Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Does the New Testament Say Anything About Tithing? by Gail Purath

Her mom made her spend $2 on her grandfather’s birthday gift when she was a child.

When she grew up, her grandfather gave her a substantial inheritance, but each year she continued to buy him a $2 gift.

Sounds ungrateful and childish, but I wonder if it isn't how we sometimes treat God.
Did you know there’s no New Testament command to give God 10%?

"In the New Testament the words “tithe” and “tithing” appear only eight times (Matt. 23:23; Luke 11:42; 18:12; Heb. 7:5–6, 8–9). All of these passages refer to Old Testament usage and to current Jewish practice. Nowhere does the New Testament expressly command Christians to tithe." 
 --Thomas Nelson's Bible Dictionary (1)

Ten percent isn't a magic amount, nor is it a New Testament requirement. Ten percent may be too much for some, but it's probably too little for most of us.

Christ paid a price for us that we can never repay. New Testament giving is an act of gratefulness, not a legalistic command. When we love Christ, we want to give Him a portion of our money, our time and our talents. It's a natural response to His grace that saved us from Hell and His daily gifts of comfort, guidance, strength and joy. Genuine gratefulness leads to voluntary, generous giving, not legalistic minimum requirements.

" believers we are to be generous in sharing our material possessions with the poor and for the support of Christian ministry. Christ Himself is our model in giving. Giving is to be voluntary, willing, cheerful, and given in the light of our accountability to God. Giving should be systematic and by no means limited to a tithe of our incomes. We recognize that all we have is from God. We are called to be faithful stewards of all our possessions (Rom. 14:12; 1 Cor. 9:3–14; 16:1–3; 2 Cor. 8-9)."
--Thomas Nelson Bible Dictionary (1)

We need to drop the words tithe and 10% when it comes to giving and use New Testament words for giving:
  • Heartfelt
  • Freely
  • Cheerfully
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7
Copyright Gail Burton Purath, 2011
What do you think…is 10% too much, too little or just the right amount to give? Leave a comment and let me know!

Read Gail's bio on the WOW Lead Writer's page
For some other WOW devotions about our attitudes toward money:
Really? Another Jar? by Brad Bridges
Is Wealth a Waste of Time? by Martin Wiles
Childhood Shopping Trips and Treasures by Tami Gilman
No Matter What by Gail Purath

(1) Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. (1995). Nelson's new illustrated Bible dictionary. Rev. ed. of: Nelson's illustrated Bible dictionary.; Includes index. Nashville: T. Nelson.


  1. You actually made some very valid points but I do have a completely different approach to this giving to God thing.

    The way I see it, trying to dedicate a portion of your money, time or talent to God is simply religion and almost echoes a self justification through personal works. We’ve been bought at a price, so the life we now live is not ours but God’s and as such everything we own is not ours but His. This makes it kind of impossible to dedicate a portion of all these things to Him. What happens to the rest?

    This mentality thrives a lot today because of our concept of God’s work. We believe God’s work is everything our local assembly represents. So we believe that by giving large amounts to our local assemble, volunteering or supporting its mission activities is actually giving your time, money and talents to God’s work. It might or might not be. But my view is God is more interested in the way you use all of the resources at your disposal! And requires a 100% of everything!

    Giving my family their due is part of God’s work. Neglecting the needs (not wants) of my family in favour of donations to my local assembly is not only irresponsible but does not show Godliness. Helping someone in need when I am in the position to do so is part of God’s work as scriptures say let your light so shine before men. Showing diligence and dedication at my workplace by doing even much more than my employers require with a right heart is all part of God’s work. Being productive with my time is part of God’s work.

    I believe that God is actually more interested in the way we live our lives all of the time than we trying to supposedly dedicate a portion to Him. That’s my 2 cents.


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