DAVE RAMSEY'S GREAT ERROR
by Russell Earl Kelly, Ph. D.,
Note: Dave Ramsey has a lot of very good financial advice in areas other than tithing. I highly
commend him for that. I do not understand why he tells people to pay their basic essential bills first unless they bring up
tithihg which he then says comes first.
Marriage Partnership magazine, Winter 2004, Vol 21, No. 4, page 44, Christianity Today International. This is on the Internet!
Ramsey said, "Twenty-two times in Proverbs alone it says
that the tithe is 'first fruits' or off the top before you do anything."
Dave Ramsey IS SERIOUSLY WRONG HERE! Do the research with an exhaustive
concordance. Instead of occurring 22 times in Proverbs, the word “firstfruits” occurs ONCE in 3:9. The word “tithe”
does not occur at all and the word “first” only occurs in 18:17 in the KJV.
make the lie even worse Ramsey mistakenly follows the same lie repeated often by tithe-teachers that the “first fruit”
is identical with the “tithe.” This is simply not true either! Don’t get angry with me because you have
been misled by so-called “experts.” Check it out for yourself!
LEVITICAL FIRST-FRUIT and FIRST-BORN offerings went directly to the Temple.
They were used as daily food only for the PRIESTS whose family-courses spent every 24th week ministering at the Temple.
The items were required to be totally consumed (eaten) only inside the Temple. Nothing could
be brought home to feed their wives, children and servants. (ie courses, families.) Neh 10:335-37a.
The FIRST-FRUIT was a very small amount of the first crop harvest
and the FIRST-BORN was the small young first offspring of animals. The first-fruit was small enough to fit into a hand-held
basket and was affordable to even the poor. It was not a burden on the poor. Deu 26:1-4.
The first basic TITHES were brought, not to the Temple,
but directly to the Levitical cities where the priests and their servant-Levite brothers lived with their families when they
were not ministering every 24th week at the Temple. The tithe was food which was only required from
landowners and herdsmen and must come from inside Israel. Every 24th week the older priests and
Levites would stop raising their (tithed) herds and serve at the Temple in rotation. The priests
received one tenth of the whole tithe which was given to the Levites. As the priests and Levites went to serve their week
at the Temple they brought what they needed as food during that week. While all of the Levites’
food consisted of the tithe, the priests could also eat from the first fruit, first born offerings and other offerings (See
Levitical cites; courses; Lev 27:30-34; Neh 10:37b-38.)
FIRSTFRUIT TO TEMPLE FOR PRIESTS:
Ex 23:19; 34:26 The first of the firstfruits
of thy land you shall bring into the house of the LORD thy God.
FIRSTFRUITS WERE A SMALL AMOUNT:
Lev 23:17 Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth
deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD.
FIRSTFRUIT AND FIRSTBORN TO PRIESTS IN THE TEMPLE:
Num 18:13 And whatsoever is first ripe in
the land, which they shall bring unto the LORD, shall be yours; every one that is clean in your house shall eat of it.
Num 18: 5 Every thing that opens the matrix
in all flesh, which they bring unto the LORD, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be yours: nevertheless the firstborn of
man shall thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts shall thou redeem.
Num 18:17 But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep,
or the firstling of a goat, thou shall not redeem; they are holy: thou shall sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shall
burn their fat for an offering made by fire, for a sweet savor unto the LORD.
TITHE TO LEVITES WHO GIVE A TENTH TO PRIIESTS:
FIRST IS NOT THE TENTTH:
Deut 18:3 And this shall be the priest's due from the people,
from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep; and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two
cheeks, and the maw.
18:4 The firstfruits also of thy grain, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece
of thy sheep, shalt thou give him.
IS A VERY SMALL AMOUNT: FITS IN A HAND-BASKET
Deut 26:1-4, 10 [third year first-fruit] And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the LORD
thy God gives thee for an inheritance, and possesses it, and dwells therein;
Deut 26:2 That thou shall take of the first of all the fruit
of the earth, which thou shall bring of thy land that the LORD thy God gives thee, and shall put it in a basket, and
shall go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name there.
Deut 26:3 And thou shall go unto the priest that shall be in
those days, and say unto him, I profess this day unto the LORD thy God, that I am come unto the country which the LORD swore
unto our fathers for to give us.
Deut 26:4 And the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand, and set it down before the altar of
the LORD thy God.
26:10 And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O LORD, hast given me. And thou shall
set it before the LORD thy God, and worship before the LORD thy God:
FIRSTFRUIT AND TITHE DIFFERENT:
2 Chron 31:5 And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance
the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the fields; and the tithe of all
things brought they in abundantly.
AND FIRSTBORN TO TEMPLE FOR PRIESTS ONLY:
Neh 10:35 And to bring the firstfruits of our ground, and the firstfruits
of all fruit of all trees, year by year, to the house of the LORD:
Neh 10:36 Also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle,
as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, to
the priests that minister in the house of our God:
Neh 10:37a And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our
offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, to the priests, to the chambers of the house of our
TITHE TO LEVITICAL CITIES: 90% FOR LEVITES;
10% FOR PRIESTS:
10:37b and the tithes of our ground to the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the
cities of our tillage.
In the same article Dave Ramsey said, “There's
one expenditure, however, that should never be sacrificed in order to pay off debts. You may be searching for extra money
to throw at credit cards or auto loans for a few months. And then you hear a voice in your head: Suspend tithing for
a few months. That's a big chunk of cash. And after all, won't you be able to honor God more with your money once
you're debt free?”
Today’s Christian magazine, January 2006, Christianity Today.com. This is on the Internet as part
of Dave Says.
Should a family tithe when it would put them in the situation of needing a miracle to make it through the rest of the month,
or should a family get its debt under control and then tithe?
A: Ted, a tithe is a tenth of your income, which
is a biblical mandate that the Christian church has taken to heart (Deut. 26:1-19). But there's no place in Scripture
where it says not tithing will send you to hell.
(1) The big lie is “A tithe is a tenth of
your income which is a biblical mandate.” The truth is that the biblical tithe was only a tenth from
what God increased from the herds and farms of His holy land from His Old Covenant Israelites. It never applied to man’s
increase from craftsmen and tradesmen. It was never a basic minimum from which everybody began their giving. And there is
not a hint of a command to tithe given to the church after the cross because the Holy Spirit inspired better principles of
giving under grace.
A second lie: “A biblical mandate that the Christian church has taken to heart.” This is only true
within the past 100 years for most churches. Except for state churches most colonists opposed tithing. History records that
tithing did not become an enforceable law until AD 777. Even state tithing was only from food until late in the 19th century.
Tithing is a relatively new doctrine that has corrupted the church and placed it under legalism.
(3) Ramsey chose Deut. 26:1-19 to prove his
point! A) In 26:1-4 the firstfruits (which Ramsey calls a tithe earlier) were small enough to be placed in one hand-held basket.
B) In 26:10 the food items were eaten in Jerusalem during the 3 annual feasts; therefore it is not
the basic tithe to support the priesthood or any church. C) 26:12-19 are discussing the third year tithe which was kept at
home for the poor and was not brought anywhere. D) In 26:13 the Levite who received the whole first tithe was to be considered
among the poor because they could not own or inherit land. Therefore Deuteronomy 26 actually proves that Ramsey is wrong since
nothing there applies to the church today!
(4) Ramsey wrote “But there's no place in Scripture
where it says not tithing will send you to hell.” Both the blessings and the curses of the Old Covenant ended when Jesus
died. Tithing is not a Christian doctrine. Period! Ga. 3:10-13.
Ramsey continued in Today’s Christian
question is, what's the best thing to do and why does God have us tithe? Is it because He needs our money? No. He tells
us to tithe because of what it does inside of us. It keeps us from being so stinking self-centered that we think the world
revolves around us. And by being a little less self-centered, we're better humans. We're a little more Christ-like
when we're giving. But God doesn't need your money.”
“Should you tithe on your income if you need a miracle to get through
the rest of the month? Honestly, if you can't live on 90 percent, it's unlikely that you can live on 100 percent.”
“If you sit down and do a monthly,
written budget, you can probably find a way to tithe if it's important to you. I'm not going to guilt-trip you. Pray
and read the Bible and let God speak to you on this. But this point is clear: The Bible doesn't say wait until you get
your debt under control, it says tithe—first fruits off the top before anything else.”
1 Tim 5:8 But if any provide not for his
own, and especially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
Acts 20:35 I have shown you all things, how that so laboring
you ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to
2 Cor 12:14 Behold,
the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children
ought not to lay up [store up] for the parents, but the parents for the children .
James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To
visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Dave Ramsey wants us to ignore the Word of God through the Apostle
Paul and give to the church even if it means doing without basic necessities of life. Deacons were created in Acts 6:1-6 to
provide for the needy in the church and Ramsey has reversed God’s Word. Because of events in life which many of us cannot
control such as untimely death and illness many gifted Christians simply cannot afford to tithe or even give offerings. Those
should not be made to feel cursed or unwelcome in the church. Paul told the elders of Asia Minor
to follow his example and work to help the needy.
says “Why does God have us tithe? Is it because He needs our money? No. He tells us to tithe because of what it does
inside of us. It keeps us from being so stinking self-centered.”
No texts! Ramsey answers for God! It is all about
having a warm and fuzzy feeling inside from knowing that you are obeying God! Still no texts from the financial
Yet there are millions who cannot even give
offerings because they have to cut prescription pills in half or even do without because ALL of their money is gone. Many
preachers and financial gurus like Ramsey have told them that they are cursed. So why come to church if they are only going
to be berated and made to feel insecure.
talks about the self-centered. Yes, they should give more if they can afford it and are not
living sacrificially. “I'm not going to guilt-trip you” he says. Then do not condemn the millions who love
God with all their hearts and are ashamed to come to church because of the garbage lies told about tithing.
Ramsey adds, “Pray and read the Bible
and let God speak to you on this.” I challenge him to read the entire Bible in context and look at EVERY tithe text.
If he is going to present himself as an expert in this financial area of God’s Word, then he MUST do that in
order to “let God speak.”
He concluded, “But this point is clear: The Bible doesn't say wait until you get your debt under
control, it says tithe—first fruits off the top before anything else.” Ramsey ends his discussion with
the same great big lie which started it. Why read your Bibl e if Ramsey has already read it for you and
has already concluded FOR you that “this point is clear”! Again, I say to Mr. Ramsey, the man
who works with numbers “first fruit” means “first” and “tithe” means “tenth”
–they are NOT the same thing!