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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Are Believers Obligated to Tithe to Their Church?

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Don Stewart
During the Old Testament period the people were commanded to give a portion of their income to the Lord. Tithing (paying one tenth) of one's income. Therefore God Himself appointed tithing (Numbers 18:21; Deuteronomy 12:6; 12:22-27).

The Bible says the people were to give:

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).

Tithe In New Testament

The word tithing is found only six times in the New Testament. The gospels contain three references to tithing. Each reference is in a context of a scathing condemnation of the Pharisees.

The other three references to tithing in the New Testament is found in Hebrews 7:5-9. These references to the tithe are merely historical.

No Word In New Testament

Although the original apostles were all Jews, obligated to tithe under the law, there is no word from them or anywhere in the New Testament that Christians are to tithe under the New Covenant with God. The tithe is not even used as illustrating a helpful method concerning how one may give to the church. The Apostle Paul calls on believers to use a completely different method when presenting their offering to the work of the church.

Not A Regulation

Therefore, from the teaching of Scripture, we must conclude that the tithe is not a regulation for those who have trusted Christ as Savior.

New Testament Teaching

Under the Old Testament law, tithing was mandatory. However, there is no set amount given in the New Testament. The Scriptures encourage giving on a regular basis.

Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each of you lay something aside storing, up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come (1 Corinthians 16:1).

Believers Only

Giving to the church should be a practice of believers only. The church does not need to accept the money of unbelievers. The Bible says that the Lord is not poor.

For every wild animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills Psalm 50:10).

Not Under Compunction

There is not to be any compunction.

But this I say: The one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as they purposes in their heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:6,7).

These verses teach us that giving shows the sincerity of our love for Christ. Believers are encouraged to give that which they promise.

Every Believer

Finally, giving must be the practice of every believer - no matter what their financial situation. Everyone can give something.


Though tithing, giving 10% of ones income, is not a New Testament concept, the Scriptures nevertheless command us to give to the work of the church. Various concepts are set down in Scripture with respect to giving.

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