Video by Sharon Nwosu

I first learned about tithing when I got saved 25 years ago. My pastor encouraged all believers to tithe and I watched every Sunday other Christians gave a portion of their paycheck every week.

I didn’t understand it back then, but their commitment to giving faithfully taught me powerful lessons about God’s abundance and generosity.

As I grew spiritually, I began to grasp the significance behind the biblical principle of the tithe and began to give 10% of my income regularly.

Far more than just giving money, tithing represents an act of worship and trust in God’s provision.

In this post, I’ll explore the origins of tithing, its relevance to modern life, and how to apply this timeless principle to cultivate blessings.

What is the Definition of Tithe? Unpacking the Biblical Meaning

the Definition of Tithe

The word “tithe” comes from the Old English “teogaþa,” meaning “tenth.” As a verb, to tithe is to give or pay a tenth part of one’s income in support of the church.

The biblical origins of tithing first appear in the Old Testament

According to Leviticus 27:30-33 (NIV), a tithe is “holy to the Lord” – set apart for God’s work through the temple priests and Levites.

In Malachi 3:10 (NIV), God challenges His people to “test me” by being faithful in tithes and offerings.

Tithing represented more than transactional giving; it reflected the giver’s devotion to God. Deuteronomy 14:23 (NIV) states:

“Eat the tithe…in the presence of the Lord your God, in the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always.”

Biblically, the tithe was an act of worship, not legalistic compulsion. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7), not one who gives grudgingly under obligation.

In the New Testament, while tithing is not explicitly commanded, believers are encouraged to give generously, just as God has generously given to them.

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 8:7 (NIV):

“But since you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you – see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”

The early church took up tithes and offerings to support ministry work (Philippians 4:10-19).

Hebrews 7 points to Abraham‘s tithe to Melchizedek as evidence that Christ’s eternal priesthood supersedes old covenant law.

So at its core, the biblical meaning of tithe reflects God’s desire for His people to honor Him by giving back a portion of what He has given them.

It’s an invitation to live generously in ways that bless others and reflect His kingdom priorities.

Why Tithing Still Matters Today

Definition Of Tithe

In our fast-paced, digitized world, tithing can seem antiquated – a relic of ancient agricultural and old-fashioned social systems.

But while methods and contexts change, biblical principles remain deeply relevant.

  • Tithing connects you to God’s generosity. It reminds us that everything we “own” is a gift from Him, held in trust rather than absolute ownership. Like breathing, giving keeps the flow of blessing moving. As you imitate our giving God, you’ll manifest kingdom values in the world.
  • Tithing sustains the life and witness of the church. While some view churches as endless money pits, faithful tithing funds vital ministries – from worship to pastoral care to community service programs. Tithing ensures that churches can house and mobilize God’s people for kingdom impact.
  • Tithing stretches you. God doesn’t need your money. But biblical generosity enlarges your soul, expanding your capacity to trust and give. Instead of clinging to perceived security in savings accounts and retirement funds, tithing calls you to depend on God’s faithfulness.
  • Tithing changes you. Jesus said where your treasure is, your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21). As you realign your spending around eternal priorities, your perspective and desires will be transformed. You’ll become more like Christ as you learn to give like Him.

How Do I Calculate My Tithe? A Quick Guide for Beginners

How To Calculate Your Tithe

If tithing resonates with you spiritually but feels intimidating logistically, here’s a quick guide to get started.

  • Step 1: Pray – Ask God to guide you and provide for your needs as you trust Him.
  • Step 2: Choose Your Percentage – While 10% is the biblical standard, give an amount that stretches you. Remember, God cares more about cheerful willingness than fixed formulas.
  • Step 3: Pick Your Platform – Many churches offer online giving portals, automatic withdrawals, and phone apps. Find an easy, convenient way to give regularly.
  • Step 4: Find Accountability – Share your decision with a trusted friend or mentor. Their encouragement can inspire you to stay faithful when finances get tight.
  • Step 5: Start Small But Be Consistent – Don’t worry if you can’t give a huge lump sum. Small but steady giving adds up over time. The key is to make tithing automatic so you don’t waver.

Remember, thankfulness and trust are the heart motivations of tithing – not guilt, greed, or impressing others.

God isn’t a heavenly bookkeeper keeping score; He simply wants us to joyfully rely on and participate in His generosity.

If you believe all you have comes from God, giving back 10% is a natural response of love and gratitude.

From this foundation of security in Him, tithing releases surprising blessings in your life.

Key Takeaways

  • A tithe biblically means giving 10% of one’s income in worship of God who gives us all things.
  • Tithing originated under old covenant law but continues in principle as New Testament believers generously support gospel work.
  • Tithing remains practically relevant today, funding churches and ministries to serve people in need.
  • More deeply, tithing spiritually connects you to God’s generosity, stretches your faith, and changes you into a more generous, Christlike person.

Conclusion: More Than Money, Tithing Changes You

Tithing holds profound significance – both practically and spiritually – for Christians today seeking to apply biblical principles.

More than funding churches and ministries, faithful tithing connects you to God’s generous heart, expands your capacity to trust Him, and transforms you into a more generous person.

I invite you to prayerfully consider what percentage you might be able to set aside as God leads you.

Catch the vision of participating through tithes and offerings to advance His work of love and blessing across the world.

As you take even small faith steps, watch what God will do – not only externally around you but even more importantly, internally within you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tithing

Q. Should I tithe on the gross amount or the net amount I receive?

A. The Bible recommends calculating your tithe based on your gross income before taxes or other deductions are removed. This honors God as first priority before any other obligations. 

Q. If I tithe faithfully, does that guarantee wealth for me?

A. Be wary of those who peddle tithing as a transactional path to personal prosperity. The blessings of tithing are not always financial in nature.

While God promises to care for the generous, tithing should motivate us more towards advancing His kingdom work rather than funding self-centered consumerism.

Q. Is tithing just an outdated religious practice?

A. While today’s digital finance contexts differ greatly from the agriculture-based systems of the old covenant law, the principles behind tithing remain relevant.

Setting aside the first portion for God reorients your perspective from self-reliant entitlement to humble receiving and trusting. Tithing expresses devotion through practical action.

Q. What if 10% feels totally unrealistic in my financial situation right now?

A. Remember that tithing reflects willingness and worship more than fixed formulas. Consider what percentage would meaningfully stretch you, even if it’s less than 10%.

Trust God to lead you into deeper generosity as understanding and faith increase over time. Steady giving at any percentage is better than wavering indecision.

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