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Tithing

Does God command us to give 1/10 of what we make to Him?

Suggested Daily Reading: Malachi 3:8-12

The word “tithe” means “one tenth.  One tenth of annual produce or earnings.”  We read of Jacob vowing to the Lord at Bethel to give the tithe, “and of all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto Thee” (Gen. 28:22).  The tithe is presented in Scripture as God’s just requirement, e.g. Gen. 14:20, Lev. 27:30, II Chron. 31:5, Matt. 23:23, Heb. 7:4,6, etc.  Read also the daily reading for today’s meditation, Malachi 3:8-12.  Free-will offerings in the Old Testament that were giving in addition to


In the New Testament, God enlarges on “cheerful giving.”  Free-will offerings were those gifts given in addition to the tithe.  For example: “For God loveth a cheerful giver” (II Cor. 9:7); “Upon the first day of the week let everyone of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him” (I Cor. 16:2).


Some Christians believe that giving a personal the tithe is no longer required for the New Testament church, as the tithing requirements are only mentioned in the Old Testament.  Jesus, however, did refer to tithing in Mathew 23:23 and Paul did as well in Hebrews 7:4-6.   Besides, the emphasis upon giving cheerfully and thankfully, is that of a free-will offering, one that is giving over and above the ten percent required.  Understanding this, if someone argued that New Testament Christians are not bound by the tithe, but should simply give freely and cheerfully, this would not mean that we are free to give less than the tithe, but that we are free to cheerfully give more.


A father was teaching his young son the concept of tithing.  He provided a visual example.  The father placed ten $5 bills on the table.  He then instructed the boy to take nine of them and to give one to him.  “This is what God instructs us to do with the money that we make,” he explained, “we may keep nine, but we must give one back to the Lord.”  To the father’s surprise, the child responded, “We keep nine, and only give one to God?”


When we consider that God gives us our health, abilities and opportunities to work and He is the one who blesses our labor, why is it surprising to think that He allows us “to keep nine, and to only give back one to Him?”  Love to God and love to others is the heart of God’s law.  How can we testify of this love in our giving to God’s ministries and to others in need?  What is the best way for you to structure you finances to ensure that you give freely and cheerfully?

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