Archive for April, 2009

Personal Conclusions On Biblical Giving and Tithing

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Without references, here are my conclusions on the Bible’s teaching on giving and tithing.

The Bible teaches us that:

  • Christians should regard everything they have as being owned by God.
  • Christians should give generously, sacrificially, cheerfully, and as God leads them to give.
  • The Old Testament tithe was of agricultural products only. (Those who made a living through commerce did not tithe on the portion of their income that came from commerce.)
  • In Old Testament times, the largest portion of an individual’s tithe was not given to the priests or the temple.
  • The largest portion of the tithe was consumed by the person giving the tithe (and his family) and/or was given to the poor and needy.

Historical writings teach us that:

  • The Pharisees believed that a tithe should be made against all forms of income, not just agricultural income.
  • The tithe was not a part of the early church.
  • The tithe was implemented by the church sometime around the third century to support the church’s infrastructure and building programs.

Summary Conclusions

  • The Bible does not teach that Christians should tithe.
  • It is wrong to say that the Bible teaches that Christians should give 10 percent of their gross income to their local church.
  • God wants to be in control of our finances, just like He wants to be in control of every facet of our life.
  • For any given Christian it may be right or it may be wrong to tithe.  It depends on what God wants them to do with His money.
  • It is wrong to say that not to tithe is the same as robbing God.

In the next few posts, I’ll restate my conclusions and give references in support of each conclusion.

Online Resources on Biblical Giving and Tithing

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

It’s been quite a while since my last post but in the interim I’ve finished my Bible study of tithing and giving.  I’ve decided not to go into the details of the study because I found several good resources on the Web that do a much better job than I ever could in covering the Bible’s teaching on tithing and giving.  In this post, I’m going to list the Web resources and in my next post I’ll tell you what I’ve concluded as a result of my study.  If you want to study tithing in detail, I encourage you to check out the listed resources for yourself.

Note: this article is in response to the common belief among Christians that the Bible teaches that Christians should give 10 percent of their gross income to the local church (a practice commonly referred to as tithing). For many years I thought the Bible taught the tithe.  It was only recently, after studying the issue in depth, that I became convinced otherwise.

Resources on Tithing and Giving

1.  Will a Man Rob God
Andreas J. Kostenberger and David Croteau, Southeastern Baptist Seminary

2.  Reconstructing a Biblical Model for Giving
Andreas J. Kostenberger and David Croteau, Southeastern Baptist Seminary

These two articles by Southern Baptists Andreas Kostenberger and David Croteau are the most scholarly, yet readable material I could find.  Highly recommended.

3.  Tithing: Is It New Testament
Elliot Miller, Christian Research Institute
This article by the editor-in-chief of the Christian Research Journal was on the CRI web site when I began my research, but seems to have been removed from the CRI website since then.  A copy of the article is here:

4.  Set Free To Give (Online Book)
Brent J. MacDonald
This is a fairly complete treatment of the Bible’s teaching on tithing and giving with excellent historical information included.

5.  Should the Church Teach Tithing
Russ Kelly’s web site is the most complete compendium of information on tithing I could find.  Unfortunately, Russ can be very strident on the topic of the tithe.  (I suspect Russ is extremely frustrated with the South Baptist Convention’s refusal to re-examine the case against tithing.)  Sadly, Russ can be so strident that you may be tempted to dismiss what he has to say.  There’s a lot of good information here if you can filter out the emotional heat.

6. Toward the Tithe and Beyond
John Piper

A respected pastor and Christian author explains why he believes Christians should tithe.

In my next post, I’ll summarize my conclusions on giving and tithing.