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. Thank you so much for that God Bless says:

    The truth has set me free.

  2. Herimas M. Othniel says:

    I find your explanation very helpful.

  3. IRMA EVANS says:

    All of this about the time in the offering is making me cry. I’m so grateful for this ministry.

  4. Patrina Fannoh says:

    I love giving for the advancement of God’s kingdom. However, I didn’t know it was voluntary. I thought it was a necessity and never gave out of necessity but thought it was. Anyhow, this has been very helpful and I will continue to give the ten percent because I have seen God’s incredible blessings in my life from doing so. God bless and try Him. He will never disappoint.

  5. Jackson Julien says:

    When you trust God, you will find that nothing is too hard to do for Him. I believe we have to make sure that He (God) is in all of our decision-making and we are doing all that needs to be done in order to please Him (God).

  6. Charlotte Ginther says:

    Thank you so much! Everything I read answered my questions. I’ve always loved Billy Graham. He is a true man of God.

  7. vanthacung says:

    It is very inspiring for me to read.