Free Ebook.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

« Many Americans Behind in Retirement Savings | Main | Happy Labor Day »

September 04, 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

This one is pretty simple to me and very clear cut. I believe this is easy in that I am not emotionally attached to your situation. With that said: Just tithe the portion you are given from your husband. You are not responsible to tithe to make up for his lack thereof. Additionally, he shouldn't tithe just to appease you or God, either. If he isn't of a willing heart, why bother?

You are the steward of that which you are given, that is the portion for you to give (tithe). This is my opinion and hope it helps.

You tithe on your gross which is what he gives you & if you make money on your own. And you do tithe on tax returns.

We give 10%, which is what a tithe is/means, of our total income to our church and then when we get our tax refund, that's considered an increase so we tithe on that as well.

Hope this helped.

A suggestion from a woman who has "been there": it's very good you are taking financial questions seriously--you have to, now that you are more on your own.

But my suggestion is that do more than just think about how to tithe. You need to create an emergency fund, you may need to change your spending habits, and you need to plan for your children's future. Separation also creates complex income tax issues that you need to be aware of and plan for.

Please meet with a professional financial planner so you can get educated about your financial life. You need to make sure you are making the best financial decisions for you and your children.


Do you tithe on net or gross? If on gross why do you feel a tax return is a bonus that needs to be tithed on? In theory if you tithe on gross you have already given a tithe for the tax return money. Not that giving more is ever a bad thing I'm just curious.

Travis, I 100% agree and wish more people would think about this.

When I was growing up, I remember the head pastor at the church I attended preaching a little mini-sermon at least once a month, before the offering was collected, about how we are supposed to tithe off our gross pay. "Give your first fruits to God not the government..." or some statement like that. And then when tax season rolled around, he stood there and "reminded" people to tithe when they got their tax return too.

I'm sorry, what? If everyone has listened in the first place, they've already paid the tithe on that money. If you want to insist on that, can I get money back if I owe taxes? Say I end up owing $2,000 to the government, will the church write me a check for $200? Of course not. I should also note that this church was controlling and "abusive" in a lot of ways. People suspected of not paying tithes on their full income and then not on their tax returns could be removed from being in good standing regarding their membership and face other sanctions. If your church treats members like that, it's a huge red flag.

A tax return is NOT income. It is "change". People need to understand that. If I buy a coke at the store and pay with a $5 bill, the $3.15 (or whatever) I get handed back isn't income. My income was when I got the $5 in the first place. I gave more money to the clerk than I needed to so he gave some back. Tax returns are the same thing.

Anyway, to the OP. Tithe on the amount you're given. That is the amount you're responsible for. The burden for the rest is on him. Do not pay tithes on your tax returns.

I agree with Eric and Travis that you tithe on the gross, and that means no need to tithe on income tax refunds because you have already tithed on that income. Tithing again would be double-dipping. If your situation allows and you can give above and beyond the tithe, then that's fine, but that scenario with your tax refund is no different than any other funds.

I am torn on the other question. I agree with everyone that in a strict sense you only have control over what is in your care. I could see giving only on that portion. That said, beyond the financial is a spiritual element here. If you are the only one who sees the truth in tithing, then you are most likely carrying a spiritual load that was designed to be on his shoulders. As long as you are a married couple, you honor God by giving in that whole sense. I believe your continuing to tithe on the gross shows your commitment to the marriage and your submission of the marriage to God's authority. That may be an important distinction depending on details that you rightly have not shared. Seek God's peace and obey the standard to which he calls you.

NO ONE, absolutely NO ONE pays the Biblical tithe today.

Leviticus 27:30-33 defines this tithe as a tenth of crops and animals in herds and flocks.
Numbers 18 gives the ordinances, or instructions, for this tithe, and commands this tithe be taken to the Levites.
Purpose of this tithe: to support the Levitical Priesthood.

Deuteronomy 14:22-27: aka The Festival Tithe - a tenth of crops, plus add to that the firstborn animals, and take for the yearly feast.
Purpose of this tithe: “that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always”

Deuteronomy 14:28-29: aka The Three-Year Tithe aka The Poor Tithe - a tenth of crops, kept at home, and invite the Levites, widows, orphans, stranger to eat.
Purpose of this tithe: to feed the poor.

Now, tell me. Which of the above three tithes commanded by God does anyone follow today?

The ONLY people in the Old Testament that were commanded to tithe were those who INHERITED THE PROMISED LAND WITH EVERYTHING ON IT. They got the land, house, animals, crops, etc. ALL FREE AND CLEAR. No mortgage payment or rent to pay. And THEY were commanded to tithe on the crops and animals and take it to the Levites who INHERITED the tithe INSTEAD OF the promised land with everything on it. No one else tithed. Wage earners did not tithe. Jesus did not tithe as a carpenter. Paul did not tithe as a tent maker. Peter did not tithe as a fisherman.

Tithing is a scam that started around 1870.

The New Testament teaches generous, sacrificial giving, from the heart, according to our means. For some, $1 might be a sacrifice, while for others, even giving 50% of their income might not induce a sacrifice. In the Old Testament, ONLY the farmers tithed, and it was equal percentage (a tenth). The New Testament teaches the principle of equal sacrifice instead of equal percentage. Equal sacrifice is much harder to achieve, if not impossible, than giving ten percent.

I remember Larry Burkett often saying that God is not a bean counter. He is more interested in the heart than anything else. He wants us to be givers not people who are just interested in keeping a religious code. I think the advise given by most of the others is sound. Give off the portion that comes into your house. That is what you can control. Your husband will be responsible for what he has to give off of.

Gary...that was really interesting. Thank you. I've always wondered about tithing in that way.
But the whole concept of sacrificial tithing is confusing too. If we as Christians tithe sacrificially, we'll all end up poor and unable to support ourselves, or give to others, because we'll be the ones with no money. I guess this kinda ties into the OP's question about how much to give. She appears pretty poor to me, so if she gives sacrificially from the allowance her husband is giving her, pretty soon, she'll be in an even worse situation. So I guess I've always wondered about that. Does God want us all dirt poor?


1 Timothy 5:8 (KJV) “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

God wants us to take care of ourselves and our family FIRST, before we give anything.

To me, sacrificial giving means sacrificing something that I'd like to have in order to give to someone less fortunate than myself. It doesn't mean to do without any necessities. I think God wants us to have nice things, but wants us to have balance in our finances. Example: If spending $500 for a nice watch means that I won't be able to give anything this month, then maybe I should buy a less expensive watch so that there will be money left to give.

Hello. I am a Christian who believes strongly in tithing on my gross income. My personal answers to your questions are:

1.) Tithe only on what he gives you as this is now your income. My opinion is that you are not living as "one" so you are dealing with separate incomes in a sense. Right now you are the head of your household and he is the head of his, so you are only responsible for being a steward over your income.

2.) Since I tithe on my gross income, I do not pay tithes on my income tax returns. I have already paid tithes on this money. I do however like to give an offering whenever I receive a higher commission than expected, tax return, etc. This is done as an OFFERING though and if money was tight, I would not give above my tithes.

Hope This Helps!

Fact is, what your husband gives you is NOT income UNLESS you have a separate property agreement where the court has awarded you alimony. Child support is never considered income.

With no legal agreement, the entire amount is considered your husbands income under the law. HE is required to claim all of it on his tax return.

Those who say it is your income, without a legal court agreement specifying alimony, don't know the laws of this country.

I just read JP's comment and I am glad I decided to go back and read the comments as I hadn't even thought of this, but it is very true and I agree 100%!

"If you are the only one who sees the truth in tithing, then you are most likely carrying a spiritual load that was designed to be on his shoulders. As long as you are a married couple, you honor God by giving in that whole sense. I believe your continuing to tithe on the gross shows your commitment to the marriage and your submission of the marriage to God's authority."

You won't find even ONE verse in the Bible where God ever commanded anyone to tithe on their income. Period.

Read your Bible.

NO Christian Church ever taught anyone to tithe on their income until around 1870 when the churches wanted MORE MONEY.

I think tithing is an area that gets over thought a lot. Contrary to what was said in comments, tithing does not refer only to the tithes of those who inherited the promised land. Abraham gave a tithe of his spoils of war to the high priest. Jacob promised the Lord a tenth. Malachi 3 talks about the blessings that come from paying tithing, which I can't imagine him talking about if it were no longer applicable. We pay tithing differently now than in olden times because we live in different times.

Tithing is a matter of faith. I believe most people honestly trying to tithe have times where they've given out of faith, not knowing how they'd manage for that month but trusting in the Lord to provide. And He has provided, not only financially but also spiritually. Whether you tithe on net or gross to me is less important than the act of faith in paying your tithing.

Yes, it is true that Abram tithed, a ONE-TIME recorded event, on war spoils, and yet NO example that Abraham ever tithed on his own income or wealth. Plus, Abram kept NOTHING for himself. The Word does NOT say that Abram tithed out of faith. The Word doesn't tell us why. NO ONE FOLLOWS THAT EXAMPLE.

Many say that in Biblical times they didn’t have money and that the economy was based on bartering of goods and services. That is not so. The Bible shows they not only had money, but that money was used as a common way of doing business.

According to the International Bible Encyclopedia, the days of mere bartering ended before the days of Abraham.

Here are just a few examples from The Word to show they did, in fact, use money in Biblical times.

The tithing law itself proves they had both money and a marketing system for buying and selling their crops and animals (Deuteronomy 14:24-26).






THE FOLLOWING VERSES REFER TO WAGES: Genesis 29:15, Genesis 30:28, Genesis 31:7-8, Genesis 31:41, Exodus 2:9, Leviticus 19:13, Malachi 3:5, etc.


There are several places in Scripture indicating that scales were used to weigh metals and other items. The Law of Moses, for example, commands Jews not to use dishonest standards, but instead, to use honest scales and honest weights. (See also Deut. 25:13-15; Job 6:2-3; 31:6; Psa. 62:9; Prov. 11:1; 16:11; 20:10, 23; Isa. 40:12; 46:6; and Jer. 32:10).

Leviticus 19:35-36 – Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight or quantity. Use honest scales and honest weights, an honest ephah and an honest hin. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt.

In order for money to be an exchangeable equivalent for other commodities in today’s society, there must be a standard in place. Likewise, the Old Testament also had a set standard both prior to the law and during the law. A reference to a pre-law standard is in Genesis 23:16.

Merchants in biblical times traveled from place to place conducting business. According to the written law, the standard weight for metals was set according to the sanctuary shekel (See also Ex 30:13, 24; 38:24-26; Lev. 5:15; Num. 7:13-86; 18:16).

Leviticus 27:25 – Every value is to be set according to the sanctuary shekel, …

In addition, 2 Samuel 14:26 shows that the weight standard for the shekel was set by the royal standard. No matter which era in history is studied, there existed a standard for the weight of precious metals.

Money was also used throughout the law. For example, God’s people gave money to support the tabernacle (Ex. 30:14-16; 38:24-31). There are many other examples that illustrate money’s place within the written law and indicate that money was indeed a part of everyday life. Exodus 35 provides such an example.

Exodus 35:5, 21-22 – From what you have, take an offering for the LORD. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the LORD an offering of gold, silver and bronze;

And there are many more examples to show that money was used for everyday transactions well before the Levitical tithe.

Tithing today, on one's income, is NOT Biblical.

Kman said, "Malachi 3 talks about the blessings that come from paying tithing, which I can't imagine him talking about if it were no longer applicable. We pay tithing differently now than in olden times because we live in different times."

Malachi 3 also talks about curses. But Galatians 3:13 “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us…”

Malachi is spoken to those UNDER THE OLD TESTAMENT LAWS, not to Christians.

The blessings spoken of in Malachi 3 were for the nation of Israel, as a whole - the whole nation, not the individuals. The blessing was RAIN.

Get a Hebrew dictionary-concordance and do the study.

I don't recall mentioning anywhere that they didn't have money. My point about tithing differently is that the same conventions -- receiving weekly/bi-weekly/monthly paychecks, taxes, salaries, etc. -- didn't exist in quite the same form back then. And while they didn't follow a mere bartering system, it's equally as certain that it would have been far more common back then to pay in the form of fruit, vegetables, animals, etc., than it would be today :) Thanks, however, for the brief history of money in the Bible, as that's an interesting read.

I choose to follow the counsel given in Malachi 3, to bring the whole tithe into the Lord's storehouse and allow him to open the windows of heaven and pour out more than I have the ability to receive. That is something I have personally proved and found to be true for myself (many others have reached the same conclusion). There's a lot more to what God would give us than just what can be found in the Bible, so I'm not really worried whether anyone can use it to prove or disprove whether we should currently tithe our income, because I've already seen the blessings of it.

I applaud the efforts of all who give of their money, time, effort, and lives in order to attempt to assist in building the kingdom of God on earth. That's what I think is more important than worrying about net/gross/alternatives to tithing/proving things through the Bible, etc, and that's what I would recommend to the woman (and all of us) to focus on.

Kman said, "I choose to follow the counsel given in Malachi 3, to bring the whole tithe into the Lord's storehouse..."

The tithe from the Isralite farmers did NOT go into the storehouse. Only the tithe from the Levites (the tithe of the tithe).

In Nehemiah 10:37 we learn that the firstfruits were taken to the temple for the priests, and the tithes were taken to the Levites who lived in the Levitical cities.

In Nehemiah 10:38 we learn that the Levites would take a tithe of the tithe to the Temple. It is this tithe, the tithe from the Levites, that went to the storehouse, not the tithe from the people. This is important to remember when we study Malachi 3:10.

God wasn't speaking to the people in Malachi. He was speaking to the Levites and priests.

I'm a pastor. If you were one of my church members, I'd tell you that you're only responsible for the portion of the income that you receive. Your husband is responsible for tithing on his portion of it. Also, I'd tell you that if you're wanting to tithe on your gross income, and that's what you do, then you've already given the tithe on the money that comes back to you in your tax refund.

Overall, I agree with what Gary Arnold has been saying about tithing. But I still encourage our folks to use 10% as a reasonable benchmark for planning their giving. For many of us, that should be a minimum, because we're capable of being responsibly generous far beyond 10%. (My wife and I give somewhere between 15% and 20%.)

I think 2 Corinthians 8:12-14 offers a helpful perspective here:

"For if the eagerness is there, it is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. It is not that there may be relief for others and hardship for you, but it is a question of equality — at the present time your surplus is [available] for their need, so that their abundance may also become [available] for your need, that there may be equality."

Paul says you if you give eagerly, it's a acceptable gift based on what you have. What you have is what your husband provides.

I like to give what I'm comfortable with.


I agree, that one should give from what they have. But that has nothing to do with tithing, which is a payment under the Old Covenant.

If husband and wife are still living together, then it depends on the laws of the state whether the wife has an interest in the husbands wages. If a husband gives the wife money to buy groceries, etc., that isn't considered income to the wife. Nor is it considered a gift. The husband is supporting the family.

Living apart can be the same. If the money is given to the wife for her and the children's support, then that is not income of the wife. Again, the husband is supporting the family. It would be the husband's responsibility to give from his income. If he doesn't give, that doesn't shift the responsibility to the wife.

Look at it this way. A while back I was helping to support another family. I found out the reason they needed so much help was partly do to the amount they were giving to the church. I told them that wasn't right. If they didn't give to the church, I wouldn't have to give them as much. I finally told them if they kept giving to the church, I would stop helping them. It doesn't make sense when you are helping people buy food and pay their rent that they use their money to give to any church and then use your money to pay the bills.
If the husband in this case believes it is his duty to support his wife and children, and he is handing over the money to do so, and he doesn't want any of it given to the church, NONE should be given. Otherwise, you are taking his money and using it in a way that he disapproves in which case he should reduce the amount he gives for their support. Just because he hands over money to support his wife and children doesn't make it his wife's income unless there is a court order for alimony. Child support is NEVER considered income to the wife, and if she gives any part of the child support to the church she would be using the money for other than supporting the children. She could actually be taken to court for doing so.

To me, tithing and most organized religions are a scam. Deciding to tithe a certain amount when you have children to support is ridiculous. The amount doesn't matter. That you even think that you have to tithe is sad. Jesus doesn't want your money. He blessed you with money that you need to use to make savings for your family, and to support your children. If you and your husband are separated, you may find yourself needing to live a single life without his support. Why are you giving 10% of your income to a church ? The pastor will not ( in most cases ) pay your bills if you suddenly need your income back down the road.

When the income tax was first introduced in the USA, some politicians thought it would be a good idea to put a maximum cap of 10% on income taxes because the government surely did not deserve as much as God. Other politicians thought this was a bad idea because it might actually encourage the government to increase taxes to the full 10%, so they left the cap off.

Crazy huh?

For those of you interested, Gary and I have had this discussion before. You can see my thoughts on how they differ (and match) with his here:

I give money to the church and other entities that serve God. I give because I realize that God is actually owner of all I possess. So I return as much as I can to show him I'm aware of this and then manage the rest of my money accordingly. Now, in retirement, I'm up to 20% and finding it no problem. My husband and I tithed even when we were deep in debt and working 2-3 jobs to pay it off. We never went hungry or naked.

This reminds me of a story I heard once. A visiting preacher came to a Texas church and preached on the above-that we "own" nothing. It is all God's. A rancher took the preacher home for lunch. Later he took the preacher out to the middle of his ranch and said, "Now tell me this doesn't belong to me!" The preacher said he would answer on one condition - that the rancher come back in 200 years and ask the same question. While alive and on earth, we have the use of what God has provided.

Even our labor is the provision of God. He gives us the ability and health to do so. Those who cannot are cared for in other ways, by God. That's why we have charity, that started from God's blessings and commandments. Aren't we blessed? Whatever we give, whether 1% or 90%) is to be an acknowledgement that God is the owner of all the earth and all its creatures, including us.

And I have known of two individuals who did actually give 90% and lived on 10%. They felt their riches were God's blessings and lived accordingly.

Georgia said, "And I have known of two individuals who did actually give 90% and lived on 10%."

I've heard this said in church many times.

Would like to know where these people live that can give 90% AND PAY THEIR FEDERAL AND STATE INCOME TAXES. After taxes, they wouldn't have 10% left to live on. In fact, they would still owe income tax. How is it possible to give 90% with taxes so high?

Now, if you are saying they gave 90% of their NET income (after taxes), then it is very possible.

Otherwise, this is just a fairy tale that has been going around the churches for many years.

With all the different views of what tithing is and what the scriptures mean regarding them, it's almost like we need a real live prophet today to speak with God and tell us what we are supposed to do.


All the confusion on tithing has come about because of church leaders who, around 1870, were looking for ways to bring in more money, and at that time decided to start teaching tithing on one's income INSTEAD OF what the Word teaches, and to start teaching that the tithe is to be taken to the church INSTEAD OF what the Word teaches.

Since what the Word actually says regarding tithing WON'T WORK TODAY, man changed it so that it will work. Leave it up to man to mess up everything.

I suggest tithing based on what you're given. Try not to stress too much about it. The Lord & your church can understand the situation you're in.

Like Gary said, we're not commanded to give a tithe, although there is nothing wrong with doing so. I think the main danger of tithing is it's easy to give your local church a tithe (and perhaps even give more) then think the rest is ours.

100% of our finances should be given to God (not in the sense of literally giving, but that we should consider ourselves stewards instead of owners of our wealth. If we're living our lives in such a way as Romans 12:1 describes, our finances will end up honoring God as well. This means not only giving but taking care of ourselves: food, shelter, clothing, education, obligations, emergency funds, retirement, inheritance, etc.

I do think we should give to our local church; pastors should be compensated (I Tim 5:17-18). There are also many ways to honor God with our wealth besides direct giving to the church. Some examples of people I know who considered themselves stewards of God's resources: I know someone who sets money aside to send himself on missions trips. When my wife and I first started out an older couple gave us their used furniture. I know a landlord who charged a poor family less than market rate for rent. (all of these people gave to their local church as well)

I think I'm getting a little side-tracked from the original question: If your husband is giving you the money specifically to support you and your children it would be wrong of you to give a tithe if it meant not using it for its intended purpose. If he doesn't impose such a constraint you have freedom. You can choose to give cheerfully when that's what God would have you do (2 Cor. 9:7).

Hope that helps.

Gary - This could be true - it could be on the net. However, the two I read about (one a biography and one a church biography) were active and wealthy in the 40's & 50's. Maybe taxes were lower then and they would have had more left over. I know the one man gave scads of money to the church college I attended and had the dorm I lived in named for him.

Oh, another thought. If you give to the church or to colleges or to any charity, isn't the tax you pay only on what you keep? Otherwise, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet should be broke. It would be manageable if you paid taxes only on the 10%. I had teased once, that if I won the lottery, I would pay the taxes on it and then when my taxes were sent in, I would get most of the tax money back and that would be more than enough for me. Someone tell me if I'm wrong.

I just googled tax deductions and see that in 2010 you could only deduct 50% of your income as charity. In the time I am talking about, it was probably much more. But - if you are in business - there are enough write-offs that you should be able to pay your taxes out of that 10% easily. And this could be on the gross because you do not actually pay taxes on your gross or your net. You pay it on the amount left over after deductions.

I do remember that one man said that he didn't need more than one car or one house, etc. He didn't need closet's full of clothes and eat the richest foods. Sounds like a man for this column. Very, very frugal.

My wife and I tithe .5 % of our gross earnings- again, that is .005 of our gross earnings. We give to a few charities, and that is all we feel the Church deserves from us. That is the number we are comfortable with, and my opinion is everyone should do the same.

Given your situation, I would tithe at the lowest possible amount you are comfortable with... it isn't about God, just supporting your local church. The church we go to is established and has a good, balanced budget, so I see no reason to "help out" more.


You can't "tithe" .5%. Tithe means a tenth. If it isn't exactly a tenth, it isn't a tithe. What you mean is you GIVE .5%.

@ George, the small church I pastor is fairly established and has a good, balanced budget... but believe me when I say that the more money that comes in, the more good we can do. It's not about "helping out" or what "the church deserves" from you. It's about the church (by which I mean the people who make up the church) coming together to make a difference in the world.

I bet if you were to have a conversation with your pastor about it, he or she could help you look at it from a different perspective. Perhaps you could help meet some very real needs in your community or in another part of the world.

Just my two cents...

Gary --

We've been over this before, but since you seem intent on voicing your interpretation of the Bible, I think some comments on your thoughts are appropriate. Here's my perspective:

1. As I'm sure you are well aware, churches/denominations have differences of opinion on a wide variety of issues -- baptism, communion, worship, styles of dress, roles for men and women, and on and on. To suggest that your version of whether tithing is correct or not and that it was just made up by money-grubbing pastors is disingenuous IMO. There are sincere people who differ with your point of view. They do not believe what they believe simply because they want your money. And to simply brush them aside with a claim of dishonesty on their parts does nothing IMO except discount both your argument as well as your credibility.

2. Even if teaching tithing was the intent of a mass conspiracy by pastors to suck money out of people's hands, it's been a huge failure. Every study I've seen shows that the average Christian gives almost exactly the same as the average non-Christian -- about 2% of income. Pretty pathetic. But when you shoot low (which is what most churches teach and most Christians are happy to hear -- since they can keep more of "their" money) that's what you get.

3. You're well aware that in Matthew 23:23 Jesus endorses tithing. He says:

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. 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."

Notice: "without neglecting the former."

4. You seem to be stuck on the issue that tithing on income is incorrect, which implies that tithing on something is correct. Income is an appropriate modern-day substitute for what farmers earned during OT times when they harvested their crops IMO, but I'd be interested in hearing what you think people should tithe on. Net worth? Something else?

5. It's interesting to me that you have no other comments on this site except when the issue of tithing is brought up. I'll leave the comment at that and let readers form their interpretation of it.

6. I guess what rubs me the wrong way about your tone and ardent defense of your point of view is that you're AGAINST something. That's it. That's all I get from your comments. You're AGAINST tithing. In general, I don't really like people who are simply against things. It makes them seem bitter, self-important, and somewhat of a bully. I much prefer people who are FOR something. But I don't see what you're for -- what you advocate -- and it makes your position a bit lacking to me.

In the end, there's no proving who is "right". So I guess we're resigned to go around and around as long as you like.

Since this blog was founded on the principles of open comments from a variety of perspectives, you are allowed to leave your thoughts. But I'm not going to sit by while you pounce on everyone who has a point of view different that yours. I dislike on-going confrontations among Christians of this sort, but I dislike Christian bullies even more. So I ask that you please moderate your tone in future comments. I think we will all benefit (including you and your arguments) from it.

It really sounds like you are living in bondage to tithing. God desires a generous and cheerful giver, rather than a matter-of-fact, down to the last penny giver.

I believe that sometimes God calls us to give more or less of our income. Some seasons of life my husband and I may give close to 20% of our income because needs arise outside of our standard giving, and other seasons it hovers below 10%. I don't think God is sitting up above with a calculator and saying, "nope, I don't accept your gift back to me, it doesn't meet the standard."

Pray for wisdom and discernment, and it will be given to you! I really hope you are able to give with open hands and not worry about the percentage.

Just a thought - what about your time? Many people have commented about tithing money/income, yet I haven't seen any comments about service. Not everyone is in a financial position to give 10% of net or gross without literally doing without food, and other necessities. However the people who can give less of their money frequently are able to give more of their time. Both groups are critical for a church (or any other charitable organization) to prosper. The important part is that you are trying to give back of your bounty, whether it is your ability to ability to paint a beautiful mural for the nursery or provide the funds to buy the paint and furniture.

I know there are different opinions on this, but I think you should give what ever you think you should (2 Cor 9:7), and not worry about metrics like 10% or net or gross.

Anytime we think we need to send in an amount set by someone else or under certain circumstances, giving becomes a tax, and no one is happy about paying that. We're GIVING here, not PAYING, and I think that's the critical distinction.

We often forget that God wants our hearts more than our money--he doesn't need it anyway!

You seem to have a genuine concern for doing the right thing. When many people ask questions about tithing, they are really just trying to determine the minimum requirements. "What is the least amount I can give and still be ok with God." As evidenced by some of the comments, people will go out of their way spending countless hours of study to support their belief that tithing is not supported in the new testament. As a follower of Christ, we strive to be like Christ. Giving is not optional. God is so generous He has held nothing back, not even His own son. Jesus gave his own life. We give because we have already received (salvation). And we tithe out of what we receive (income).

As a side note...your marriage should be your #1 priority after your relationship with Jesus. Consider focusing all your efforts on mending your marriage. Attend marriage counseling with your husband through your pastor or a Christian counselor. And most of all pray hard.

@FMF said, "Income is an appropriate modern-day substitute for what farmers earned during OT times when they harvested their crops..."

Farmers received MONEY for the sale of their crops and animals. That is in the Bible. They also may have barter-exchanged their crops and animals for most anything. The farmers did NOT tithe on their income. They were commanded to tithe on the crops and animals whether they sold any or not.

There is no tithing today. All it takes is a little research on the history of tithing money in the Christian Church to find the truth.

Today we are to be generous givers from the heart. For some, $1 might be appropriate. For others, maybe 30% of their income would be appropriate. Giving today must be Spirit led.

Since I am a Money & Finance Minister, THIS IS my topic. This is what my specialty is. I teach good financial stewardship, and condemn the teaching of tithing as a complete fraud.

The person teaching tithing may have good intentions, but good intentions doesn't make up for ignorance.

Some pastors teach the curses in Malachi 3. Have they never heard of Galatians 3:13 “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us…”?

And what about Malachi 3:7 - God refers to His ORDINANCES. Has the pastor never heard of Colossians 2:14 (KJV) “Blotting out the handwriting of ORDINANCES that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”?

Who gave any pastor the right to collect God's tithe? I'll tell you who - they gave it to themselves. God surely didn't - not in His Word. They call it God's, and then collect it withOUT God's permission. Is that not stealing from God? Are they robbing God?

It's time this false doctrine is exposed to every single church goer.

DO THE RESEARCH. IF tithing was appropriate today, do you really think so few would be tithing? Tithing-teaching pastors are turning many away from the church.

Gary --

The spirit of your answers makes me feel sorry for those who sit under your care (which I assume there are some. BTW -- are you employed by a church?) The responses seem to be graceless, but perhaps that's simply because text can be read many ways and I'm reading the feeling incorrectly. That said, despite your disagreements with others, you should treat them with respect -- something that seems lacking IMO.

A few other thoughts in response to what I left above:

1. This is your one topic -- is that the reason you only comment on tithing posts? Shouldn't a Money and Finance Minister be involved with, have opinions on, and teach on all sorts of personal finance topics? Consider Larry Burkett, Howard Dayton, etc. Are you telling me that you only address tithing? Or is it that you simply have an ax to grind? Again, I wonder if you're employed by a church or organization of some sort or simply on your own. I would think a "Money and Finance Minister" would cover a much broader range of topics.

2. I'll turn your last question around on you:

"If generous giving only was appropriate today, do you really think so few would be giving generously?"

(Which they are based on every church giving survey I've ever seen -- averaging no better than non-Christians.)

BTW, this is really a weak argument, but I turned it around just to make a point. Just because people don't do something (pray, worship, serve, help others, etc.) doesn't mean it's wrong or is not something we all SHOULD be doing...


I’m sorry if you don’t find love in my comments. It is difficult for me at times to show my actual feelings on the internet.

I am a retired accountant, California Income Tax Auditor, and tax preparer. I am not employed by any church or organization. I have given finance classes at churches, and pastors have asked me to meet one-on-one with church members that are having financial difficulties. My services are always free. I accept no donations.

Too many pastors are putting fear into their members. That is just plain wrong. Most people I talk to have been taught that they are robbing God if they don’t turn over a tenth of their income to the church, and that if they don’t, God will put a curse on them. I was asked to phone one such woman who lived about 180 miles from me, because she was scared the God was going to cause her to be in an accident because she can’t afford to tithe. I get these kinds of stories often.

Finances is my topic. That includes tithing, but certainly isn’t limited to tithing. The reason I get involved in so many tithing blogs is because of the number of pastors teaching that God requires Christians to tithe. Church goers believe whatever their pastor tells them. Yet I personally know pastors WHO TEACH TITHING but know that tithing is NOT appropriate for Christians. This sickens me, knowing that these pastors purposely LIE to their congregation in order to coerce them to give more.

You asked, "If generous giving only was appropriate today, do you really think so few would be giving generously?"

Many churches that don’t teach tithing are doing quite well financially. You see, teaching false doctrines doesn’t encourage giving from the heart. Look at the mega church of John MacArthur. Mega church in Southern California, who teaches there is NO tithing for Christians. Not all denominations teach tithing. In fact, my research shows that one such denomination brings in more money per member than any other denomination. And in that denomination, they don’t put their names on envelopes, either. Giving is all done in secret.

I claim that IF good financial stewardship is PROPERLY taught in the church, Christians would actually spend less, leaving more to give. Until one becomes a generous, sacrificial giver, they will never experience the true joy in giving.

I find that people, in general, are extremely selfish. Are they born selfish, or is it an acquired trait. I don’t believe anyone is born selfish. I believe it is an acquired trait. It’s time the church starts teaching stewardship properly and to show HOW to acquire the trait of being a generous giver. Problem is, few pastors have the knowledge necessary to do this training; thus, many resort to teaching tithing, taking the easy way out.

Gary --

Just because you can find some churches that do well with generous giving, doesn't mean most do. Look at the percentages given and you'll see that it's not working by the standard you yourself set.

And for that matter, I can find some churches that are doing well teaching tithing, so what does that say in your way of thinking?

And what about Larry Burkett, Howard Dayton, Chuck Bentley, etc. that are not part of a church and yet teach tithing. What is their motivation?


What is the motivation of the following who all say tithing does not belong in the Christian Church?

Roger Williams - founder of the Baptist Church in the US
John Wesley
Adam Clarke
Charles H Spurgeon
W E Vine
Charles C Ryrie
Charles Swindoll
J Vernon McGee
and I can list dozens of others.

Truth is what matters most, not motive. The history of tithing on one's income in the Christian Church proves, beyond any reasonable doubt, why tithing is taught today.

You said, "Look at the percentages given and you'll see that it's not working by the standard you yourself set."

Of course it's not working. Most pastors aren't teaching truth when it comes to tithing, and few understand how to teach proper financial stewardship. It's the blind leading the blind.

Gary --

Your arguments aren't making any sense:

1. You are the one that brought up motive. You said that the reason pastors teach tithing is because they have a motive (to get their churches money). So when I bring up prominent Christians (financial experts BTW) who are not part of a church and still teach tithing, then you list people who do teach tithing. How does that make any sense?

2. You said, "If tithing was appropriate today, do you really think so few would be tithing?" I asked then that same question with generous giving inserted and the reason you gave is because so many pastors teach tithing? This implies that the majority of pastors believe/teach tithing and that's why giving is so low. Actually, the majority teach/believe that tithing is not appropriate (source: ), so this leaves "generous giving" in the majority. So now, if giving is low, by your reasoning, then it's because generous giving is not working, right (since it's the majority view)?

Personally, I'm not against generous giving or tithing -- I believe everything we have is God's and that we should all give much more than 10%. But your arguments aren't making any sense -- even by the standards you yourself set -- surely you can see that, right?


You said, “So when I bring up prominent Christians (financial experts BTW) who are not part of a church and still teach tithing, then you list people who do teach tithing. How does that make any sense?”

I gave a list of people who do NOT teach tithing. Many of them are not pastors.

The motive only works one way. Pastors who teach tithing may have a motive to bring in more money. Ones I’ve talked to have told me that IS, in fact, their motive. By that I mean those who don’t teach tithing are merely teaching truth. No motive is needed other than to be honest.

You said, “Actually, the majority teach/believe that tithing is not appropriate…”

Did you read the whole study? Almost ALL of them STILL teach tithing, whether voluntary or mandatory. Just because a pastor doesn’t believe tithing is a requirement in the New Testament doesn’t mean they don’t teach that you are robbing God if you don’t tithe. I’ve heard pastors say it not mandatory, but you are robbing God if you don’t tithe, or you are missing blessings, or you will be curses. Some of these pastors believe one thing but teach another.

You said, “I believe everything we have is God's and that we should all give much more than 10%.”

I don’t believe that we should ALL give much more than 10%. I have both family and friends that need my help to make it from month to month because of unemployment or reduced working hours. That can’t afford to give much of anything. Would it be right for them to give even 10% of their income to the church, and then need to ask me to help pay the rent, or help pay for food? In the Old Testament, the poor didn’t tithe. They were partially supported by the tithe. Don’t try to push what works for you onto others. The New Testament teaches that one should give FROM WHAT THEY HAVE. If you have to borrow to make it from paycheck to paycheck, there is nothing to give.

My arguments and teaching makes lots of sense. That why there are Bible Study instructions and preachers in the US, Canada, Australia, and even in East Africa teaching from my material.

Gary --

I highly doubt that pastors tell you that they teach something they think is not true simply because it brings in more money. Is that what you are saying?

As for the page I linked to, I see no place where it says almost all of them teach tithing -- where are you seeing that?

Here are the pieces from the link that I think make the most sense:

"My gratitude to God is unlimited so does that mean I need to give everything?" he posed. "What would be an appropriate expression of gratitude? And that is where the Old Testament information comes in. That God considered an appropriate expression to be a tithe."

He added, "Sort of like the benchmark for tips in a restaurant. It sets what the expectations are."

Douglas LeBlanc, author of Tithing: Test Me in This, commented, "What is maddening to me is if there were a more explicit command to tithe, I think there would still be folks who would say, 'We are not in bondage to the law after all.'

"American Christians in particular, I think, will never fail to find a way out of tithing if they are not interested."


You said, "I highly doubt that pastors tell you that they teach something they think is not true simply because it brings in more money. Is that what you are saying?

That is EXACTLY what I am saying. That fact that you say you highly doubt that it happens tells me you don't believe I am being honest.

Pastor A with his Ph.D. in theology told me he knew I was right. He knew that tithing is not valid today, but he said people just don't want to give, so "I have to teach it the way I do." He teaches robbing God if you don't tithe.

Pastor B said he would research the topic. He later stopped teaching that tithing was mandatory, but kept using the word tithing anyway which then misleads the congregation since he had been teaching robbing God for years. He never told them he had changed his belief or teaching.

Pastor C said he would research the topic. He also agreed that his teaching had been incorrect, but kept using the word tithing at offering time and never told the congregation that his beliefs had changed.


I read the whole study you referred to, not just that short article.

Why not look at the book:
Perspectives on Tithing: Four Views. Perspectives on Tithing presents in point-counterpoint format the most common views about how Christians are to give of their financial resources, addressing the myriad of questions that surround the complex issue. Ken Hemphill (Empowering Kingdom Growth) and Bobby Eklund (Eklund Stewardship Ministries) contribute "The Foundations of Giving" while the book's editor, David A. Croteau (Liberty University), writes "The Post-Tithing View: Giving in the New Covenant." A chapter by Reggie Kidd (Reformed Theological Seminary) is called "Tithing in the New Covenant? 'Yes' as Principle, 'No' as Casuistry." Finally, Gary North (Institute for Christian Economics) looks directly at "The Covenantal Tithe," and Scott Preissler (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) provides the epilogue.

David A. Croteau is assistant professor of Biblical Studies at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. He holds a Th.M. and Ph.D. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Start a Blog


  • Any information shared on Free Money Finance does not constitute financial advice. The Website is intended to provide general information only and does not attempt to give you advice that relates to your specific circumstances. You are advised to discuss your specific requirements with an independent financial adviser. Per FTC guidelines, this website may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise. All posts are © 2005-2012, Free Money Finance.