The Truth About Tithing

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For obvious reasons, it’s important that Christians know the truth about tithing. That is, does the Bible actually require that we “tithe” ten percent of our income to a local church?

Although it is a privilege for Christians to give to the Lord’s work with a willing and cheerful heart, joyful giving has largely been replaced by the burdensome, so-called obligation of tithing. For poor churchgoers, this typically means giving money that they desperately need out of an ill-fated presumption (or perhaps an ignorant, yet genuine faith) that the Lord will supply their needs.

The more I learn about the Bible’s teachings on this popular teaching, the more I disagree with the notion that God expects every Christian to tithe ten percent of their income to a local church. Here are my recent tweets on this topic, sent from my Twitter account @Genesis_Guy:

I do not expect to ever again give generously to a minister who says that giving to him and his ministry is giving to God.

Putting God in the middle may sound pious, but it’s presumptuous to tell donors their money is going to God.

It’s also a subtle evasion of responsibility. More layers between the donor and recipient means less accountability.

Ministers should receive offerings as from the Lord, but not tell us we are giving them to the Lord.

If I choose to give to a minister as unto God, that’s between me and the Lord, not for the minister to tell me.

Next time a minister says people are giving to the Lord, I will ask, “Where’s the fire?” | “What fire?”…

“You know. You put the offerings on the fire, and the smoke goes up to the Lord. So, shall I bring a round of beef to go with it?”

A preacher may not only say that giving to them is giving to the Lord, but also that we owe him a tithe on our gross income.

While it’s true that no church can enforce a tithe, terms like “recommended minimum” of 10% impose a legalistic burden.

Ask exactly how tithing worked in the Old Testament, and most pastors won’t have a clue.

Yes, they tell us to obey a Bible command that they themselves may know little about.

Tithes allowed families to celebrate feast days; went to the poor; paid for government functions; and went up in smoke.

We don’t have to burn offerings to the Lord; we pay taxes for government services; and many of us are poor and in need of a vacation.

A certain amount, hard to determine, did go to Levites. They also received towns & lands, giving them the ability to earn income.

The Apostle Paul gave no commandment concerning a tithe, but only accepted voluntary offerings (2 Cor. 9:7).

Paul would surely have condemned mandatory tithing as an attempt to be justified by the Law.

Here’s the truth about giving in two simple tweets…

True discipleship means recognizing that everything we own belongs to God.

We should give generously & joyfully as the Holy Spirit directs, not as men command. Click To TweetGod will bless us as we do so.

For further information on tithing, see these articles: The Lie of Tithing and How Much Do You Really Know About Tithing?.

Ministers across the globe have taught that we should be willing to give even our last coin, just as the poor widow in the temple gave her last mite (Lk. 21:1-4). However, that wasn’t Jesus’ point at all, as pastor John MacArthur explained in his sermon, The Myth of the Widow’s Mite.