By   •   June 1, 2004   •   Topics:


Does a Christian have to tithe?


Christians who want to please the Lord often have questions about tithing. The dictionary defines the word “tithe” as “a tenth part of something paid as a voluntary contribution or as a tax especially for the support of a religious establishment.” It was a common practice in the Old Testament and required of members of the nation of Israel.

Many Christians believe that this principle of giving one-tenth should be carried over to the New Testament in giving to the church and other Christian organizations. Mr. Graham would fit into this category. He has said, “We have found in our own home, as have thousands of others, that God’s blessing upon the nine-tenths, when we tithe, helps it to go farther than ten-tenths without His blessing.” However, even then the question as to whether to tithe from one’s net or gross income is not answered in Scripture, nor is the question of whether to give it all to the local church or to include other ministries. We feel that such decisions should be based on personal conviction.

Other Christians who tithe do so simply because they respect the Old Testament principle and find it a helpful place to begin in their giving. They do not believe, however, that tithing is a New Testament obligation. It is not mentioned in the New Testament except where it is describing Old Testament practices, or in the Gospels where Jesus is addressing people who were under the Old Testament law. Note Jesus’ comments to the Pharisees in Luke 11:42.

A New Testament teaching on giving which may be helpful to you is found in 1 Corinthians 16:2: “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income.” This passage brings out four points: we should give individually, regularly, methodically, and proportionately.

The matter of your giving is between you and God, and He always takes into account our circumstances. He knows when they are beyond our power to direct and control. The important thing is that we see giving as a privilege and not a burden. It should not be out of a sense of duty, but rather out of love for the Lord and a desire to see His kingdom advanced.

Second Corinthians 9:6-7 says: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

The deeper question, you see, is this: What has priority in our lives? Is Christ really first—or do we put ourselves and our own desires first? Make sure Christ is first in your life, and then ask Him to guide you.

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  1. Patty Smith says:

    For God’s ways are not our ways. Consider the widow who gave a small amount and what did Jesus say? She has given more than all of you! She gave her all, let me be like her who was like Christ, who gave His all for me and you. How good is the Lord!

  2. Barbara Kleber says:

    I give what I can in offerings but I can’t afford 10% & still have enough to last until the next check.

  3. Russ Rossi says:

    The modern church today is interested in power and politics. Some leaders in church use religion
    for themselves.

  4. Ivan says:

    I completely agree, giving is a blessing.

  5. Elisha says:

    I completely agree with this answer! These are my thoughts exactly!

  6. Brother white says:

    I believe Jesus Christ set us free from bondage of the Old Testament. If the ministers and the people of God will just tell the truth I believe people of God will give more freely and willingly. 10% would not even be a question, people will give more from the heart than being told a percentage. If you want Christians to give then do what the word says with the finances.

  7. Bob says:

    Would be great if this was printable, if a printable link was included. I can print it but a lot of unneeded stuff prints too. But thanks for the objective info. Our church is 2.4 million in debt and they want us to sacrificially give. “Sacrificially give?” Where is that in the Bible? This is not cheerful giving but hardship giving. Not too long ago the church did start putting some money aside for future expected maintenance costs. Uh, maybe all churches should be doing this. I do it in my budget and everything falls into place and now I have extra money to give because God has blessed me by being a good steward and putting money aside for expected costs like, oh I don’t know, the A/C unit will eventually wear out as other stuff.

  8. Lemay Brooks says:

    Giving is a blessing.

  9. duanecole says:

    i believe you should give 10 percent of your money. If you do not have money you can give 10 percent time, fruit, vegetable…

  10. LEAH NJUGUNA says:

    Nice teaching. Keep up the spirit.