Click on the question of your choice to be taken to the answer.
Q. What is the origin of tithing?Return to Table of Contents
A. Tithing has it origin in the days of the Old Testament. The following passages from the Holy Bible are examples of God's command to tithe:
"You shall not delay to make offerings from the fullness of our harvest and from the outflow of your presses. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to me. You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep; seven days it shall remain with its mother; on the eight day you shall give it to me." [Exo. 22:29- 30]
"The choicest of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God." [Exo. 23:19]
"All tithes from the land, whether the seed from the ground or the fruit from the tree, are the Lord's; they are holy to the Lord." [Lev. 27:30]
Q. Where does it say in the Holy Bible that tithing should be ten percent of one's income?Return to Table of Contents
A. When Abram was blessed by the High Priest Melchizedek, He gave him one tenth of everything he gained from defeating Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him.
"And Abraham gave him one tenth of everything." [Gen. 14:20]Other references are found in the following passages:
"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 surely give one tenth to you." [Gen. 28:22]
"All tithes of herd and flock, every tenth one that passes under the shepherd's staff, shall be holy to the Lord." [Lev. 27:32]
Q. Does the New Testament refer to tithing as being ten percent of one's income?Return to Table of Contents
A. Yes, there is one such reference in the Gospel of Luke.
"I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income." [Lk. 18:10]
Q. Did Jesus say anything about tithing?Return to Table of Contents
A. Yes! When Jesus was speaking to the scribes and Pharisees, he condemned them as hypocrites because, while they did tithe as required, they neglected justice, mercy and faith. Jesus emphasized that justice, mercy and faith were important and should be practiced ALONGSIDE tithing.
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law; justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others." [Mt. 23:23]Also, when Jesus sent His disciples to preach the arrival of the Kingdom of God, He told His disciples to stay in the house where they are welcomed FOR THE LABOURER of God DESERVES TO BE PAID for his preaching.
As to those who reject the good news and hospitality to God's labourers, on Judgment Day, it will be more tolerable for Sodom then those people.
"Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid." [Lk. 10:7]
"But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. You know this: the kingdom of God has come near.' I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town." [Lk. 10:10-2]
Q. Are there other references in the New Testament to the obligation of tithing?Return to Table of Contents
A. Yes! On a number of occassions, St. Paul has touched on the support directly and indirectly.
When collecting money for the poor in Jerusalem, St. Paul taught that since the Gentiles shared in the spiritual blessings, in other words, they have received the Word of God through preaching, then they also, should financially help their Christian brothers and sisters in need with whatever material blessings they have received from God.
"They were pleased to do this, and indeed they owe it to them; for if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material things." [Rom.15:27]To the Corinthians, St. Paul asked, those (the preachers) who have sown spiritual good (preaching, Sacraments, etc...) towards them, do they not have a rightul claim upon them? St. Paul goes further by stating that this is a RIGHT that the preachers have, such having been commanded by God.
"Who tends a flock and does not get any of its milk?" [1 Cor. 9:7]To the Galatians, St. Paul taught that those who receive the Word of God through preaching should share their good things with their teachers.
"If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits? If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we still more?" [1 Cor. 9:11-2]
"Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is sacrificed on the altar? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel. But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing this so that they may be applied in my case." [1 Cor. 9:13-5]
"Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher." [Gal. 6:6]And, in the First Letter to Timothy, St. Paul again emphasized that God's labourers deserved to be paid for their preaching.
"Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labour in preaching and teaching: for the scripture, 'The labourer deserves to be paid.'" [1 Tim. 5:17-8]
Q. In view of all what has been said, how much should one give to the Church?Return to Table of Contents
A. When Jesus reprimanded the scribes and Pharisees for neglecting justice and mercy and faith, He indicated that they should not neglect tithing. In those days, tithing was considered ten percent of one's income.
On this subject, St. Paul taught to the Corinthians that God loves a cheerful giver. As such, each one must make up his own mind as to how much he will give, not giving because he feels obligated, but because he is a cheerful giver.
"Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." [2 Cor. 9:7]In the Book of Sirach, we also find,
"Do not appear before the Lord empty-handed, for all that you offer is in fulfillment of the commandment. The offering of the righteous enriches the altar, and its pleasing odor rises before the Most high. The sacrifice of the righteous is acceptable, and it will never be forgotten. Be generous when you worship the Lord, and do not stint the first fruits of your hands. With every gift show a cheerful face, and dedicate your tithe with gladness. Give to the Most High as he has given to you, and as generously as you can afford. For the Lord is the one who repays, and he will repay you sevenfold." [Sir. 35:6-13]
Q. What about if I choose not to tithe?Return to Table of Contents
A. Those who refuse to tithe, God calls them robbers. He curses them for robbing Him!
"Will anyone rob God? Yet you are robbing me! But you say, 'How are we robbing you?' In your tithes and offerings! You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me - the whole nation of you! Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing." [Mal. 3:8-10]
Q. But what about the poor? I rather help them!Return to Table of Contents
A. For years, many have used the excuse of helping the poor versus supporting the ministers of the Word of God who also must eat so they may continue God's work. They have even criticized the Church for its wealth.
On the subject of the wealth that is found in the House of God (Church), who are we to question God as to what He demands of us, such being His right by the mere fact that He is God.
On the subject of the poor, Jesus said that there will always be poor people. While our Christian faith obligates us to reach out to them and help them in whatever capacity we can, the problem of poverty will never go away. In a way, the poor are a spiritual blessing to the rich. If there were no poor people, the rich would be denied the possibility of receiving spiritual blessings from God for their good deeds towards the poor.
"For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish." [Mt.26:11; Mk. 14:7; Jn. 12:8]
Q. What do I get in return for tithing?Return to Table of Contents
A. St. Paul answers that question in the Second Letter to the Corinthians.
"You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity which will produce thanksgiving to God through you; for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" [2 Cor. 9:9-15]