Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is tithing?
The word “tithe” means “tenth.” Tithing is the practice of giving to the Lord 10% of your income. This is done to honor God for all that He has provided for us, to remind us that He is the ultimate giver and to teach us to trust Him with all that we have. “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.” (Leviticus 27:30)
2. Isn’t tithing under the Old Testament law, therefore we should be exempt from it?
Actually, a biblical study of tithing shows that tithing came before the Old Testament law! Tithing is seen before the law, during the law and after the law. As one preacher put it: “When it comes to tithing, in Genesis 14:20 Abraham commenced it, in Genesis 28:22, Jacob continued it; in Leviticus 27:30, God commanded it, in Malachi 3:10-12 God confirmed it and in Matthew 23:23, Jesus commended it…so who am I to cancel it?”
3. Should I tithe off of my net or gross income?
We should tithe off of our gross income. A very good rule to apply concerning tithing is that the tithe should be the first and the best, trusting that God will bless the rest. “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops.” (Proverbs 3:9) Abraham is the first reference we have in the bible regarding tithing and Genesis 14:20 shows that he tithed on everything: ‘Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything’. Moreover, Genesis 28:22 shows Jacob vowing to do the same and tithe on all that he received from God, ‘And of all that you give me I will give you a tenth’. “As soon as the order went out, the Israelites generously gave the first fruits of their grain, new wine, oil and honey and all that the fields produced. They brought a great amount, a tithe of everything.” (2 Chronicles 31:5)
4. Did Jesus endorse tithing?
Yes. In his warning to the Pharisees about legalism (they were tithing, but ignoring mercy and justice) he tells them that they should not neglect tithing, but also that their hearts should not neglect mercy and justice and other attributes of the law. “You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” (Matthew 23:23)
5. After the death of Jesus, did the early church tithe?
The early church showed an example of extreme giving. Some of those first Christ followers sometimes gave everything that they had; 100% instead of just 10%! Those offerings were presented to the church leaders and then distributed as needed to people and the ministry. “For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.” (Acts 4:34-35)
6. If I don’t tithe, will I go to hell?
Absolutely not! Your salvation is not purchased by the tithes of man, but by the blood of Jesus Christ! However, there are blessings that you will only have access to through tithing and generous giving. For a true Christian, there is nothing that you possess that you shouldn’t be willing to give back to God. Your ability to give to God what rightfully belongs to Him speaks to the condition of your heart. Matthew 6:21-24 says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also…you cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 19:16-30 explains the story of the rich young ruler who was so tied to his riches that he refused to follow Jesus and ultimately he did miss out on eternal life.
7. Shouldn’t I just give whatever amount is in my heart to give?
God’s word says “The heart is deceitful above all things” Jeremiah 17:9. We have to be very careful about relying on what we feel, especially when it comes to money. Often this question or statement is an excuse for those who don’t want to tithe. Sometimes 2 Cor. 9:7 is quoted to support this concept. But 2 Cor. 9 is not referring to the tithe, but to a separate benevolent offering Paul was taking to relieve the famine stricken Jerusalem church. So yes, give as much or as little as you want for offerings, but the tithe belongs to God. Isn’t it interesting that when we rely on our “hearts” to determine an amount instead of just obeying God, we often shortchange what God desires? What is ironic though is that as we tithe our hearts do change and we do become more generous! This does not mean that we don’t pray and ask for discernment in giving issues. Giving IS a heart matter. We just need to be careful not to fall into the trap of making excuses for our disobedience. And on the flip side we want to be careful that we don’t slip into legalism by approaching tithing as a “10% tax” and ignore the heart issues of giving.
8. If I tithe on my gross income, do I need to tithe on the money that I get back from my tax returns?
No, because you have already given your tithe on your gross income during the year.
9. If I own a business, do I pay a tithe on all monies?
You should tithe on the net profit. Your materials and overhead cost should be subtracted from your income, then tithe on your net profit.
10. Should my tithe go to my local church or can it go somewhere else, like a charity or to those in need?
The precedent that has been set in scripture shows the importance of tithing to the storehouse (the local place of spiritual teaching and nourishment: Temple in the Old Testament, local church in the NT) to provide for the ministry and its mission. The storehouse was a collection point from which distributions were made. An in-depth study of giving and tithing actually shows that the Israelites gave 10% directly to the Temple and gave above that for the needs of the poor. We highly encourage people to give 10% of their income to the local church. Remember that tithing 10% is where you start, not the maximum a believer gives, so it is appropriate to tithe at least 10% to the local church and then feel free to give above and beyond to anywhere else God leads. Giving to those in need is what the Bible calls almsgiving; that is different from the tithe. Giving to others is biblical and kind, but we are not to put their need before obedience to God. The tithe belongs to God. The tithe belongs to the Lord and is given for the work of the kingdom of God, therefore it should not be given to secular organizations, who while they may have very noble purposes, they still should not receive what belongs to the Lord. “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” (Malachi 3:10)
11. What if I’m tithing, but I’m not getting ahead financially?
There can be many reasons that could be causing you not to increase in your finances. Living above your means is probably the most common. Bad business decisions and not being a good steward over your money are two more out of many others. We encourage you to visit our Biblical Stewardship and Finance resources to help you in this area.
12. Should I tithe if I’m in debt?
The tithe helps us to honor God, which is the beginning of wisdom. If there is anybody in the world who needs God’s wisdom in the area of finances, it is a person who is already in debt. A farmer always keeps a portion of each harvest as seed stock to be planted the next season. If he didn’t, he would not be able to grow another crop. As Christians, our tithe is our seed stock (2 Corinthians 9:10). We honor God by giving Him the first fruits of our produce (income or compensation). Therefore the first portion of our income belongs to God. It doesn’t belong to anyone else—not even creditors (Proverbs 3:9-10).
13. What if I don’t have very much money?
Remember that tithing is 10% of your income. If you learn to give the “firstfruits” or first 10% to God it doesn’t matter if that equals $10 or $10,000. However, if you wait to tithe with what is left over at the end of the month you will probably find that you’ll never have enough to tithe. Tithing may require you to change some of your spending habits and even cut back on things you really don’t need. If we are all honest, we can find lots of things that we spend money on that we don’t need. Here’s something interesting to consider: people who don’t tithe often say “I don’t have any money” and those that do tithe say, “God always provides for all my needs and more!” Again, God doesn’t “need” our money. His desire is to bless His children, and it is for our good that He has instituted the principle of tithing in His Word. Remember the widow who put two “pennies” into the treasury? Jesus knew her situation and commended her by saying, “This poor widow put in more than all the contributors; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on” (Mark 12:43-44).
14. Should a person tithe on an inheritance or the net profits received from the sale of a home/property?
Yes, we should tithe on an inheritance, because an inheritance is represents “increase.” Likewise, for the same reason, we should also tithe on the net profits from the sale of a home or property.
15. Should I tithe on alimony or child support from my ex-spouse?
Alimony is part of your income from which a tithe should be given, but child support belongs to the children and is not part of your personal “increase.”
16. Can I tithe my time instead of my money?
There is no biblical precedent for tithing your time instead of money. As a matter of fact, we are expected to give God our time and our money, not one or the other. The idea of tithing time is often an excuse people give because they don’t want to part with their money. By the way, to actually tithe your time would mean that you give 73 hours per month to ministry service….that’s a part time job. The focus of tithing is not about what’s the least that I can give to God, but what is the best that I can give to the Lord. God wants to be the Lord of all of your time and all of your money.
17. Should I give every week, bi-weekly, or monthly?
That really depends on the person/couple. Some people only get paid bi-weekly, so it’s easier to tithe as soon as they get paid. Some people find it easier to give every week. Those who are on salary often find it easy to calculate a monthly tithe. The most important thing is that you tithe.
18. Is my giving kept private?
Yes. There are only a few people in accounting that see your giving. As a church we record it because we are required to do so by IRS law. Your giving will never be posted or discussed publicly. Note: If you give cash, please put your money in an envelope and write your name on it.
19. Is my donation tax deductible?
Yes. At the end of the year you will receive a giving statement from our Accounting Department who count and record your giving throughout the year. Because we are a 501c3 non-profit organization, you can use your donations as a tax deduction. Note: If you give cash, please put your money in an envelope and write your name on it.