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I have heard many different individuals cite I Corinthians 16:2, stating that the New Testament teaches that tithing is to be out of an individuals gross income.

However, my impression of the word εὐοδόω does not seem to allow this interpretation.

εὐοδόω apparently is a compound of εὖ (good, well) and ὁδός (way, road, journey), seemingly equivalent to "a prosperous journey."

This word appears 3 times in the Textus Receptus:

Rom 1:10 KJV 10 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.

1 Co 16:2 KJV 2 Upon the first [day] of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as [God] hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

3 Jo 1:2 KJV 2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

My initial feeling was that this word has the following aspects:

  1. The outcome is unknown, but a positive one is hoped for.
  2. If, and only if, a positive outcome is achieved, certain events will follow.

To me, this implies profit, which I do not naturally associate with gross as much as net, considering that taxes and business expenses are not part of profit. My interpretation of I Corinthians 16:2 then becomes: "let each ... according to how much profit they have..."

Question: Is my evaluation of εὐοδόω correct?

Related: Are there any other Koine or Classical uses of this word?

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This verb occurs four times in the New Testament:

  • Rom. 1:10, εὐοδωθήσομαι, future passive indicative, 1st person singular
  • 1 Cor. 16:2, εὐοδῶται, present middle-passive subjunctive, 3rd person singular
  • 3 John 1:2, εὐοδοῦσθαι, present middle-passive infinitive
  • 3 John 1:2, εὐοδοῦταί, present middle-passive indicative, 3rd person singular

Verbrugge & Krell (2015) say about these four verses:

Using the two Greek words that make up this single word, BDAG notes the word would mean (in the passive, as it is used in the NT): "to be led along a good road." But the lexicon goes on to point out that this serves as a metaphor for to "have things turn out well, prosper, succeed." In 3 John 2 it is a stock phrase, also used in the papyri, in which the writer offers the addressee well-wishes for success. In Rom 1:10, Paul hopes that things will work out so that he will succeed in coming to Rome. In 1 Cor 16:2, it would therefore seem, Paul is suggesting that the guideline to use for how much to give for the collection is in accordance with how each one has been prospered.

Kelly (2007, p. 206) mentions about the verse in question:

This simple phrase, “as God has prospered him,” includes the Greek conditional particle, ean, which means “in case that,” and suggests uncertainty. The word, euodontai, literally means “good journey” and refers to those whom life has treated well. Therefore every person should store up for the poor to the extent that they may have been blessed in life.
The idea of freely giving as one had been prospered is common in Scripture. However, contrary to common application, this phrase has absolutely no contextual reference to tithing, nor to support of local churches and salaries. It is perfectly clear that “as he may prosper” is not a command concerning how much to give to the CHURCH, but to POOR SAINTS! Yet those who teach tithing ignore the context and include compulsory tithing in this text along with freewill offerings to support the church. In fact, during the first centuries of the New Covenant church, the vast majority of contributions went to the poor, and not merely the leftovers. Also, under New Covenant principles, the amount given is a freewill faith response.

Note that none of these verb meanings mentioned in previous citations are related to taxes or pre-tax income.

By the way, in the Septuagint you can find at least 76 uses of this same verb. Here are the meanings offered by Chamberlain (2011, p. 76):

εὐοδόω aor εὐοδώσε pass εὐοδώθη (76; Hdt+) help on the way, make travel easy Gen 24:27; (w. cogn acc) Gen 24:21; Is 46:11; send to help on the way Judg 4:8; Tob 7:12BA, 13S; (fig) cause to prosper Josh 1:8; Wsd 11:1; (act or mid intr) bring success Gen 24:12; Ps 117:25; Is 54:17; succeed 1 Ch 22:11; 2 Ch 18:14; cf. // 3 Km 22:15; (pass, as in NT) be made to prosper 1 Ch 13:2; 1 Macc 3:6; Pr 17:84.‡


References

  • Verbrugge, V. D. & Krell, K. R. (2015). Paul and Money: A Biblical and Theological Analysis of the Apostle’s Teachings and Practices. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.
  • Kelly, R. (2007). Should the Church Teach Tithing, A Theologian's Conclusions about a Taboo Doctrine. Retrieved from https://www.truthforfree.com/files/PDF/REK-Tithing3.pdf
  • Chamberlain, G. A. (2011). The Greek of the Septuagint: A Supplemental Lexicon. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers.
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    Thanks - that's essentially what I had concluded. I'm going to look deeper into your references. – vbnet3d Oct 11 '17 at 14:35

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