Chances are if you are on this site, you go to church. I cannot speak for everyone however, every service at church they collect tithe and offering. What is tithe? What has been preached at my church is that tithe is God asking you to trust Him with your finances, by giving Him 10 percent. Is this accurate? Are we required to do this? Let us find out.
Cooper Daniel Barham
I think ‘Required’ is a weighted term. Do I believe Christians should tithe? Yes I do. But if you’re tithing because it’s required of you, or because it’s your duty as a follower of Christ, then you’ve missed the point of the action. God gave us the command to tithe not only so we could support his Kingdom or to understand that all things come from Him, but so we can free ourselves from the idea that we need our money. Tithing helps you, individually, to shrug off the worldly misconception that you must keep all the money you work for, as if it were a safety net. While Jesus talked many times about being wise with your finances and how you keep or distribute your earnings, He never said anything about relying on that money for protection above Him. Tithing is a sign of trust. Considering this, I don’t think all tithes must go exclusively to a church, either. I’ll do that sometimes, or give money to somebody who needs it, but most of my tithe money goes out in the form of my Compassion International commitment, supporting children overseas. I don’t think it really matters, as long as I remember where my blessings come from, and share those blessing with others as the Lord has asked and provided.
I believe tithing is required because if you look in the Bible, tithing was a concept in the Old Testament. The Israelites had to tithe because it was the requirement from the Law. They have to give 10 percent of the crops they grew and the livestock they raised to the tabernacle/temple (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:16; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5). The Old Testament Law actually required multiple tithes for the Israelites. One for the Levites, one for the use of temple and feasts, and one for the poor of the land. Which if you added up the total it would be around 23.3 percent. Some people understand that the Old Testament tithing system was a method of taxation to provide for the needs of the priests and Levites in the system they were in.
What about the New Testament? It doesn’t really say anything about Christians submitting to a legalistic tithing system. A lot of Christian churches do adopt the 10 percent from the Old Testament as the “required minimum” for Christians to give when they tithe. The New Testament does talk about how it important and good it is to give. We are to give as we are able to. It sometimes means we can give more than 10 percent or less. It all depends on the Christian and the needs of his/her church. That is my opinion on this subject. “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)
Is tithing required? In a word: No.
Now, before you break out your bible and your pitchfork & torch, relax a bit and let me give you another spoonful. Put simply, we have free will. We are free to either worship God or to not worship God, and we bear the consequences of that choice. So, why should the concept of tithing be considered any differently? For it is written:
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7
In other words, you must tithe will a right heart, and in a worthy manner, and not:
Out of a sense of obligation.
With the notion that you’re buying your way into heaven.
Because you want to keep up with the Joneses at your church.
In a mindset that you could have used the money for something else.
We can compare the above passage to 1 Corinthians 11:27, which states:
“So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.”
We can wrap it all up tightly with another statement from 1 Corinthians 10:31, where Paul writes: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
So, we see that in all that we do as Christians–not the least of which being tithing and taking communion–must be done in a worthy manner, for doing anything, no matter how goodly it seems, is not glorifying to God if done in an unworthy manner. Now, is giving in an unworthy manner as grievous a sin as taking the bread & cup in an unworthy manner? That I cannot say for certain, but I would lean toward no. However, I would say that it is at the very least unrighteous.
So, in closing, if you say that tithing is a requirement, then you are, in essence, saying that Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 9:7 is unsound scripture. If you consider Paul’s writings in the New Testament to be the living, infallible word of God, then you cannot believe this to be the case, at least not without putting every last page of the Holy Bible under the same scrutiny.
David Austin Black
Malachi 3:8-12 says “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse for you are robbing me, the whole nation because of you. 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 windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.”
These verses pretty much sum up my thoughts on tithing. I believe that not tithing is indeed stealing from God, and that you are passing over a blessing that God has promised those that do tithe. It was initially quite an exercise of faith to believe that 90% with God’s blessing will do more for me than 100% without, but I have “put [Him] to the test” and never come away wanting.
A small anecdote: when I was younger, I had three (minor) at-fault car wrecks within the span of about a year. Car insurance companies tend to not like that kind of stuff, and I would have been blacklisted (meaning dropped by the company I was with and forced to go with an insurance company that specializes in high-risk clients), so I left the insurance company I was currently with and began searching for another. The quotes I was getting were insane. $3000 for six months was on the low end of the estimates I received. I prayed and prayed, because I really needed God to come through for me on this. Finally, I found a guy in my church’s business directory that worked as an insurance agent (for a credible company, the name of which you would all know if I wrote it here). I called him, and he got back to me with a quote lower than what I was paying before the wrecks and with a higher amount of coverage. They knew about all the wrecks (I made certain of that), but somehow were able to give me an insanely low premium. I am absolutely certain that was God’s way of pouring “down for [me] a blessing until there is no more need.”
Let’s turn to the Bible for some answers, shall we?
Leviticus 27:30 – And all the tithe of the land, [whether] of the seed of the land, [or] of the fruit of the tree, [is] the LORD’S: [it is] holy unto the LORD.
In verse 32 of the same chapter, it says, “…the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord.”
Based on these verses alone, we see that God asks us to give him ten percent of what we earn—because it is “holy unto the Lord.” In fact, the Bible goes so far as to say that when we don’t tithe, we are robbing God. Check out Malachi 3:8-10:
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
Ye [are] cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, [even] this whole nation.
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that [there shall] not [be room] enough [to receive it].
These verses not only say that we “rob God” when we don’t give him our tithe, it also says that God promises to bless us if we give what is rightfully His. Remember that all we possess is a gift from God. He asks very little of what He gives us (when rightfully, He should have all of it).
That being said, there are also verses in the Bible that discuss improper tithing.
Matthew 23:23 – Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier [matters] of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
In this verse, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees because they use tithing as a means to improve their self-image and religious standing with God and those around them. The Pharisees were giving tithes, but only as a religious gesture. In fact, Jesus says that they were omitting the most important things: judgment, mercy, and faith.
There’s another really solid verse in 2 Corinthians 9:17 that goes like this: Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
This verse makes it sound as though it’s better to not give at all if you plan to give grudgingly or because it’s the “religious” thing to do. I think, even more important than giving, is giving with the right attitude.
I see tithing as important for two different reasons.
First, it is financial discipline as well as financial thanks. By routinely giving up a set amount (typically 10%) per paycheck, you learn to make better use of the money that you have left. It is also a thanks to God for providing you with a means to make the money.
Second, it provides for those who work for the church. A pastor who is financially supported by the congregation can commit themselves full-time to ministry. Tithing supports missionaries who travel to nations far away.
Fun fact: The very first time I tithed, I received a substantial raise at work later that day. I have been tithing ever since.