Tithing – The GREAT Commission

My journey with tithing

Growing up we were pretty poor. In fact, we made the poor kids look pretty wealthy sometimes.

My dad was a pastor and he and my mum were firm believers of tithing.

In fact my dad was so serious he once tithed the value of a book of stamps somebody gave him!

Yet, that didn’t change the fact that we were poor.

Because of this, when I started earning money I had no desire to give 10% of my hard-earned cash to the church.

Especially since I felt most of the money was poorly distributed. (I was a pastor’s kid and my family certainly didn’t ever see much of this cash. Nor did the poor, sick or broken… it all went to bills and the costs of running endless meetings.)

Unfortunately, as time went on I found myself in some debt. I was finding too often there was too much month left after my paycheck had run out.!

Now – truth be told – most of this was because I was never properly taught to budget. If you find yourself in this situation I’d honestly just recommend you read Dave Ramsey’s book “Total Money Makeover

Around this time in my life I was deeply impacted by quite a few prominent Christian leaders. All of them it seemed were teaching that I should be tithing.

In fact, the person I most looked up to at the time told me that tithing was my rent to live on God’s Earth. If I wasn’t paying God my rent, I was robbing God, I would be cursed and what’s more the enemy would have every right to attack me.

Well a strong message like that from people you really respect and look up to will do the trick.

I started tithing immediately.

I put all my faith in God blessing me if I would tithe and you know what… he did.

The problem I had however was I was constantly feeling guilty if I was struggling to pay my tithe.

Or I’d start second guessing myself.

Did I give enough? Do I give pre or post-tax? What about offerings? How much on top of the tithe should I give? Do I tithe my student loans?

It took me many years to discover I wasn’t alone in this.

Not only that, I’m embarrassed to admit, it took me many years to read what the Bible has to say about this topic for myself.

I took people’s teaching for granted for far too long!

So without further ado I want to present to you what the Bible has to say about the tithe. Or as I like to call it “the great commission” – because lets face it, getting 10% of everything your congregation earns isn’t half bad!

Disclaimer

I’m well aware that many people will struggle to receive this message. For that I am genuinely sorry. I’ve done all I can to keep it simple, to the point and stand on nothing but the Bible.

We all have our own experiences with tithing. I’m not saying it doesn’t work.
 
God’s law when done perfectly always works.

I’m just wanting to challenge should we be teaching tithing the way we are today.

I know this especially makes pastors nervous, I know – I meet with hundreds of pastors a year in person and we often talk about this matter. All I ask is that you consider what I’m saying and go to God with any questions it brings you to about your church.

I can’t speak into your personal situation but all I would ask is you read this article with an open mind. Ask the Lord to speak to you about this topic anew.

I fully believe that the truths in this article will radically bless you and catapult you into a new degree of freedom in Christ to give generously.

Before the law

Abram:

“Now when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 He divided his forces against them by night, and he and his servants attacked them and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. 16 So he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the people. 17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley), after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him.  18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all. 21 Now the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself.” 22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich’ —  24 except only what the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.”

Gen 14:14-24

Things to ponder…

1) It seems Abram gave of his own volition not according to any rules. God never asked him in the scriptures to give anything.

2) Abram never gave from his own wealth. It was from the spoils of war he gave. He literally killed a bunch of people and then gave their stuff away.

3) Yes he gave 10% to Melchizedek. However, he also gave 90% to the king of Sodom. So if you want to tithe like Abraham that’s 10% in the church and 90% to the local strip club or something. (I’m not honestly sure what the direct parallel would be for a modern-day king of Sodom.)

4) The Bible records this happening once. There is no evidence he gave ever again in his life. Given he lived 175 years that’s not all that impressive!

Jacob:

“Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. 22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”

Gen 28:20-22

Things to ponder…

1) Notice that Jacob never once said he would give to receive. It was simply a gift back to God to thank him for what he received. A sacrificial thank you. This is how we should give, not greedily to get more but generously and sacrificially because we have received an abundance from God.

2) It was food and clothing he was receiving, this was produce not money.

3) Who did he give to? There were no priests and God doesn’t have a bank account to setup a monthly transfer. He presumable gave in burnt offerings or to the poor. We simply don’t know.

In the New Covenant

First things first we must acknowledge that Christians are NOT under the law. If you are confused by this I highly recommend you read this article:

The Role Of The Law In The New Covenant

Or, even better, watch this video if you have time:

Christians Are Not Under The Law

If you don’t have time for either of these? Here are just a few scripture to help you understand just how clear the scriptures are that as Christians we are not under the law.

(I know I’ve posted this list a few other places on the blog so if you’ve read this feel free to skip over this section.)

The law is an unbearable yoke. (Acts 15:10)

The law reveals sin but cannot fix it. (Romans 3:20)

If the law worked then faith would be irrelevant. (Romans 4:14)

The law brings wrath upon those who follow it. (Romans 4:15)

The purpose of the law was to increase sin. (Romans 5:20)

Christians are not under the law. (Romans 6:14)

Christians have been delivered from the law. (Romans 7:1-6)

The law is good, perfect and holy but cannot help you be good, perfect or holy. (Romans 7:7-12)

The law which promises life only brings death through sin. (Romans 7:10)

The law makes you sinful beyond measure. (Romans 7:13)

The law is weak. (Romans 8:2-3)

The strength of sin is the law (1 Corinthians 15:56)

The law is a ministry of death. (2 Corinthians 3:7)

The law is a ministry of condemnation. (2 Corinthians 3:9)

The law has no glory at all in comparison with the New Covenant. (2 Corinthians 3:10)

The law is fading away. (2 Corinthians 3:11)

Anywhere the law is preached it produces a mind-hardening and a heart-hardening veil. (2 Corinthians 3:14-15)

The law justifies nobody. (Galatians 2:16)

Christians are dead to the law. (Galatians 2:19)

The law frustrates grace. (Galatians 2:21)

To go back to the law after embracing faith is “stupid”. (Galatians 3:1)

The law curses all who practice it and fail to do it perfectly. (Galatians 3:10)

The law has nothing to do with faith. (Galatians 3:11-12)

The law was a curse that Christ redeemed us from. (Galatians 3:13)

The law functioned in God’s purpose as a temporary covenant from Moses till Christ. (Galatians 3:16 & 19, also see… Matthew 11:12-13, Luke 16:16)

If the law worked God would have used it to save us. (Galatians 3:21)

The law was our prison. (Galatians 3:23)

The law makes you a slave like Hagar. (Galatians 4:24)

Christ has abolished the law which was a wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:15)

Paul considered everything the law gained him as “skybalon” which is Greek for “poop”. (Philippians 3:4-8)

The law is only good if used in the right context. (1 Timothy 1:8) (see next verse for the context)

It was made for the unrighteous but not for the righteous. (1 Timothy 1:9-10)

The law is weak, useless and makes nothing perfect. (Hebrews 7:18-19)

God has found fault with it and created a better covenant, enacted on better promises. (Hebrews 8:7-8)

It is obsolete, growing old and ready to vanish. (Hebrews 8:13)

It is only a shadow of good things to come and will never make someone perfect. (Hebrews 10:1)

If you must live under the law

OK, now that we’ve established that, everything I’m going to say next should be irrelevant to you. 

Yet, I know many will still want to desperately argue for the tithe. So here we go.

Here are the scriptures in Leviticus and Deuteronomy referencing the tithe:

“And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy to the Lord. If a man wants at all to redeem any of his tithes, he shall add one-fifth to it. And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord. He shall not inquire whether it is good or bad, nor shall he exchange it; and if he exchanges it at all, then both it and the one exchanged for it shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.’”

Lev 27:30-33

“There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which the Lord your God has blessed you.”

Deut 12:6-7

“You may not eat within your gates the tithe of your grain or your new wine or your oil, of the firstborn of your herd or your flock, of any of your offerings which you vow, of your freewill offerings, or of the heave offering of your hand. But you must eat them before the Lord your God in the place which the Lord your God chooses, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, and the Levite who is within your gates; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God in all to which you put your hands.”

Deut 12:17-18

“You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. And you shall eat before the Lord your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always. But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the Lord your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the Lord your God has blessed you, then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the Lord your God chooses. And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household.”

Deut 14:22-26

“At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.”

Deut 14:28-29

“When you have finished laying aside all the tithe of your increase in the third year — the year of tithing — and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your gates and be filled, then you shall say before the Lord your God: ‘I have removed the holy tithe from my house, and also have given them to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me;”

Deut 26:12-13

Here are some things to take away from the tithe under the law…

1) It was never money.

2) It was always food.

3) There were 3 tithes!

a) Supporting the Levites
10% of your produce (not money) went to the Levites who did not own land and ministered to the people of God

b) The festival of the tithe
A further 10% of your produce went to having a feast in Jerusalem once a year. This is the only time these passages mention money. If you had too much food to carry then God permitted you to sell it before travelling to Jerusalem. You could then repurchase food in Jerusalem for the festival. Note well: The tithe still had to be food! Money wasn’t acceptable!

c) Supporting the local priests, orphans, widows and poor
Every 3 years you had to give an additional 10% of your produce to the poor and needy in the area.

4) The tithe was NOT 10%. It was 20% every year and 30% every third year!

But what about Malachi? Won’t I be cursed?

“Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. 11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the Lord of hosts; 12 “And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land,” Says the Lord of hosts.”

Malachi 3:8-12

First of all, the premise you can be cursed based upon what you do is an extremely offensive statement. Considering Jesus became the curse (Gal 3:13) so we could be blessed. Jesus died on a tree to free you from the curse.

You are neither blessed nor cursed for what you do in the New Covenant. You are free from the curse and completely blessed because of the work of Jesus on the cross.

Is that extreme language? Perhaps… but it is true none-the-less.

So back to Malachi.

The context of this passage is extremely important.

Let’s look again at what we know.

1) The tithe was a gathering of food and produce

2) It was for a celebration and to look after the poor and needy.

3) More-over – the Israelites were under the law!

Malachi starts a new train of thought in his address to the people of Israel in Chapter 2. Look how he starts it…

“And now, O priests, this command is for you.”

Malachi 2:1

He then goes on to say what the main issue is…

“But you have departed from the way; You have caused many to stumble at the law. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,” Says the Lord of hosts. 9 “Therefore I also have made you contemptible and base Before all the people, Because you have not kept My ways But have shown partiality in the law.”

Malachi 2:8-9

We can see here some of the immediate context of Malachi leading into chapter 3.

The priests were the primary issue in the nation. This was because they were not teaching the law properly. They were picking and choosing what parts they would teach.

Because of this the people were ignorant of the fact they were robbing God by not correctly giving their tithes and offerings. Remember how they asked “In what way have we robbed You?”

God is reminding them of the truth and telling the priests to teach the whole law. Under the Old Covenant for God to bless his people they had to obey the whole law! (Praise God we are blessed because of Christ and not our ability to adhere to the law!)

God tells them that if they give according to the law then He will start blessing them again. He will also take away all negative effects in their lives that have come from not tithing as He instructed.

Now again. What was this tithe?

Food. Not to a church but for people to celebrate God’s goodness together and care for the needy.

Furthermore when we look at Malachi 3:5 we can see why God’s anger is raised. The people are not caring for the “stranger, fatherless and widows.”

We don’t have a record of how they gave, so we have to read between the lines here. Either they were not giving at all, or they were giving incorrectly. If they were giving, they were not giving the way God intended. They were neglecting those with no means to provide for themselves!

Doesn’t it say “Tithes AND offerings”

I’m so glad you asked.

Many preachers use this passage to encourage people to give more than their 10% into the church.

The truth is that offerings here isn’t to do with an extra 5% on top of your 10% or something like that.

The offerings referred to here are the “first-fruits” offerings. Which occurred at the harvest. During the harvest the people would give a the first fruits of the produce to thank God.

Again. This is not relevant to us today in the same way and should not be taken out of context to coerce people into giving more.

As a side: I’m sure by this point you’ve got to be starting to think “I’m glad this tithing thing isn’t for me after all!” I mean 20-30% every year AND a first fruit offering!

What did Jesus have to say?

Did you know the gospels talk about money more than any other topic. In fact 1 out of every 7 verses in the gospel of Luke talks about money. 11 of the 39 parables talk about money. Jesus didn’t shy away from the topic.

It might be surprising then that Jesus only mentions tithing twice.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.

Matt 23:23

This same passage can also be found in Luke 11:43.

When we look at this we can see that yet again tithing was food.

Not only that but He’s not commending their giving but pointing out how hypocritical it is to give under the law and not keep the whole law!

This is exactly what we run the risk of doing. Knowing we are not under the law but keeping certain laws because we feel obligated to. Or worse, because we think it gives us a better standing before God!

Jesus is saying in this passage – if you are under the law you have to do it all, not just the easy things like tithing!

The only other time Jesus mentions tithing is in Luke 18:11-13

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’

In this passage he is merely pointing out the fallacy of thinking that tithing makes you any better than a sinner. While it does not condemn tithing it condemns the system to which it belongs. It’s a statement of the laws inability to change the heart!

What did the apostles have to say about tithing

Do you know how many times the New Testament mentions the tithe after the gospel of Luke?

Once.

That’s right, and it’s not even talking about us tithing! It’s talking about the fact Abram tithed to Melchizedek.

It is frequently taken out of context and quoted as a single verse. The reason for this is that without it there is no New Testament precedent for tithing.

Here is the verse in question out of context:

Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives.

Hebrews 7:8

The way this is typically used is to say:

Here [in the New Covenant] mortal men [pastors] receive tithes [from New Covenant believers], but there [in Heaven] he [Jesus] receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives.

More accurately when we look at the context of Hebrews 7 and Hebrews as a whole the passage is saying in no uncertain terms:

Here [in Israel that the time Hebrews was written] mortal men [priests under the Old Covenant] receive tithes [from Old Covenant Jews], but there [2000 years ago in Abram’s day] he [Melchizedek] receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives.

I know… it’s unfortunately this is the only other scripture that mentions the tithe in the New Testament!

A history lesson – what did tithing look like after Jesus

Now we’ve looked at the scripture lets look at the early church and what history can tell us about their giving habits and the tithe.

The early church was renowned for their generosity. They made sure nobody lacked anything in their midst. This is both documented in scripture and, even more so, in many historical writings.

Two primary ways they gave were:

To assist their brothers and sisters in Christ. (see Acts 6:1-7, 11:27-30, 24:17; Romans 15:25-28; 1 Cor 16:1-4; 2 Cor 8:1-15, 9:1-12; 1 Tim 5:3-16)

To support those who preached the gospel / planted churches to the extent they couldn’t work additionally. (see Acts 15:3; Romans 15:23-24; 1 Cor 9:1-14, 16:5-11; 2 Cor 1:16; Phil 4:14-18; Titus 3:13-14; 3 John 1:5-8)

Before the 3rd century priests had no form of income. The people supported them of their own volition. If that was not possible they worked alongside their ministerial roles to support themselves.

It was actually Constantine who introduced the idea of a priestly salary which was a pagan idea. He took money from the municipal and church funds to pay those serving as priests in the empire.

We have to wait till the third century before someone suggested a tithe upon believers to support their local priest.

Cyprian of Carthage suggested it, however it still wasn’t really accepted by anyone until the fourth century. Even then it was a tiny minority. In fact, it wasn’t common practice till the 8th century and was not law until the 10th century. That’s right a full 900 years after Jesus!

The history of how it even came into place is fascinating! It could easily become a couple of blog posts in and of itself!

If you are interested in the history of tithing and how it came about in the church I’d suggest Stuart Murray’s “Beyond Tithing”. It is an excellent resource and doesn’t skimp on the details!

I won’t go into this in any more depth, I think covering the first 1000 years should suffice. I hope you can see that the tithe is not something that was common place for a very long time in the church. And it most certainly was not something the early church ever felt obligated to adhere to!

So why give?

First things first, let me say this – if you want to give 10% of your income to your local church, please by all means do!

I’m not against us supporting the work of the local church in the community. Nor am I against supporting pastors as they help disciple God’s people in a full-time capacity.

However, it is absolutely paramount that you do not think of it as a requirement from God. What you wish to do with your money is your choice.

I don’t want to tithe – so should I stop giving to my church?

As I said above, I think its important that you understand it’s not a requirement for you to be a “good Christian”. God doesn’t need you to give a certain amount to the local church.

With that said I would urge you to think about this long and hard.

Just because you don’t have to do something doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea.

Not only that – giving is very different to tithing.

Giving is a natural response for the believer.

The church’s role is to equip you and serve you. If you benefit from what it provides for you then I believe it’s only natural that you are going to want to support that financially. Not only financially but with your time and other resources too probably.

Why should I support the church and ministries

This topic revolves around the areas God calls people.

Others often give their time to serve the body of Christ in a way and to the degree that they can’t financially support themselves. I think it’s a great idea to give and help support them with what God has called them to. When our present call allows us to make money.

This is an extremely Biblical principle as I mentioned above. I’ve listed these scriptures again for your convenience.
(see Acts 15:3; Romans 15:23-24; 1 Cor 9:1-14, 16:5-11; 2 Cor 1:16; Phil 4:14-18; Titus 3:13-14; 3 John 1:5-8)

Shouldn’t pastors and itinerate ministers get a tent-making job like Paul?

I personally find myself in a place that requires others to support me. So let me speak from my personal experience first.

When I worked in the business world I worked in a lucrative field and made more than ten times what my wife and I currently live on.

However, God asked me to put that aside and work full-time in this ministry. Both working in the business world and travelling to preach are valiant calls of God. God has just asked me to focus on one of them in this season.

I now find myself working at least 60hrs a week often a lot more and so I can’t work a “tent making” job. Trust me I wish I could! From the financial side of things it would make our life a LOT easier!

The truth is many people simply don’t have this opportunity. Most pastors and itinerate speakers aren’t in it for the money, trust me. Aside from the occasional person you see on the TV most of us are living off well below the average income.

To give you an idea I’ll be very transparent.

I made about €11,000 ($15,000) last year.

Try living of that for a year in the second most expensive country in the European Union and tell me that ministers are “in it for the money” ;)

Pastors and travelling speakers give up a lot to serve the people around them. It often requires a great degree of sacrifice from them and their family!

Should they get a tent-making job? If they can, absolutely!

When Paul was in Thessalonica for an extended period of time and the people weren’t able to support him did just that. But, it would be foolish for him to have tried to run a full-time business at other points in his ministry!

It’s important we understand the season that we and others are in and act accordingly.

Trust me – the second I get a chance to do some tent-making and have God’s permission I’ll jump on it!

So all that to say, if people are working tirelessly to serve the body of Christ it’s absolutely Biblical that we come around them and support them!

Why would I want to give still if I don’t have to?

Because it’s your nature. Jesus has made you righteous, perfect, spotless. A new creation. You are Christ-like. Your identity is as God’s image and likeness.

So why wouldn’t you want to give?

It’s who you are! You are a generous, giving being. 

I understand why, but how should I give?

There are no real rules. I’m not going to tell you a percentage to give or where to give.

I will however share some guidelines we can find in the scriptures.

These help us see if our beliefs about giving are healthy or if they are needing some mind-renewal.

Give whenever these things are true:

1) You can give cheerfully (2 Cor 9:7)
2) You can help another in need (Matt 25:34-35)
3) You are being equipped and served (2 Cor 9:10-11)
4) You feel God asking you to (duh!)

Don’t give whenever these things are true:

1) You are wanting to give to get something from God (Acts 8:20-21)
2) You feel an obligation to give (2 Cor 9:7)

Never give under the law always give in the freedom of Grace.

Jesus doesn’t look at how you give but why?

Giving $10 because you want to, or you feel the Spirit leading you to give, is better than giving $1000 because you feel you have to do it!

Give out of the abundance of who God has made you to be and the riches you possess in Him. Never from a place of lack to try to earn more!

So who should I give to?

As I’ve already covered above, I think supporting people who devote their time to equipping the saints is a worthwhile cause. Particularly if they are not in a place to support themselves.

However, I believe that this is only a tiny part of what we are to do with our finances.

We’ve got to start helping the lost, broken, downtrodden and poor.

We all know in our cities there are people who are poor, hungry, homeless, orphans, widows – heck, all the above!

Not just in our cities… in every city.

All over the world there are people who need you to be you – your generous self!

Maybe you aren’t in a place to practically help these people yourself. You should at least be talking with God about the possibility of putting some finances in that direction!

There are plenty of great charities and ministries that are doing great work in these areas. Almost every one of them desperately need more resources and people’s time. Consider providing one or both of these things.

This is something Jesus really wanted people to understand.

He said when we helped these people we were to consider ourselves personally helping Him!

Ultimately the best litmus for where your giving should go is – where is there need?

I want to be generous to people who aren’t in need, don’t get me wrong, we want to be able to bless everyone around us. But, we have to be looking for those in need around us and acting out of who we are in Christ to come alongside them and help!

Let me finish by saying one last thing…

Basically giving boils down to this:

Give from the heart.

Check the fruit.

Is there love, joy and peace in your giving?

If not, you need to ask yourself “am I giving out of an obligation?”

Because if so, you are no more free than simply tithing.

What do you think?

Do you tithe?

If so, are you tithing because you are following the word of God or because you were taught to tithe?

Or maybe you don’t tithe anymore.

What were some of the reasons you stopped and how does your giving look now?

Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

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  1. Our church asks us to be faithful in giving 10% if we are members, especially in a serving capacity. They are the governing body in my family’s life, much in the same way the local government is. What I give to our church, I do not consider an offering to God. Jesus was the offering to God. I give to our church because when God saved me, and directed me to drive past 25 other churches to drive 15 miles to get to this church, that also meant joining this church, serving in this church and abiding by this churches rules. I’m not giving this money to God… so to speak… I’m giving it to His church that I am a part of. Old testament giving was giving to a group of priest, of which the giver was no part of. Being as I am a part of the church, I’m not really giving in the same way that the Jews did during pentecost. I get to “eat” of the riches of other’s tithes as well. Tithing is about community with our church… not a biblical mandate. Let me also state that my pastor’s would disagree with my statements here in large part… but I can tell you something that just blows me away… even though I struggle with wanting to give a large part of the time… when I do give… God blesses it and it comes back so fast to me it could only be supernatural. I worry about saying that out loud… because we are certainly no prosperity driven church. We believe we are prosperous beyond measure in Christ. That doesn’t change the fact that God pulls me out of the hole I spend myself into everytime I tithe. Scary statement… but the facts are facts. When I began tithing 2 years ago I got a $9 an hour raise the next week. That was about a 40% raise for me. My wife was able to quit her job to be home with the kids and be in ministry herself. Thank you Phil, for your resource. I do not think my example contends with yours in anyway… and I hope my experiences show what you speak of… if you want to tithe (or if your church requires it; which most do) then don’t worry… God will lead through it or away from it.

    • Hey Steve – absolutely.

      At the end of the day tithing works… It’s hard to argue otherwise.

      The problem is putting ourselves under the law to be blessed is a roundabout way to do it!

      Giving out of a place of generosity has the same effects in our lives without the negative implications.

      I know that’s your heart and you put it so well… We are all priests and share in what God has given us. I also know your heart is for the poor and all the work you do with them shows your motivation is not to tick the right religious boxes but to be part of God’s answer to the poor, broken and needy!

      Love you man – thanks for sharing!

      • Phil, Our church is one of those “mega-churches” you read about periodically. Although there is a requirement of those who wish to work at the church to “tithe”, our pastor generally preaches that it isn’t about the amount, but about what portion we give. He said it doesn’t matter if you give $10 or $10,000 as long as it is the first portion of your increase. He doesn’t speak of revenue or income, but of increase. I struggle with giving since I don’t tie any of the blessings I’ve received to my tithe. My wife’s father never “tithed” per se, he always gave something to the church where he attended, but he took it very seriously to give to those in need. He was always giving clothing, food, whatever may be needed to those who could not provide those things for themselves. I’m reminded of the story my wife told me of how her dad phoned his wife one day and asked her to bring him a fresh suit to work. She asked why and he said not to worry, everything was alright. When she delivered the suit she found him in his office in only his undergarments. He had literally given the clothes he had on that day to one of his workers who didn’t have decent clothing to wear to some sort of event that he was to attend that day. He told the man not to make a big deal out of it, and that was the end of that. From what I’ve gathered he had a habit of doing such things anonymously whenever he could; but his position in the community often made secrecy difficult if not impossible. My father-in-law was well respected in his community and was greatly mourned at his passing. He, in my humble opinion, set a very high standard for stewarding his resources and I hope that I can live up to it. Thanks for all that you do.

        • Thanks so much for sharing this Bill – the story of your father-in-law was amazing! It sounds like something Jesus might have done :)

      • Hard to argue tithing works?? Tithing is not a new testament principle. No this 10% thing that they call tithing is another matter. I gave 10% of my gross plus much offerings. for well over 30years. One building program after another and the only one I saw prospering was the leader. I easily gave over 300k till I found out the truth. I thought I was giving to God. I’m a pensioner and still in debt. My experience is the church becomes a hierarchy and very little goes to helping people. there will be a hockey game in hell before I give another cent to a pastor run church.

  2. Wow, what a refreshing article! Thanks Phil. I love the way you make reference to the fact that we have a new nature that is filled with generosity because in Christ we are like God, the most generous person of all. If we are new creations filled with the divine nature, it just makes sense that we would be a people who make it a priority to give generously.

    • Hi Jim – glad you liked it. I think for me that’s what it’s all about.

      Especially for pastors who really struggle with this. It betrays the lie they are believing “my people aren’t generous I have to force them to give”.

      It’s the same for pastors who don’t want to embrace grace entirely, they want to keep a bit of the law… Ultimately it points out the fact that they give lip service to Jesus having made their people righteous but they don’t believe it and want to keep the rules to make sure they keep up the act of righteousness!

      Love you bro!

  3. I absolutely loved this. I have been pondering the whole tithe thing for years since we lived in Germany. All because I happened to walk into an old church during an afternoon walk one day and noticed a bunch of freshly-harvested fruits and vegetables on the altar. I realized it was a true “first-fruits” offering, and more-over, that the priests of that church would be eating it at some point. I thought “Wow, that would never fly in America.” I have studied the same scriptures you presented for along time, and have been so saddened by my particular denominations head-beating regarding the tithe. Our family jokes about the 10 minute tithe sermon that we get before the actual one, but unfortunately it’s true. And it has robbed all the joy from our family regarding giving. I truly wish a teaching like this would be taught everywhere, but it won’t, because those that teach it would have to enter into a new level of faith and trust, that people would still give (maybe even more than before!), and God would provide somehow if they didn’t.

    • Thanks for sharing Rebecca, that’s really cool about the first-fruits offering in Germany and that God used that to cause you to think about these things.

      I think we’ve all experienced those mini-sermons on the tithe… in fact I’ve given a few! haha

      While it’s true it’s very hard for pastors and leaders to let go of the tithe as there is a fear attached to what will happen without it that isn’t holding many people back. Lots of leaders as I travel have grabbed ahold of this truth and are hand-holding their church through the process. As you said, it gives people opportunity to be more generous. Rather than demanding 10% it says give all you wish, and when you are full of the Spirit you can’t help but be radically generous!

      Thanks for sharing – glad you enjoyed it!

  4. This was a very well written article about a subject that plagues the church and burdens believers like no other. After having a personal encounter with Father concerning tithing and then going on to read Andrew Farleys great teaching of it in God Without Religion & The Naked Gospel, I have even apologized to friends that I religiously spanked with the curse with a curse verse. The freedom that results from trusting in the absolute goodness of God and the finished work of Christ cannot be measured. I am going to print this off and really look at it so I can share with others. Thanks so much Phil.

    On another note, I was looking at the times that you posted the comment responses and was momentarily puzzled as to how you could write in the future when it is only 10:07am. That was until I remembered our locational and time zone differences :). It made me smile.

    Thank you for all you do. Bless you bless you.

    • Thanks Carmen – glad you enjoyed it. I’ve had to do my fair share of apologies with my tail between my legs over the sermons and conversations I had around tithing in the past!

      I’ve never noticed the times on these comments but yeah – I guess something weird happens because we are in different timezones. That or I’m travelling back in time to answer questions before they are asked :)

  5. Another excellent article, Phil. Thank you for taking the time to craft such an excellent, scripture-filled article about tithing.

    Like you, I tithed most of my Christian life because it’s such a prominent message at the church we attend (a mega church in Texas known for his multiple books on tithing and giving). And up until last year, were were faithful tithers. And, like you, God blessed us richly. So, I was fascinated by your statement in the article when you said, “I put all my faith in God blessing me if I would tithe and you know what… he did.” That was my experience as well.

    We were faithful with our 10% and our financial life was truly blessed. We never lacked, and even while starting two new business. Incredible blessing and success. So, it has been hard for me to separate “faithful tithing” and “God’s blessing of success”.

    Last year, my wife and I decided to stop tithing and start giving where our heart leads us. We still give roughly the same amount, but it’s not to “the local church”. So we’re constantly fighting hard against the still-very-alive-tithe messages that are so prevalent in the American church. But, we have moved away from law-giving into grace-giving. It’s actually incredibly rewarding to see our giving at work. We give to smaller organizations where our heart leads. It’s fun.

    • That’s awesome Russ!

      I think God is really good at honouring us where we are at… when we put all our faith in something He tends to come through and bless us anyway. Like the woman who put her faith in being healed “if I touch His robes”… we can see in other situations contact with Jesus wasn’t needed but God honoured her and what she placed her faith in.

      I think when we preach tithing every sunday at church and hammer it home over and over again and share great faith-building testimonies we start to put our faith in God blessing us through giving rather than through Jesus.

      It works, but it’s probably better to go the Jesus route and give from that place!

      Bless you my friend – thanks for your heart to be a blessing to many and to give radically of who you are in Christ and not because you have to!

  6. Great job Phil. I am so so glad followers of Christ are beginning to study what the Bible does have to say about tithing. We left our church 1 year ago partly due to what felt like a constant “shakedown” from the pulpit. Those who teach tithing with promises of “blessings” if you do and the suggestion of a curse if one does not tithe, have been severed from Christ, according to The Holy Spirit through Paul in his letter to the Galatians. ( 5:4) The Bible teaches clearly we have been released and have died to the law through the Body of Christ and we are not under law but under god’s grace. (Romans 6+7)
    Biblically required %10 is antiChrist as it’s a sin against God and a sin against the blood of Christ. (He really did absorb all curses due to the cross and shed New Covenant blood.) I believe this false teaching of required %10 is leaving wide open the door for religious and legalistic “things” to deceive Christ’s Body in a number of ways.
    There is not one mention of anyone tithing $ to anybody in the entirety of scripture. Yes, the tithe pertained to livestock and produce, not$, so the Levites, poor and priesthood could eat and perform their duties under the law.
    Abraham spontaneously was motivated to give %10 of the spoils of war AFTER receiving the profoundly prophetic bread and wine (communion with God) from the only other king/priest mentioned in scripture, who had no genealogy and remains a priest forever. In essence Hebrews 7:1-12 teaches that the law “tithes” into grace! (ps. Hebrews 7:12 is key to understanding the New Covenant)
    As a chief of sinners God has miraculously blessed me with an unbelievable wife after giving less than $100 to the church i attended for 3 years. I was able to give God my time however as He led me to spend 12-18 hours a day ministering to Him as a Priest in the inner court. Speak about God’s tangible and abiding presence in fellowship with Him then in service to others in the outer court! God knows who spends time with Him and according to Revelation He finally gets His Kingdom of priest’s who come near to Him to minister to Him. This is where our blessing resides, in the bread of His presence and light of Christ.
    If we are taught revelation knowledge about God’s grace, mercy and love toward us we will be extremely motivated to give much more than %10, if we are able to do so.
    Thanks again for a great teaching Phil!!

  7. Hey Phil,
    Complete breath of fresh air and i am happy you called spade a spade an excellent articulation of the most controversial subject in church today. I am happy that you were quite balanced and not biased or overtly tilted to one side particularly with a subject like tithing, which is an hallmark of a good bible teacher. This writing needs a commendation.
    Also would like to see a good writing on grace, law , HolySpirit and legalism. And clarify on what joseph prince speaks on, i have had people bashing him for his excess grace theology, or does such a thing exists?

    • Hi Solomon – thanks for your kind words.

      I’m a big fan of Joseph Prince and think he and his ministry are great. Regarding the topics you mentioned I’d really recommend you look around more on this site as I have lots on here to do with those topics… hundreds of resources in fact. Try the new here page (link at top of page) to get started :)

  8. Phil, thank you for such encouraging words of knowledge. I have felt exactly as you regarding tithing. And most of it results in a lot of guilt. As you have noted, the new life we now live and have isn’t about the law. The new nature is about new things among those being gratitude and giving! …. With increasing measures. And why wouldn’t it be as God places His desires on our hearts (Phil 2:13)

  9. Great teaching. I enjoyed the points about avoiding obligation. I do believe though based on 2 Cor 9 we should be givers to the ministry and every good work. Giving is one of the fruits of love. Love gives. God so loved us He gave us His best. I do believe in giving to help the poor and down cast. I do caution though we must not create a culture of dependency. In America I’ve seen so many just come to the Church just to get a hand out and never want anything to do with God. We should express love and compassion. We should always offer some help. We just need to love with wisdom, not judgement but wisdom. Blessings.

    • Absolutely John – I think understanding people’s needs is key. Sometimes people need money other times they have very different needs! (Food/teaching/training/shelter etc)

  10. Great article, well written with a clearly structured argument. So much of the teaching in church about giving is based on fear – fear from the front that God will not provide, so we have to do the arm twisting for him.
    I’m proud to lead one of the hardest to give to churches in the UK. We have not had an offering as part of our service for over 15 years (apart from occasional ones to bless another ministry) and God has provided every single penny we have ever needed. To clarify we do have a tiny giving box at the back of church and we do have ways for people to give via their back account but never ask people for their money.
    Thanks again for your thoughts.

    • Thanks awesome Mark! Thanks so much for bravely leading the way and showing many it’s possible and not only that it can be a great success when we focus on doing what God has called us to!

      • Thank you this article is truly a blessing, will share. I love to give. It was such a burden to hear pastors curse those who don’t/can’t give 10% or more before tax.

  11. Firstly, Let me say that this is an inspiring post… But, I have a few reservations. About the Tithe of Jacob, I believe he said, ‘whatever you give me’. It didn’t have to be food alone, except we are trying to imply God gave him only food. Also, Hebrews 7 is in the present tense…. I believe it’s talking about Jesus. I don’t believe in paying, ‘hush money’ to the Godfather as Andrew Wommack hilariously puts it. But, the work of the Gospel today involves so much and God’s people should be taught to be responsible partners with God in the Gospel! Tithing without the Legality attached is necessary for that. It’s a good way to execute this stewardship. Very helpful in this light is Andrew Wommack’s, ‘Financial Stewardship’. God bless you and Sarah! #Pleroma

    • That is true Olawunmi regarding Jacob (although in the context of the prior verse he does specify if God gives me food and clothing.

      As for Hebrews I just can’t interpret it in another light personally given the overall context of both chapter 7 and Hebrews as a whole. But that’s the beauty (and the curse) of the Bible… It can be interpreted in so many different ways :)

      Thanks for sharing my friend! Much love to you!

  12. Thank you for writing this.
    It answered so me questions I have had for a long time.
    You said ” Jesus doesn’t look at how you give but why.”
    I want to be a cheerful giver.
    I think motive is more important that the amount.
    Again thank you,
    Julie

  13. Great article Phil. I reposted as its a message so many need to hear. My struggle at the moment is that we have 2 grown kids ( one is trying to get a job, the other is a student and because he lives at home, doesn’t qualify for much of an allowance to live.), so my husband’ wage is supporting 4 adults. We are struggling to pay all of our bills, let alone save at present, hopefully this won’t be for long, but I really want to stop supporting our church and pay our bills. I then would struggle with feeling guilty for stopping! Bit of a colundrum for me. I want to support my church – but financially am struggling to do so. I am sure there are others like myself who are caught between a rock and a hard place. What advice would you have for those in this position….. I guess not to feel guilty is the obvious answer – but its hard as you want to support those who feed into your lives.

    • Tracy I think every situation is unique and we have to be sensitive to what is going on. Personally I think getting into debt is a very bad idea, the word clearly says it’s not a good idea, so I wouldn’t want to forfeit on bills etc. however on a practical level I would be looking at figuring out how to have less bills and make them smaller if this arrangement looks like it’s going to be ongoing. If that isn’t an option Selling things around the house, picking up second jobs that aren’t wanted etc. could be an option.

      Generosity isn’t an amount but a posture of heart – maybe you don’t have as much money right now but can be generous in other ways, you could volunteer to help at a food bank or homeless shelter or kids ward in a hospital. In saying that I’m always wary of excusing not giving financially and always push myself in this area as I never want to make it a secondary priority and constantly not have “enough”.

      Ultimately there is no formula and the key is just chatting with God and asking. Him to lead you through it all.

      • We hit a wall with no longer being able to keep up the payments on 6 credit cards that we were using to support 4 adults on one income, as well – or maybe you could say 5, 1 son, who has wife and daughter, who we started when he started back to school when they were expecting their last child – that they then lost, so we had added expenses of going – and taking them – back and forth to the hospital one and a half hours away – we learned later, but too late, there could have been help for those expenses but we didn’t get it; he finished school but took a while to get the job thing going then they had moved into a bad neighborhood, the only place they could afford a place big enough that they’d understood they had to have in order to bring the last one home, before everything happened, but after that happened and then after some other things happened – or at least almost – to the one they do have, it was time to get out, and a house opened up right at that time close to us, with the only thing being it was going to cost another $200 a month that they couldn’t afford so we agreed to help them with that, so rocked along for about or a little over a year, till he ended up having to get – or being forced but really needed to anyway so again worked out at just the right time – out of a shady situation with job but with a cut in income so started helping more then but things did turn around and get better but right at the time had to use the money that was supposed to go to pay for college tuition for other son, just not right then, for the next upcoming semester, to tide them over with the job change and all, with that being right as the interest started being charged on the balance transfer no interest for a year card we got which is when we then could really no longer make the payments on the card but got another one to use to do so till it finally all stopped; I had talked to our local bank which has an arrangement with a debt management company to go that route plus though at one point when I was in there they told me they had for the first time in like 30 yrs. double how much unsecured loans you could have with them, which would have allowed us to roll all the credit cards into that except that wouldn’t let us do it unless we gave them our house while then in the meantime when we really could no longer make the payments on the cards they sent us to some other debt management companies they work with, which is what’s really led to this post – one in particular when they saw what they saw as just giving that much money to our church – they didn’t call it tithing as a bill, just giving the very amount that was our deficit – they said they wouldn’t feel free to contact our credit card companies and ask for any type of concession as long as we were doing that, that if we couldn’t pay our bills we didn’t need to be giving that amount to our church –

  14. Thank you, for such freedom and insight into what can be a minefield of difficult and passionately held beliefs :) I do tithe but I am tiking and at a time where I am considering where and to who am I giving too?Brilliant bit of work and teaching! Thank you for sharing and your commitment to the truth and Jesus centred beliefs, blessings brother:D

  15. Tithing took care of the Levites Old Testament who had no inheritance. Today we take so much out of context of the old do apply the same rules. A pastor can own a house, and property. I use to sit under 50 minute plus offering messages where by the end you wanted to give your bank account away. I had to learn to pray and ask God before I went to a meeting how much to give.
    Sometimes I feel like 10 percent was just easier but as I look on this side of the cross I see people laying down everything they had, not just 10 percent. Much like yourself if someone handed me 10 bucks I was automatically in debt a dollar to God and it came to the point where I didn’t know if I missed giving here or over there. Even sent 700 dollars to much church at 330 am become I felt condemned about not giving off of a loan.
    Today giving is my favorite thing, and I have learned that being led by God in my giving is actually more challenging at times then handing over 10 perecent. I give much more and he challenges me at times and teaches me to trust and he makes ways where I didn’t see them coming.
    In the midst of planting a Church right now I laugh because you see the money that comes in, but I would rather see small offerings then to put anyone under compulsion to give.
    Being generous is something I long to see the world become, and coming out of a system that pushed the tithe has given me room to breathe and the ability to give more then I ever had before. Last year everything we gave we did in cash so only God knew the amount and in that I had more joy then ever before.
    He told us this year sometimes I tell you what to give and other times I want to see what you give. Either way great article. In freedom we have much more joy

    • Hi Ryan – great thoughts bro. Our journeys are indeed very similar! Amazing how condemning and wearisome tithing could be! That’s definitely not Gods heart in giving!

      Thanks for fearlessly leading the way and showing how church can function generously without obligation to give a tithe.

  16. Fabulous article will need to read again lots to
    Ponder over & reflect. I am working on an online concept called Blessing Box to unlock the gift of giving & receiving. Have a surf would value your thoughts and if interested in using? People often give but rarely ask for what they need. I love the heartbeat of the early church as everyone shared as they were able and as was needed. So brilliant to bring this balance back to society.

    • Hi Gayle – what an awesome idea! Thanks for sharing it really put a smile on my face to see people donating fridges and sofas and helping each other out in really practical ways!

  17. I’m a Catholic. I only once tithed when I visited another church. I was a student then and had limited source of money but the pastor told me that I should tithed. I had only couple of dollars and the pastor told me that i should gave them all. I did and I never returned to the church. I’m still a faithful Catholic and give offering every Sunday without having the obligation feeling of tithed. I try to give to the poor too every now and then. And i found joy in giving to the poor. I have stopped going around recently trying to give to the poor due to my busy life, but this morning I read this article and I know God wants me to go out and give something to the orphans today. Have a good day.

    • Hi Stephanie, glad this article could remind you of your identity in Christ as a generous person – hope you had fun helping out the orphans, I know they are blessed because of you! Isn’t it amazing to be in a privileged place to be able to give so generously!

  18. Hi, I’ve enjoyed reading your article and found it refreshing. This is a topic we all struggle from time to time..
    My question is..” what is your take for someone who earns irregular income or are commission base ? ” – only source of income is derived from commissions. This is a struggle for me right now. A blessed day to all !

    • Hi Roland,

      I myself live entirely off donations and so our income is very irregular! I think there is great wisdom in budgeting heavily and figuring out a “salary” for yourself based on an amount below your average income over 6 months. Pay yourself that amount. Then you will always make more and can be saving that excess. In your budget budget to be generous – that’s what Sarah and I do.. We plan to be giving a certain amount of money each month. We rarely keep to it and it’s one area on our budget we are happy to go over but this certainly has helped us with our irregular income.

  19. Well done Phil! I really needed this. But I have a question, you said that we shouldn’t give to get something from God . So what do you say about sowing and reaping? Can’t we sow into our financial breakthrough?

    • Hi Merveille,

      I think in our giving we certainly renew our minds continually as we give. Giving reminds us of the riches we already have in Christ through the cross and opens up our lives to experiencing all that we have already been given but are often blind to.

      I don’t like the teaching that we give to try and get however as it starts to create an unhealthy cycle and changes our motivation. We give out of our abundance in Christ – not to gain it!

  20. Hi,

    Since you brought it up, would you please indulge us with a little more information about your income last year.

    You said you made $11,000.

    That is WELL below poverty level. How did you pay for housing? Food? Transportation? Clothes. The computer you post your blog from? Etc?

    A person making $11,000 a year that has his own website?

    I know that this is an invasive question, but could you explain how you did all this on $11,000? There are lots of people in poverty who would love to know how this was done.

    Thanks!
    rob

    • Hi Rob,

      Great question. Firstly I must apologies as I typed $11000 instead of €11000 (habit after living in the US for so long) so we are making more than $11000 it’s more like about $15000.

      Honestly we priorities and budget heavily.

      We don’t sat out or go for drinks. We eat unbranded food from the cheapest shops. We’ve lived with housemates or parents at times. We don’t buy clothes… We’ve not bought clothes since we got married aside from gifts and people taking us shopping.

      Things get better every year for sure and we are constantly making more money.

      An important note is that this money was our income after ministry expenses – so it doesn’t include the cost of running this website (quite low about $2000 a year) and the traveling expenses (around $15000 a year)

      Hope that answers your question – basically about 70 percent of our income goes to food/bills/rent and 15 percent to savings and 15 percent to giving. We are strong believers of saving and being generous regardless of our income.

  21. Good Morning, I too have studies out these verses on tithing and realized also that tithing was food and other resources we have or do for others and the church. I am in a church that members believe within their hearts if you don’t tithe you are not of God. It is truly a sin not to tithe. they pride themselves on the tithe they give. I’d heard the pastor say, In 2014 become a tither if you don’t tithe now. I have to listen to Malachi 3 read every Sunday morning and I feel offended each time the deacon reads it “reminding me I am cursed if I don’t tithe”. Personally, I know within my heart I am not cursed by God, Christ or His Holy Spirit. I feel I need to print this article and allow the deacon to read it for himself to reveal to him his error. I try to examine the ground as you mentioned the fruit of the ground and continue to give where its needed. I thank the Lord for your boldness to step out and discuss controversial issues within the church, today.

  22. Great article Phil. I was a faithful, or fearful tither for twenty years and no matter how much money I made, and sometimes it was a lot, I was always broke. I know a lot was poor money management. I was in fear if I was behind on my tithes and rightly encouraged by my pastor. I was ignorant of the new covenant. I believed it all, SEED GIVING, TITHING OPENING THE WINDOWS OF HEAVEN, the whole prosperity gospel. the bottom line is if these things worked as we were taught we would ALL be RICH. But by a million miles we are not. A few prosperous people are trotted out as examples of how they were blessed by tithing, but out of millions of believers, some people just become prosperous. Having said this I absolutely believe there is blessing in giving, but as you have stated, out of our hearts, and as Father directs us. Tithing to coerce God into blessing you falls under Galations 5. If you believe you have to keep any part of the law to be blessed by God you are subject to the whole law and you have fallen from grace and the cross of Christ has become of no value to you. No wonder the majority of Christians are sick and poor. Ask God to expose all of the law that you did not realize is in your life and you will experience freedom and blessing that you always believed was your inheritance. The law will kill your relationship with God. Tithing is law, giving is love.

    • Thanks for sharing Mike, you hit the nail on the head. What we present today as tithing is the Galatian bewitchment summed up perfectly!

  23. Phil, I liked the article, but I thought some of the distinctions read like an attack on a strawman, which for me distracted from the bigger point. In particular, the nature of a tithe – whether it’s from what you have, what you earn, what you produce, the spoils of war, and so on – making an issue of the particulars does NOT erase the simple truth that tithing clearly was occurring, plain and simple. Ultimately, I don’t see the value in denigrating the idea of the tithes we see in the Bible.

    Yet I certainly agree with your bigger point that “10%” is not a commanded gift. And since the principle of giving is certainly one God wants us to adopt, the story of the tithe isn’t one of “exactly 10%” but rather of the greater principles it demonstrates to us:
    * all our material blessings come from God
    * it’s all His not ours
    * giving something back is our acknowledgement of that truth, and
    * giving is a demonstration of the fact we believe we don’t have to hold tightly to possessions because the One who gave to us can and will continue to meet our needs in the future.

    Ultimately I have come to believe that the Bible teaches that giving for us is nothing more or less than a faith thing – an outworking of walking by faith, and an expression of love. We give not to get, but because He is in control and wants us to get to be one of His instruments to bless others.

    • Hi David,

      Thanks so much for your comment. I don’t think that I tried to attack the ideas we see of tithing in the Bible. Rather I was trying to point out that what we call today as tithing isn’t even particularly rooted in the Biblical teaching of Tithing.

      I didn’t overly feel that these things were a straw man argument as these are frequently things I’ve come across being taught. I felt like I needed to address the appropriate scriptures to challenge if they were contextually taught or if they were perhaps scriptures used out of context to try and manipulate people into giving.

      As I said in the article – I love giving… my challenge is why do we feel we need to set up rules to give rather than trust that in Christ believers will have a generous nature and give accordingly.

      Thanks again for sharing.

  24. Hi Phil,

    Great article!

    I was almost scared to read this article, because of flashbacks from my past on tithing.

    Personally, I grew up in a church that said (every Sunday) that God would curse you, if you didn’t tithe. Like literally. Your home wouldn’t be safe. Your car would break down. All kinds of crazy bad things, because you didn’t give 10% and would not be under the protection of God, any longer.

    As a result, I tithed for as long as I could remember, until around 23… when my Mom died. I wanted to see if God would strike me dead. He didn’t. I actually ended up getting a nice promotion.

    Long story short, I brought up the question on tithing privately to the pastor’s kids (the leaders) of a church I attended. Later, when I went up for prayer (for grief about my mom’s death) the senior pastor publicly shamed me at the altar, and refused to pray for me… saying that I was in rebellion and should be ashamed of myself for not tithing.

    After this experience, I decided, I would never give to any church again… and definitely not “tithe”, but I found that I have a heart to give. Not to any religious institution, but to those that are doing incredible work in the world, like my friend who is a missionary in South Africa… she works for free and helps take care of orphan babies that are left on the side of the road.

    So, what I discovered is that I can’t stand the manipulative, deceptive, out-of-context verses used to control people and their money. However, I love to give to people who are doing good work and making a difference.

    Thank you for sharing this article, and your story. It really is liberating to know that you’re not the only one who has questioned and come to a different perspective than what is traditionally taught in Christianity.

    Stay awesome!
    Melodee

    • Hey Melodee! I understand your apprehension about reading this article on its face value, I too have had my fair share of flashbacks ha ha

      Thanks so much for sharing some of your journey. You are a great example of what it looks like to be a radically generous giver. Thanks so much for all you do!

  25. It is important to recognise that Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law (Gal 3 : 13) which also includes the curse of poverty. That becomes a reality when i surrender my finances, job, business, ministry to Him (Jesus). A huge part of this walk is to understand the principle of sowing and reaping. As I live in the generosity of God, he instructs us to be generous as well. “He who sows a little will reap a little, he who sows abundance will reap abundance”

    • Absolutely Basie, it’s all about listening to his voice and being led by his Spirit. Anything we do out of obligation, because we “have to”, does not come from a generous heart but rather is just resurrecting the law all over again. When we live in Christ, as the person who we truly are, we cannot help but give extravagantly.

  26. Great article. Recently it was pointed out to me something I never ever noticed before. In fact 99% of Christendom haven’t seen it. In Malachi 3:8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me. But ye say, WhereIN have we robbed thee? IN tithes and offerings.” This is English 101! WhereIN does not mean the same as WhereOF. We ‘preach’, meaning the church at large, that we robbed God OF His tithes and offerings. That means we didn’t bring ANY! But no, in this passage and in this book, they DID bring their tithes and offerings but IN their giving they robbed Him. How did they do this? Start at Malachi chapter 1 and begin reading. It becomes most obvious. Here’s a few examples: Mal. 1:8 “And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” Says the Lord of Hosts. In this scripture they DID bring an offering, but God refused to accept it. He was therefore robbed! Now let’s look at Mal. 1:9-10 “But now entreat God’s favor, that He may be gracious to us. While this is being done by your hands, will He accept you favorably?” Says the Lord of hosts. “Who is there among you who would shut the doors, so that you would not kindle fire on My altar IN VAIN? I have NO PLEASURE in you.” Says the Lord of hosts ,”NOR WILL I ACCEPT AN OFFERING FROM YOUR HANDS.” Again, God was robbed of receiving the offering from the people as their hearts were far from God’s ways. Mal. 1:13-14 really shows the attitude of these priests. “You also say, ‘Oh what a weariness!’ And you sneer at it.” Says the Lord of hosts. “And you bring an offering!!!!!” Should I [GOD] accept this from your hand?” Says the Lord. “BUT CURSED BE THE DECEIVER who has in his flock a male, and takes a vow but sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished – For I am a great King” Says the Lord of hosts, “And My name is to be FEARED among the nations.” The HEART of what God is saying is so perfectly explained in Amos 5:21-24 “I HATE, I DESPISE your feast days, and I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I WILL NOT ACCEPT THEM, NOR WILL I REGARD YOUR FATTENED PEACE OFFERINGS! Take away from Me the NOISE of your songs, for I WILL NOT HEAR the melody of your stringed instruments. BUT, LET JUSTICE RUN DOWN LIKE WATER, AND RIGHTEOUSNESS LIKE A MIGHTY STREAM.” Also read Isaiah 1:10-20 to hear God’s heart in all of this. Matthew 23:23-28 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Vs. 25 … “for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion [robbery by force] and excess.” Vs. 26 “Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter [replacing their internal hypocrisy in their hearts with righteous judgment, mercy and faith] that the outside of them [the externally seen works of the law] may be clean also.” In other words make sure your heart is full of God’s justice, mercy and faith FIRST IN ORDER THAT YOUR TITHES MAY BE CLEAN ALSO. Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the alter, and THERE rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and THEN come and offer thy gift.” This is a KINGDOM principle. 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; NOT GRUDGINGLY, or of NECESSITY: for God loveth a CHEERFUL giver.” Why does He love a CHEERFUL giver? Because it is IMPOSSIBLE for such a giver to have any offense ‘stewing’ in his/her heart! Now how many pastors out there would be willing to preach this message at offering time? How many would be willing to stand up and say, “Get it right with your wife, neighbour, boss …. first before you give.” God’s nature, that is, who God really is, never changes. If He didn’t like it back then in the Old Testament, He doesn’t like it now either in the New Testament era. God is after our HEARTS. Not all the Old Testament is LAW. Much is about a one to one relationship between those whose hearts truly sought for Him, such as King David. “Lord, enable me always to only give into Your kingdom without offense in my heart and as a love offering solely unto You. Thank you for your abundant GRACE that is at work in my heart! Amen!”

  27. I do tithe and for very specific reasons.

    My husband is totally against giving to any ministry, so, as I do not earn my own money, I am restricted to where and how I can give.
    I tithe my housekeeping money, put it aside and then look for ways I can give, in cash, to ministry or need. Obviously, most of the time that is to local situations, but last year a friend who is an International preacher took my cash to another country, converted it to their currency and used it there.

    I also give, but giving is in very small amounts as I do not have it to give without it being noticed.

    The only reason I tithe is discipline. By “religiously” setting aside 10% of any cash I get I always have money on hand to use when I see a need. It is like the discipline of saving, to me. I have no illusions that God will give back to me because I gave any portion to him. He gives to me because he loves me, full stop.
    I give back because I love him, full stop.

    • That sounds great Jennifer! You are being proactive with your finances so that you can plan to be generous! That sounds like something Jesus would do to me!

  28. remember. the truth will set you free.when jesus died on the cross…thats grave….believe in jesus you will have eternal life.period. remember…..from hell ….now saved by grace tro faith to eternal life. period. your not giving,your not tjthing and your not offering has nothing to do with salvation. the only term and condition is believe in jesus. as christian the least we can do is to obey the commandment’ to love GOD and your neigbour’. when you have bills and debts to settle pls go settle first before you gave to the church or GOD. remember….GOD loves a cheerful giver. as for me i use 10% as a guide to give…and i do not have called it tithes unless the church raise a specific fund. God do not need our giving to him for HE is a Giver. God has given us His only Son. So how can not giving to the church …..make us a sinner again. This sowing and reaping has nothing to do with our bank account. just do this….we do not need 100% . do.we have to ask God to tell us what is a cheerful giver? remember our giving is for the expanding of God’s kingdom only. is it reasonable to set a side what we need and save and then you decide what portion of the balance to give cheerfully and gracefully to GOD.? pls do not hold God a ransom. its not a i give you u give me a kind of thinking. this is deception of the satan. Giving is between you and GOD and the bank account .just like prayer its between you and GOD in a locked closet. its nothing to do with the LAW or salvation….its all about LOVE.

  29. Hi Phil,
    Great article!! I couldn’t agree more!! Like you I was born and raised in a ‘poor’ pastors home! Not sure if strict tithing was taught or not but we certainly didn’t benefit very much as a Pastors family even if it was. Dad was so poor when I started working as a nurse he would ask me for money to buy himself an ice cream!

    But now for the tithing issue. Recently God told me to stop Tithing!! Oh my goodness!!!! Now that was HUGE. I had faithfully tithed on ALL my income and on my Gross income all my life. Somehow it never seemed to provide the ABUNDANCE of POURED blessings from Heaven as promised, although I am not saying God did NOT BLESS me!! Like you, He did, but often only just enough, not more than enough for ‘every’ good work.

    Then when God told me to stop tithing I was on a journey at the time of coming out of my own ‘poverty’ mindset and seeking to transform my beliefs of Who I was in m Identity at a higher level, as the Blessed One! So God says to me, Stop tithing!! I immediately thought ‘Oh no I won’t be blessed anymore!!” Wrong!!! I had placed the ability for God to Bless me on the fact that I faithfully, diligently and yes. ‘lawfully’ tithed to Him through my tithe to the church. His response to me was this. ‘Maureen the tithe you give is mine, not yours, cannot I do with it as I desire and give it back to you?? You are serving me are you not?” So after running this past my spiritual mentor, I stopped tithing and do you know what happened? I began to see great blessing being poured out financially!! Wow!! Last year just a few months after doing this I was given totally free, three different overseas trips all paid for! After receiving so much blessing I could hardly believe God would do this.

    He has several times given me extra money, as well. Now I still give as He leads me and often it is too, two young men who are my Son’s from when I was living with them in a Children’s Centre in Mozambique ten years ago. I support them financially as I am able as they live in a lot of poverty due to their Countries extreme poverty levels and they are no longer living in a provided for place as when in the children’s center.

    I am on a retirement Government Pension now, so my earthly earnings are small but NOT my HEAVENLY FATHER’S Riches from Glory!! I have more than once asked the Lord if I should start tithing to the local church again and He always up to now has said, ‘No! Its not time for time for that.” So while I will always give to God’s Body and those serving Him there I am now aware my Blessing is not based on ‘My tithing’ every last cent, but on my belief of Who I am! I am the Blessed One, because of His Promises, Gen:12:2, I will Bless you and you will be a Blessing!” and because of my relationship with Him as HIS Daughter and His bride! Just to say I have always loved to Give and was great at giving to others, but very poor at receiving from Him and others!!

    So thanks for this great article Phil. Learned much from it, including that the OT tithe was to also support the poor, the fatherless and the widow! That is never taught in our Churches where ‘Tithing’ is taught as a mandatory requirement for the Christian.
    I love this Scripture and have often seen the fruit of it in my own life. From Proverbs, ‘He who is kind to the poor, lends to the Lord and the Lord will repay Him for his deed!” In the end I think too, its where and to what we attach our FAITH to, that we then see the fruit of.
    Blessings on you and Sarah!!

    • Thanks so much for sharing that Maureen! Very interesting to hear a little of your journey with tithing and that God had told you to stop. a great testimony of how ceasing to tithe doesn’t stop us from being generous – in fact it allows us to be more generous!

  30. Someone posted this link on facebook & I have enjoyed reading it. We have always felt super convicted to give the full 10%/tithe. (At one point on our pre-tax income, which wasn’t very much). So, I guess to give background I come from a more “law-abiding” point-of-view on it, but trying to embrace what you laid out here. The church we’ve attended for a few years is huge. They are expanding. There have been building projects. And there have been pushes to give & give more. I get this. However, at the same time, even my husband & I (who get giving) have been a little put off by it. They have started charging fees for different things that used to be free. Additionally, we have small groups instead of a mid-week service (which we love), but that comes w/ a cost of babysitting that hits young families especially really hard, and at a time when we need that connection & accountability w/ other married couples/parents. We are a young (large-ish) family on one income, and coming up w/ fees for this or that or paying a sitter to attend a group has often been a burden or resulted in us not participating. Torn by this, we have come to the conclusion to “deduct” these fees & church-related babysitting costs from our “tithe.” We aren’t sure if this is “right” or “wrong,” but has often been the only way we have been able to participate in some of these things. Your thoughts on that?

    • Hi Angela, I certainly don’t see a problem with it myself. Ultimately this is something that you guys need to decide with God. As I said in the article it really isn’t about giving a set amount, to a set organisation but rather about having a generous desire to give in general.

  31. Thank you so much for sharing this!!!! I have been a Christian for over 40 years now and had always heard about the curse of not tithing. So much so that a famous preacher once told a story about how when he was at the airport and the person from the church went to pick him up and as he went to grab the ministers bag, he stopped him and asked was he a tither because he did not want any cursed individual touching anything of his because it would corrupt them. How crazy is that, but it is what I heard. Then about 15 years ago when I was an Assistant Pastor and after graduating from Ministry School (where the tithe was a big part of the teaching) I started to study tithing and new covenant doctrine on my own. Having said all that, you have confirmed what I learned in those studies. It is so refreshing to see this kind of teaching coming forth, we are all givers(as is our Father’s nature and ours now) so giving should be the easiest thing for us to do! No longer afraid of the curse, put having a mindset that is provision oriented. It becomes easy to give know your Daddy has you covered!!!!

    Thank you again, your ministry has truly blessed me and my family!!!!

    • Mike, I want to thank you so much. I have not laughed so hard in ages! I know it’s a really, really sad what that pastor did… but boy oh boy did it make
      me laugh! haha

      Glad to see that you yourself have come to the same conclusion through your studies and that I’m not alone.

      Thanks so much for sharing.

  32. Enjoyed your post Phil. Thank.
    Also read most of the comments and was very saddened what seemed to be controlling pastors and I take it in the USA. I am a Brit!!
    I expect we thithe, never really worked it out!! If I gave what my wife wanted too we would have no money left!! Just given £200 to a church in the Philippines for there water supply where two of the children there had contacted malaria.
    But Phil it’s not a shortage of money in the church which is any problem in is a shortage of people with ability to repent and change their what they believe.
    Why all the obsession with money I don’t know for all these projects that pastors come up with!!
    Just relax and fall in love with Jesus and let Him love us as much as He wants too. We would then have a people FREE to do what the Holy Spirit wants done today.

    • Hi Bob, glad you enjoyed this post. It’s an interesting observation that I’ve come across as well – that almost every person who disagrees with what I’ve laid out here (which I believe has just what the Bible has to say about tithing) is a pastor or a leader in a church.

      Food for thought I think.

      Thanks for your generosity in giving and supporting those who are in need and demonstrating that we don’t need rules to make us generous people as Christians!

  33. I tithed and gave offerings for about 10 years. I believed it and I did it cheerfully!…but who was the one who had no money left to go out with others from church to eat after service?? After I read where one could ‘eat’ the tithe…I did!! I also know a person who adheres to the supposed N. C. version of tithing ‘if you don’t tithe you don’t have a revelation of tithing”.. the person who said that was coming to person # one’s home town..guess who said they didn’t have the $30.00 to go see this person?? Something is wrong with this picture!! I give where and when I am led of the Spirit!!

  34. Phil, It’s good to hear someone risking everything for what they believe.
    I hope the repercussions of this wont be too harsh, but I know ‘tithing’ is the name of one of the Church’s most favourite sacred cows and lashing a knife at it might well cause some unhappy campers. Even many grace teachers won’t dare go there and when confronted, and tend to fudge the issue to avoid offense – or even worse – loose their financial backing.

    I don’t agree with you on everything here. I don’t agree when you say “tithing works” as though there still remains a tithing principle that says ‘if you give your 10% then the windows of heaven will be opened and such blessing will be poured out that there will not be room enough to receive it.’ I’ve heard plenty of tragic cases that have shown this not to be the case though believed in wholeheartedly. Tithing doesn’t aways work. Your own family history shows it doesn’t work as you admit that, although your parents firmly believed in accurate tithing, “Growing up we were pretty poor. In fact, we made the poor kids look pretty wealthy”.

    Having said that, I’m very glad you’ve been brave enough to tackle this issue. I think if the Apostle Paul had been alive today he would be tackling it like he tackled circumcision in his own day. It the same old “Blessing = God Love +” formula.

    The irony of tithing is that we have been prompted to tithe to avoid “robbing God”, when quite the reverse is true. If we start tithing and we are financially blessed, in our hearts we can’t avoid patting ourselves on the back. We say “God has blessed me because I started tithing”. I’m asking, who is getting the glory here?. Haven’t we just robbed God of His joy in just blessing His children because he loves to bless us? Aren’t we sneaking in on some of His glory by saying “Well this must have partly been down to little ol’ me”?.

    Must stop or I’ll be here all night!

    • Hi David,

      Thanks for sharing man – I agree with your disagreement – haha

      My point in saying that “it works” is more of a general statement than an overall it always works. There are people that seem to be tithing and reaping the benefits so it’s not surprising that they teach it and become strong proponents of it. It’s amazing how good God is that He’ll bless us even in our terrible theology :)

      Thanks for the encouragement – it’s definitely been an overall positive thing this post (although I’ve had some angry emails haha)

      Hopefully see you this weekend in Edinburgh!

  35. To practice the tithe is to put ones self under the law which will only bring death as we know.Tithing,possibly the last great chain of law the church needs to break, to walk in the freedom that Jesus has purchased for her

  36. Thanks so much for posting this Phil! God showed me the truth about tithing back in 2006, but He just revealed a lot more thru you. I felt alone. I only knew of a few other people who believed the same. When people found out i wasn’t tithing or if i tried to share the truth…especially to church leaders… It really got people angry. Thought i was gonna get stoned at times…lol. Just happy hear people like u preaching true Grace and rejoicing that people are realizing the freedom in Christ.

    • Glad it was a blessing to you Sol! People (leaders) certainly can get mad when we start questioning this topic and raising an alternative view.

  37. Phil,

    Great article my friend! I have long been a strong believer in the tithe and the blessing it is to God when we give back to him. I still do believe in 10%, but in this way, which agrees with your article. Is giving the love of your life, God, 10% too much to ask? Would giving our wife, kids, etc less than 10% be ok by even our sick nation’s standards? No…
    Having said that we (my wife and I) were strong 10% to the church tither’s until late last year. God had it on my heart for about 18 months that giving to our church was being wasteful. Come to find out money had been poorly, maybe even grossly managed and staff members were using God’s money as a fund to further their own desires and “fun time”. I want to be careful though and say that “corruption” isn’t an issue here, just human desires creeping in and not preciously using the funds for His work.
    God used this information to change the way my wife and I give back to God. This money now goes to large Christian organizations that feed the world and spread the gospel while doing so & small local gospel spreading organizations that feed and clothes the homeless. While additional, above 10%, monies go to blessing others with gifts, trips, etc. because God has placed worldly wealth in our hands and we feel it our duty to give to His children.
    Thank you again Phil. It is a joy and a blessing to give back to God… Period.

    • Thanks for sharing Tom – I agree that the church is often one of the worst administrators of finances. They aren’t too unlike the government in that matter!

  38. Great article, Phil. I really want to go on a rant about the pastors that object to your (very biblical) take on giving but I’m going to hold my peace. But I hope this opens some hearts and minds to the glories of loving generosity and the bondage of guilt driven legalistic “giving”.

    • I really hope it does too… I’ve had many emails from people who are seeing a whole new freedom to give big and generously like never before so I think it is having an impact :)

      Thanks for your kind words!

  39. Thanks so much Phil for the article.So blessed by it. I remember when I first heard about tithing in my church was with reference to Melachi 3 and how one is cursed if they don’t tithe. The guilt that came over me was overwhelming. My church would say if we don’t give our10% the devil will come in and make sure that the 10% will leave one way or another. For example through bills, sickness or some form of curse. Now you can imagine, I was a young Christian then (a couple of months or so after giving my life to Christ) and so I started giving out of obligation and fear and not from my heart. I even preached the same thing to my family back at home… oh I am a student at a university and so I only go home during holidays…. but after sharing to them the same thing… oh my oh my, I felt so guilty and had no peace at all! So I started going deeper into the message of grace and the New Covenant (studying it). In summary, I found that as a New Covenant believer I’m no longer under the law. Today I continue to give and tithe to the church and give to the poor where I can, but from the abundance of the new heart Christ has given me. I pray that ministers and believers across the world would see this truth of us no longer being under the law.

    Thanks again Phil. I love reading your work!

    • Thanks for sharing that journey my friend – Mine was very, very similar. That feeling of guilt and shame, not to mention the fear is so terrible looking back. Most definitely not the way God wants us to be motivated.

      I’ve had to go back to many people I strongly encouraged to tithe to remove themselves from the curse etc and apologise… not easy to do!

      Thanks again for sharing.

  40. Hi Phil, I really enjoyed your article as it brought much insight that I had seen despite studying this subject a lot myself and even giving an offering message once on being delivered from the law of tithing. I escaped excommunication, but have not been asked to do one since! I’m quite relieved really, because to my way of thinking, a lot of offering sermonettes are so long and manipulative that I’m sure they bring people into condemnation and bondage. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that sort of arm twisting effectively a form of witchcraft by any biblical definition?

    • Hey Scott, glad you liked the article.

      I think for many people it’s not an intentional manipulation but a genuine good heart that motivates what they teach. I would say 9/10 pastors are not in it for the money or trying to manipulate people into giving… they genuinely believe the stuff they are teaching. They have bought into the lie of being under a curse if they don’t and being blessed if they do. So if they believe that it would be grossly irresponsible not to help their people come out from under a curse and into blessing.

      That said there are definitely those who use this for their advantage etc I just don’t believe its the majority… maybe that’s the optimist in me though :)

  41. Hi,

    Excellent and well needed article. I had been researching tithe for the last two years and have read nearly everything about it, but I am always keen on learning something new. Some thoughts that come to mind while reading it…

    Today’s tithing is biblical, 100%. You just did not quote the right verse. I am on my mobile so forgive me that I do not give you the exact quote but I bet you know it anyway: you already pointed out that today’s tithe has nothing to do with the tithe of the law, as that went to the poor and needed, not into an organization, hierarchies or alike. But in the book of Samuel, when the Israelites demand a king, god mentions another tithe that you have forgotten to mention: the kings tithe! This tithe might be whatever the king desires, and is kind of like a punishment for the stubborn Israelites who insisted to have a worldly authority above them that they want to follow and look upon.

    Check out the text. You will be amazed in how much the tithe of the king is sharing similarities with today’s tithe. It is a tithe that is not needed, as it is usually eaten up by its own burocracy (95% or more are average being consumed by the church for just running itself, ministering to their Christian believers).

    One reason why tithing is hard to fight is because it puts church into a begging situation, they no longer can demand people to give if tithe is de-masked as Old Testament law. What if your members do not think your church deserves as much money as they give today due to tithe being a worldwide well accepted concept? Pastors tend to see them self, and an organized church, as elementary for the worlds salvation so they never ever doubt that it is gods will for churches to financially blossom. I am a musician, even worse a drummer who wants to play worship music. Propper worship needs a stage, it is more fun. Preachers want large audiences as well, it is nice to have a few ears paying attention to what they put together in a few hours work each week, so what’s so wrong with that? Well. Don’t you dare to point out there are real people in real needs that meed our help and support. Church will end up on the street, or in the houses again. Literally. Scary thought.

    Tithing is testing god. God once told me, after years of yelling to him why he does not financially bless me, that 1) I am testing god, and 2) he did not want me to get rich with a wrong theology towards finances. I was totally convinced that I had earned not being blessed financially by my sin, and scary fact was, my own church suspected the same. If you tithe and god does not bless you, it must be hidden sin, and with such issues people in church don’t mess around. Nobody helped us.

    Another thought: a church teaching tithing is stealing indirectly, as it claims hers what belongs to the poor and needy, as well as directly, as they do not give, but take from the poor, promising them that god will bless them. This is like the Pharisee who took away the widows homes instead of taking care for them as they had been commanded. This was what Jesus issued when he quoted them to tithe even from the herbs but not do justice (to the widows).

    Tithing puts you under the law, but even worse, under command of men. By tithing you neglect your own priesthood, as the Israelites who send Moses up the hill. As the Israelites we chose to rather be under human authority then under gods direct leadership, and ultimate we chose a king to obey and follow, and give him our tithe.

    I am guilty of this. I want leadership to tell me what god wants, I want a cozy church rather that the street to witness on and most of my Christian life I spent my time and money investing into a Club called church. It never dawned me that by doing so, I was making sure that outside church my life would have no impact.

    I did not leave my church by own choice. I was kicked out 3 hours before a meeting I housed where I wanted to discuss whether tithing is biblical or not…

    • Hi Stefan,

      These are some awesome thoughts! Thanks so much for taking the time to share them!!

      I’ve never thought of the parallels between the kings tithe and the way we teach tithing today but you are right… That is scarily similar haha

      Sorry to hear about your negative experience of church. It’s a really tough decision for leaders to make often it’s fear other times it’s a genuine belief that people will be cursed if they don’t! As I said in the article I know churches that have stopped tithing and have seen their income to up massively… But it’s because they are doing awesome work… The pastor really helps people and the church impacts the community and the lost!

      When leaders get scared that their people wouldn’t give enough if they stopped teaching tithing the question they should be asking is…why? Often the issue is not a lack of generosity but a fact that the church is inefficient and doesn’t do what it’s supposed to!

      Thanks again for sharing!

  42. Oh and I want to mention one more thing:

    I recommend to bann the word tithing as synonym for giving. giving, freely, by own decision, even excact 10% to a church is not tithing. Not even close. By still calling it tithe, even when you do not support the rain of thoughts that come with that law, you actively promote a law, and advertise a religious belief that in the end will bind us, and as I experienced, make us blind for those in need.

    The problem with tithe is now how much to give, but whom to. By using the term tithe you suggest to give to your local church, nobody has to say so, it has been taught so many times it nowadays is common sense of Christians. The real problem starts when you stop to tithe and start to give, as you might need too first learn to see who around you needs your help, a free meal, friendship, clothing, babysitter, shoulder to cry on. Tithing separates us from those in need, as it belongs to a religious belief that teaches that those who are in need just need to tithe and have gods blessings ppooring down on them…

    A pastor who receives money in envelopes entitled with “tithe” should reject it, as taking it is like accepting money from Italian restaurants who think you are the mafia… Encourage to say giving. Saying tithe also puts the concept of ten percent into the center, while bible teaches us to be generous. Ten percent can be risking your own life, when you have little or be to little when you make a lot. Don’t teach to give, as giving without loving makes no sense, and you cannot command anyone to love.

    Giving does not need to be taught, once we actually let god love us, and his love pours out of our life’s; then giving will be something that just happens.

  43. Powerful article. I don’t attend church, but if I did, I imagine that I would think of tithing as a sort of membership fee like the one you pay to the gym when you use their equipment and day care center. Frankly, it just doesn’t seem like an offering to God.

    • Haha – that’s a funny way to look at it Michelle. I think looking at the way some people are treated in some churches if they don’t “pay” your description isn’t too far from the truth.

  44. Thanks for this hugely beneficial article Phil. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what the early church did in terms of giving.

    I completely agree that it wasn’t 10%. Reading Acts makes me conclude that it was 100%, at least initially: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.” Acts 4:31

    I’m not sure when this sharing of everything ended. It sounds like a wonderful system, but hugely difficult to make work & open to human abuse. Every church that tries this gets accused of being a cult at some stage.

    • It would indeed be great to see – certainly historically there is no evidence of them all just having a big pool in the middle to share from. So I do wonder about how that is translated or interpreted. Historically they made sure nobody was without anything they needed and nobody held back in giving but there was still the same spread among the classes… In fact there were still Christians with slaves! So that should be strong evidence they didn’t share everything equally.

      One thing we can definitely say is they shared with a huge generous heart and not out of compulsion – something we can all learn from!

      Thanks for sharing Martin :)

  45. Loved your article, Phil. I too was a faithful tither for many years. The way I was taught was like so many have mentioned….if you didn’t tithe, you were robbing God….and this would open the door to the devil…There was also the guilt side of it…..”God has given you so much and all He asks for is 10%…you get to keep 90%. Have faith!…Give until it hurts….You can’t out give God. Any of this sound familiar? I bought it hook line and sinker. At no time did I ever hear about Deuteronomy (at least not the explanation of the tithe), or other scriptures that define what the tithe really was. No one had told me that the tithe actually began with the Babylonian Empire and used in such a way that people paid tithes to Kings in order to “align themselves” with one king or another so that those kings would be obligated to .defend them in the event of an attack against their borders. I also wasn’t told that Malachi was prophesying about the Coming of Christ. Malachi 3:1 speaks of John the Baptist who would come and prepare the way for Jesus who IS the Tithe. For a more “in-depth” view of Malachi check out this link http://www.dynamicministries.com/component/preachit/message/jesus-is-the-tithe-explained2.html?Itemid=.

    Bottom line, we have been set free from the law and legalism. As we identify ourselves with Jesus and His righteousness, we are empowered to have the Life of God influence our heart to a life of generosity. Thanks again Phil for opening up these truths in a health and biblical way. .

    • Thanks for sharing Jim – so glad you liked the article! That’s an interesting look at Malachi which I’ve not really heard much about before. Appreciate you sharing it with me.

  46. Hi Phil,
    So the first time i read this article (about a month ago) I was spitting mad! I wanted to respond (react) immediately to call you on on some stuff. So I let it lie, just to de-simmer… I re-read your blog again a few weeks ago and still was quite unhappy with what you had written. This time i just wanted to hear what the Lord was telling me through your writing. And now that I’ve settled my heart, I trust you will hear what Im trying to put across. Basically 3 or 4 points:

    1) The trap we often fall into is that we start scripture bashing “it says this, so do this” or “it doesnt say this, so i dont have to”. Each side seemingly being able to justify their reasoning. No matter how good one’s theology is, if the heart isnt ready to receive it then it will fall on barren soil. And that’s the crux to “tithing” – behind this theological stumbling block lies the deep issues of a person’s heart. Are you free to give? Where is your treasure? I got to be honest, I havent been a big tithe fan over the years. Generous beyond most… but felt that I shouldnt be “governed” by this 10% legalistic approach. Generosity was all fine, until I left a very comfortable job and entered the ministry – and found that now with a significantly lower (non existent at times) income, my generosity levels dipped. I allowed a real poverty spirit to settle in. In that place, I felt the Holy Spirit search my heart. He asked me to settle the issue of Lordship. Then sacrificial giving follows… Phil, I cant say that this is the corner of the truth for every believer but certainly something i’ve noticed to be prevalent within the church as a whole.

    2) You mentioned that someone you looked up to regarded the tithe as “rent on earth” – it wasnt to difficult to figure out who you were referring to. And in my opinion, what you’ve said dishonours who he is and what that movement stands for and are accomplishing for the Kingdom of God
    3) Again my opinion, but it’s irresponsible to tell folk they dont have to give to their local church. Local church is really a picture of family. Everyone pitches in with what they are able to. When Paul speaks about those that direct the affairs of the church being worthy of double honour, or do not muzzle the ox that threshes the corn – where do you think that money comes from? Sadly, i’ve seen many men and women of God – serving within the context of local church – taking on extra jobs, working crazy hours a week – just to serve the very people that are a bit tight-fisted
    4) And finally, your statement “getting 10% of everything your congregation earns isn’t half bad!” is grossly misleading and misrepresenting 1000’s of leaders within ministry. I will give you the benefit of the doubt, but usually before a leader is paid the following expenses will be met: venue hire, refreshments to bless members & visitors, resources for ministry, support to overseas missionaries, offerings to needy in the church etc etc.

    I’m certainly not trying to change your thinking, but just felt it important (for me at least) to express my concerns over what you’ve written. I guess you will respond – you are very good in the way you interact with your readers – and i look forward to what you have to say.

    Much blessing
    Deon

    • Hi Deon,

      Sorry for not replying sooner – I’ve been travelling a lot recently and this just disappeared in the midst of the other comments on this site.

      Sorry that you didn’t like the article. I can totally understand that, you are certainly not alone. I will try address your thoughts one by one as best I can.

      1) I’m quite happy to say there is a black and white here. If people want to live under the law I think it’s only reasonable that we show them what the rules are so they can be under the law properly. I’m not saying its a good idea but God forbid people would think they are fulfilling the requirements of the tithe and not actually doing that. As my blog focuses on – I’d much rather they just gave from the heart but either way let’s not call 10% to a local church “tithing”. I don’t think that what I’m teaching here promotes or encourages not giving… if anything the whole reason I wrote this was to inspire people to give. That’s why a vast portion of the article is focused on the fact we should be giving and how we should be giving.

      2) I know many people who use the phrase but I did have someone in particular in mind when I wrote this and I’m sorry if you think me vaguely quoting him is dishonouring… I don’t personally think it is. Nor does it in anyway discredit what their movement stands for and accomplishes. Perhaps we’ll have to agree to disagree on that though :)

      3) I didn’t say not to give to the local church. What I said is that we don’t NEED to give to the local church. Those are two very separate things… in fact I have a whole section in this article dedicated to why people should give to the local church. I’m all for people giving to the local church, but lets do it because we feel led and because they are doing the work of the Kingdom… not blindly lest we become cursed regardless of what the church is doing.

      4) It is mostly jest, but very true. The truth is most who religiously teach tithing get much less than 10% anyway so of course it’s not that great. There are also many expenses as you said. My question is are those expenses worth throwing 10% of the money the body of Christ has at it’s expenses. Again I write about this… if local churches are equipping the body and looking after the downtrodden then we should absolutely be giving… otherwise I’m not sure we should be paying for huge programs and multiple pastors just to run what isn’t much more than a country club.

      Just a few thoughts.

      Thanks for sharing though. Sorry I couldn’t spend more time on your thoughts I’m in the midst of working through a lot of comments on the site and my emails but hopefully that’s helped you see where I’m coming from.

      While I’m sure people might take what I say and give less on the whole the majority of the emails I’ve received and comments on this site have been that this post has encouraged them to give more and to more sources. That to me is great.

  47. As all things are supposed done in the Kingdom, giving is intended to be done in, through and by the new nature God has seeded into us at our regeneration. For God so loved……..He gave! At the birth of the Church on the day of Pentecost, you see that Nature manifested through God’s People (Church) as they were compelled to give all – just as God did when He have Jesus.

    The main issue here is that believers do not view the Church as a living organism as Father intended but, rather, perceive it to be a religious organization. As such, it is ruled by men and their methods. Tithing is a necessity because we must keep the org running, – facilities, salaries, programs, etc. The nature, methods and results of the church system is of this age. The Church (organism) must learn to walk and live according to the Kingdom. The scriptures you provided clearly show the distinction.

    I appreiate you heart and gifting in expressing your thoughts about the subject. May Father bless you as you continue to seek the Kingdom.

    Keep your peace!

  48. Blessings Phil,

    Just wanted to share a little about the experience my wife and I had back in September of 2012.

    My wife and I had been members of an IFB Church here in our hometown for 7 years. They taught tithing, but we never tithed. I had learned back in the late 80’s the truths you share in your article, and for this reason I just did not believe in putting myself under a tithe Law. Our pastor was well aware that we did not tithe. He even confronted me once in the parking lot to tell me “You need to start giving the Lord His portion off the top, and don’t worry about the bills. God will take care of them.” Well, because of my knowledge of the Word concerning tithing, and due to the fact that my wife and I only draw Social Security checks, I never began tithing, but continued giving the regular offerings that we gave each Sunday when the plate was passed.

    Flash forward to May 20, 2012. Our pastor preached a message that morning that, if I must admit, put me over the top. It was a tithing message; the outline of which was taken from a book by Robert Sargent called “The ABC’s of Christian Growth.” My wife was familiar with this outline and brought it to my attention after the service.

    Now, what got to me was not necessarily the regular “You are robbing God” rhetoric, but the fact that the pastor lied from the pulpit and said he didn’t know who was and who was not tithing. He had already confronted me about my not tithing. He had also confronted another Churchmember whose wife was in the hospital that past week. So his saying he did not know who tithed was an out-and-out fabrication.

    When I got home that afternoon, I began to write a message on what the Biblical tithe was, and the fact that I was not required by God to tithe… that it was a man-made commandment that was being preached as if it were doctrine from God. Jesus Christ said the Pharisees worship was in vain for teaching for doctrine the commands of men in Matthew 15:9.

    I continued to write articles, exposing the false teaching that “God requires man to tithe his money to the Church.” In September 2012, my wife and I received an email from the Sunday School Director, informing us we had been voted out of the Church because of our “stance against the Biblical tithe.” We are not against the Biblical tithe at all… we are against man preaching the monetary tithe requirement doctrine is a command from God. We are against the clear mishandling of the Word of God.

    The sad thing is, is the fact that we were voted out of the Church secretly. What I mean by “secretly,” is that we were not informed of the meeting discussing our membership until a few days after the meeting took place. Members of the Church and not informed of meetings that could affect us? Very underhanded tactics, to say the least. We were not even allowed to present our case. Even in a court of Law the accused has the benefit of being spoken for by his attorney or witnesses.

    Now, don’t think I am against God now, now that a Church has excommunicated us. I am not. I still serve Him. But my guard is up against membership in any tithe-teaching Church. I am a member of the Body of Christ, whether that Church accepts me or not.

    Well, I’ve ranted enough. Just wanted to share my experience. Be blessed.

    • Thanks for sharing some of your journey in this area Ronald – Appreciate your thoughts and your passion to help liberate people into freedom to give generously without obligation!

  49. People like u who minsters on grace and believe that tithing is out of order in new covenant are very rear.Few folks preach grace but when it comes to money they cave and compromise the message.The last time me and my wife listened to Joseph price was the day he told his congregation that some of them have hardened heart because they are not paying tithes.That was the last time ever we listened to him.Why can’t he depend on the same grace he preached to sustain his church.Andrew farley and Paul Anderson Walsh are the only Pastors I have known so far who pastor church and ministers grace that make it clear to their members that tithing is out of order.Not one single time did Paul mention it in his letters to the churches.I believe the church will be more rich if free will giving is preached.For people who said they have been doing it and it worked,well I have my reservation. Dangote-Is a Muslim and he does not pay tithe,he is no 26 richest person in the world.Bill gate does not pay tithes but have charity and foundations.And God will continue to bless him.All these first fruit increase,first born increase are all old convenant rules and they are under the law.Believers have nothing to do with law.
    I believe in giving because the local church,para ministry like yours need money to run the ministry so I encourage people to give generously.All these do more and get more gospel is legalism.Please stand on what u believe and keep preaching it.It does not matter how many pastors disagree with you.Just give some of them time,they will realise it with time.
    I recommend you also listen to Andrew farley(church without a religion).He is a good teacher and minsters purely on grace without compromise.Thank you.

    • Thanks Taiwo – thankfully there are many pastors out there preaching a radical grace message and not compromising on Grace.

      I love Joseph and despite me disagreeing with him on the tithing issue I still think he’s incredible and well worth watching in my opinion.

      Andrew Farley is great too – I really enjoyed his book The Naked Gospel.

      Thanks for sharing and encouraging me!

  50. I do not tithe, never have. I have repeatedly laid this before God asking that he reveal his heart. I do this as I lead others and do not want to lead them astray.
    I deliberately choose to read this article to be “corrected” to be redirected should God will it.
    I have previously asked several pastors for books in tithing for just this purpose. Not one of them has ever given me one.

    I wholeheartedly agree with what you have concluded here, Phil.
    My own testimony is that twice in my life I have left good jobs because I believed it was right to do so. First occasion. At end of a year unemployed all our bills were as up to date as at beginning and then it transpired a mistake over benefits gave me a cash amount that cleared an older loan.
    Second time God financed (is financing) two years college fees. Diesel for 140 mile round journey taken about 60 times. All house hold bills. And no real reduction in expense.
    Not bad if for the 30 plus years of my Christian walk I have been a robber.
    God is our provision. He is generous. He provides in many ways including salary. The giving is a rejoicing as to His character which many are robbed of by tithing teaching.

    Thanks for an excellent article. It will be recommended and I will be reading the recommended titles.

    • Thanks so much Ian! As you say you are a blessed “robber” haha :) In my experience there are just as many thriving as there are struggling in the tithing and the non-tithing camp. We like to celebrate the few success stories on either side to validate our theology but the truth is experience should never be what we build theology on… scripture and Christ should be!

  51. I hear several folks say, in the context of tithing, something like what Deon said, “Local church is really a picture of family. Everyone pitches in with what they are able to.”

    That bothers me. I’ve never known a family where the children were taxed, required to pay for the parents. I gotta say that sounds pretty dysfunctional to me: “You can be part of this family, but you gotta pay up.”

    Thanks for such a remarkably complete and unskewed article.

  52. I’ve been trying to follow Christ for over 2 decades, influenced by ‘pro-tithing’ churches (2). Due to multiple circumstances, for the first time 3 years ago, I had to go and get food at a food bank. It was disgraceful to me as I wasn’t raised to receive (<and all that implies). after other setbacks, it seemed redundant to tithe while not making ends meet month to month. it'd be just like depositing at one end at church and going to their food distribution ministry..(I go across town so no one at church knows my need is at this extent) I'd even bought & donated a coat, in faith(hope?) that God would supply one for me; I froze for a month in a jacket before I bought a $130 winter coat for myself anyway (extra pay period falls in 2x months/yr). Been generous for years, and now there's hardly anything to give, while health, finances, spiritual life: all deteriorating. I tried sincerely. I failed. I find I have little faith or hope, though messages of grace & ministries like this give me something to perhaps adjust or reinterpret/ discover something to change perspective upon, though i've not "got it"/ not found how to integrate the message of Grace just yet.

    • Hi D., It might be worth checking out the resource I referenced in the article by Dave Ramsey (Total Money Makeover) – phildrysdale.com/totalmoneymakeover I think often times we look to spiritual solutions when God has given us very clear practical solutions to use in our day-to-day lives.

    • Hie D.

      Christian life is easier when you know what God has done for you first before you try to do things for God- the 1st question to ask and get answers to is this “what has God done for me”!

      • I totally agree Wallesa! That is a great perspective to look at everything through. Lets start at the beginning (and end) – “What has Christ done for me” and from there we can work out the middle :)

  53. I think the Torah is God’s blessing. I love it and follow it to the best of my ability. I give as much as God tells me to give which is usually more than 10% of my increase. The only reason I do it is because I believe God wants me to do it. I haven’t given less than 10% since I proclaimed Jesus was Lord. Since I started giving no less than 10% my income has decrease dramatically. I actually bring home less than you do, but I am blessed more than words can describe. My blessings are due to God’s grace and I am obedient to him because I love Him.

    • That’s great that you are so blessed even in seeing a decrease in your finances David – being wealthy is very often more to do with the heart than the physical cash in the bank… although cash is great too! haha

  54. This is a brilliant piece. Thank you. Very well written and researched. It is refreshing to read someone who acknowledges that we are not under the law and must not give out of some feeling of guilt to do so, which is exactly what the law does to us. Also, this whole give and you will receive prosperity stuff is equally nonsense.

    We must give from the heart, with an amount we are comfortable with and do it cheerfully.

    I’m struggling with some of the other commenters who don’t appear to have grasped the points you are making with their talk of 10% and since they started giving to this level they got blessed etc. Other people reading these comments may draw the conclusion that it has to be at least 10% and when I do give to that level I can expect to get blessed! – This goes against everything you have just said in your article. Did they not read it????

    We should give what we feel comfortable giving – percentages should not come into it. It could work out at 1% or 50% – its all about the heart.

    Thanks again on a great article.

    • Thanks so much David – so glad you liked it!

      God is a generous God… He lives in us and works through us… I think I’d rather rely on that than a rule :)

  55. Phil, I have been understanding this for a few years now. As soon as I understood it and started living by it, my income multiplied by almost 4. I went from about $40k a year (while tithing all along) to almost $150k (not tithing but giving to anyone in need, and anyone who asks). The thing that struck me the most is having heard our own pastor say that you are stealing from God if you don’t tithe, and then reading Jesus’ words that say, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” In reality, when you tithe to the church INSTEAD of giving to people in need, you are stealing from God.

    • That’s really great Gerard!

      I’ve never thought about it like that but I whole-heartedly agree – at times we do “rob God” because we give out of obligation to what He’s not requiring when He’s desperately wanting us to give to other things!

  56. Hi Phil

    That was AWESOME to read, thank you. I always found it difficult when the ‘church’ would imply that you are part of the ‘church’ that you tithe to. Sad considering no tithing or no-one but your relationship with Christ is what brings you into the “Body of Christ!” Tithing in that way to me is segregation… Thanks Phil.

  57. Nicely written Phil.
    I had been tithing since I was around 13 or so. I learned to tithe from my folks who got saved and were told they needed to tithe.
    This continued for several years until last year when I read something similar from another friend and the Lord helped me understand what giving was all about and how that we are not under any curse if we didn’t tithe.
    Naturally, the next thing to do was to tell my church we are going to scrap tithing, btw, I am the pastor of the church…

    • Haha – great stuff Karl! I’m sure that was a fun transition! I’ve seen it done many ways and it is always an experience!! :) Thanks for putting Jesus first above tradition and the obligation to pay bills.

  58. Hi Phil, interesting article!

    Makes me a bit nervous ‘cos my husband and I are about to begin a teaching series on finances for our church!! We aren’t the senior pastors, in fact my husband is a businessman (and elder) and i am volunteering as a lecturer at our bible college.

    I would be interested to hear your thoughts. I have been tithing and giving since i was a teenager and first read teaching by Derek Prince on the topic. In that time I have been blessed immensely financially and lacked for nothing even through the death of my father when i was a teen, my mum’s inability to manage money, student years etc. I did notice a few keys though, beyond the “10%” idea.

    1. My heart gave out of worship, not obligation.
    2. My dad taught me to work hard and manage my money (stewardship).
    3. I often gave (and still do) ‘over and above’ the tithe in direct response to the Holy Spirit. eg. money, clothes, time, possessions, even lending things.
    4. I tithed in faith, believing God would bless me because of obedience to the revelation I had about the tithe. I didn’t have a ‘twist His arm’ thought about it though. Just faith.
    5. When my back was against the wall, I would give a ‘power gift’ to church, to break what I had been taught was the power of money over my situation i.e. to demonstrate my dependence on God, not money. He unfailingly came through for me financially after this.

    Can you give me your thoughts on this next idea though.

    I heard a surprising teaching in my research for our money course. That the tithe or ‘God’s portion’ superseded both the law AND the fall. That the tithe or ‘God’s portion’ was present in the garden in the form of the ‘Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil’. The idea being that true worship comes not only what we give but what we are able to allow God to keep for Himself, without us touching it. The application is that when we keep all God gives us for ourselves we are effectively ‘eating God’s portion’ and can’t expect to remain in ‘the garden of His grace’ (even though we are still His child).

    Looking at it now i can see that this is not how you would think a loving father would act towards His children under grace not law. And yet scripture clearly says in Hebrews our Father of love will discipline us for our own good. We cant expect surely to receive freely of His grace and provision, keeping selfishly everything for ourselves and Him not to want to correct our bad attitude and behaviour?

    Could this analogy be said to be true of a deliberate amount of money or specific action (like the tithe).

    What do you think about the ‘God’s portion’ idea? Is it ‘off’ in your opinion? Jesus commended extravagant sacrificial giving out of love (The woman with the two mites) not just the tithe. Is this the portion He requires? Is it ‘walking in the Spirit’ in listening up to Him and giving freely when He says, actively looking for places to joyfully give out of a grateful heart? And will He discipline if we don’t?

    It it obvious that many Christians aren’t financially blessed. They have very little or no inheritance to give their children and would love to be a blessing but struggle to have enough for themselves let alone for others. Poverty is surely a scourge and not to be celebrated as a blessing that brings you closer to God. Children and families suffer and cycles continue unabated.

    God must have a plan? He IS a financial planner after all (Parable of the Tower). If we can’t teach people the ‘importance’ of the tithe as a starting point (as well as giving in response to the Holy Spirit), what can we teach them?

    Is the ‘God’s Portion’ idea relevant? And what then do we teach people about the tithe? Has it been the heart attitude that God has blessed my husband and I for, or the faith, or the ‘over and above’, or good stewardship or the sensitivity to the Holy Spirit in giving (or most likely all of the above). Should we EXPECT to be blessed if we do the above? Is there even a formula? What is blessing from God anyway: Money in our pockets, joy in our hearts, harmony and purpose?

    Thanks for your time, sorry for the lack of editing, seems a little jumbled! Love to hear your thoughts!

    Margot (from New Zealand!)

    • Hi Margot – Sorry for not replying sooner.

      I hope your teaching series went (is going) well!

      I think at the end of the day God has lots to teach us all about the nature of his generosity and his wisdom – and often he will do that through finances. I would imagine each of us will have a unique experience of that if we leave it in His hands and not the hands of a tradition or systematised process.

      I agree – not all of us are blessed. Even harder to face is the fact that not all of us will be blessed either… despite God wanting the very best for us in every area of our lives.

      Why? Because we live in the world – we have created a world of inequality, greed, pride, power, control etc etc. We need to acknowledge taht we don’t live in a vacuum. What we do has an effect on other and what others do has an effect on us. I think we are far too quick to spiritualise everything. Is it because I didn’t tithe? Is it because God is teaching me a lesson? Is it because I need to do that? Is it because I’m not stewarding correctly? etc. etc. Often times the answer is very physical. It’s because the world isn’t perfect and we are smack bang in the middle of it.

      God will take us all on a journey through that, of that I’m sure. But I think the danger is building formulas around it.

      For me the only formula is “look like Jesus” – just give and give some more. :)

  59. Wow this is a real eye opener for me although I have heard a few grace preachers mention it. I still had questions. Especially the scripture in Hebrews. Our church uses this to tell us it’s Jesus, who is our High Priest, that now receives tithes. In fact they call it ‘paying the tithe’ like it is an obligation. They also tell us God won’t bless us if we don’t because we are disobedient. The more I hear God’s grace, the more I’m convinced I need to get out of the mixture of law and grace.
    I really have to digest all this and reconsider what is God’s will for me.
    Thank you.

  60. Tithe is by self revelation. You don’t have to but you get to. There is certainly God’s financial secret blessings to those who receive His revelation to tithe.

    This verse alone has affirmed that tithe in the new covenant is still relevant because we give unto Jesus to witness that He is alive in our life:
    Hebrews 7:8
    Here [in the New Covenant] mortal men [pastors] receive tithes [from New Covenant believers], but there [in Heaven] He [Jesus] receives them, of whom it is witnessed that He (Jesus) lives.

    You can boast all sort of Loving words towards Jesus that you love Him, and yet you feel heavy to depart 10% of our money to witness Jesus is alive in your life ? Money is the man’s most sensitive issue to touch, because man loves money more than anything. If you trust Jesus will provide, Psalm 23 “The Lord is my shepherd and I shall not Lack”, then what is 10% to you and Jesus ?

  61. I tithe every month and I have never been without enough money and blessings that I get from tithing. It all belongs to our Lord and he will give back 100% back on your investment.
    Test him and see. I trust Him to look after you and your needs.

  62. Thank you for the scriptural backing on this topic. I believe it is so needed in our churches today. The church of today seems more like a lucrative job instead of the furthering of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
    I want to share my personal story of ‘not tithing’. In 1998 I was sitting in church writing out my tithe check, something I thought was a Biblical will of God and my reasonable duty and obligation for the betterment of myself, God and the church. My husband and I gave even though we went low on food and our bills.
    Anyway, as I was writing I thought I heard God say, “don’t write that out” (I know hearing a literal voice is controversial), I shook it off and said to myself, ‘right’ that was God. I continued to write and I heard again, ” I said, don’t write that out” at which time I told Satan to get behind me. I again started to finish writing out my check, again I heard, “do not write out that check”. I stopped, closed my checkbook and put it in my purse. I went home after church and began an in depth study of the scriptures on tithing. It took me many months as I also argued with myself and the Word, but I found exactly what your article stated. This began much fussing between me and my husband as he taught on tithing just as we were taught in school. He began looking into the Word as well and some theological teaching from another ministry to the truth of my findings.
    Bottom line, we do not tithe, but feel if that works for you as long as it does not become legalistic in your heart, then do so, The church needs support. Wegive financially, our time, resources and heart to where we attend church, missions God has led us to and community as well as to those, as God leads, on the streets. We have never gone without in any area of our lives, although there have been hard times, and the freedom we received to give with love and compassion has been incredible. Freedom from bondage and guilt and condemnation has been the reward. We took a lot of shots for our stand, but all worth it. We are pastors and God provides and so does the “tent”. Thank you and keep up the good work of rightly dividing the Word of truth.

  63. Thank you for this blog. I really struggle with the “oughts” in my life, and the “universal rule of 10%” feels neither cheerful nor grace-filled. Being among the those who can just barely afford to pay our basic expenses on what comes into our household, adhering to 10% puts our budget in the red! Praise God, He has faithfully provided for us each month, but the stress and burden of financial lack topped off by “you won’t see financial increase if you don’t give the right amount” has been really hard. I’ve felt momentary breaths of relief as I read the verses you supplied, and, if I understand them correctly, realise that the tithe is meant to support those without means to properly support themselves, AND also be enjoyed by the provider to honour God for what God has provided!

  64. God’s grace showed me these truths about ten years ago as I questioned our “lack of result” from 30 years of faithful tithing! Sounds kinda funny huh? But it was a source of stress in our marriage- the pressure to make ends meet with the normal unexpected living expenses- yet having to tithe first (or else we would be cursed!)

    I studied the same scripture references that you listed. My questions were answered- and the bondage that was there as a result of 30 years of guilt teaching by the pastors and teachers that we respected was lifted. (All like parrots talking, but I don’t think many of them actually studied the bible with an open mind on this subject). Thank you for setting people free from the law. God doesn’t want legalism or condemnation to motivate His children. We still give regularly to our local church, but the freedom mindset is so much of a relief!

    Many blessings to you Phil.

  65. i am not sure why i stopped tithing maybe it was that we had a biggish loan to pay back and that didn’t help .we have tithed for years and been really blessed incredibly really .but being like a 10% robot didn’t seem to be right somehow its like someone else said paying protection money to God like a mafia boss out of fear . pay your 10% or we will send the boys round , it reeks of legalism ,fear , control and manipulation,. its all a bit crazy really ’cause church can come across as having to be a paid member like being a member of Gym .there s bronze ,gold and silver membership .if you tithe your on bronze and if you can be seen to be gift aiding your tithe your on silver , and if you give more your on gold , and anyone who doesn’t agree may be made to feel not a proper christian or a part of the church . o we don’t want you to feel like you have to tithe because we don’t want you to feel that we are being legalistic but we do preach tithing ????? .dear lord Jesus thanks that you love a cheerful giver and not an accountant- a 10% duty bound giving robot .role on holy spirit led giving generously and cheerfully

  66. I stopped tithing about 3 years ago. I kept asking myself “if Jesus set me free from the law, then why do I feel guilty if I don’t tithe?” Being set free and feeling guilty didn’t match up for me. I also struggled with, “do I let this bill go past due in order to tithe, believing that God will give me the money to cover the late fees?” and things of that nature. I was in bondage to feeling like a failure either way. So I went on a “quest” to find out what the bible said about it. Thank you for reiterating the things that I learned back then. It still astounds me that there are so many prominent preachers that teach that tithing our money to the church is a requirement from God, even New Covenant or Grace preachers. I have been able to share what I learned with a few people who have opened their minds up and respected me enough to trust that if it was something I felt so strongly about, enough to dig in to the word and discover the truth for myself, then there must be some validity to it. But I have to admit, letting go of the old teachings and embracing the truth was not easy. There was still a nagging feeling that I was being led astray, I guess because tithing is such a wide spread and adhered to lie. Even when I found this article, I was afraid you were going to tell me I was wrong, that I should be tithing, that I’m robbing God, and all the other things that teachers of the tithe adhere to. Thank you for assuring me of the truth. My prayer for those still bound by the law is that they discover the truth for themselves.

    • I totally understand Jackie,
      I was a relatively a new believer and went by what I was taught in the church on tithing all the way to the poor house and into bankruptcy court. I gave well above a tithe because of all other offerings that were asked for. I easily gave 20/25% before taxes to my church. I just lived in fear of what God would do to me if I didn’t. I made a decision to keep tithing and giving offerings to God out of fear than to pay my bills. I feared God would judge me worse than my creditors. I continued tithing and giving offerings many years after to the same outcome. I lived on a tight budget anyway with my own medical expenses and the fact I had a handicap daughter to care for. God still did not bless me above and beyond considering how much I gave and worked for the church in general. I finally had to stop and leave the church, as tithing is required by the Preacher. I haven’t been to anther church in 3 years because all the churches around me teach the same thing. I follow Christ in my daily life and give how Gods leads and opens doors to help others.

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