Romans 15: 25-27 says “But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.” 1Cor. 16: 1-3, shows us the method of how they accomplished this which says: “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.” 2Cor. 9: 6, and 7, Show us the way they did it which says, “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” Here are some supporting scriptures that show us their new system of giving: Acts 2:43-45 says “And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” Acts 4:32 says they also had one heart: “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.” The word common in both passages comes from the word “koinos” meaning to share. It would seem that our English word ‘coin’ is similar in that there is an exchange of heart, a distribution, but in “koinos” there is a sharing through the love of the Spirit, a koinonia, a fellowship. This is the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy in Ezekiel 11:17-20 which says “Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence. And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” These statutes would be given by the Spirit of God, not from the Law of Moses; but from the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus!
Not only did the early Church have a system other than the tithe, but they also gave to the Apostles. Remember in the book of Acts when the church had all things common. The Bible says the church sold what they had and laid it at the apostles’ feet. There was a man named Barnabas that also sold what he had and laid the money down at the Apostles’ feet. But the Bible also says he was a Levite. Now considering he was a Levite wouldn’t it be safe to say he could have rebuked the Apostles because this was something foreign from what the Torah taught? The word ‘lay’ in the Greek context of 1Corinthians 16 is the word ‘Tithemi’; (sounds like ‘tithe’) which means to set, to place, to lay by or reserve. And the word ‘purposeth’ in 2Cor. 9 speaks to choosing for oneself another thing, to prefer, to put above or before. So, what you purpose or set in your mind to give, set that aside. And this is what they did.
This then is the method, the way, the system that was in place. The spirit of the third year tithe of giving to the poor and those that had need.
Anthony D. Booker