12 Oct Tithing in the New Testament
When it comes to giving in the New Testament, there’s a debate. In this post, we hope to shed some light on what the Bible says about tithing, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament.
What is “Tithing”?
The word ‘tithe’ comes up in the Old Testament as a translation from Hebrew. Deriving from the Old English root, tithe means “one-tenth.”
Throughout the Old Testament, great Bible leaders such as Abraham and Jacob tithed, and a system for tithing was established through The Mosaic Law. Adherence to tithing is underscored when The children of Israel come under fire for failing to give their tithe to God in Malachi 3:8.
In the New Testament, Christ endorsed tithing in Matthew 23:23. And in 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Paul talks about the importance of giving to support the poor saints.
Old Testament vs. New Testament Tithing Breakdown
It’s an age-old debate—whether or not the tithe applies to only the Old Testament or if it is truly included in the New Testament.
No one will argue against the fact that tithing is most frequently used throughout the Old Testament, with Malachi 3:8-12 being one of the commonly referenced passages:
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. ‘Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
But, as mentioned previously, the New Testament also calls for tithing. In Matthew 23:23, Jesus condemns the Pharisees for tithing while ignoring the more important issues of justice, mercy, and faith:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
Notice how He doesn’t say that tithing is wrong but rather suggests that the Pharisees should have tithed in addition to practicing justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
Teaching Tithing to Your Congregation
When you speak on the importance of tithing during a service, consider referencing Matthew 23:23. It’s also important to relay the main idea of tithing, which is acknowledging that everything already belongs to God.
Educating your congregation about tithing should start early. Bible study and Sunday school are good places to instill the value of tithing to members of all ages.
Another effective teaching strategy is to interview a couple of longtime tithers. You might interview them live, during service, or mention them in your sermon. Talk about how long they have been tithing, whether or not it was challenging to start tithing, and what honest advice they have to offer to members of the congregation who may be hesitant to tithe or fear they can’t afford it.
Above all else, make sure to teach tithing in its purest form:
When we give to the church, it helps the church do more good in the world, which is precisely what God has asked us to do. When we tithe, the church can go forth and teach more people about God.
Making Tithing Easier for Your Congregation
One way to inspire tithing in your church is to use 21st-century technology.
A partnership with mobileAxept means that you’ll have access to our ReachNow, GiveNow Text, GiveNow Online, and ConnectNow solutions. All are aimed at making it more convenient for members of your church to tithe.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you increase donations in your church.