When it comes to talking about scriptures on tithing, people sometimes want to get into semantics about the difference. Like New Testament tithing versus tithing in the Old Testament. Let’s focus on tithing scriptures in the Bible and think about how the act of tithing is a reflection of the heart. After all, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).
If you were to look at the history of tithes in the Bible, Abraham tithed as a response to a revelation of the goodness of God in delivering him and his household from raiding kings. Jacob tithed as a response to a dream about God and His holiness. These tithes were not given in response to any specific laws about tithing. They were expressions of gratitude to God for His mercy and grace. Abraham and Jacob were pleased to worship the Lord by offering a tithe.
What does the Bible say about the tithe?
After Moses received the ten commandments, the tithe was set up by God as a requirement by eleven tribes to give ten percent of their income to support the tribe of Levi, who had the responsibility of the priesthood and running the temple. The Levites were the one tribe of Israel who did not receive a portion of the land which God graciously gave to Israel. For the Levites, the priesthood was their inheritance (Numbers 18:24 and Joshua 18:7). They were to serve the other tribes. In order to provide for their survival, God appointed the tithe: “To the Levites I have given every tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service that they do” (Numbers 18:21).
Just as Israel was to provide for the priests in the old covenant, the Church is to provide for the ministry of the Gospel in the new covenant. The importance of tithing in the New Testament is highlighted when Paul makes it very clear that the ministry of the gospel is to be supported with the resources of the church. The apostle gives very straightforward teaching on this topic. “In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:14).
Christians would do well to make ten percent of their income the minimum of their giving. An expression of joy in the Lord and gratitude for salvation. Once again, look back to the example of Abraham and Jacob who were both pleased to give in this way. Establish the consistent practice of setting aside a certain amount of your resources for the work of the Kingdom. Just as you would anything else in your monthly budget. While ten percent may not be a strict requirement for the new covenant, it is nevertheless an excellent guideline.
Jesus’ purpose on earth was to establish the Word, to embody it, and to fully accomplish all that was written. “Christ is the culmination of the law” (Romans 10:4). Jesus did not abolish the tithe. He added to it – not in law – but in the freedom to give and receive and be blessed and a blessing to others. Therefore, when someone tithes from the heart, the Old Testament blessings are still relevant today. Tithing is the beginning of giving and blessings, not the end.
The principle of giving can be found throughout the Bible:
And blessing him, said, May the blessing of the Most High God, maker of heaven and earth, be on Abram: And let the Most High God be praised, who has given into your hands those who were against you. Then Abram gave him a tenth of all the goods he had taken.
And this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.
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.
You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings.
1 Chronicles 29:14
But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.
2 Chronicles 31:4-5
In addition, he gave orders to the people of Jerusalem to give to the priests and Levites that part which was theirs by right, so that they might be strong in keeping the law of the Lord. And when the order was made public, straight away the children of Israel gave, in great amounts, the first fruits of their grain and wine and oil and honey, and of the produce of their fields; and they took in a tenth part of everything, a great store.
Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce.
Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.
1 Corinthians 16:2
On the first day of the week, let every one of you put by him in store, in measure as he has done well in business, so that it may not be necessary to get money together when I come.
2 Corinthians 9:7
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:11
You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.
For more information on tithing, check out ACST for more information.
This toolkit includes:
- A ministry guide to walk you through building your giving plan
- Templates to communicate the everyday financial needs of your church
- Customizable infographics showing what it takes your church to continue fulfilling its mission
- Video scripts and samples to help you show the impact your church makes in your local community and beyond
- And so much more!