What does the Bible say about Christian tithing? Should a Christian tithe?

What Does the Bible Say About Christian Tithing? Should a Christian Tithe?

Christian tithing is a practice among them, where they contribute 10% of their income to the church. But what exactly does the Bible say about tithing? Should Christians be required to tithe today? This article will examine the Scriptural foundations of tithing, the pros and cons of requiring it, and what a personal conviction about giving might look like.

What is the Biblical Basis for Christian Tithing?

Tithing is mentioned numerous times in the Old Testament. A “tithe” literally means “a tenth.” Some of the key Biblical passages that establish the concept of tithing include:

**Abraham and Jacob:** Before the Mosaic law was established, Abraham and Jacob both freely gave a tenth of their income in thanks to God (Genesis 14:20, Genesis 28:20-22). This set a precedent of giving back 10% to honor God.

**The Mosaic Law:** Under the law God gave to Moses, the Israelites were commanded to set aside a tenth of their harvest and livestock for the Lord (Leviticus 27:30-33). This tithe went to support the Levites who were priests and workers in the temple.

**Malachi 3:8-10:** This passage pronounces a curse on the Israelites for failing to bring their full tithes to the storehouse. It equates failing to tithe to robbing God. The passage promises that faithfulness in tithing will result in a blessing from God.

So in summary, the Old Testament clearly shows tithing as something God expected of His people. It was a form of worship, a way to care for ministers of the temple, and an act demonstrating trust in God’s provision.

Christian tithing

Jesus’ Teachings on Tithing and Giving

What about in the New Testament – did Jesus continue expecting His followers to tithe?

**Matthew 23:23:** In this passage, Jesus affirms that his followers ought to tithe, but cautions against focusing only on precise tithing at the expense of “the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy and faithfulness.”

**The widow’s mites:** Jesus highlights a poor widow who gave two small copper coins to the temple treasury, praising her heart of generosity over the large sums given by wealthy people (Mark 12:41-44, Luke 21:1-4).

**Give to Caesar and God:** When asked about paying taxes, Jesus affirms giving to both the government and God what is due (Matthew 22:15-22).

So while Jesus affirmed the responsibility of tithing, he also cared much more about the heart and spirit in which giving occurs. He emphasized justice and generosity over legalistic adherence to fixed percentages.

Christian tithing

Should Christians Tithe Today? Pros and Cons

Given the Biblical foundations, do Christians need to tithe 10% today? There are good arguments on both sides:

**Reasons for Tithing**

  • * It is a Biblical principle we should still honor today
  • * It shows we put God first in our finances
  • * It supports churches’ operational and ministry costs
  • * It develops discipline, faith, and gratitude toward God

**Cautions About Enforcing Tithing**

  • * The New Testament does not spell out fixed percentages
  • * It could lead to legalism if over-emphasized
  • * It may cause guilt for those struggling financially
  • * Offerings should come from a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7)

The strongest case against mandated tithing is that it is not explicitly commanded in the New Testament. Jesus focused more on the heart behind giving over percentages. Paul instructed believers to set aside money weekly as they have been blessed for the work of the church (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).

So churches that teach tithing as an expectation or requirement go beyond what Jesus and the apostles preached. Giving remains important, but the New Testament highlights motivations like generosity and care for others over fixed religious obligations.

Developing Personal Convictions on Giving and Tithing

Given these Biblical principles, each Christian has to prayerfully consider their conviction. Here are some questions to ask in developing the philosophy of giving:

* Do I own my money and possessions, or does God own them?
* What percentage of my income am I comfortable trusting God with by giving away?
* Should my tithe just go to my local church or also other ministries?
* Beyond a baseline tithe, how can I live generously as needs arise?
* How can I give not out of obligation but genuine care for others?

There are good reasons to consider 10 percent a baseline tithe in one’s giving. But the New Testament allows for freedom based on conscience as well (Romans 14:1-12). Our giving should be voluntary, cheerful, and based on ability.

And while giving a set tithe to your local church makes sense, there may be times you feel led to give above and beyond to support a person in need, a ministry effort, or a global cause as well.

So aim for consistent giving, but balance that with being sensitive to other Spirit-led opportunities God puts in your path. No fixed percentage can account for all the ways we can generously share our blessings. The Lord cares much more that giving comes from the heart than about hitting a prescribed target.

Christian tithing

In Summary: Key Principles on Christian Giving and Tithing

  • * The Old Testament mandated tithing 10%; Jesus affirmed but did not over-emphasize percentages
  • * Tithing supports functioning of churches; offerings show care for others
  • * Motivations matter more than amounts – give voluntarily and cheerfully
  • * Consistent giving is wise for both spiritual growth and church health
  • * Each believer must prayerfully decide on convictions about amounts and purposes
  • * More important than religious obligation is living generously as God leads

The question “Should a Christian tithe?” thus becomes a personal values reflection. Strive for consistent giving to your local church. But also see money as a tool to care for others as needs arise. God cares more about our heart motivations than hitting fixed targets. Generosity and kindness should shape our approach to finances as much as honoring God with a baseline tithe. Pray through what that looks like in your life. God will lead you to live out His values.


  1. Tithing in the Bible – 20 Verses About the Importance of Giving a Tithe: This compilation of Bible verses sheds light on the significance of tithing and giving back to God. It explores questions about tithing, its purpose, and how it aligns with God’s Word. For instance, Matthew 5:17 emphasizes that Jesus came not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it, and Matthew 6:21 reminds us that where our treasure is, there our heart will be also
  2. The Christian and Tithing – Study Resources: This resource highlights verses such as Hebrews 3:1 and 1 Peter 2:5, emphasizing the spiritual aspect of tithing. It encourages believers to be good stewards of their resources for the sake of God’s kingdom
  3. What Does the Bible Say about Christian Tithing?: Ligonier Ministries discusses the importance of stewardship, tithing, and giving. Despite negative associations due to unscrupulous televangelists, the Bible commands Christians to be faithful stewards of their resources for the kingdom of God.