Didache- Tithes and Offerings in the First Century

Didache 13

The Apostles or Apostolic Fathers, summarizing Biblical practice for young local churches and new believers, even deal with the giving of tithes and offerings in the local church. Every true prophet, one who works hard at professing God’s word correctly and applying it rightly, is worthy of his food. The Apostles’ teaching reflects 1 Timothy 5:18. Therefore, every local church, in this case even the young local church filled with new believers, has the responsibility to take care of her pastor(s). The Apostles and Apostolic Fathers describe how this should be done by summarizing New Testament instructions concerning giving and the local church’s monetary priorities.

The Apostles or Apostolic Fathers identify the pastors of local churches as their high priests. So, congregants should give the first fruits of their labor to the church as payment to their pastors—so that pastors’ needs can be provided. The first fruits are not always money. If a person earns a monetary wage, he or she should give monetarily. If a person is a producer, he or she should give the first fruits of his product: if wine, then wine; if meat, then meat; if bread, then bread; if clothing, then clothing; and everything else. There is no set percentage. Christians are to give as it seems appropriate to them, like we read in 2 Corinthians 9:7.

Like we saw in Chapter 12, every true Christian is a contributor in some way. While that doesn’t always mean every Christian has some official position of visible service in the church organization, it does mean that whatever a Christian does with his or her life is also service to the body. There is no distinction between our church lives and our home lives and our work lives. Whatever we do, we do unto our Lord and for the good of His Church.

The first monetary priority a local church has is taking care of her pastor(s). The second is taking care of the poor according to Chapter 12’s guidelines. Every other monetary investment follows these two.

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