not take advantage of this blessing, but he advocated it for other preachers and teachers (1 Corinthians 9).  However, this is a hot topic because people attending church are aware of certain preachers who have become wealthy “making a gain” off the ministry.  They’ve turned it into a lucrative enterprise, in other words.  2 Corinthians 12:17-18 stands as a resounding rebuke to those individuals who would abuse the word of God in this manner. 

If you attend a church on Sunday morning, you’re going to hear the word tithe most likely, and that’s because churches today teach the tithe.  Now I’ve been a “regular” attendee of more than a few churches in my lifetime and of various denominations, including the nondenominational denomination.  And out of all those church groups there was only one that did not use the word “tithe,” when they spoke of taking up a collection to support their ministry.  Instead, they put baskets at the rear of the church and this is where you placed your envelope, if you were a member.  Everyone else, if they desired, could walk by and drop a ”love-offering” of whatever amount they chose or had purposed in their heart into one of the baskets.  Please know this was the only church that got it right, because in the Dispensation of Grace Believers are not commanded to tithe.     

Most church leaders won’t agree with what I just said because, as I’ve already stated, they teach the tithe as biblical truth.  I’ll cite one example from my own experience:  I won’t use the man’s name because I don’t think that’s necessary.  However, I listened to his radio program one Sunday morning and heard this well-known Baptist preacher and author say, “How dare you show up in church without your tithe!” Then he quoted a well-known verse from Malachi 3.  I was stunned; and his audience should have been.  I turned the radio off, because his message turned me off.  Why?  This is not what the Bible teaches!  

This gentleman should have known better, but to be fair, he’s only relaying the message he was taught in seminary.  My advice would be to spend more time studying this book and rightly dividing it, per God’s command, instead of relying solely on the teaching of men (1 Corinthians 2:2-5; 2 Timothy 2:15).  I’m reminded this same Baptist pastor once taught you could lose your salvation, but he recanted that belief after years of personal Bible study.  He now understands, “Once saved, always saved” (Ephesians 1:13, 2:8-9, Romans 8:38).   He finally understands God’s truth on this important matter, even though that truth has always been there.  But the truth on Tithing is there as well. 

What Does the Scripture Say?

First, do the same thing I did and grab your concordance and look up the word "tithe."  It’s plural in the New Testament.  You'll discover it is used only eight times.  It is found once in Matthew and twice in Luke, each one is referring to the Old Testament law.  Tithe is used five times in Hebrews 7, speaking of a time before the Law was given, when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek.  The word tithe does not appear in the N.T. again after this. 

Our Apostle Paul devoted two entire chapters of scripture (2 Corinthians 8 & 9) to the subject of stewardship, and he never used the word tithe once.   Let’s be clear, Tithing is taught in the Bible, but only in the O.T, but even in the Old Testament it was not a form of giving.  You see, giving was always voluntary in the O.T.  The tithe was a tax; and not giving; just like we are taxed every April 15th.  You’re not sending the IRS a gift; you are paying off a debt.  If you don’t pay it, you face retribution, i.e. penalties, fines, wage garnishment, or possibly jail time.  So, in a nutshell, tithing was taxation under the Mosaic economy. 

Many churches promote a concept called “storehousetithing, based on Malachi 3:10, where God commands Israel to “bring the whole tithe into the storehouse.”  I’ve heard this sermon more than once, and I know some of you have too.  One of the churches I attended told our congregation one Sunday morning “this church is God’s storehouse, and our tithes belong to Him, and His blessing is conditioned upon faithfulness in tithing.”

I’ve taught the book of Malachi a couple of times and verse 1 specifically says the letter was written to the Israelites.  You see, God’s chosen people were not bringing their grain offerings to the temple.  So, the LORD challenged them to bring “the full tithe” of grain sacrifices (Leviticus 6:14-23), and see that He would bless them with an abundance of future crops.

The book of Malachi and its message is not meant for us Gentiles, but I wonder how my pastor would have reacted if I placed a couple loaves of bread in the offering basket instead of cash as it was passed to me?  I imagine he would have been as shocked to see bread in the offering basket as I was to hear he was trying to put me back under the Law. 


Let’s be clear:  you can give as much of your talent, time, and treasure to God (the church) as you please, but let’s look at these reasons why tithing is not God’s standard for Grace Age Believers:

A: Tithing was a part of the Law of Moses; Believers are not under the law, were under grace.  Romans, Galatians, and other New Testament passages make it clear Believers are not under the Law.  That does not mean we are lawless, because we are under the law of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:20-21; James 1:25, 2:8, 12; Romans 13:8-10).  God’s moral laws are still valid under the New Covenant and are repeated as commands in the New Testament.  But here’s the thing, the Church has never received a command to tithe from God.

Those who argue for tithing point out that Abraham and Jacob both tithed prior to the Mosaic Law (Genesis 14:20, 28:22).  Thus tithing supersedes the law, they say.  If you examine the references to Abraham’s and Jacob’s tithing, you will see God did not command them to tithe and there is no indication this was their regular practice.  On one occasion after a victory in battle, Abraham tithed the spoils from that battle, but nothing is said regarding his other possessions or his regular income.  It was a “one-time tithe.”  But they fail to mention this important detail (Genesis 14:20).  To follow Jacob’s example would be wrong, because he was making a conditional vow before God, promising that if God would keep him safe and provide for him, then he would give God a tenth (Genesis 28:20-22).  That’s hardly a good example to follow in giving, and yet they use it frequently. Tithing was required under the Mosaic Law, but, again, Believers are not under the Law, they are under grace. 

B. Tithing was an involuntary tax to support Israel; Believers are not a part of the theocratic nation.

In the Old Testament, there was both required and voluntary giving.  Every Israelite was commanded to fund national worship and to help the poor.  In actuality, there was not just one tithe, but rather two or three 1) Leviticus 27: 30-33; Numbers 18:20-21; 2) Deuteronomy 12:17-18; 3) Deuteronomy 14:28-29, so adding it up the total responsibility wasn’t 10 percent, it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 percent.

The tithe consisted of the Temple tax, the Land Sabbath Tax, and the Special Profit-Sharing Tax (leaving the four corners of their fields unharvested, for the poor).  As I pointed out already, the required giving for the Jew was in the neighborhood of 25 percent annually.  In addition to all of this, the O.T. mentions voluntary giving, which included first-fruit giving and freewill offerings.
  
What often gets lost in this required and voluntary giving is the LORD wasn’t all that interested in how much His people were giving but on the attitude of the giver and the quality of the gift.  Think about that for a moment, as we prepare to move to Paul’s teachings on the subject for there are similarities.

The point is "tithing" is an Old Testament practice that was equivalent to our modern-day tax structure.  Tithes were not gifts at all, but were required giving.  Tithes as most of you know means one-tenth and from the time of Moses onward, the Israelites (not the Gentiles) were commanded to pay it.  But according to the Bible they were to pay it to only one group.  These people were the Levites who (among other people) ministered in the Temple:

And behold, I have given the children of Levi all (what) the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service of the tabernacle of the congregation (Numbers 18:21). 

It was made abundantly clear that the biblical tithe was to be paid to the tribe of Levi, one of the twelve tribes of ancient Israel.  In this initial law of tithing, no one else had the slightest authority to receive that tithe.  Even Jesus Christ, while he was teaching on earth, did not use (nor did he demand) a penny of biblical tithe to fund his preaching activities and neither did His apostles.  Did you ever consider this?  Looking at this biblically, the Lord was a descendant, in an adoptive way, from the tribe of Judah (Hebrews 7:14).  He was not a Levite.  Thus, He was ineligible to receive any part of the biblical tithe that was ordained for use by the Levites at the time of Moses.  

The central fact was this:  only members of the tribe of Levi were at first ordained in the Bible to receive the tithe (the tenth).  The Levites in turn were to give one-tenth of that tithe to the Priests (Numbers 18:25–28) who did not tithe at all.  In our modern age, if you think about it, even the ministers and priests are disqualified from receiving any biblical tithe because there is no official body of men functioning as Levites.

Since there is no Temple in existence, there are also no Levites, ministers, and Priests serving in the Temple.  The tithe at first was brought into play by Moses to maintain the service of the Temple.  With no Temple, the major factor for tithe paying does not exist as far as the biblical laws of tithing are concerned.  For preachers and church leaders to change the direction of paying the tithe from that of the Temple to the service of their Christian ministry is to do so without any authority whatever from God, the author of Scripture.  In fact, to use the tithing laws in a manner not sanctioned by the Word of God is to sin against biblical law.  And that is what most church leaders and evangelists are doing today.

Now some people get excited and say the church will go "under" in short order if the people are told they don't have to tithe.  I disagree and remind them if the church is supported only because Believers are wrongly taught to tithe then that practice must end.  Many churches today would have to "cease operations" if their tithes were taken away.  But the churches God chooses to exist will continue to thrive because God’s people will continue to support them with their love offerings and the church will “never" lack for anything.  One godly writer said, "God's work done God's way will never lack God's provision." (Galatians 6:2)

The tithe is never imposed on the Believer.  We don't live in a Theocracy!  According to Deuteronomy 12, the tithe was to be paid in Jerusalem only.  So, if you think you are under obligation to give a tithe, per scripture, not only are you 2,000 years too late, because the Jewish Temple is no longer in existence, but what’s more there’s more than 5,000 miles separating you from your goal.  Here’s the thing, this is so clearly taught in the New Testament one has to be oblivious or severely prejudiced to miss it.   

If we are not under the tithe, and clearly we are not, how much are we supposed to give?   Before I answer that question, let’s all look to God’s example of giving in Christ:

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). 

Jesus Christ laid aside His privileges, took on human flesh, and took upon Himself the sin and corruption of this world, in order that we might become rich (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Grace Age giving then looks to the substitionary sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself up for all, so we might be rescued from God’s wrath, and says, “Lord, You gave all for me.  What can I give You in return?” 

Paul may have had this thought (or one like it in mind) when he wrote about the subject of stewardship to the Corinthian church:  You are not your own, for you have been bought with a price…” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

In the Dispensation of Grace, all that we are and all we have belongs to God; not just a tenth.  We are merely the “managers” of His resources.  As good stewards of God’s resources, we are responsible to use them wisely to further His work here on earth.   Under Paul’s guidance, this is all about inner motivation and not outward compulsion (2 Corinthians 8:3-5, 9:7). 

Therefore, we shouldn’t think, “How much can I afford to give?” but rather, “How much can I give?”  We should not wait for someone to pressure us into giving; directing us where to channel our funds.  We should look for and be aware of good works that need to be met for in Ephesians 2:10 Paul writes:  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. 

The word workmanship is better translated His masterpiece.  God is working out in our lives a tremendous exhibition of His love, His character, His life, His joy, His patience, His peace, His power, and His wisdom.  He is teaching us, training us, bringing us along, bit-by-bit, here a little, there a little, day-by-day, applying the paint, as it were, in all the right places, to produce a one-of-a-kind masterpiece to be put on display for all the world to behold.  This is to result in good works:  love, kindness, mercy, compassion, helping one another, seeking another’s highest good. 

No one knows how many good works God has prepared for us, but they are out there waiting for us to walk in them as we trust and obey, depending fully on Christ Jesus. 

As I said previously, Paul devoted two whole chapters to stewardship, the management of God’s resources, and he said the amount we’re to give is determined by the two “P’s” – prosper and proportion. 

On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he (what) may prosper(1 Corinthians 16:2a).

And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea (Acts 11:29; 2 Corinthians 8:3).

The New Covenant churches each gave according to their ability.  We know some of the churches gave sacrificially, i.e. beyond their ability; however, the point is each of them determined how much their gift or their contribution was going to be.  No one commanded them to tithe. 

Another point worth mentioning is this: …For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have (2 Corinthians 8:11-12).

Paul is saying, if you have a willing mind (you have the desire to give) but you have insufficient funds to give to the church (you have money in your checking account, but it’s already committed to groceries, medical bills, rent, utility payments, etc.) your desire to give (alone) is acceptable before God.  You don’t have to give money to the ministry too.  Has anyone ever taught you this is what the Bible says? 

If we are able, we have responsibilities, if we're not able, then we don't have responsibilities.  Our responsibility is according to our ability or as our Apostle Paul said, “according to what a person has.” The portion is incidental; it’s the proportion that matters.  Those who have less than enough are to receive from others who have more than enough.  This isn’t Gary’s opinion; by the way, this is what your book says.  Turn to 1 Corinthians 8:13-14:     

For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality-- at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality.

Those who had little gave the little they had:  that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.  For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, (2 Corinthians 8:2-3)

Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).

They gave of their own accord.”  Another way of saying this is, “The amount they gave was of their own choosing.”  No one ordered them to tithe on a certain amount (your “net” or your “gross income”) and no one belittled them for “not bringing a tithe into the storehouse.” They all gave as “they purposed in his heart.  This is proportionate giving.  Here we find although this (house church) was in deep poverty, and they were facing persecution and trials from within and without, yet the gift they gave was beyond their means.  The amount they came up with individually, and as a church, they had purposed in their heart to fulfill a great need, i.e. to help the Judean saints who had significantly less. 

Getting back to Galatians 6:6, anyone teaching the word of truth has the right to receive remuneration for their services…  The laborer is worthy of his wages:  If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?  (1 Corinthians 9:11)   (See Romans 15:27; 1 Corinthians 9).

Breaking this passage down, Paul is saying, since I have taught you the word, since I taught you about spiritual things, since I have encouraged you in the word of God, shouldn’t you provide material things for me?  This verse is about sowing and reaping just as our text in Galatians 6:6 is, just as his comments in 1 Corinthians 9. 

Back in Paul’s day, the Greek philosophers received an honorarium for their instruction, and this was common knowledge.  Didn’t Paul have the right to exercise this concern when teaching spiritual things?  This is one of the basic church principles, if we receive spiritual blessings, we should in turn share material blessings. 

but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints.  For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.  Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them.  For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things (Romans 15:25-27). 

Paul wants the Galatians to know Believers cannot go without sound Bible teaching and those who teach the word should be paid a wage so they don’t have to work at other jobs to support themselves and their loved ones.  I’ve served with pastors who had to work at other jobs.  They couldn’t support themselves and their families on just the salary they received from their ministry, and this is truly unfortunate because it placed a preventable burden upon them.  But these men cheerfully press on, while burning the candle at both ends, praying for a better day when they’ll have the time to devote their efforts and energies to the ministry full-time. 

When you give to support the church, you are fulfilling the law of Christ, according to Galatians 6:2, because you are helping to bear another’s burden. 

(To be continued)

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