This is the first use of the word tithe in the ESV. It is not, however, the first use of the Hebrew word translated as tithe. The first use is in Genesis 14:20 when Abram gave a tenth of everything to Melchizedek. Leviticus 27:32 also describes the tithe as a tenth.
From my experience, tithing is always a sensitive subject within the church. We should not be surprised because money is an emotional subject, both inside and outside the church. From what I read, money is one of two subjects that cause the most conflict in marriage. So, I will just give some verses for us all to contemplate.
Exodus 35:21 "And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the LORD's contribution."
Deuteronomy 16:17 "Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God that he has given you."
1 Chronicles 29:9"Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the LORD."
Malachi 3:10"Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the window of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need."
Matthew 6:19-21 "...For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matthew 23:23 - "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint...and have neglected the weightier matters...These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others."
2 Corinthians 9:7 "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
Gracious and Good God, You are the Giver of all I have. Everything I possess is from Your hand. May the way I handle my financial blessings bring glory to You. May Your people be as willing to support Your work as the Israelites who had to be told to stop bringing contributions for building the tabernacle in Exodus 36:6.
Titus is to teach believers, whether young or old, to live a life that corresponds to biblical instruction. Paul then adds bondservants to the list. Interestingly, Paul, James, and Peter describe themselves as a "servant" of God (Titus 1:1, James 1:1, 2 Peter 1:1), the same word used in Titus 2:9. The Greek word doulos is translated bondservant, servant, and slave in the ESV. A doulos is someone completely under the control of another, with an emphasis on their dependence upon the one in authority. Everything a "bondservant" does is to adorn the doctrine of God, our Savior!
So, bondservants are not just a socioeconomic class of people. All followers of Jesus Christ are to be bondservants. As believers, we are to submit to our Master in everything, and everything we do is to enhance the appearance of our Savior's instruction.
The Greek word for "pilfer" is only used here and in Acts 5:2-3 which describes Ananias' action when he and Sapphira sold their property. The word is translated as "he kept back for himself". The word is used to describe a skimming operation.
Reading this passage reminded me of how I am to manage the financial resources God has provided. Paul's instruction added insight. The manner in which I use financial resources is to be an adornment to God's teaching, not Roy's skimming off the top of God's blessing for himself.
Father God, every good and perfect gift is from You. Forgive me for my selfishness in using Your gifts. I desire every aspect of my life to glorify You. May that be especially true of the financial blessings You have provided.