The practices of offerings and tithing are often a topic of conversation for many churchgoers.  In Scripture, both are referred to as cherished components of spiritual traditions that have been part of the church for millennia. In this article, we explore offerings and tithing in the Bible and how churches can uphold these biblical commands to give. 

Offerings and tithing practices are not merely about financial contributions, they are deeply rooted in the principles of giving, stewardship, and obedience to God’s will. Giving to the church and supporting its ministries is a wonderful way for believers to express their gratitude, trust, and commitment to God’s work. 

Join us as we examine the various types of offerings mentioned in the Old Testament, the concept of tithing, and the New Testament’s emphasis on generosity and sharing. In addition to gaining a comprehensive understanding of what the Bible teaches about giving, we will explore practical ways churches and ministries can facilitate and encourage these important practices among their members.


Biblical Offerings

Offerings are important concepts in biblical teachings, often associated with the practices of obedience and proper church stewardship.


Old Testament

In the Old Testament, the Israelites considered offerings essential to worship. These practices took five distinct forms:

  1. Burnt Offerings: Animals were consumed by fire, symbolizing the worshiper’s complete dedication to God. Noah offered burnt offerings to show his thanks and commitment to God after the flood (Genesis 8:20-22).
  2. Grain Offerings: The first fruits of the ground were offered to God early in the harvest, symbolizing thanksgiving and dedication of one’s work to God. Cain brought grain offerings alongside Abel’s burnt offerings – two of the earliest mentions of offerings in the Bible (Genesis 4:2-4).
  3. Peace Offerings: These were shared meals between people and God, symbolizing fellowship and unity. David brought a peace offering to God when the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:17-19).
  4. Sin Offerings: An atonement for individual and corporate sins as a burnt offering, showing the seriousness of sin and the need for forgiveness. Aaron and the Levitical priests had to make continual sin offerings on behalf of Israel (Leviticus 9:18-24).
  5. Guilt Offerings: Similar to sin offerings, guilt offerings were made for specific sins requiring restitution of some sort. Numbers describes some examples of guilt offerings (Numbers 5:1-10).

New Testament

In the New Testament, offerings are more focused on generosity and sharing with those in need (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). Christian believers are encouraged to give willingly and cheerfully, not out of compulsion. Because Jesus was our ultimate sacrifice, His death on the cross changed everything for us, surpassing the need for these Old Testament sacrifices. The book of Hebrews lays out this argument clearly.

But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! – Hebrews 9:11-14 (NIV)

Through his life and death, Christ taught us to give sacrificially and generously. He demonstrated that true generosity does not come from abundance but from a willing heart, teaching us the value of empathy, kindness, and compassion. By following His example, we are called to look beyond our own needs and desires to see and respond to the suffering and needs of others.

So, how should we give if we don’t have to follow Old Testament offerings anymore? What does the Bible say about tithing?


Is Tithing Still Relevant?

Tithing in the Bible refers to the practice of giving a tenth of one’s income or produce to God, a principle established in the Old Testament that continues in spirit today. Initially, the tithe was given to support the Levitical priesthood, the caretakers of the Tabernacle (and later the Temple), and the ceremonial system (Numbers 18:21-24). It was also used to help the poor and needy within the community (Deuteronomy 14:28-29).

While tithing 10% of one’s income or produce is explicitly mentioned in the Old Testament, its application in the New Testament is debated among Christians. Some believe that tithing is still a relevant practice, while others view it as part of the Old Covenant and thus not binding on New Testament believers.

Regardless, the New Testament emphasizes giving according to one’s ability and the importance of a generous heart. Tithing in the Bible is often seen as an act of obedience and trust in God’s provision (Leviticus 27:30). It is a way for believers to acknowledge that everything we have comes from God, and we show our gratitude and dependence on Him by returning a portion of our blessing.

In other words, the tithe isn’t a law but a state of the heart.


Tithing in the Bible

So, what does the Bible say about tithing? Reading Scripture about tithing helps us understand this approach to giving. Here are a few verses to further consider what the Bible says about Christian generosity. 

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (NIV)

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” – Acts 20:35 (NIV)

“As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. ‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’” – Luke 21:1-4 (NIV)

These verses further reflect the importance of giving as an expression of faith, compassion, and obedience to God’s will. Studying tithing in the Bible makes it clear that giving benefits both the recipient and the giver and aligns Christian believers with God’s divine principles so they may receive the promise of His blessings.

All of this is not to say that churchgoers are not generous, in fact, recent statistics show that 77% of church members give more than 10% of their income when they donate. However, those same statistics reveal that only 14% of church members give monthly, while 5% give weekly.

With so few members of our congregations giving regularly, churches need to inspire more frequent generosity. But is that achievable?  Yes! And we’ll explain how. 


Inspired Giving

Churches and ministries have a unique opportunity to engage their congregations in the biblical practices of giving and stewardship. These practices are not only about financial support for the church but also about cultivating a heart of generosity in accordance with biblical scripture on tithes and offerings.

Here are some ways churches and ministries can encourage and facilitate giving and stewardship.


1. Teaching on Biblical Stewardship

Sermons and Bible studies on the importance of tithing in Scripture can help church members understand the spiritual significance of generosity. 99% of pastors agree they have a responsibility to teach and model financial stewardship, while younger generations agree more than older generations that pastors have this responsibility to teach scripture on tithes and offerings.

Use scriptural references such as Malachi 3:10, 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, and Proverbs 3:9 to teach about the blessings and responsibilities of giving generously.


2. Transparent Communication

Regularly share with your congregation how the funds are being used to advance the church’s mission, both locally and globally.

Some churches do this by providing annual reports that detail the church’s financial health. This fosters trust and encourages more consistent giving.


3. Offering Time

During services, take extra time to explain the offering’s purpose and how it supports the church’s work, mentioning the unique ways your church reaches the community.

Spend time praying over the offering, emphasizing that giving is an act of worship. Remember to always thank members for their faithfulness.


4. Online Giving Tools

Utilize secure and user-friendly online giving platforms like Donorbox’s Ministry Matters, which allow members to make quick one-time contributions or set up recurring donations.

Integrate giving options into the church’s website and mobile app, if available, to make the process as seamless as possible.


5. Encouraging Generosity Beyond Tithing

Challenge members to give of their time and talents, not just their treasure, to support the church’s ministries. Organize volunteer opportunities and service projects that allow members to actively participate in the church’s mission.

Barna reports that 57% of Gen Z and 41% of millenials volunteer their time far more than older generations – all while donating close to the same percentage as Gen X and Boomers.


6. Financial Education

Offer financial planning workshops or courses that teach biblical principles of money management, helping members be good stewards of their personal finances. Encourage them to set personal goals for giving and provide guidance on achieving them.


7. Special Offerings and Campaigns

Conduct special offerings for missions, benevolence funds, or building projects, giving members specific, tangible goals to contribute toward. Share testimonies of how these special offerings make a difference in people’s lives to create a culture of generosity.

By implementing these strategies and others, churches and ministries can encourage their congregations to embrace the biblical principles of giving and stewardship. 

It is essential to approach these topics with sensitivity, focusing on the spiritual growth of members and the collective mission of the church. Through consistent teaching on tithing and offering scriptures in the Bible, transparent communication, and providing convenient ways to give, churches can foster a culture of generosity that extends beyond the walls of the sanctuary.


Conclusion

By giving generously and sacrificially, we acknowledge God’s sovereignty and provision in our lives and support the gospel’s work in the world. As church leaders, it is our responsibility to teach and model these principles and provide practical ways for our congregations to participate in generous giving.

The Bible’s teachings about offerings and tithes remind us that giving is so much more than a duty – it’s a chance to flourish spiritually, to say ‘thank you’ from the heart, and to be a part of God’s excellent work. When we grasp and live out these truths from the Bible, we’re not just nurturing our faith and helping out our church family; we’re also spreading goodness and making a real difference in our neighborhoods.

Donorbox MinistryMatters is our dedicated pillar for church fundraising. We help make your offering time the easiest part of your service with tools like recurring giving, Text-to-Give, Donorbox Live™ Kiosk, QuickDonate™, and more. By removing all barriers to tithes and offerings, your church will continue to thrive and impact the community. 

May we all be inspired to give generously and cheerfully, trusting in God’s provision and seeking to advance His kingdom in the world.

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