What Does the Bible Say About Christian Tithing?
Does just the word “tithing” make you feel uncomfortable? Sadly, you are not alone.
Many people who grew up in church and did not learn the real purpose of tithing simply remember it as a time when offering plates were passed down the pews and preachers begged for money.
However, those who grew up in churches where tithing was treated as another form of worship have a vastly different view.
So, what is tithing, and should Christians do it?
Here’s the short answer: The baseline standard for giving in Scripture is “the tithe,” which is derived from the Hebrew word ma'aser. It literally means “the tenth.” And, yes, Christians should tithe and consider it the least we can give.
The short answer is not enough.
We need to understand why the Bible tells us to give 10% of our income as a tithe.
If we don’t understand how tithing is a form of worship, then we will hesitate to give as we should.
According to Pushpay, “On average, Christians give 2.5% of their income to churches. During the Great Depression, they gave 3.3%.” Christians today give less than those living during the Great Depression. It’s shocking.
Part of this problem is because we don’t understand why we should tithe, and the rest is a heart problem.
Let’s dig deep into the topic of tithing.
The Purpose of Tithing
"The purpose of tithing is to teach you always
to put God first in your lives.”
– Deuteronomy 14:23 TLB
We don’t give ten percent to God because He needs our money. God doesn’t want something from us; He wants something for us.
Instead, we tithe to remember that God is the supplier of everything we have.
Tithing is a form of worship because it honors God.
It shows that we acknowledge He is the giver of all things, and it shows we are putting our faith and trust in Him.
As Dave Ramsey explains, “Tithing is an act of faith that helps us keep our priorities straight. It reminds us that we don’t own anything in this life. God is in control, and we’re only managers of what He’s given us.”
Additionally, when you tithe to your local church, you are supporting the church.
The tithe goes toward the various ministries that require funds, bills like electricity, and it supports your community and missionaries around the world.
What the Bible Says About Tithing
“Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always.” – Deuteronomy 14:22-23
“A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.” – Leviticus 27:30
Tithing is biblical and is spoken of in both the Old and New Testament.
In the Old Testament, those who followed the Lord were instructed to give a tithe, so they would continue to put God first.
In fact, they were instructed to give the firstfruits of their crops.
In other words, before they took home anything for themselves, they were told to give to God first.
In the New Testament, Christ makes tithing a starting point.
In other words, he assumes those who follow the Lord are already tithing.
For example, he tells people to not allow their tithing to trump justice and mercy.
Jesus saw how some people treated tithing as merely a religious custom rather than a heart matter.
Pushpay explains, “Throughout Jesus’ teaching on giving, He doesn’t seek to undermine the principle of the tithe but encourages people to practice their giving in meaningful ways.”
Tithing from the Heart
“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
We don’t want to tithe for tithing’s sake like the religious people Jesus criticized. Instead, our desire should be to joyfully give.
Our motivation should be to honor the one who is the giver of all.
When we begin to see tithing as a beautiful opportunity to put our faith in God and give to His church, we have the right motive.
As the Bible makes clear, money can easily have a stronghold on our hearts.
We naturally tend to hold tightly to our money, and tithing helps loosen money’s grip.
In addition to praying for God to change your heart about your refusal to give, maybe take some time to consider how much God has already given you.
Did you know if you live in America you are already richer than most of the world?
Check out the website Giving What We Can: How Rich Am I? to discover how rich you are compared to most of the world, as well as how rich you would still be if you gave 10% of your income.
It’s a real eye-opener, and it can help you let go of some of your ideas about wealth.
Tithing is an Act of Faith
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” – Malachi 3:10
Trusting God with your finances is an act of faith.
Even those who seem financially stable worry about their financial future from time to time.
But, as the Book of Malachi shows, tithing is God's personal invitation to an outpouring of His blessing in your life.
This is the only place in Scripture where God tells us to put Him to the test.
In other words, He is saying, "Go ahead. I dare you. See if you can out-give me."
By tithing 10% of each paycheck, you are putting your trust in God and allowing Him to pour blessings into your life.
That’s why at South Bay Bible Church we encourage believers to take the Six-Month Tithe Challenge to test God in this area as He commanded.
Ways to Tithe
“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops.”
– Proverbs 3:9
Since we believe tithing is a priority for believers, we try to make it easy.
We offer multiple ways for church members to tithe, including online giving through their credit card or bank draft, at service, via text message, or by post. We also allow members to tithe through automated bank debit giving.
With this option, you can be sure you give 10% of your income each month.