20 Oct Tithes and Offerings: What Does the Bible Say About Giving to the Church?
Talking about tithing, offerings, and giving at church can be uncomfortable. As a pastor or church leader, it can feel like you’re asking for a raise. Well, maybe not quite. But it’s important to communicate to your members the importance of tithing and offering and why they’re needed. If the church isn’t willing to explain the need for giving, then why will people give?
In the Bible, offerings aren’t at all a taboo topic. On the contrary, the Bible actually has a lot to say about giving to the church and tithing. For church leadership, turning to the Bible’s teachings is always a good idea, of course. What could be more compelling than stepping aside and letting God speak through the Bible? What’s more, framing your tithing and offerings sermons and messages as essential parts of Christian education helps church members feel they are being educated rather than pressured.
What’s the Difference Between Tithing and Offering?
Sometimes the words “tithing” and “offering” are used synonymously, but they actually mean two different things.
“Tithe,” as used in the Bible, means one-tenth of the annual produce that someone was to harvest. In context, this would mean that those who tithed gave one-tenth of their crop to God. Today it can be hard to compare our income to that of a farmer in the Bible. But not everyone in the Bible was farming or managing livestock. Even those who made a regular wage were required to give one-tenth of it back to God.
“Offering,” on the other hand, is used throughout the Bible to refer to gifts given to the temple or to God in addition to the people’s annual tithe.
What Does the Bible Say About Tithing?
In Genesis 14:20, the idea of tithing is first brought up. In this verse, Abraham gives 10 percent of what he has to the high priest at the temple.
In the Old Testament, tithing was the system set in place that supported the priest and the work that they were doing. They had no other form of income and instead were given the tithes of the people to support themselves (Numbers 18:20-21).
Other verses, including Deuteronomy 14:22, talk about these same principles and the importance of tithing: “Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.”
One of the reasons that we tithe is to help teach us how to prioritize God. By doing this with our finances, we learn to give Him our “first fruits.” In Bibleinfo.com’s post on tithing, they touch on an interesting topic they refer to as “Robbing God.” Robbing God happens when we refuse to give what God has asked of us.
In the New Testament, Christ endorsed tithing in Matthew 23:23. In 1st Corinthians, Paul talks about the importance of tithing and how it supports the church leaders and those who are spreading the gospel.
Check out our past article, Tithing In The New Testament, for more references to the New Testament and tithing.
What Does the Bible Say About Offerings?
Offerings are supposed to be something that we offer up to God in a very free and open way. They aren’t as strict as tithes, and there is never a set amount. 2nd Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” When we give offerings, we don’t have to compare ourselves to anyone or anything. We just need to follow what God has placed in our hearts.
Another past post that we’ve shared has 8 Bible verses about giving. Check that out for more on giving and some references to go along with it.
If you work at a church and have ever been involved in the finance side of things, then you know that over the past ten years or so, giving trends have changed dramatically. With cash, checks, and in-person giving becoming less and less popular, churches have had to learn how to incorporate online giving.
In 2008 mobileAxept was one of the very first companies to pioneer text giving. We saw the trend that would put our mobile phones at the center of many of our life activities and didn’t want the church to be left behind. Today we’re still offering our GiveNow services, but we’ve also developed other mobile-friendly solutions to help churches manage and grow their giving throughout the year.
Giving in the church is fundamental. We hope that this post has encouraged you and will help you educate your members about tithes, offerings, and giving. Check out our other blog posts on similar topics here.