Do Evangelical (by which I mean, taking the Bible as the ultimate earthly source of authority) Christians believe giving 10% of your income is a law for Christians?

Note: this question is related to Was tithing 10% required or encouraged by the early church? After asking that question, a moderator said it was too broad and made it specifically about the early church (which I agreed with). This question is intended to be a more specific version of what I really want to ask. See that question for more details.

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    which tradition of "modern evangelical"? This is still extremely broad – warren Oct 26 '11 at 18:10
  • @warren: this is a problem I have right now which I will take to meta. What about those that don't adhere to a specific denomination and just want a Biblical answer? – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Oct 26 '11 at 18:18
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    If you're looking for an overview of the different doctrines of tithing, ask for that: "What are the different doctrines regarding tithing and what do they use for biblical support?" – Richard Oct 26 '11 at 18:38
  • @Richard: thanks, I'm really not looking for that, though. I'm not really interested in what the (for example) JW belief on tithing is. I really do want this question answered. So, if it is permitted, I will leave it unchanged. – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Oct 26 '11 at 19:05
  • @Wikis: I think the question can stand, but you need to know it's an overview question and the only way to give a decent answer is to describe the various views on tithing. There are a vast array of views that fall under the banner you just created. "Evangelical" isn't a heading to which you can ascribe a single interpretation of the Bible on tithing and neither "modern" nor "those who believe the Bible is the ultimate authority" do much to narrow the field. – Caleb Oct 26 '11 at 22:31

This is at least one modern evangelical view...

It is true that the New Testament really does not prescribe tithing, that is, giving 10% of your income. It does, however, prescribe giving:

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

The church at Phillip specifically financially supported the ministry of Paul:

Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Philippians 4:16

Another aspect is to consider that, as believers, we understand that everything we have comes from God, so we must honor God with 100% of our income, time, talents, and possessions--not just 10% of our income.

So, since there is a prescription to give, but not specific amount prescribed, it is common to use the tithe (10%) as a great pattern to follow.

So, in most biblically oriented circles that I've been involved with, the tithe is a great benchmark. That means we are free to give whatever amount and should cheerfully give generously to the work of Christ all over the world. Generosity may mean 5% for some, but others may be able to comfortably give 15%-20%.

Indeed, for people with very high income levels, 10% could be considered hardly generous. The point is to be as generous as we can and to enjoy the pleasure of giving. My personal hope is to continue increasing my percentage as my income grows.

It really is more blessed to give than to receive, and this is true in many different ways.

  • How about Hebrews 7:8? – Ralph M. Rickenbach Oct 26 '11 at 20:43
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    That is a New Testament reference to an Old Testament account of Melchizedek. That still gives no prescription for New Testament Christians. The tithe was an Old Testament law. – Narnian Oct 26 '11 at 20:46

Mal 3:8-10 is not reechoed in the NT like Is 61:1-2 in Lk 4:18-19 etc but the argument that it is an OT law should not be interpreted as not applicable in NT requirement Jesus confirmed in Mt 5:17 that He did not come to abolish the OT law but to fulfil it. Paul stressed it in Rom 3:31 The different interpretations given to tithing is complicating a simple matter In my opinion these complicated interpretations which may even make sense are excuses to find a way out The best advise is to simply obey. It is so specific that inputing logic and arguments may lead to false teaching May the Holy Spirit lead us to genuine submission to the will of God who is God of the Old and New Testaments God bless you Moses Wey

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    Not bad for a first answer. Welcome to the site! When you get a chance, I recommend to all new visitors that they check out the FAQ and About pages. It helps people "fit in" more quickly. – David Stratton Jun 7 '13 at 17:36

It should be noted that Jesus does affirm tithing in Matthew 23:23, although He points out that there are weightier matters -justice, mercy, and faithfulness. I believe that the tithe (10%) is an old covenant minimum standard for most Christians' giving. As you point out, high income people can actually do better than this, while some people who are struggling to put food on the table may not be able to tithe and feed their kids at the same time. The real key to Christian stewardship is to be a cheerful and generous giver, and for most of us, the old covenant 10% is a minimum benchmark. With that said, I don't want to hear about anyone starving their kids to tithe either. (I have occasionally heard of such things.) Remember - there are more important things like justice, mercy, and faithfulness.

  • Welcome to the site! This next has nothing to do with the quality of your answer, it's just standard to help new visitors avoid misunderstanding the site (as I did at first.) As a new visitor, I'd recommend checking out the following two posts, which are meant to help newcomers "learn the ropes": the help page and How we are different than other sites? – David Stratton Dec 9 '13 at 0:14

The Tithe was effectively a tax to support the Jewish religious system, and in particular the Levites and priests who ran the temple. So Tithing is not the correct term to use for giving to support ministry in church and around the world. As Narnian said the key verse for Christians is 2 Corinthians 9:7:

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.


I think there is a problem with the word tithe for new testament Christians because for some it might give the impression that once you have given your 'tithe' whatever you think that is then that is enough and the rest of your income is for you to spend how you please. I used to tithe so I know how I felt, but now I dont'. I now test everything I buy to see if I really need it. This is no easy task as I enjoy expensive cameras and can always find a good reason to buy the latest model etc.

  • You have a good point. In fact, the bishops/pastors should explain that giving 10% of our income is not a madated rule.It can be followed of course but we have a Biblical paradigm to follow: 2 Corinthians 9:7. – Radz Brown Feb 14 '15 at 13:41
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    You need references. – Double U Feb 14 '15 at 17:45

Tithing in Evangelical Christians is one form of worship.We glorify God through giving.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NASB) Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Consider this:

1 John 4:19 (KJV)

We love him, because he first loved us.

So likewise, we can only give because God gave first:

John 3:16 (NASB)

"For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

And we give in the same attitude he has -- from our own free volition out of joy and love:

2 Corinthians 9:7 (ESV)

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.


Abraham gave a tithe even before the Law came!

Hebrews 7:4 ( NetBible)

But see how great he must be, if Abraham the patriarch gave him a tithe of his plunder.

Indeed, this is a grand application of 2 Corinthians 9:7.

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