Original Research - Special Collection: Foundation subjects - Old and New Testament Studies

Hypocrisy in stewardship: An ethical reading of Malachi 3:6–12 in the context of Christian stewardship

B. Onoriodẹ Bọlọjẹ, Alphonso Groenewald
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 70, No 1 | a2086 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2086 | © 2014 B. Onoriodẹ Bọlọjẹ, Alphonso Groenewald | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 October 2013 | Published: 09 July 2014

About the author(s)

B. Onoriodẹ Bọlọjẹ, Department of Old Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Alphonso Groenewald, Department of Old Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa


The biblical concept of stewardship has been subjected to some misunderstanding. Each time the word stewardship is mentioned, the meaning that easily comes to mind is that of money. One of the means through which Christians express their appreciation to God is through dedicated and trustworthy stewardship. In the book of Malachi the focus on the tithe in particularly in the fifth disputation oracle (3:6–12) is closely associated with the issue of disrespect for the Lord. The people’s perspective with respect to and use of their wealth and/or personal effects was simply a symptom of the viability of their covenant relationship with Yahweh. An acknowledgement of Yahweh’s ultimate ownership and/or proprietorship over all things, his generosity and faithfulness in juxtaposition to the deceitfulness of the people as demonstrated by Malachi serves as enough motivation for total Christian stewardship. This article highlights the economic reality of Yehud during Malachi’s day, the intricacies of the prophet’s accusations of hypocrisy concerning the tithe, and in an attempt to be dispassionate as well as careful, the article concludes by emphasising some underlying principles with regard to Christian stewardship which will serve as a reminder to Christians about their ethical responsibility.


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