Luke 18:12

ESV I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’
NIV I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'
NASB I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’
CSB I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.'
NLT I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’
KJV I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

What does Luke 18:12 mean?

The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector is another in a long list of comparisons that shows the true nature of the kingdom of God. The contrast here is between a Pharisee and a tax collector, both of whom come to the temple to pray. This is part of the Pharisee's prayer.

He begins by saying, "God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector" (Luke 18:11). His words reveal a great deal about his understanding of who he is and what God expects. While Pharisees were—in theory—deeply committed to morality and adherence to the Law, many had all these traits the man denies. They extort money that should go to their parents, take widows' homes, and worship their own extra-biblical rules rather than God (Mark 7:10–13; 12:40; 7:6–9). The one thing the Pharisee gets right is that he is not like the humble, repentant tax collector.

While the previous verse describes the sins the Pharisee claims he does not do, this short list enumerates how he thinks he goes above and beyond to deserve God's attention.

First, he fasts twice a week. In the Torah, fasting is only required on the Day of Atonement; "afflict yourselves" is interpreted as refraining from food (Leviticus 23:32). Later four more yearly fasts were added (Zechariah 8:19). The two weekly fasts the Pharisee refers to are traditional but not required by the Old Testament. Second, he diligently tithes. Tithing is a standard Old Testament law. The Jews are to tithe on grain, fruit, livestock, wine, and oil (Leviticus 27:30–32; Deuteronomy 14:22–23).

Jesus doesn't mind that the Pharisees fast and tithe so diligently. What He challenges is the hypocrisy behind their actions. The Pharisees fast in a way that deliberately draws attention of people who then praise them for their piety. Their reward is public attention, not God's blessing (Matthew 6:16–18). Regarding tithes, Jesus says: "But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others" (Luke 11:42).
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