Are Tithes and Offerings Required Today?

Tithes

  • The tenth part of agricultural produce or personal income set apart as an offering to God or for works of mercy, or the same amount regarded as an obligation or tax for the support of the church, priesthood, or the like.
  • Any tax, levy or the like, especially of one-tenth.
  • A tenth part or any indefinitely small part of anything.

Offerings

  • Something offered in worship or devotion, as to God.
  • A contribution given to or through the church for a particular purpose, as at a religious service.
  • Anything offered as a gift.

Where did this concept or belief begin?

  • Tithing is 400 years older than the Law of Moses.  Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel, gave tithes to God through Melchizedek, the king-priest. 

Genesis 14:18-20 – Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said:  “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.”  And he gave him a tithe of all.

  • Jacob promised a tenth to God in return for His blessing.

Genesis 28:22 – 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.”

Deuteronomy 14:22-29 – 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. You shall not forsake the Levite who is within your gates, for he has no part nor inheritance with you.  “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. 29 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.

  • When the temple was repaired and cleaned up to be used by Israel after a long period of decline under the reign of King Hezekiah, a storehouse was set up for depositing the tithes and offerings of the people.

2 Chronicles 31:11 – Now Hezekiah commanded them to prepare rooms in the house of the Lord, and they prepared them.

Why?  What was the practical purpose for tithing?

  • It was instituted by the Law as a way to support the priests who served in the tabernacle/temple of God.

Numbers 18:20-32 – Then the Lord said to Aaron: “You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.  “Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting. Hereafter the children of Israel shall not come near the tabernacle of meeting, lest they bear sin and die. But the Levites shall perform the work of the tabernacle of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a statute forever, throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. For the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer up as a heave offering to the Lord, I have given to the Levites as an inheritance; therefore I have said to them, ‘Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.’”  Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak thus to the Levites, and say to them: ‘When you take from the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them as your inheritance, then you shall offer up a heave offering of it to the Lord, a tenth of the tithe. And your heave offering shall be reckoned to you as though it were the grain of the threshing floor and as the fullness of the winepress. Thus you shall also offer a heave offering to the Lord from all your tithes which you receive from the children of Israel, and you shall give the Lord’s heave offering from it to Aaron the priest. Of all your gifts you shall offer up every heave offering due to the Lord, from all the best of them, the consecrated part of them.’ Therefore you shall say to them: ‘When you have lifted up the best of it, then the rest shall be accounted to the Levites as the produce of the threshing floor and as the produce of the winepress. You may eat it in any place, you and your households, for it is your reward for your work in the tabernacle of meeting. And you shall bear no sin because of it, when you have lifted up the best of it. But you shall not profane the holy gifts of the children of Israel, lest you die.’”

  • Tithes were mandatory – offerings were optional.

Are tithes necessary today for a Christian?  If we are no longer under the law, but grace, then does the principles of paying a tenth still apply?

Let us take a look at what the New Testament says about giving.

  • The Apostle Paul indicated that the church should function now by means of giving from His people.

1 Corinthians 9:1-14 – Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.  My defense to those who examine me is this: Do we have no right to eat and drink? Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working? Whoever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock?  Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about? Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more?  Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.

Galatians 6:6-10 – Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.  Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

So we give to help support those who labor in the ministry.  Of course, having a church building also requires funds for practical needs such as:

  • Building payment/insurance
  • Salaries/allowances
  • Telephone/electricity/gas/water/sewer/trash removal
  • Snow removal/lawn maintenance

However, scripture indicates that our giving should also be to help those in our community in need.

2 Corinthians 9:10-15 – Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.  This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.  Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Hebrews 13:16 – And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

While the New Testament clearly indicates we should be generous and give of our financial means, it is not clear what percentage that should be.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 – But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

Paul’s letter to the Corinthians indicates that our giving should be from a willingness not because it is a duty.  Some have suggested that to put a percentage on our giving is to make it just another law of man.  There are those who God has blessed and they have become very successful in life.  For them, God might desire more than ten percent.  For others, ten percent might be a hardship. 

I think Jesus showed this when he pointed out to his disciples the give of the poor widow.

Mark 12:41-43 – Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two small coins. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury;

I think the key in giving today is to recognize that all we have is a gift from God and that He desires to give so that the work of the church can be done and that those less fortunate can be helped.  Giving should be an act of love and worship on our part.  When it becomes just an obligation it has lost its true meaning.

Our ultimate example is Jesus.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Our God is a giving God.  So his children should be givers. 

A Study of the Gifts of the Spirit

Charisma – a gift of grace, an endowment upon believers by the operation of the Holy Spirit in the churches.

Charis – grace, that which bestows on occasion pleasure, delight, or causes favorable regard; divine favor freely dispensed.

Gifts of the Spirit – a spiritual gift of God bestowed upon the believer by the power of the Holy Spirit in and by the grace bestowed or given by belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior (see Romans 12:6).

Pneumatikos – plural, pneumatika; from pneuma which means spirit, breath, wind.  Literally means a “spiritual,” that which pertains to, or proceeds from the Holy Spirit. Therefore, any of the following might be applied here:  The gifts, manifestations, impartations, emanations, endowments, matters, things, effects, powers, workings, aids, graces or favors of the Holy Spirit.

Major Lists of the Gifts of the Spirit

Romans 12:6-8, 13

  1. Prophecy
  2. Ministry
  3. Teachings
  4. Exhortation
  5. Giving
  6. Ruling (leadership)
  7. Mercy
  8. Hospitality

Ephesians 4:11

  1. Apostles
  2. Prophets
  3. Evangelists
  4. Pastors
  5. Teachers

1 Corinthians 12:8-10

  1. Wisdom
  2. Knowledge
  3. Faith
  4. Healing
  5. Miracles
  6. Prophecy
  7. Discernment of spirits
  8. Divers kinds of tongues
  9. Interpretation of tongues

1 Corinthians 12:28

  1. Apostles
  2. Prophets
  3. Teachers
  4. Miracles
  5. Healings
  6. Helps (hospitality)
  7. Governments (administration)
  8. Diversities of tongues

NOTE; Only one gift is mentioned in all four of the major lists of the gifts. Attributes or manifestations that might be classified as a gift although not necessarily called a gift in scriptures

Some Examples of the Gifts of the Spirit

  1. Ephesians 2:18-20 – Apostles and prophets
  2. Acts 13:1 – Prophets and teachers
  3. Acts 15:32 – Prophets and teachers
  4. Galatians 2:8-9 – Leadership and apostles
  5. 1 Peter 5:1-2 – Elders (leadership)
  6. 2 Corinthians 8:1-2 – Giving
  7. James 5:14-15 – Faith and healing
  8. Acts 21:8-10 – Evangelists and prophets
  9. 1 Corinthians 9:1-2 – Apostles
  10. 2 Timothy 4:5 – Evangelists
  11. Acts 11:27-28 – Prophets
  12. Acts 20:28 – Overseer (leadership
  13. 1 Timothy 5:17 – Rulers (leadership) and teachers
  14. Acts 19:11-12 – Miracles
  •  Are all the gifts of the Spirit still active in the church today?

Most Pentecostal and charismatic churches say that they are still active.  Other churches (Methodist, Baptists and mainline denominations) say that the sign gifts are no longer used in the churches today.

Whatever you believe…take and use as God blesses.  Pray that the gifts of the Spirit you believe are still active are available to you and your church.

  •  Spiritual gifts are not natural talents or human abilities. These talents/abilities are God-given but not a gift of the Holy Spirit.
  •  What is the role of the Christian in his/her use of the Gifts of the Spirit?
  1. 1 Corinthians 13 – to be used with love (not gits without love, but gifts controlled by love)
  2. 1 Corinthians gives specific guidelines for the use of the gifts in the church
  3. Ephesians 4:12 – these gifts are given to to equip the saints, to edify the church
  4. 1 Peter 4:7-11 – purpose of gifts it to ultimately bring glory to God
  5. Colossians 3:23 – all we do, how we use our gifts it to be done for the Lord, not for people
  • Fruit of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, *faith (faithfulness), meekness, temperance.  These are all found in Galatians 5.  The gifts of the Spirit are exercised in accordance with the fruit of the Spirit.

Five Steps Toward Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts

  1. Explore – Study the Scripture concerning the gifts
  2. Experiment – Question, pray, ask yourself, “Do I have this gift?”
  3. Examine – Examine your feelings, makeup, personality, temperament.
  4. Evaluate – Evaluate the effectiveness of your gift.
  5. Expect – Expect confirmation from the Holy Spirit/the body of Christ.

Faith is listed as a gift of the Spirit and also as a fruit of the Spirit.  More appropriately, it should read faithfulness in the list of the fruit of the Sprit. 

Giving to God’s Cause

Philippians 4:10-19

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

THEY GAVE ONCE AGAIN

  • 2 Corinthians 9:8 indicates that the church had supported Paul in his ministry at one time.  For whatever reason, it appears their support had stopped.  Now, Paul rejoices that it has “flourished again.” 
  • Gospel must be carried world-wide
  • Missionaries and ministers must be supported to do the work

Luke 10:2 – “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; pray therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” 

John 4:35 – “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest?’  I say to you, ‘lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!’” 

  • Jesus clearly stated that the problem is not the harvest – it is the need for laborers.  We must go and do all we can to reap the harvest.  Where we cannot or will not personally go – we must commit ourselves to support those who can and are willing to go.

GOD DOES NOT NEED YOUR GIVING

  • God has taught his servants to be content in whatever state they find themselves.

1 Timothy 6:6-9 – “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.”

Hebrews 13:5 – “Let your conduct be without covetousness; bet content with such things as you have, for Him Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” 

  • God meets the needs of his servants.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – “And He said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect (to complete, reach a goal, bring to maturity) in weakness.’  Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me…For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 

Psalm 28:7 – “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped.” 

YOU NEED TO GIVE TO GOD

  • God wants you to be a part of His kingdom work.  When you give you are obeying God.  When you obey God, He has promised to “take up residence” in you – (John 14)

Acts 20:35 – “…And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed (supremely happy, a condition in which congratulations are in order) to give (giving an object of value freely, unforced) than to receive.’”   The Amplified Version

  • NOTE:  Jesus did not say it would more natural or easier to give than to receive, but that the giver would be more blessed than the receiver.
  • Giving to God’s work will bring God’s blessings.

Luke 18:30 – “There is no one who has left house, or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.” 

Luke 6:38 – “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom.  For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

Malachi 3:8-12 – “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’  ‘In tithes and offerings.  You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation.  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.  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; and all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,’ says the LORD of hosts.”

WE MUST LOOK TO GOD FOR OUR NEEDS – MINISTER AND LAITY ALIKE

Philippians 4:19 – “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” 

  • The source of our supply – God Himself
  • What needs are met – All our need
  • What is the limit of meeting our need – All of God’s riches in glory
  • Who is the one who provides the supply from heaven to us – Jesus Christ
  • NOTE:   When we speak of giving, most of the time we think about “money or material items.”  True, that is one of the main sources of giving to God’s work.  Missionaries, ministers have to eat, need clothes and a room over their head.  Their children need toys and books and an education like other children.  They need Bibles and books and supplies to reach out in ministry.  All this takes money.
  • However, we need to think of giving to the work of Christ in other ways.
  • Prayer – One of the best ways to give to God’s servants is to pray for them.  Too often we spend time criticizing, complaining and very little time praying.
  • Communicate – We need to let God’s servants know we are praying for them.  Write to the
  • missionaries – send your pastor a card.
  • Time – We need to give of our time to God’s work.  We can help in the work of God by volunteering some of our time to help in his work that needs to be done.
  • Talents, abilities – God’s servants cannot do everything.  They – like you – are limited in their skills.  You can share your skills in areas where God’s servants are lacking. 
  • Friendship – It can be lonely when you work for God.  You can be a friend to the missionaries by writing, sending magazines or newspapers from home, sending a “care” package of spices, packaged food or other items they cannot get and miss.  You can be a friend to your pastors by sharing a cup of coffee, a visit to their home or yours. 

The Grace of Giving

Galatians 6:6-10

Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.  Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

TITHING

  • Tithing is only one aspect of our doing good and it is a privilege as well as a duty to support the work of the Lord. 
  • If you do not give to God’s work or, if you give and you know you need to give more, desire to give more, want to give more, begin planning today to change that.
  • You find the money to do what you want to do – some way, somehow.  Work – do not worry – work at giving to God’s work what you want to give, what you know you are supposed to give.  Give regularly.  Give a set amount.  The Old Testament practice was a tenth.

Genesis 28:22 – and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house.  And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.

  • Your giving must be voluntary, not pressured but out of love.  As Christ gave His all for you, surely we can give back a portion of our income to Him to help further the work of the church.  By tithing we are symbolically expressing our commitment to Christ and His church, our church.
  • As we regularly plan our giving, our offering, we also offer ourselves in service and devotion to God.  As a result we become stronger in our faith and more aware of others’ needs.  This practice brings us joy as we are obedient to His Word.  Our giving regularly helps to accomplish the mission of the church. 

2 Corinthians 9:7 – Each of you should give what you decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

 OLD TESTAMENT REQUIRED TITHING OF ALL

Leviticus 27:30 – Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the LORD’s; it is holy to the LORD

NEW TESTAMENT – JESUS AFFIRMED GIVING AS A PRACTICE WE SHOULD PARTICIPATE IN

Luke 21:1-4 – Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.  And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them.  For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of herpoverty put in all she had to live on.” 

HOW MUCH DO WE GIVE?

There is disagreement today whether a Christian is required to give 10% of their income.  While we are no longer living under the Law (which required the 10%) but rather under grace, perhaps our giving should be even more generous.  When we set the 10% as the requirement for  a Christian to give, we can become legalistic.  Some may not be able to give 10%.  However, that should not keep them from giving something.  If you cannot give 10%, determine what you can give and be faithful in giving that amount.

However, many have been abundantly blessed by God and could give much more than 10%.  To those Christians, they should not feel satisfied when they have given just 10%.  Let God’s Word be our guide.

1 Corinthians 16:2 – On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 – Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

Matthew 6:19-21 – Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 – But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

Giving of your finances does not get you mean you should not also give to other church and community activities or other volunteering tasks.  Nor does other activities and volunteering satisfy the need to give of your finances.

When you give, you should give regularly, systematically and promptly.  The need for finances of the church goes on even when you are on vacation or absent.

There are many areas of need in the church – building expenses, insurance, utilities, supplies, teaching materials and through our giving we can help carry our fair share.

Through our giving we are also sending forth the truth through literature, Bible study, missions and charitable giving.

Luke 6:38 tells us “the measure you use will be the measure given back to you.”  Let us give with joy and concern because God kingdom needs our support.