Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles




Welcome to our page on giving, in the Christian world, it is usually called “tithes” or “offerings” I hope to address some simple questions that you may have in regards to this area of Christian life.

My hope is that this page will be a resource, a blessing and if it stirs some questions then please feel free to contact me either by commenting below or using the details on the contact page.

Paul wrote about this very issue in his second letter to the church at Corinth, he addressed it using the following words…

2 Corinthians 9:6 (ESV) The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Like so many things in the Christian world, it is all about the heart, if we approach giving with a “how less can I get away with” or “will God not bless me if my church says I have to give 10% but I can only afford 9%?” If you are giving as the LORD leads and using the resources that he has entrusted you with according to his will, then you are already doing better than most of us! Basically if you are giving with a grumbling heart then you may need to check your heart. Giving is just one way we surrender what is valuable to us to God.

What is the difference between tithes and offerings?

A tithe is usually a set amount, most folks feel convicted to do 10% that you give back to God on a regular basis as an act of thanksgiving for all that he has blessed you with. You will see people do it as the money comes in, dependent on your churches order of service it maybe collected during the service or there may be a central place you can place it.

Some churches are so modern that you can pay electronically either from your pay stub, debit card or bank account on a regular basis, that way it goes straight into the church bank account without any human interaction,

Offerings are done on a more random basis, for example if the church is fundraising, God blesses you unexpectedly and he puts it on your heart to pass on the blessing. Or you feel led to give a one off donation to something, and that would be described as an offering.

Where does the word tithe come from?

Proverbs 3:9 (ESV) Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce;

The word tithe originates from quite a few Old Testament passages, the most common being found in the books of Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Malachi. The idea was that when you were giving, whatever was deemed acceptable for that particular festival whether it be grain, meat, birds, fish or whatever, you would give a tenth, of the first born essentially the best of the best should be reserved for the LORD.

And this is what it really comes down to is the heart. In what you are giving are you doing it with all trumpets blaring and making a show of your gifts, or are you doing it as a place of submission, repentance and obedience to God. I will not blast any man who really cannot afford to tithe. I have been in situations where I just have not had the money, sometimes through wise choices and sometimes through foolish choices. I have been judged on my ability to pay or not pay, that is a situation that no-one should ever be in. We are Christians and we should be loving our brothers.

Some verses that deal with giving are below…

Malachi 3:8 (ESV) Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. 9. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourerfn for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the LORD of hosts.12 Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the LORD of hosts.

Deuteronomy 14:22 (ESV) “You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. 23 And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. 24 And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the LORD your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the LORD your God chooses, to set his name there, 25 then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the LORD your God chooses 26 and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household. 27 And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you. 28 “At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. 29 And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.

Leviticus 27:30 (ESV) “Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the LORD’s; it is holy to the LORD. 31 If a man wishes to redeem some of his tithe, he shall add a fifth to it. 32 And every tithe of herds and flocks, every tenth animal of all that pass under the herdsman’s staff, shall be holy to the LORD. 33 One shall not differentiate between good or bad, neither shall he make a substitute for it; and if he does substitute for it, then both it and the substitute shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.” 34 These are the commandments that the LORD commanded Moses for the people of Israel on Mount Sinai

How much should I give?

Most churches will answer this by stating a clear 10%. This figure is both biblical and a good starting point to begin the discussion on giving. Most folks will start and end the discussion there. I will not however and here is why…

My honest answer is whatever the LORD leads. If you have abundance and the LORD leads you to give more than a legalistic 10%, who are you to limit what God wants to do in your life. I can assure you that God will not allow one of his generous saints to go hungry and he will always supply your needs.

Conversely, do not feel you cannot give if your budget does not allow for a 10% donation. Something that hit me deep and hard in the Gospels is the account of the widow who dropped into the box two small brown coins of the smallest denomination imaginable. This gift would not be regarded well in the worlds eyes and was probably an inconvenience and looked down upon by the people who tallied the Temple riches, but Jesus saw the lady for who she was, saw that in her heart, she gave all that she had and that to God was worth more than the many big donations he received at that time.

Is that gross or net?

I have heard many good arguments for both, I would leave it up to what the LORD has guided you to do. My personal conviction is that it is one of these arguments that we get involved in and spend more time dealing with our position in the argument as opposed to helping people find the LORD. I would not have anything to say to anyone who was convinced either way.

Paul writes in 2nd Corinthians…

2nd Corinthians 9:6 (ESV) The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

Should I go public with my giving?

Biblically I would state no, as the verse above states. Personally, I am in favour of giving without filling out any details before hand. I had an issue once where a man who had knowledge of peoples finances at a fellowship I once attended brought that up to me, that based on the knowledge that he had, he had something to say about my giving. I like to give cash, when I give, that way I am being biblical and not letting my left hand know what my right is doing.

Personally, my giving is between me and the LORD, I will get my reward for the things I have done correct and the times I have blown it. I have never sought or courted good favour or kudos and certainly did not wish to be on this guys league table of who gave and who did not.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.

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