A Bible Study About Tithing
(doctrine of mainline Christianity)
written by
Kraig Josiah Rice

Malachi Addendum web page 1

(Clicking on these internal links will move you down this page)
Getting Right Down To It
I. The Biblical View of Tithing
      Old Testament Tithing
       New Testament Tithing
       Some Scriptures About Giving
II. The Church's View of Tithing
      The Semantics of Tithing
       Some Tips For Pastors

Words of Holy Scripture in purple symbolizing royalty
Words of Christ in red symbolizing His shed blood

Getting Right Down To It

Tithing has nothing to do with your eternal salvation one way or the other. God does NOT need your money. He has been getting along throughout eternity just fine without it. If you do NOT belong to God you cannot buy your salvation from Him. God does NOT want your money- He wants you. Why? Because He loves you and died for you. You are valuable to Him. Why can't you influence Him with your money like you do everybody else? You have to come to God His way, not your way. His way of salvation comes through the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and His vicarious, substitutionary atonement for you. In that respect you have to invite Jesus Christ to come and live inside of your heart (you have to be God possessed). But why cannot you give Him money for your salvation and come to Him on your own terms? Because of the sin of self will. God will only accept you on His terms, not on your terms. So then, why should we tithe? Is tithing scriptural? Yes. Is tithing for today? Yes. Why?

God would have never started the church unless He had some way of financing it

Before we start our bible study on tithing let's review a few important biblical principles.

Principle Number One:
Who owns you

The Bible makes it very clear that someone owns you. You either belong to God or you belong to the devil. If you don't know who you belong to I suggest you start going to church and ask Christ to come to live inside of your heart. Why is this important? Because a child of the devil does NOT pay tithes to God. That person gives his or her money to causes they are interested in rather than to God and His church, or they spend their money on themselves selfishly. On the other hand, a child of God gratefully gives to his or her Master in response to God's love and care for him. So the important question here is
who owns you?

Principle Number Two:
God Owns It All

The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ created everything. That means that He owns everything. If you create a painting, you own that painting. If you create a clay jar, you own that clay jar. You own what you create. Jesus created the world and all that is in it so He owns it all. There is an exception when it comes to free will, however. And in that respect God wants you to recognize that 100% of what you own is His and with your free will He wants you to give back to Him only 10% from a heart filled with gratitude and love for Him. It's a love service intermingled with grace.

"For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him"
(Colossians 1:16).

Principle Number Three:
Jesus Christ Is Our Example

Jesus Christ believed in paying tithes. He is our example. If it was good for Him to do- then it is good for us to do. Here is the scripture on that:

"How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest part of your income, but you ignore the important things of the law- justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but you should not leave undone the more important things..."
(Matthew 23:23).

Principle Number Four:
There Are Two Kingdoms

The bible teaches that there are two kingdoms and that these two kingdoms are backwards to each other. There is "The Kingdom of Heaven" and there is "The Kingdom of the Earth." It's important for you to choose which kingdom you want to invest in. If you invest in God's Kingdom you receive eternal rewards. If you invest in Satan's Kingdom you receive what you get or temporal rewards. Which kingdom you choose to invest in is determined by who owns you, whether you believe God owns everything, whether you are going to use Christ as your example to live by, and whether or not you love and trust God with your money.

Some examples of these two opposite kingdoms are seen in truths such as:
If you want to be the greatest, you have to be the least.
You keep what you give away.
You have to die to live, etc.

I heard a true story one time from an American missionary to South Korea. He was there during the Korean War preaching in a small Korean Church while streams of refugees filed by outside. Some came inside the church to worship. God told him to take a collection. The missionary argued with God that these folks had nothing except what they were carrying on their backs and were destitute. Nevertheless, the missionary obeyed God and took up the collection to God. Most gave generously of their belongings and smiled as they did it. Then the missionary learned a valuable lesson from God. No matter what the circumstances, there is a spiritual component of grace connected with giving to God. God records it in His Book of Works and repays the giver with more than was originally given. The blessing is on the giver, not the receiver.

In that respect the Apostle Paul had this to say:
"I have never coveted anyone's money or fine clothing. You know that these hands of mine have worked to pay my own way, and I have even supplied the needs of those who were with me. And I have been a constant example of how you can help the poor by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus:
"It is more blessed to give than to receive"
(Acts 22:33-35).

Principle Number Five:
The Worship of God

How does one worship God? You can worship God by raising your hands and praising God in known tongues and unknown tongues, you can worship God by reading, listening to, and obeying His Word, you can worship God by doing what God told you to do, you can worship God by singing worship songs to Him, and you can worship God by giving Him tithes and love offerings. And there are other way to worship God that I don't mention here. God accepts it all from a heart of a willing and cheerful worshipper.

Not all hearts have pure motives. There may come a time when someone will try to fool you by giving money to the Lord's work. A dirty pig may take a bath, put on a suit, come to church and falsely declare that he is now clean on the inside and the outside, and give a large sum of money to prove his worship. But as soon as everyone sees that pig back wallowing in the mud again they will know he was only pretending.

If God gave to us as we give to Him, what would we have?

I. The Biblical View of Tithing

How do you give anything to God? He is a spirit and we are carnal. In Old Testament days God instructed His people how to give to Him. God instituted the Levites (the Levitical Priesthood) to be the ones who represented Him on earth. The Levites were not given a share of Canaan Land like the other 12 tribes were. They were to be supported by the tithes and offerings brought by worshippers. The Levites received these gifts and God rewarded the worshippers for their gifts. Their money was given as unto God even though the priests received it physically. That was how God ordained it.

In Old Testament days there were the saved and the unsaved, just like today. The saved gave their money and/or possessions to God and the unsaved did not.

What did the priests do for their money? The Levitical priests were preachers so they preached. John the Baptist was one good example who lead many souls to the Lord. Some were prophets. Isaiah and Jeremiah were two good examples of early prophets. Many Levites presided over temple services or synagogues and made sure the holy scriptures were read on the sabbath day. Not all preachers in those days were Levites. There were many folks from different tribes who preached and won souls. Just like today there are many preachers and evangelists who come from different denominations. Jesus Christ, God the Son, was a great preacher and soul winner on planet earth. He was not a Levite. He came from the tribe of Judah.

Before the Old Testament Law was given, tithing was practiced by saved worshippers. How do we know this? The Bible tells us so. Here is the story:

Abraham gave tithes to a priest of God known as Melchizedek. In biblical typology Melchizedek is a type of Jesus Christ.
"And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all"
(Genesis 14:18-20).

The New Testament adds more light to this true story because it says that Jesus Christ is a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Here are the scriptures:
"So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek"
(Hebrews 5:5-6).

Since the worshippers of God paid tithes to Melchizedek in those days before the Law, then it is perfectly ok for us to pay tithes today to Jesus Christ (our Melchizedek) in these days after the law. Don't you agree?

Faith is simply trusting in God
when life gives you reasons not to

Who gave the figure one tenth? Why not one percent, five percent, or fifteen percent? The word "tithe" is an old English word that means "tenth." Where did the one tenth come from? It comes from the Bible. Here is the scripture:
"And Jacob vowed 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 raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee"
(Genesis 28:20-22).

"If one first gives himself to the Lord,
all other giving is easy"
- Robert Harris

One of the fundamental rules concerning animal sacrifices in the Old Testament was that the animal had to be without any physical blemish
(Leviticus 1:3). When the people brought to Him animals with missing eyes or broken legs, or diseased, or some other blemish, the Lord challenged them to offer those animals to the governors who ruled over them at that time, to see how pleased those men would be with such sorry gifts. He said,

"If ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it now to thy governor. Will he be pleased with thee?"
(Malachi 1:8).

The interpretation of those verses is clear, but what is the application of those verses? In this New Testament era, it is the condition of the heart that matters. And the soul that brings tithes and offerings to the Lord in this New Covenant era must bring them without any blemish of sin in his or her heart if they want God to accept what they bring. The same biblical warning is in effect in another area for participating in Holy Communion unworthily.

Hard work is the yeast
that raises the dough

Old Testament Tithing

God told Moses to make tithing mandantory. It was the Law of God. It wasn't your neighbor's law, it wasn't your law- it was God's Law. And why should God, who owns everything, care less about such matters? Did He institute this law because He was greedy and wanted to hog it all for Himself? Or, because He was a big mean bully and would enjoy taking your money away from you? Well, the devil would like you to think so, but God isn't that kind of Person. There were three major biblical reasons why God told Moses to make tithing mandantory. Let's take a look at the Old Testament to see if we can glean some nuggets of truth about what God was up to.

Reason #1 for tithing: Supporting the Work of God
"A tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain or fruit, belongs to the LORD and must be set apart to him as holy. If you want to redeem the LORD's tenth of the fruit or grain, you must pay its value, plus 20 percent. The LORD also owns every tenth animal counted off from your herds and flocks. They are set apart to him as holy"
(Leviticus 27:30-32).

Reason #2 for tithing: Supporting God's Ministers and Priests
"As for the tribe of Levi, your relatives, I will pay them for their service in the Tabernacle with the tithes from the entire land of Israel. From now on, Israelites other than the priests and Levites are to stay away from the Tabernacle. If they come too near, they will be judged guilty and die. The Levites must serve at the Tabernacle, and they will be held responsible for any offenses against it. This is a permanent law among you. But the Levites will receive no inheritance of land among the Israelites, because I have given them the Israelites' tithes, which have been set apart as offerings to the Lord. This will be the Levites' share. That is why I said they would receive no inheritance of land among the Israelites. The Lord also told Moses, "say this to the Levites: "When you receive the tithes from the Israelites, give a tenth of the tithes you receive- a tithe of the tithe- to the Lord as a gift. The Lord will consider this to be your harvest offering, as though it were the first grain from your own threshing floor or wine from your own winepress. You must present one-tenth of the tithe received from the Israelites as a gift to the Lord. From this you must present the Lord's portion to Aaron the priest. Be sure to set aside the best portions of the gifts given to you as your gifts to the Lord"
(Numbers 18:21-29).

Reason #3 for tithing: Supporting the Widows, Poor, Sick, and Orphans
"He brought us to this place and gave us this land flowing with milk and honey! And now, O LORD, I have brought you a token of the first crops you have given me from the ground. Then place the produce before the LORD your God and worship him. Afterward go and celebrate because of all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household. Remember to include the Levites and the foreigners living among you in the celebration. Every third year you must offer a special tithe of your crops. You must give these tithes to the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows so that they will have enough to eat in your towns"
(Deuteronomy 26:9-12).

So, we see that God instituted tithing to support His full time priests and ministers who were to feed His sheep the Word of God, lead them safely to Heaven, and reach the unreached with His unchanging message of grace, love, and forgiveness. He wanted His work to prosper- whether it was a building program or community outreach. And He wanted, because He is kind, some tithes money devoted to the support of the poor and destitute who Satan had attempted to destroy.

New Testament Tithing

There is a lot of confusion concerning tithes paying today as to whether or not it is mandantory. In this section I am going to answer that question in reference to the Bible. In another section I am going to answer that question in reference to the church. In the Old Testament you had the Law. The saved folks had to pay tithes and it was mandantory for them to do so. In the New Testament you have grace. Grace is better than the law. Saved folks pay tithes today in regards to the biblical principle, but it is not the rule or the law today. If you can't pay tithes God does not hold it against you. Paying tithes today is strictly on the reward basis. And God does reward His faithful servants for giving their tithes to Him, however, you cannot purchase your salvation from God by paying Him tithes money.

The Bible makes it clear that Christians today in this age of grace do NOT have to obey the Law of Moses under mandantory conditions. This includes the tithing laws. If anyone says they must tithe under Law conditions then they must obey the other Law conditions as well. They better get circumcised, worship on Saturday, and give up eating pork as well. There are some churches who are legalistic and hold to only the Old Testament Laws that they want to. But most churches, who rightly divide the Word of God, do not. Do I have any scripture to prove my point? Yes.

The early church was faced with the problem of how much of the Old Testament Law was to be forced on the new gentile converts in this age of grace. Here is God the Holy Spirit's judgment:
"For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these requirements: You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or eating the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well"
(Acts 15:28-29).

Notice that mandantory tithes giving was not mentioned for this age of grace. Voluntary tithes giving, however, is mentioned in the bible for this age of grace. Let's take a look at a few New Testament scriptures on voluntary tithing.

It is mentioned twice in the gospels that Jesus Christ approved of paying tithes. His quote in Matthew is already mentioned above. Here is His quote found in the Gospel of Luke:
"But how terrible it will be for you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest part of your income, but you completely forget about justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but you should not leave undone the more important things"
(Luke 11:42).

Then Jesus told this true story about two men. The saved one did NOT yet pay tithes, while the unsaved one DID pay tithes. So, what's the lesson here? One part of this lesson is this:
paying tithes will NOT justify one before God. Here's the story:

"Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a dishonest tax collector. The proud Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: "I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else, especially like that tax collector over there! For I never cheat, I don't sin, I don't commit adultery, I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income." But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, "O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner." I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For the proud will be humbled, but the humble will be honored"
(Luke 18:9-14).

Here is another true story along the same lines:

"Now behold, one came and said to Him, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?"
"Why ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied
"Only God is good. But to answer your question, you can receive eternal life if you keep the commandments."
"Which ones?" the man asked. And Jesus replied:
"Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself."
"I've obeyed all these commandments," the young man replied. "What else must I do?" Jesus told him,
"If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
But when the young man heard this, he went sadly away because he had many possessions"
(Matthew 19:16-22).

This true story of the rich young ruler meant a lot to the Apostle Matthew who wrote this story. You see, Matthew was a tax collector and was a professional at handling money. In most cases he probably knew this man very well. Matthew had given up all to follow Jesus. So had Peter and John and the rest. So, the Lord's request for this young man to give up all to follow Him was not an unusual one to His disciples.

So, does this story have anything to do with tithing? No. Why? To some people, their money is their security, and to some people their money is their god. This story is about a security issue. Jesus wanted him to know He was all that was necessary, if he had faith to believe that. We learn this lesson in the book of Job. Job had a lot of wealth and then lost it. God was enough for Job. The lesson here is that true security is found in a relationship with Christ alone. Christ promises to meet our needs, not our greeds. Another question might be: how much is really enough? The question the young rich ruler struggled with was: Is Jesus enough? Do you and I have enough faith to really believe that He is? Do we have enough faith to really live that way? If you answer yes, then you and I should have no problem with paying our tithes to the Lord, should we?

God spoke through the writer of Hebrews to share this information with us:
"Now the priests, who are descendants of Levi, are commanded in the law of Moses to collect a tithe from all the people, even though they are their own relatives. But Melchizedek, who was not even related to Levi, collected a tenth from Abraham. And Melchizedek placed a blessing upon Abraham, the one who had already received the promises of God. And without question, the person who has the power to bless is always greater than the person who is blessed. In the case of Jewish priests, tithes are paid to men who will die. But Melchizedek is greater than they are, because we are told that he lives on. In addition, we might even say that Levi's descendants, the ones who collect the tithe, paid a tithe to Melchizedek through their ancestor Abraham. For although Levi wasn't born yet, the seed from which he came was in Abraham's loins when Melchizedek collected the tithe from him"
(Hebrews 7:5-10).

In the New Testament, giving is more of an attitude than a requirement. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, made the point that giving was a response to God's grace and a way of proving the sincerity of your love toward others
(2 Corinthians 8:1-12). When people view one another as family, ten percent, or even more, seems a privilege, not a burden.

Here is something else that the Apostle Paul had to say about church members needing to support their ministers:
"Do not we have the right to live in your homes and share your meals? Don't we have the right to bring a Christian wife along with us as the other disciples and the Lord's brothers and Peter do? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have to work to support ourselves? What soldier has to pay his own expenses? And have you ever heard of a farmer who harvests his crop and doesn't have the right to eat some of it? What shepherd takes care of a flock of sheep and isn't allowed to drink some of the milk? And this isn't merely human opinion. Doesn't God's law say the same thing? For the law of Moses says, "Do not keep an ox from eating as it treads out the grain." Do you suppose God was thinking only about oxen when he said this? Wasn't he also speaking to us? Of course he was. Just as farm workers who plow fields and thresh the grain expect a share of the harvest, Christian workers should be paid by those they serve. We have planted good spiritual seed among you. Is it too much to ask, in return, for mere food and clothing? If you support others who preach to you, shouldn't we have an even greater right to be supported? Yet we have never used this right. We would rather put up with anything than put an obstacle in the way of the Good News about Christ. Do not you know that those who work in the Temple get their meals from the food brought to the Temple as offerings? And those who serve at the altar get a share of the sacrificial offerings. In the same way, the Lord gave orders that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it"
(1 Corinthians 9:4-14).

The above scriptures in the New Testament indicate that the apostle Paul believed that the financial support of the work of God should go forward using God's commands to Moses under the Law as guidelines to us in our day of grace.
1 Corinthians 9:8 states "Does not God's law say the same thing?" (referring to how the priests lived on the tithes and offerings). Paul brought the application of the Levitical tithe— "the SAME thing"— over to the support of the New Testament ministry.

Should Christians give voluntary tithes? Yes. I believe the words of both Jesus and Paul seem clearly to bring voluntary tithing into New Testament times if you have faith to believe it because tithing is a faith based work.

If any pastor's tithing is down in his church, he or she should work on building up the faith of his or her congregational members. A praising church, a praying church, a worshipping church, and a bible believing church should have strong faith to carry them through hard economic times. The churches were always full during the Great Depression times because people met there to pray in their needs. And God answered their faith. Testimonies of God's provision were given to help build faith. Let's put the altars back in our churches and let's start praying in our needs like our forefathers did before us.

Do not get into debt- own no man anything
A guiding principle for me in the ministry or out of it has always been to stay out of debt as much as possible. Unpaid debt can lead to worry and stress and cause good folks to act in ways sometimes that are not good. If I have any advice to pass on it is this: stay out of debt. Don't get into church debt. Don't get into personal debt. Don't get into corporate debt. If you are in debt try to get out of it as soon as possible. Is there any scripture on that? Take a look at this one:

"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law"
(Romans 13:8).

 The following concepts reveal much about ourselves:
 1. What we want the most
 2. What we think about
 3. How we use our money
 4. What we do with our leisure time
 5. The company we most enjoy
 6. Whom and what we admire
 7. What we laugh at

Some Biblical Scriptures About Giving Money to the Lord

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths. Don't be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn your back on evil. Then you will gain renewed health and vitality. Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything your land produces. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with the finest wine"
(Proverbs 3:5-10).

"Don't worry whether God will provide it for you. These things dominate the thoughts of most people, but your Father already knows your needs. He will give you all you need from day to day if you make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. "So don't be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom." "Sell what you have and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven have no holes in them. Your treasure will be safe- no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be"
(Luke 12:29-34).

"Those who are taught the word of God should help their teachers by paying them. Don't be misled. Remember that you can't ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow! Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So don't get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters"
(Galatians 6:6-10).

"If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving- large or small- it will be used to measure what is given back to you"
(Luke 6:38).

"Remember this- a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. "
(2 Corinthians 9:6-8).

"So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict. But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law"
(Galatians 5:16-18).

"Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do," says the LORD Almighty, "I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you! Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not shrivel before they are ripe," says the LORD Almighty. "Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight," says the LORD Almighty"
(Malachi 3:10-12).

You can't outgive God

II. The Church's View of Tithing

There is a lot of confusion concerning tithes paying today as to whether or not it is mandantory. In this section I am going to answer that question in reference to the church. We have already seen that as far as the Bible in concerned, tithing is voluntary. The rule is simple: if you want to be blessed of God, pay your tithes.

There are differing church views of tithing- depending on which church denomination that one attends. Usually a collection plate is passed during the Sunday morning service which gives each member a chance to pay their tithes at that time. Sometimes an offering is taken that way also.

One church I attended had a receiving box at the entrance of our Chapel. The pastor never passed a collection plate. Folks in that church dropped their donations in the box on the way into the church or on the way out. That way there was never any pressure to give. The giving was strictly between the individual and God with no one else watching.

The Church Membership Card
The membership card can be a blessing or a curse to many folks who sign it. This signed card transfers one's footing from being bible based to one of being church based. Once you sign the card it is "welcome to the world of Churchanity." This card transfers your tithes from being voluntary in the New Testament economy to being mandantory, just like tithes were in the Old Testament economy. When you sign this card you are making a vow to God to pay your tithes to that church who owns the membership card. Once you make a vow to God and break it you are in danger of having the curse of God upon you and this does not bode well with many folks. Since tithes are now mandantory this gives your preacher the right to club you, if necessary, with Old Testament scriptures calling you a thief and robber of God if you withhold your tithes. It does not bother many folks to sign a membership card and pay tithes to their local church. However, if that's not your cup of tea then don't sign the membership card. That way you are under biblical rules rather than church rules and you can pay all or part of your tithes to that church as you wish.

Here is just one set of scriptures (as there are many) on making or not making a vow to God:
"So when you make a vow (promise) to God, don't delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to Him. It is better to say nothing than to promise something that you don't follow through on. In such cases, your mouth is making you sin. And don't defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and he might wipe out everything you have achieved"
(Ecclesiastes 5:4-6).

Some folks may respond negatively to church giving. "The government taxes us", they say, "so why should the church also"? No one should view their giving to God as a tax but as an investment. God promises good returns on any investment in His work. God is no man's debtor!

Ultimately we are not giving money to the church but to God. What we give is so small in comparison with what He has given us, His only Son. God is not looking to be repaid, but does delight in a cheerful giver, for the act of giving reveals the condition of our hearts towards Him.

Church leaders do not want to have to worry about church giving and church members hate to hear about it. But, every ministry in your church depends on it. And during economic hard times giving will usually drop off. When that happens your pastor or priest may have to use high pressure techniques and beg church members to "honor their pledges." From your pastor's point of view he has budget shortfalls and it makes him look bad and feel bad if he can't pay his church bills on time. He's probably been burned by people who make big promises and then don't deliver.

But always keep one thing in mind: The Lord God Himself will bless you as you are obedient in word and in deed in bringing cheerfully your TITHES and OFFERINGS unto the LORD your God.

A pastor should challenge his congregation to start tithing. I heard of one pastor who did just that. He stated to the congregation one Sunday morning that he wanted everyone to test God by giving their tithes faithfully for one year to his church. Now, here was the deal breaker- the pastor stated that after one year, he would personally return the tithes money to any member who had not received back more from the Lord than what he had originally given. Everyone in the congregation agreed to test God. After one year, not one person came to the pastor to get their money back. All had been blessed abundantly by God. Tithing works.

Give God what is right
Not what is left

The Semantics of Tithing

Some folks believe that since mandantory tithing has been done away with or abolished then they are NOT going to pay tithes under any circumstances because it is unbiblical. Some don't mind giving money to God, they just don't like the word "tithes" for one reason or another. They feel the church shouldn't use that word because it is Old Testament Jewish terminology and has no place in this New Testament church era.

As a result, some pastors refuse to use the word "tithes" when they go to pass the collection plate. Instead they "take up an offering to God." The word "offering" doesn't have too many mental mandantory associations connected with it and sounds more palatable to some folks.

Some pastors don't use the words "tithes" or "offerings" when they pass the collection plate. Some folks feel that both words are under the Old Covenant and should not be used in the New Covenant. In that case, the pastors use the word "dues." The pastors are aware that each member, when signing their membership card, promised to pay their dues to the church in the amount of 10% of their income, so the pastors have no problem in collecting monthly dues from their members.

However, some pastors like to use the word "tithes" because they feel this word is more scriptural in it's biblical foundation. And because it is, they have more leverage for pressuring a congregation to give.

So, it doesn't matter what one calls it- whether it is paying tithes, offerings, or dues- the money is donated as unto God and goes for the support of the pastor(s) and the church.

If you want a church building and a minister then you have to support them. If you don't want them- then don't support them and the minister will leave and your church building will rot.

Have you ever driven by a church building that has been permanently closed down? As you drive by it in your car you might ask yourself "why did that happen?" Was it because they had a pastor there who was a scatterer rather than a gatherer? Or, did they get a liberal pastor who denied the divinity of Jesus and laughed at modern-day miracles? Or, did they get an abusive pastor who had little or no love? Or, did some of the pillars of that church leave or die off? Or, were the members there too selfish and refused to pay their tithes so the church could stay alive? Sometimes it just makes you wonder, doesn't it! In the final analysis, people do what they want to do...

"Delight yourself also in the Lord,
and He shall give you the desires of your heart"
(Psalm 37:4)

Some Tips For Pastors

Here are a few common sense suggestions for properly handling your sheep when it comes time to ask them to donate:

Your honesty will overcome any reluctance of church members. Be open with your congregation about your church's finances. Because the whole church is dreaming of ways to serve God together. Church members will want to give because they are not giving to a "budget"- they are giving to do God's will. Your church members really want to do God's will. They want to help your community. They want to help your church be all it can be. Get the whole congregation involved and members will give joyfully, week after week, month after month. Sometimes the only thing you need to do is ask them to give. But...you have to ask the right way.

Use Dale Carnegie techniques as taught in his book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People," that was mandantory reading for me when I was at Bethany Bible College. People respond to praise and appreciation. Praise will motivate your church members to give. When you know how to motivate your congregation to give, you have tapped into the power of generosity. They will be wanting to give so the congregation can do all God has called them to do. Conversely, if you want to be a scatterer rather than a gatherer, continually criticize your congregation and dump anger on them. Avoid the 3 G's: Guilt, Gimmicks, and Guile. They don't work, but they are often tried. Honest, straightforward communication that respects church members is the only communication about finances that works. Pastors burp the sheep, evangelists skin the sheep. If a pastor acts like an evangelist, he may not get away with it:-) When guilt is used, no one ever gives joyfully. Oh, they may give for a short while if church leaders really lay on a guilt trip but long term resentment may start setting in.

How can you ask folks in your congregation to give? You can ask them at church, on the phone, in a letter, or in person. Personally speaking, I think asking them at church is the best. If you have someone else ask for you, take this advice- only generous people who are trusted completely and who support the cause and can explain it well in one sentence are the only people who should make an appeal for funds.

People give the most when:
1) they are a part of the process,
2) when they can see results quickly, and
3) when they value their church ministry more than their money.

When you know how to get your people talking, really communicating, you will find their dreams for serving God and serving the community. Finances are rarely a problem when people are emotionally supporting ministry they want and believe in.

The Proportion of Giving

Different folks earn different amounts of money, so not all folks pay the same amount of tithes money to the Lord. Some may think that this isn't fair but what they have to understand is: the amount of money is different but the proportion of money is the same. The proportion is always 10% and God rewards you, not only for the money, but also for your faithfulness. Faithfulness to God- in all areas of life- is the spiritual measure of success that will yield you rewards on judgement day. If you want medals and rank in Heaven, you will earn these by your faithfulness to God here on this earth.

TO FORGIVE: $35.00

A Few Additional Thoughts

When I was in Bible College I was taught that any congregation must be made aware that their pastor spends 40 hours per week preparing 3 sermons that he or she must preach on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and on Wednesday night. He or she deserves a full time pay check for all of that hard work. Your pastor needs to be paid so he doesn't have to go to work having to drive a truck or drive nails as a carpenter to make extra money for his family to live on. And besides the support of your pastor, your money goes to foreign missions outreaches and various church and community programs.

I also learned that you can tithe your 3 t's if you want to

My paternal grandfather, Jesse James Rice, was a circuit riding minister in Texas during the Great Depression era in the United States. Many times the folks that he preached to had no money so they gave tithes to him of what they did have. One farmer had 40 chickens so he brought four live chickens to church to give to Rev. Rice, while another dear old saint brought a basket full of raw chicken eggs to give to him. Others brought fruit, some brought vegetables, and some brought loaves of fresh baked bread. And Rev. Rice was glad to receive this bounty because he had a wife and 12 hungry mouths to feed at home. One of them was my father. Rev. Rice had to work as a carpenter to help make extra money to meet expenses.

Once you give your money to God you turn it loose. You relinquish control of it. You no longer have any say as to how it is spent. You have given your money as unto God and now it is in the hands of those He has raised up to help do His work on this earth.

What if you are destitute and poor and cannot give anything to God. Will God condemn you to hell? No. Under grace, not giving to God is not considered a sin. Under grace, the penalty of the law has been removed. The motive of giving is love- not law. If you are poor and cannot afford to pay tithes, be assured it is only a temporary situation, so don't be concerned about it. You will have opportunity to give again after things turn around for you.

Here is a funny I heard one time:
One time a rich man and a poor man went to Heaven together. Saint Peter told them each that they were going to get a dwelling just made for them and had them follow him. First, Saint Peter escorted them both to a beautiful mansion and said it was for the poor man. The rich man was delighted because he figured if the poor man could get such a wonderful place, he would get an even more magnificant place than that. So, Saint Peter escorted the rich man to a dwelling that was only a shack and told him that this was his dwelling. The rich man started complaining and wanted to know why he only got a shack while the poor man got a mansion. Saint Peter told him that they could only build a dwelling in Heaven with what each man had sent up to them. The poor man had sent a lot up to Heaven. With that, they were able to build him a mansion. However, the rich man had been selfish and had sent up little, so with that they were only able to build him a shack.

"If everyone gives a thread, the poor man will have a shirt"
- Russian Proverb

The Promises of God

Index of Money

Malachi Commentary Index


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As of February 1, 2009