What does the Bible say about tithes and offering?
When tithing is mentioned in a sermon, many church members will eyeball the pastor suspiciously. Others may moan in despair thinking that the church is just wanting to guilt them into giving. But what is tithing? What does the Bible say about it?
Christian quotes about tithes
“God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with.” Billy Graham
“Giving isn’t so much a matter of what you have as much as it is a matter of who has you. Your giving reveals who has your heart.”
“Giving in a regular, disciplined, generous way-up to and beyond the tithe-is simply good sense in view of the promises of God.” John Piper
“Tithing isn’t really giving – It’s returning.”
“God doesn’t need us to give Him our money. He owns everything. Tithing is God’s way to grow Christians.” Adrian Rogers
“My take on tithing in America is that it’s a middle-class way of robbing God. Tithing to the church and spending the rest on your family is not a Christian goal. It’s a diversion. The real issue is: How shall we use God’s trust fund-namely, all we have-for His glory? In a world with so much misery, what lifestyle should we call our people to live? What example are we setting?” John Piper
“I have held many things in my hand, and have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands that I still possess.” Martin Luther
“As a youth John Wesley began working for $150 a year. He gave $10 to the Lord. His salary was doubled the second year, but Wesley continued to live on $140, giving $160 to Christian work. During his third year, Wesley received $600. He kept $140 while $460 were given to the Lord.”
What is tithing in the Bible?
Tithing is mentioned in the Bible. The literal translation means “a tenth.” A tithe was an obligatory offering. In the Law of Moses this was commanded and it was explicitly to come from the first fruits. This was given so that the people could remember that everything comes from the Lord and that we are to be thankful for what He has given us. This tithe was used to provide for the Levite priests.
1) Genesis 14:19-20 “And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.”
2) Genesis 28:20-22 “Then Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.”
Why do we tithe in the Bible?
For Christians, tithing a set 10% is not commanded, for we are not under the Law of Moses. But in the New Testament it does specifically command believers to be generous and that we are to give with a grateful heart. Our tithes are to be used by our churches for the ministry. Most churches in our country have to pay for their electric bill and water bill and for any building repairs that may arise. Tithes are also used to support the pastor. A pastor has to eat during the week, after all. He spends his time nurturing the flock and he should be financially supported by his church.
3) Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.”
4) Leviticus 27:30 “Thus all the tithe of the land, of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S; it is holy to the LORD.”
5) Nehemiah 10:38 “The priest, the son of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes, and the Levites shall bring up the tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the chambers of the storehouse.”
Christians should be known for their generosity. Not for their stinginess. God has been so generous with us, He has bestowed unmerited favor upon us. He meets our every needs and even gives us things in life for our own pleasure. The Lord is generous to us, He wants us to be generous in return so that His love and provision may be seen through us.
6) Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
7) 2 Corinthians 8:12 “If the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.”
8) 2 Corinthians 9:7 “You should each give, then, as you have decided, not with regret or out of a sense of duty; for God loves the one who gives gladly.”
9) 2 Corinthians 9:11 “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
10) Acts 20:35 “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
11) Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
12) 1 Timothy 6:17-19 “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they make take hold of the life that is truly life.”
13) Acts 2:45 “They would sell their property and possessions, and distribute the money among all, according to what each one needed.”
14) Acts 4:34 “There were no needy ones among them, because those who owned lands or houses would sell their property, bring the proceeds from the sales.”
15) 2 Corinthians 8:14 “Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal.”
16) Proverbs 11:24-25 24 “One person is generous and yet grows more wealthy, but another withholds more than he should and comes to poverty. 25 A generous person will be enriched, and the one who provides water for others will himself be satisfied.”
Trusting God with our finances
One of the biggest stressors known to mankind is the stress that surrounds finances. And regardless of our income level, we will all face tremendous amount of stress regarding our finances. But the Bible says that we are not to worry about finances. He is in charge of every penny that we will ever see. We shouldn’t avoid tithing because we are fearful about having to hoard our money for some unforeseen event. Giving our tithes to the Lord is an act of faith as well as an act of obedience.
17) Mark 12:41-44 “And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
18) Exodus 35:5 “From what you have, take an offering for the LORD. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the LORD an offering.”
19) 2 Chronicles 31:12 “God’s people faithfully brought in the contributions, tithes and dedicated gifts.”
20) 1 Timothy 6:17-19 “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way, they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
21) Psalm 50:12 “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and everything in it is Mine.”
22) Hebrews 13:5 “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
23) Proverbs 22:4 “The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life.”
How much should you tithe according to the Bible?
While 10% is the literal translation for the word tithe, it is not what is required Biblically. In the Old Testament, with all of the required tithes and offerings, the average family was giving almost a third of their income to the Temple. It was used for upkeep of the Temple, for the Levitical priests, and to store in case of famine. In the New Testament, there is not a set amount that is required for believers to give. We are just commanded to be faithful in giving and to be generous.
24) 1 Corinthians 9:5-7 “So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given. Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 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.”
Is tithing before or after taxes?
One subject that is prone to be debated over is should you tithe on your entire income before taxes are taken out, or should you tithe on the amount that you see with each paycheck after taxes are removed. This answer is going to vary from individual to individual. There really is no right or wrong answer here. You should pray about this issue and discuss it amongst the members of your household. If your conscious was bothered by tithing after taxes are removed, then by all means do not go against your conscious.
Tithing in the Old Testament
There are numerous verses in the Old Testament about tithing. We can see that the Lord insists that we provide for the servants of God who He has placed in authority over is. We can also see that the Lord wants us to provide for the upkeep of our house of worship. The Lord takes our financial decisions seriously. We should seek to honor Him in how we handle the money He has entrusted into our care.
25) Leviticus 27:30-34 “Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord. If a man wishes to redeem some of his tithe, he shall add a fifth to it. And every tithe of herds and flocks, every tenth animal of all that pass under the herdsman’s staff, shall be holy to the Lord. One shall not differentiate between good or bad, neither shall he make a substitute for it; and if he does substitute for it, then both it and the substitute shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.”
26) Numbers 18:21 “To the Levites I have given every tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service that they do, their service in the tent of meeting”
27) Numbers 18:26 “Moreover, you shall speak and say to the Levites, “When you take from the people of Israel the tithe that I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall present a contribution from it to the Lord, a tithe of the tithe.”
28) Deuteronomy 12:5-6 “But you shall seek the place that the Lord your God will choose out of all your tribes to put his name and make his habitation there. There you shall go, and there you shall bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, your vow offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock.”
29) Deuteronomy 14:22 “You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. And before the Lord your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.”
30) Deuteronomy 14:28-29 “At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.”
31) 2 Chronicles 31:4-5 “And he commanded the people who lived in Jerusalem to give the portion due to the priests and the Levites, that they might give themselves to the Law of the Lord. As soon as the command was spread abroad, the people of Israel gave in abundance the firstfruits of grain, wine, oil, honey, and of all the produce of the field. And they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything.”
32) Nehemiah 10:35-37 “We obligate ourselves to bring the firstfruits of our ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of every tree, year by year, to the house of the Lord; also to bring to the house of our God, to the priests who minister in the house of our God, the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle, as it is written in the Law, and the firstborn of our herds and of our flocks; and to bring the first of our dough, and our contributions, the fruit of every tree, the wine and the oil, to the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and to bring to the Levites the tithes from our ground, for it is the Levites who collect the tithes in all our towns where we labor.”
33) Proverbs 3:9-10 “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”
34) Amos 4:4-5 “Come to Bethel, and transgress; to Gilgal, and multiply transgression; bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three days; offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened, and proclaim freewill offerings, publish them; for so you love to do, O people of Israel!” declares the Lord God.”
35) Malachai 3:8-9 “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 of you.”
36) Malachai 3:10-12 “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.”
Tithing in the New Testament
Tithing is discussed in the New Testament, but it follows a slightly different pattern. Since Christ came in fulfillment of the law, we are no longer bound by the Levitical laws that mandated a certain percentage to be given. Now, we are commanded to give and to give generously. It is a secret act of worship to our Lord, we shouldn’t give so that others can see how much we are giving.
37) Matthew 6:1-4 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
38) Luke 11:42 “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.”
39) Luke 18:9-14 “He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
40) Hebrews 7:1-2 “For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace.”
Tithing is important for us to remember to do. The Lord has graciously given us what finances we have, and we should use them for His glory. Let us honor Him in how we spend each dime and give back to Him what is already His.