How Much Are We Supposed To Tithe?

Q.  Does the Bible offer any insight (other than mentioning 10% in the Old Testament) of how much we as Christians are to tithe, under the new covenant?

A.  The Old Testament is a “have to” book with hundreds of specific laws governing almost every aspect of life including giving.  It focused on actions.  I think of the New Testament as a “want to” book that focuses more on the thoughts and attitudes behind our actions.

Take the commandment against murder for example.  Exodus 20:13 says, “You shall not murder.”  From that,  people thought that as long as they didn’t deliberately and with premeditation take another person’s life they had not broken the commandment.  But when Jesus explained the intent of the commandment in Matt. 5:21-22 He was saying that even being angry with another person is a violation of the commandment whether we take action or not. Through out the New Testament we can find other examples that show this to be true of all the commandments.

It’s the same with tithing.  Other than His statement that the law has not been abolished (Matt. 5:17), you won’t find a specific percentage in the New Testament because the emphasis is on giving cheerfully and generously out of gratitude for what the Lord has given us. When the Lord sees these motives behind our giving, He rewards them with blessings which include increasing our ability to give so we can be even more generous. Luke 6:38 and 2 Cor 9:6-11 are good passages to study concerning this matter.

By the way, the 10% tithe was not the extent of Old Testament giving.  Other mandatory and voluntary gifts and offerings could more than double that amount.

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