Tithing-A Biblical Principle

by Joe on February 16, 2010

Tithe is defined in the dictionary  as the tenth part of agricultural produce or personal income set apart as an offering to God or for works of mercy, or the same amount regarded as an obligation or tax for the support of the church, priesthood, or the like.

Many people today struggle with the issue of tithes(ing). I was actually surprised to read a an article on USA today that said

Five percent of American Christians overall (8% of all Protestants and 2% of Catholics) tithe.Tithing

In some churches and Christian broadcasts, tithing and giving is over-emphasized at the expense of other biblical teachings.  This has almost become the breeding ground for the belief that the people making these tithing exhortations are out to make money after you give your tithe. Nonetheless, tithing is a biblical principle.

Our first financial adjustment after we got married was on our tithing perspective. We both understood the meaning of giving and tithing, but since we were starting out in debt, we allocated tithe as an item on our budget, so we do not ‘forget’ or give other items priority over the tithe-thanks to my wife.

Is it easier to give when you have more or when you have less? Rockefeller a known American industrialist answered

“I never would have been able to tithe the first million dollars I ever made if I had not tithed my first salary, which was $1.50 per week.”

Why Tithe?

As a Christian, am motivated to give and tithe because:

  • Tithing is an act of worship to God.
  • Tithing is an act of obedience to God – Scriptures reveal this truth.
  • Is a sign of surrender and submission – The admission that even with all the wealth i can acquire, i cannot live unless He wills. Surrendering to God who  says in His word that the earth is mine and the fullness thereof(Psalms 24:1)
  • It nurtures the virtue of stewardship- the understanding that God doesn’t own just 10 percent of our money; He owns the other 90 percent too; in fact he owns the “…cattle on a thousand hills.”(Psalms 50:10).
  • Tithing solidifies trust in God – not in our resources and or income.
  • It is a form of thanksgiving – for resources and blessings he bestows to us.

Until you develop a steward mindset, and understand that nothing you have belongs to you, and if you were to die you will take none of it; you will still continue to struggle with tithing and giving (I have had my share of struggles and i will be sharing them here another day).

More on Tithing

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Financialbondage February 16, 2010 at 5:34 pm

I’ve always heard the number is around 2.6% (according to crown.org). But even at 5%, that is a pathetic number when you think of all the Christians we have in the USA and how wealthy we are in this country compared to other nations.

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Joe February 17, 2010 at 4:42 pm

@Financialbondage – i knew the numbers were low but i thought it was over 20 percent – i was surprised.

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Edith Ndei February 17, 2010 at 4:43 pm

I believe in tithing. It took me some time to grasp it; but, I don’t steal from others–so, I should also not take what the Bible says is God’s and use it as my own. I also believe that tithe should go to a place where one worships regularly–and if it’s a few then you can figure a way–but that part belongs to God. Also, it’s best not to wait coz the temptation to use it in other ways increases. Offerings can go to other ministries and alms giving-to the needy-is also important

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Carlos Frank February 23, 2010 at 11:22 am

Great posts! The tithe is a very polarizing topic! The moment I heard about tithing in college I ran to my wallet and pulled out 10% of what I had and have not skipped a beat for the last 12 years. The challenge I see for most Christians is that when they finally hear about the tithe most of them are already in such deep financial chaos that being told that they should be tithing 10% of their income is beyond their faith. Your quote from Mr. Rockefeller is powerful! If you won’t tithe off of $1 how are you going to tithe off $1 million? Thanks for tackling this topic!

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Joe February 23, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Great observations Carlos and you nailed it head on; and alot of Christians are struggling with this issue. When my wife and i got married, we realized that getting financially healthy was not only important for our relationship- but also for our spiritual growth and so we are kicking debt off.

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Tony Isaac April 15, 2010 at 5:49 am

I read through your post and all I saw was someone presenting his personal opinion which is not necessarily a bad thing. But it becomes a problem when that personal opinion is presented as the voice of God. Paul had personal opinions and pointed them out in order to distinguish them from God’s word.

You cannot look to the dictionary to get a proper definition of the tithe, you have to look to the bible and the bible defines it as a tenth of agricultural produce; crops and livestock from within the land of Israel and never as a tenth part of income.

I find it quite mind boggling that you say tithing is an act of worship to God. Where is that in scripture? Tithing is obedience to God, which scripture reveals that truth? How can it be a sign of surrender and submission? Where can we find that in scripture? Nurtures the virtue of stewardship? I really do not know what to say to that. It solidifies trust in God? That is according to you and not the bible.

The doctrine of tithing is no longer relevant to today’s church because it is rather impossible to tithe and no where in the NT are we enjoined to keep practising this rite. Instead when it comes to giving we are advised to give what we can afford willingly and cheerfully without a 10% being demanded as an absolute minimum. I do enjoin you to give this topic a bit more study.

God bless.

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Jason @ Redeeming Riches April 19, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Great post – I’m wondering if American Christians should be moving beyond the traditional “tithe” since we live in the wealthiest country and are part of the wealthiest generation to ever live? 70% of the world’s Christian wealth is owned in American and yet the average Christian gives 2.6%! Ouch!

I just started a series on giving and tithing – would love to have your thoughts!

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SL May 1, 2011 at 8:16 am

There is a big difference in giving Tithes ( a voluntary tenth) as a principle vs tithing to keep an Old Covenant law tithing which was one out of 613. Galatians 3:13 SAID CHRIST HAS REDEEMED US FROM THE CURSE OF THE LAW BY BEING MADE A CURSE FOR US. To tell people they will be cursed to collect tithe money is similar to what Balaam did in the Old Testament when a pagan Moabite King paid him to try and curse the Lord’s people for money Joshua later struck him down in the battle the Lord gave him victory to win! Pastors, you cannot and should not curse what Jesus died to redeem! You should also explain the words Paid in full and the difference in the Old covenant of law and the New Covenant of grace.
God gave you free favor when he saved you and this grace period will never run out!

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Sue Ellen July 12, 2012 at 8:10 am

If a person desides to give ten percent of their money received to the church, this is a good thing and a blessing to all. If a person pays being demanded or put under a law by man to tithe ten percent of their money to the church, they are following a man made law. The Mosaic Law never told God’s children to give ten percent of their money to the temple and neither did Abraham, Jesus or the Deciples. If you want to be among the pharisees in Matthew 23:23, be one but remember Galatians 3:10 as you try to obey the Mosiac Law.

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