Question: “What does the Bible say about Christian tithing?”

I copied this from http://www.gotquestions.org/tithing-Christian.html .  The explanation seems reasonable to some….
 
Answer: Many Christians struggle with the issue of tithing. In some churches tithing is over-emphasized. At the same time, many Christians refuse to submit to the biblical exhortations about making offerings to the Lord. Tithing/giving is intended to be a joy and a blessing. Sadly, that is sometimes not the case in the church today.

Tithing is an Old Testament concept. The tithe was a requirement of the law in which all Israelites were to give 10 percent of everything they earned and grew to the Tabernacle/Temple (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5). In fact, the Old Testament Law required multiple tithes which would have pushed the total to around 23.3 percent, not the 10 percent which is generally considered the tithe amount today. Some understand the Old Testament tithe as a method of taxation to provide for the needs of the priests and Levites in the sacrificial system. The New Testament nowhere commands, or even recommends, that Christians submit to a legalistic tithe system. Paul states that believers should set aside a portion of their income in order to support the church (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).

The New Testament nowhere designates a percentage of income a person should set aside, but only says it is to be “in keeping with income” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Some in the Christian church have taken the 10 percent figure from the Old Testament tithe and applied it as a “recommended minimum” for Christians in their giving. The New Testament talks about the importance and benefits of giving. We are to give as we are able. Sometimes that means giving more than 10 percent; sometimes that may mean giving less. It all depends on the ability of the Christian and the needs of the church. Every Christian should diligently pray and seek God’s wisdom in the matter of participating in tithing and/or how much to give (James 1:5). Above all, all tithes and offerings should be given with pure motives and an attitude of worship to God and service to the body of Christ. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

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37stories

It is the desire of my heart that God be Lord of my life. Life’s experiences have killed the old man and God is building a new creation in me. I look forward to experiencing the new man God creates in the old vessel known as Archie via "God Spots".

17 thoughts on “Question: “What does the Bible say about Christian tithing?””

  1. I may have a problem with this statement from above quote: “Sometimes that means giving more than 10 percent; sometimes that may mean giving less. It all depends on the ability of the Christian and the needs of the church.” Still thinking about this….

  2. Greg Sealy Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. This is great advice for tithing but not so good for eating. I once tried to do some Christian eating and ended up with a nice butter knife cut.
    7 hours ago ·

    Patrick Jackson Zilch, Its funny how not 1 Apostle including Our Lord never commanded anyone to give a Tithe. Let’s face it today’s tithes are a Pastors salary. Paid professional Clergy.
    7 hours ago ·

    Pam Turner Breen but is that necessarily a bad thing?? the pastor performs a service right? he feeds us with the word…..don’t get me wrong here either…I’m struggling with this myself…..should my money go to staff salaries…..I mean I am a part of the flock there….or should my money go to homeless shelters…etc…. ????? very confusing to me
    7 hours ago ·

    Teri Undreiner I don’t see it in the NT.. Giving on the other hand is very right. But, if you look at what it was for, you will get an earful. Tey met in homes and thus did not need all that we think we need today. Read ” The Misunderstood God” or ” Pagan Christianity” about tithing. They explain it very well.
    7 hours ago ·

    Vickie Deppe Since we’ve been part of a house church and no longer have salaries and real estate to maintain, I’ve experienced a new level of joy in giving. It feels so much better to build a home for someone who had theirs washed away in a flood than it does to support a fancy house in the ‘burbs for a ministry professional. If elders limited their role to what’s described in the New Testament, they’d have time for gainful employment and wouldn’t need a salary.
    7 hours ago ·

    Teri Undreiner YAY! Vickie.. Go to vcmn.org and experience what my friend Bill does in their house church giving. REFRESHING.
    6 hours ago ·

    Vickie Deppe Teri, that’s fabulous! I’m going to share it with the other members of our group. Thanks!
    6 hours ago ·

    Tíler Mícheál Ó Maoltuile Teri, Vickie! That is freedom, indeed! Pam, it is necessarily a “bad” thing when Scripture is misused to justify or command it. They use a lot of old testament Scripture out of context, but they never tell their tithers that the “tithe” was a 10 % tax that (going directly to the Levites and temple costs) that came out of the larger 26-27% tax to … the state. Israel in the OT was a theocracy, and taxes and giving were the same things. In essence, the “tithe” came directly out of the necessity of the temple. Its dangerous to tell your congregation that tithing is a covenant or its a commandment from God when Jesus Christ made the temple unnecessary. Even today, Jews do not tithe- because there is no temple. When the veil in the temple was ripped in two, it was symbolic that institutions like the tithe, sacrificing, etc were no longer necessary!
    6 hours ago ·

    Teri Undreiner Isn’t it amazing what we have believed? It is so true that it is wise to question authority. We have always been taught it is rebellious!
    6 hours ago ·

    Archie Rhines Where did all my traditional tither friends go? 🙂
    4 hours ago ·

    Tíler Mícheál Ó Maoltuile Things that are “new” are usually threatening or intimidating. Hopefully this conversation isn’t that way! – after all, most tither’s I’ve known see it as a personal decision, and do it out of the goodness of their hearts as an offering. I hope they see that there is no problem in that, but there is a problem when “tithing” is a “doctrinal” statement of faith, or “covenant” at a church, when its Scripturally neither.
    4 hours ago ·

    Archie Rhines There was a time when I prayed for the “gift” of giving. I think God answered my prayer. I wondered what I would have gotten if I’d prayed for the gift of tithing…~just sayin’
    4 hours ago ·

    Tíler Mícheál Ó Maoltuile The problem lies at the root- “tithing” literally means “ten percent”. You cannot get more legalistic or deterministic than THAT! If church building centered ministries would call it an offering, and explain readily to their congregation what it will be used for, and that use is entirely in check with Scripture I would have a lot less problem with… See More it. However, studies have shown that 90% of all “tithes” go to sustain the church building, and adding salaries on top of that gets you to less than 3% actually going to those who need it. I think that speaks volumes as to the priorities of those congregations.
    4 hours ago ·

    Mary Landry Proverbs 3:9 Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce

    Deuteronomy 16:17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God..

    Romans 12:2 ..He gives with liberality… See More

    1 Corinthians 16:2- Regularly

    2 Corinthians 9:7 God loves a cheerful giver

    luke 6:38 Give and it shall be given to you.

    luke 21:1-4 The poor widow’s offering

    luke 16:1-13 -Righteous steward of money

    4 hours ago ·

    Mary Landry Was the Law of Moses still active while Jesus was alive, and was it canceled at the cross?
    4 hours ago ·

    Tíler Mícheál Ó Maoltuile Jesus “abolished in his flesh the Law of commandments contained in ordinances” (Ephesians 2:14, 15) and Colossians 2:14, where Paul said, “Having canceled the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and he has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” and In speaking of the new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. “And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away” (Heb. 8:13).
    4 hours ago ·

    Teri Undreiner Yes… Once you make out a new will and endorse it as so, then the old one has become obsolete. Now if someone WANTS to keep the law in order to try to get the kudos? Good luck. It can’t happen because if we offend in at least one small part, we offend in all. So…. why bother? Follow love and you will fulfill the commandments that Jesus said were… commanded. Love God and Love your neighbor. Even THAT comes from Him. WOW! It is true that apart rom Him we are nada! I’m so glad to not be apart.
    It does amaze me though that so many hold on to the law in order to help them live a christian life. WHAT is the first thing ya wanna do when you see this: WET PAINT.
    It’s because it’s black and white and if we feel that we are “doing” something, we feel good as people. It’s not as “comfortable” to live by the Spirit because it’s not so black and white or so we think. So… we choose the letter so that we don’t “fall short”. Accept that we still do. THUS for grace.
    2 hours ago ·

    Jose Menchaca “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” Matt 23:23
    Jesus sure seems to give tithing an endorsement (at least for their spices).
    2 hours ago ·

  3. Simply an observation and not very scientific at that, but those who feel free to not tithe are much more vocal than those that choose to tithe.

    I have heard it said from those that tithe, the nontithers choose that side because they don’t give anything anyway.

    I have heard from the nontithers that the tithers give foolishly.

    I suspect there is some truth in both statements. But I am confident it all boils down to the same thing for both sides. The answer is love. God has such an incredible love for us He finds it difficult to contain. That is special…

    Then, there is His grace… Awe…. need I say more?

    I really want to do what is right in the eyes of my Lord. I wish it weren’t so hard to know what right is sometimes…~just sayin’ and givin’ and chucklin’ lol

  4. Hi Archie;

    The word tithe is the root of the modern day word tax, as both start with “t”.

    Seeing as Benny H and a few others of the club and more are taking widows’ purses and spending the loot on Rolls and Rolexes, methinks that the government at least has welfare and medicare and food stamps.

    It’s up to you whether you want to tithe or pay tax, for me the answer is very simple 🙂

  5. Likely Pastor Ken Andrs refers to this passage…

    “I’ve had it with you! You’re hopeless, you Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but manage to find loopholes for getting around basic matters of justice and God’s love. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required.”

    What say ye, Pastor Ken Andrs?

  6. I say we need to look at another version, how about ESV?

    42 “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.

    Seems like the rebuke reminds us that Justice and Loving God is important, as well as reminding us to, *gasp*, tithe.

    Am I missing anything here? Thoughts?

  7. I need to ask Ken, are you a Jew? Are you under the Law?
    Jesus was addressing Pharisees, Jews who were under the Law, telling them that THEY ought to have tithed without neglecting the ‘others’.
    Why do you infer yourself, or any New Covenant christian, into that scripture verse? Jesus wasn’t talking to us. He wasn’t talking to his disciples, wasn’t talking to gentiles, wasn’t talking to HIs body- the Ecclessia, he was talking to Jews who were under the Law.
    It’s all about context, brothers and sisters.

  8. Well Gordon, I agree context is important.

    The context is very important, while Jesus is addressing Pharisees can we not put this passage aside. How many times have we seen people who act one way at church but then another at work, at the gym and so on. Jesus is addressing hypocrisy, do we know people who are hypocrites? Yes. Just because Jesus is address the Pharisees does not mean that this passage is not applicable to today; religious hypocrites exist today and need to rebuked.

    Jesus is rebuking those who have distorted the law, in rebuking them He reminds them they should not abandon justice, love for God or tithing. The reminder is applicable even if you believe the rebuke is not.

    Once again Gordon, it is about context, but that is only part of the hermeneutical process of applying scripture to our lives.

    It seems, if I may be so bold to respond, that you have a problem not with me but with this scripture and you desire to dismiss it from application to our lives. I must state as Paul did, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

  9. On the contrary, I have no problem with that scripture, or you. What I have issue with is taking a scripture out of context and creating a ‘doctrine’ from it. I don’t understand how you can state that context is important while removing a text from it’s context and then justifying your position with another text. How does “all scripture is God-breathed” equate to “all scripture is to be taken out of context of how/when/where/why it was said and applied directly to your life”?
    Do you also believe and apply directly to you life that “women should remain silent in the church”?
    No, Jesus was not addressing ‘hypocrites’, he was addressing Jews, who were under the Law, who were tithers. You cannot equate Jewish Pharisees with ‘hypocrites’ generically unless Jesus himself made it clear that that was what he was saying. Which hypocrite today has woe on him because his forefathers killed the prophets (Luke 11:47)? Doesn’t work, does it, because it is taken out of context. Do you then get to pick and choose which scriptures you can take out of context and apply generically because of ‘hermeneutics’?

  10. If we take your point of view on this passage as not being applicable because it addresses Pharisees (Jews) then we must dismiss most every OT passage, almost all of Jesus’ words and the letters from Hebrews through Jude because they are all written to Jews under the law. These passages would only be applicable to the intended audience and not to our cultural context.

    Do you generally dismiss scriptures because they do not fit our cultural context? (I will be very disappointed if you use a logical fallacy in an attempt to discredit me) Do you have a problem with the expectation of a tenth of all that God has given to you to be returned to Him to serve His purposes through the local church?

    FYI here is my simplified process on this passage.

    Who is Jesus speaking to? Pharisees at a dinner party with Sadducees in attendance.

    Why was the Pharisee surprised? Because of Jesus not ceremonially washing.

    Why did He speak to this issue? To correct where they are wrong and encourage them where they are right.

    What is Jesus addressing? Their lifestyle of legal righteousness without spiritual righteousness (Hypocrisy)

    How does He address it? By first giving an example of their lifestyle through the cup then sharing woes upon them.

    What did the example and woes say? The cup reminds the pharisees that the internal cleanliness is just as important as external. The first woe reminds the pharisees that they may have given publicly of their garden without any internal change. The second woe forces the pharisee to look at their lives in the public arena. The third to look at their life as they open their mouths to teach.

    Is there anything within the rebuke from Jesus that they should be doing instead? Justice, love for God and tithing.

    What are the main themes of this passage? Hypocrisy, Rebuke and Correction.

    Are there believers who act as hypocrites? Yes, can I apply this passage to their lives? Yes, in what ways? As a warning to align the inward life with the outward righteousness. What from this passage applies to all believers? To act righteously outwardly and inwardly, as well as to be just, to love God and to tithe.

    Why does this apply? Because of the need for followers of Jesus to know how to live their lives within the church and the world.

    Would I base a doctrine of tithing off of this passage?
    Probably not as a singular passage yet with the totality of New and Old Testament Scripture in concert with this passage I can see a valid argument for returning to God a standardized portion of what He has given us to be stewards of. The early church gave as each had need, but the numbers aren’t given so we must return to look at what was expected of the Jews since the vast majority of believers shortly after the resurrection were former Jews. Does this give me pause? Yes. Why? Because tithing was only a portion of all the giving that God could expect of a Jew at the time.

  11. LOL! So it’s all or nothing huh? Either all of Jesus’ words are meant for us literally, or none of the Bible is meant for us…interesting.
    Your breakdown of the passages was pretty good, until you added the Law to a spiritual teaching…”To act righteously outwardly and inwardly, as well as to be just, to love God and to tithe”. Where we appear to differ is the understanding that ‘tithing’ is the Law. If Jesus had said “you circumcise your children yet you neglect justice and the love of God…”, would you then teach that circumcision is a biblical mandate for new covenant christians?
    Now, if you want discuss the new covenant teaching of “giving” as opposed to the old covenant Law of “tithing”, then we would be more on track.
    “The early church gave as each had need, but the numbers aren’t given so we must return to look at what was expected of the Jews since the vast majority of believers shortly after the resurrection were former Jews” Really? Where did Paul bring Jewish Laws or teachings to the gentile churches in order to show them what was “expected” of them? New Testament giving is not Old Testament tithing, just like New Testament circumcision (of the heart) is not Old Testament circumcision (of the genitals), like the New Testement sabbath (of a rest in Jesus) is not the Old Testement sabbath (of a legal day of rest). The spiritual teaching had supplanted the Law to a Jewish Christian, and had become the righteous standard for the gentile Christian.

  12. Your slippery slope logical fallacy has ended this discussion. Learn to respond to the written argument and not draw assumptions based on what you perceive me to say.

  13. Well, thanks for the interaction and discussion! I enjoyed it! But…of course, I must give a reply;

    Really? Draw assumptions? It seems to me that I addressed your argument, by providing a rebuttal question (which gets pushed off as “logical fallacy”), presented the reason for our opposing views, then presented biblical example of my view. Not quite sure what ‘response’ you were specifically looking for, or what expectations you have placed upon me that I’m going to say.
    Ok, maybe you wanted something like this;
    “Do you have a problem with the expectation of a tenth of all that God has given to you to be returned to Him to serve His purposes through the local church?”
    Yes, I do. Because the ecclessia, both Jerusalem christians and gentile christians, did not have any mandate to do any such thing and you won’t be able to provide me any verses that says otherwise. Also, I believe that there is an expectation that 100% of all that God has given me is to be returned to Him to serve His purposes through His ecclessia. If all that I am is His, if all that I have was provided by Him, then all that I have is His to do with what He will. When guided by the Spirit we will be directed by Him how and when to dispense our resources and He will provide the means. God loves a cheerful GIVER, there is no new covenant mandate to tithe.
    Brother Gordon

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