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August 26, 2007


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The only argument that I can make against tithing is for the poor. Poor people are usually a burden on society and if a poor person tithes, the community ends up indirectly paying that tithe for them out of taxes, charity etc.

You should tithe your INCREASE, not your INCOME. For example, if you make $5000 per month gross, a certain percentage goes to taxes, interest, food, and utilities. Only your increase in net worth should be tithed upon, since all these other expenses are simply for maintaining your current lifestyle, and do not increase it. My pastor (house church) says that today's churches will never agree with this though because churches want thier money.

are we talking pre or post tax on the 10% rule? just so I'm clear

The simple solution would be to do paid work gardening or web site design instead of doing this for the church for free. The money you get paid would often be more than enough to cover the 10% tithe. God would be happy because the extra earned income would increase the amount of tithe, hence increasing the total amount of sacrifices gathered from believers. The only loser would be the church, who would have to use some of the tithe money to pay for a gardener or web designer, rather than get the service provided for free.


Just thinking out loud here.

If the tithe is 10% of your produce then that implies that you can donate in kind - not just in money. So then if you donated 10% of your labour, in what way is that not fulfilling the tithe?

Unfortunately, when you tithe something called "US Dollars", you are perpetrating a fraud on the church. US Dollars were once backed by gold which was an age old form of REAL money. When you tithe US Dollars, you are giving your church a DEBT Instrument which depreciates every day as the Treasury and Fed pump more worthless dollars into the system. So if tithing US Dollars is an acceptable form of money, I see no reason why Web page development, gardening, or painting wouldn't be acceptable either. By giving the church worthless pieces of paper, you in turn cause them to do the same to others and this in itself destroys all of us.

Now how many of you out there tithe gold or silver?

This is fine if one has an income to contribute. And it has nothing to do with federal taxes. The tithe has been around longer than the federal government.

I'm reminded of the 'Little Drummer Boy' story. He had no money to give, but he gave what he had to give anyway.

I'm all for sacrificing to give what's necessary, but if you're that close to the edge where 10% will really push you over, do you think God is interested in you destroying your family to scrape up the extra cash to give the church??

I look at it like the situation with old-time doctors. If you had the money to give, you paid. If not, you figured out something 'in kind' to pay. All of it comes out to providing something of value from you (money or time/barter) to the church. Just because you can't take it off of your taxes doesn't mean it's worthless to the church and God. I'd think it's worth more, since your time is the most valuable thing to you. It's time spent away from your family in the service of your church and God. Writing a check is relatively painless in comparison.

Your views on tithing are way too law-like. Where's God's grace in any of your postings on giving money to the Church? Everything you have in your possession belongs to God. Everything you purchase belongs to God. Every breath and second belongs to God. You are the manager of that wealth, time, and skills to do what you think is proper in furthering the owner's (God's) will. God's primary objective was laid out in the Great Commission. Start from that perspective and then decide what is the best way to manage your share of the bounty entrusted to you. Some decide to sell all they have and help the poor (Mother Teresa). Others decide to volunteer and support their church with time and money. Oh, and giving 10% isn't sacrifice from this perspective, either. Instead, it gives me a great feeling of fulfillment of purpose of my life when I give of my time and money to God's purpose.

While I agree that for the average person living in an industrialized nation like America, giving 10% to the church is about right, 10% isn't a law by which you will be measured in this life or the next and you shouldn't try to shame people into it. Again our primary objective as Christians is to spread the good news that God loves us all (no exceptions!) so much that He gave His son as a sacrifice to redeem us. How are you fulfilling that objective by beating people over the head with tithing?

Thanks for this post. It's funny because my husband and I have been talking about tithing a lot lately. Additionally, we saw something on TV about tithing last night, the sermon today was about the importance of charity, and then I saw this post this afternoon. I get it! We will start being more disciplined about tithing! I completely agree with you about giving at least 10%. I'd be interested to know your thoughts on how we get there. First of all, we judge our 10% as a percentage of our take home income only. Is that fair? Also, do you think that things like donations of clothing and goods count? Those donations are usually what bring us to 10%. My cash donations are more like 5%. I'd be interested to know others' opinions. Just a note: we are still giving even though we're vigorously working on getting out of debt. The money for tithing is always there. I don't know how, but it always is.

Actually, there is no tithing requirement in the New Testament. We are encouraged to take care of each other. Christians sold their belongings and gave to those in "need". When we see "need" we are to "give". This applies 7 days per week, not just putting a check in the collection plate and thinking we can check that off the list for the week. As for the 10% tithe, Jews were required to give this tithe and many others. As Christians, the law was put away by Jesus.

I find your reasoning somewhat flawed. Increase comes in kind first; without increase in kind there could be no increase in money. The govt doesn't accept taxes in kind, but neither does it tax in kind. So no taxes mean no tithe? So in a barter economy there would be no tithing? Money is simply a means of placing a value on things for exchange, and useful time is as worthwhile as anything else. Or is your objection the church doesn't value your time or it would have paid for it? In that case, perhaps no one should volunteer anything.

1 Tim 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Dave Ramsey is a great guy but he is wrong about titing. Use the definitonl from God's Word, not from a secular dictionary. In God's Word it was always only food from farmers and herdsmen living inside Israel Merchants were not required to tithe. Ramsey wants Christians to tite first which is unscriptural because tithes were not firstfruits per Deu 26:1-10. He does not tell this to non-Christians on his show though.He lets them have 10% more to get out of debt. Nice.

Tithing is a sacrifice and it requires discipline. Dave, you have made a good effort answering the question. Ten percent of the increase can be perceived however one wishes to rationalize the amount. It could be based on actual gross income, income after taxes, income after taxes and cost of business expenses, income after taxes and cost of living expenses. Is currency, our typical compensation for our efforts, the ten percent measure that God asks? It is in one's heart and soul to know. This question belongs to the individual and the individual’s relationship with God. This is not fair question for Dave. . . Dave, how do you tithe?

Wow! Lots of discussion! Tithing always generates lots of comments. :-)

I've already addressed many of the issues raised here in my various Sunday posts, but here are my responses to some of the comments here:

Ryan --

Check out the story of the poor widow who gave all she had in Luke 21:1-4. Jesus commended her. That said, yes, we are to care for the poor and widows. (James 1:27)

Susan --

I've never heard any pastor preach that the tithe is on the increase in net income. Your increase is your income -- your tithe comes out of this amount FIRST -- before any other expense is paid for. Read my Bible and money section here ( ) for various posts on this issue.

xshanex --

Pre-tax. Check out the Bible and money section noted above for details.

Enough Wealth --

I'm not trying to answer the question "what would the simplest solution be?" but rather "what does the Bible say on the topic?"

Plonkee --

Certainly people should donate their time in addition to their money, but not instead of.

Victor --

How do you use the gold and silver your employer pays you in to shop for groceries? I'd certainly be interested to know how that's working out for you.

CreditWithdrawal --

With tithing, you give if you have an income. No income, no giving.

Phil --

You must be new here. Welcome! I agree with most of your thoughts. For my thoughts on the issues you raise, see the Bible and money category noted above for what I've said in the past.

I'm not trying to shame people or beat them over the head. What I am doing is writing my views on an issue addressed on my blog. If people don't want to read them, they don't need to, and can simply avoid them by not reading this blog on Sundays.

Mrs. M&P --

Congrats! :-)

Forget others' opinions -- get into the Bible, read, study, and pray. Then see what you think about splitting up the tithe. (BTW, you can also read some on the posts in the link above as well to see what I've said on the issue before.)

Happymom --

Refer to the Bible and money link above -- I've been over this issue several times in a ga-zillion different ways.

Lord --

I'm not sure what you're actually saying, so I can't really respond.

Russell --

Ever try to convince non-Christians to live by Christian principles? I'm sure you haven't. Think about it for a bit and examine your heart before you cast stones at Dave Ramsey on this issue.

John --

Are you talking to Dave Ramsey or are you talking to me? If me, my name's not Dave. :-)

I think tithing is a bad idea. I agree that god doesn't need your money. However, everyone needs to save for retirement. Your church won't provide for your retirement. And that 10% you are giving to the chuch could go towards your retirement intead.

As for tithing "your increase, not your income", the debate on exactly how to assess your basis for tithe (net or gross) will linger on till the second coming. One truth endures through all the commotion: To whatever extent you are willing to trust God, that is the level at which He will meet you. Many phenomenally successful businessmen have proved that they could give as much as 90% and live on 10%. Why the fuss over net or gross tithing baseline? The tithing difference between my net and gross is $12.

Ah, sorry. I thought this was a finance blog.

Stop talking about religion or lose a reader.

Brent, This blog talks about christian finance on Sundays. Please join the rest of the week. As for the rest, especially those comments posted by christians, the Tithe is something we should do for our own good, not Gods, or His church, but for us. For where our money is, there will our hearts be also. Sound familiar? Most of us tip our waitress better than we tip our savior. How do you think He feels about that? Just something to think about.


If you want to learn more about the truth about tithing, read Deuteronomy where it dicusses that a tithe should be calculated on income AFTER expenses. Thus it is an increase in your net worth. Do a web search and you will find many honest pastors that support this viewpoint. Of course, the majority of pastors do not agree with this because it is in thier best interest not to. If you read the Bible instead of blindly listening to them, they wouldn't be able to afford all those fancy suits and cars. That said, even where the Bible does talk about tithing, it is in the Old Testament, where the old law was cancelled by the cross. Do you still require you wife to wear a head covering as well?

Susan --

1. What specific verses in Deuteronomy?

2. Have you read all section I noted above? Obviously not since I've already addressed tithing in the New Testament.

Brent --

What garyatk said.


When I click on the link above it says web page not found. Might just be here at my work computer.

The verses in Deuteronomy are 14:22-28.

Susan --

Try it now -- I added in a space.

This is my entire list of posts on the Bible and money, so there will be quite a few to read, but they will give details on many of the questions/issues discussed here.

As far as the Deuteronomy are 14:22-28 section, it looks like to me that they are saying to tithe off what you produce -- your GROSS production before any expenses. They don't say to sell what you have, pay your hired workers, pay for the grain, etc. and THEN tithe, but to tithe first (off the gross income/gain), not off your gain in net worth.

The tithe is to be the first tenth -- before any other "expenses" are paid. The reason is that it's to teach us to put God first in our lives (see above in my post.) And from these verses you quote and the others I've noted in various posts from the past, it seems clear to me that the tithe is off income, not net worth.

That said, I have a standing offer to people who disagree with me to write a post on what they believe (with scripture passages included), send it to me, and I'll post it (as long as it's not clearly off in left field.) So far, I've only had a couple people take me up on it, but you're free to if you like. I think it would be an interesting perspective (though I don't personally agree with it.)


I don't think that is the intent of the verse. If a business nets 8% profit, they shouldn't tithe 10% of the gross, or they would be at a loss for the year.

Susan --

You are correct -- in part. the "increase" for a business is different than the increase for an individual. (In effect the net income for a business is the gross income for the individual.)

I've covered this issue before:

I don't like hearing excuses for not giving, but you know what's funny is that we know it is not okay to exchange money for time invested, but it is okay to replace our time with money.

Think about it this way:
Instead of putting time into true one on one discipling, training, and witnessing, we decide to put our money in a pot and build something that will supposedly do the work for us.

One way to test the time put into a church's discipleship program, is to see what happens when they are looking for a new pastor. Do they look inside their church walls or outside their walls for someone to fill the empty spot? If they aren't confident enough to even consider someone inside of their church to fill the empty shoes, then i wouldn't believe them when they say that they are in the business of making disciples. In turn they're in the business to build buildings, which takes your money, not your time.

The point is trying to argue about the tithe using taxes is fundamentally flawed. The tithe is not taxation and taxation is not the tithe. It produces nonsensical conclusions like accepting money as exchange for services but rejecting services as exchange for money. What most people produce is their labor so tithing would logically have to be based on that. Accepting money in place of that is pure convention. Money itself is a replacement for that.

Brent, On Sundays we like to chat about christian financial issues. Please come back another day if we offend you. As for the rest of us, please remember that as a Christian, we must be givers. With not only our money, but also everything we do. I'm sure it really pleases our savior that we debate how much we need to give Him instead of discussing where our money and time needs to go. Please allow me to leave you with this. How well do you tip your waitress? Does God deserve a better tip than your waitress?

I am committed to tithe at least 11%, but as of late, I have been buying items for church functions and have been using that as part of my tithe. So I spend money on church events, and consider that part of my tithe. I do this instead of getting reimbursed by the church.

Is this okay to do?


Re: Lisa & forgoing reimbursement... We have several volunteers at the church I pastor that do something similar, and I'm fine with it. Sometimes they turn in their receipts and instead of asking for reimbursement say, "Just consider it a donation." We count it as such.

This is for approved expenditures as part of their ministry, of course. They're not just donating random items to the church. :)

As for me and my wife, we consider 10% (of our gross) a great place to start, a minimum level not a maximum level. We give far above that now (and save and invest and all the rest).

10% should definitely be on our gross income. Our taxes come out of this and if we tithe on any less, it's like saying that the government is more important to us than God. Even with the tithe one could argue that, since we pay more than 10% to the government. I don't think you should give 10% if you are going to grumble about it - you should give what you can give cheerfully, and if you fee guilty if that is less than 10%, then you should change your attitude or your lifestyle so that you are able to give more of your money cheerfully.

FMF, just an encouragement that there are many of us who appreciate your Sunday posts. I like that even though it's not advertized as a Christian blog, you are not afraid to talk about subjects that go hand in hand for those of us who are Christians.

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