This short study is designed to answer common questions on the subject of giving to God. Specifically the giving of our finances.
The Bible is the inspired word of God (2 Timothy 3:16), and therefore is always the final authority on any subject. As you go through this short study it would be a good idea to look up the scriptures in your own bible and perhaps underline them.
Why give to God?
Proverbs 3:9-10 Honour the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything your land produces.Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with the finest wine.
There are two reasons for the Christian to give to God. Firstly it is the right thing to do because it acknowledges God as the source of all we have. Secondly it is God’s means of getting His blessing to flow in and through our lives. There are two ways described in the Bible in which we are to give; our tithes and our freewill offerings.
What is a tithe?
The word tithe simply means a tenth part. In the Bible it speaks of the practice of giving a tenth of ones income to God. Specifically the first or best part, rather than see if there is anything left for God once we have paid all our bills.
Exodus 23:19The first of the first fruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God. (NKJV)
The tithe belongs to God
Leviticus 27:30-32 A tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain or fruit, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him as holy………32 The Lord also owns every tenth animal counted off from your herds and flocks. They are set apart to him as holy.
Tithing works on the basis that everything we have comes from God in the first place, He is our source. When we tithe we give back to Him only what is his. God is very clear on this, in fact he says that when we fail to bring in our tithe we are effectively “robbing Hm.” (Malachi 3:8-9) The word “holy” simply means “set apart.” So the tithe should be set apart for God.
It predates the Mosaic Law
Genesis 14:19-20 Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing:“Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.And blessed be God Most High, who has helped you conquer your enemies.”Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered.
Some people believe that tithing was a requirement of the Law of Moses and therefore no longer applies to us today. However tithing was practiced by Abraham and also encouraged by Jesus and by the writer to the Hebrews (Hebrews 7:8)
Matthew 23:23“How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest part of your income, but you ignore the important things of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but you should not leave undone the more important things.
Some have wrongly interpreted this passage to mean that Jesus was criticising the Pharisees because they tithed, but Jesus was simply putting matters into context, as he rebuked them for their lack of love, not for their tithing. He didn’t tell them not to bring their tithe, he pulled them up because their heart was hard towards others and they didn’t see this as more important than mere religious observance.
It teaches us to fear God
Deuteronomy 14:23 ……The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to fear the Lord your God.
When the bible talks about the fear of God it does mean terror or dread, not for His children anyway. The fear it refers to means simply to honour and respect Him. To give Him His rightful place in our lives….first place. When you tithe you are acknowledging that God is the source of all you have and you only give back to him from what he has given you.
It releases blessing in our lives
Malachi 3:10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord Almighty, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in!
God wants to bless His people in every way. When His people are blessed and prospering it causes the nations to take notice of what a good God He is. However, the blessing of God is always released by faith and obedience. When we put our trust in God as our provider, and obey Him by bringing our tithe He makes a promise to bless us and bring increase in every area.
It should come into the storehouse
Malachi 3:10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple.
Although we are bringing our tithes to Jesus and not to men (Hebrews 7:8), the tithe comes into that earthly storehouse, His church. The storehouse is the place from which you receive spiritual food. The tithe is used specifically to feed God’s ministers (Numbers 18:21, 1 Corinthians 9:9-14), and also look after those in the community who are in need.
What about offerings?
If the tithe belongs to God then our offerings are what we give to God over and above our tithe. Our offerings are what we sow into God’s kingdom. Our general offerings come into the church and are used for the practical requirements of the church, whereas a specific offering goes to meet a specific need. God promises that when we sow generously (and cheerfully) we will reap abundantly.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 Remember this, a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
All scripture quotations are taken from the New Living Translation ©1996 unless otherwise stated.