Having questions about aspects of our Christian faith is a great opportunity to explore what the Bible says about a topic, and to deepen our knowledge and faith in God.
We understand there are already questions about giving, so we have included some of the 'Frequently Asked Questions' around tithing and giving below.
Does the Bible say I should tithe, and what is a 'tithe'?
Catalyst believes that the scripture is clear about the principle of tithing:
Malachi 3:8-10: 8 Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 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 there will not be room enough to store it.
- Tithing teaches us to give proportionately and sacrificially.
- Tithing teaches us to exercise faith and put God first.
- Tithing teaches us to love and serve His church.
- Tithing teaches us to give proportionately but also sacrificially.
Tithing literally means 10 percent, but the real principle of the tithe is sacrifice.
There is evidence in the Old Testament that their combined ‘tithes’ often added up to well above 20%. Therefore 10% is helpful, because it gives us a starting point, it is proportional, but the more important principle is sacrifice.
C.S. Lewis the famous Christian author said, “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.”
Isn't tithing just an Old Testament Law?
Tithing was introduced before the Old Testament law was instituted.
The first time we see it is Genesis 14:17-20 where Abraham, returning from battle, pays tithes to Melchizedek. Melchizedek is widely regarded as a type or an illustration of Christ in scripture, and Abraham is tithing to honour the God that gave him victory. The bible tells us this is 430 years before the existence of the law, so there is great argument to say tithing is beyond.
But certainly it is in the Old Testament and it was ultimately part of the law also. It's important to understand that there are plenty of law commands in the Old Testament that still stand. For example ‘Do not murder’, ‘honouring your parent’s and ‘worshipping only God’.
In fact Jesus says in Matthew 5:18-19, that nothing will disappear from the law and he commands that it be taught.
The key is we are no longer bound by the law, or as the Apostle Paul says, we are not under the law…it doesn’t judge us. Why is that? Because Jesus has met all the requirements of the law that is on us, which is brilliant but challenging because Jesus calls us then to go beyond the law and live an even higher level of righteousness.
The reason he can say that, is because he gives us the power to do it! (2 Corinthians 3:18) This is the difference.
Further, there are a number of references to tithing in the New Testament.
Matt 23:23: 23 "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 practised the latter, without neglecting the former.
Perhaps the strongest evidence is, 1 Corinthians 9:9 -10. Scholars believe Paul is taking the principle of the tithe and applying it to the context of the local church in supporting the work of ministry. In this Jesus confirmed the validity of tithing.
Beyond these evidences, Jesus tells us that we cannot serve both God and money and ultimately ends in Matt 6:33 “Seek first my kingdom…”
Throughout the New Testament there is also evidence for taking up offerings for needs and causes. Catalyst regularly takes offerings in relation to our mission enterprises and from time to time smaller needs within the church. We know through that scripture that –
giving should be generous:
2 Corinthians 9:6: 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap
sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
2 Corinthians 9:6: 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
- Our giving should be proportionate:
Corinthians 8:11-12: 11 Now
finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your
completion of it, according to your means. 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is
acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.
Corinthians 16:2: 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should
set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income.
2 Corinthians 8:11-12: 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.
1 Corinthians 16:2: 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income.
- Our giving should be joyful:
2 Corinthians 9:7: 7 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.
What does the Bible say about having money?
Jesus was not ashamed to talk about money… He speaks about it more than just about any other topic in the New Testament. The reason for this is Money can be our god.
Matthew 6:24 says, 24“No-one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
Money is power in itself. It is a power that wants to rule us and have dominion over us. According to Jesus and all the writers of the New Testament, behind money are very real spiritual forces that energize it and give it a life of its own. Just like a god, it gives us security, can induce guilt, gives us freedom and we can worship it. Money has spiritual power, to win our hearts. Behind our coins and dollar bills or whatever material form we choose to give to our money are spiritual forces.
Giving and generosity speaks directly to the temptation to serve money as a god. For this reason Catalyst regards the giving of our substance as highly important in the life of a believer. God doesn’t need our money, or our worship or anything else for that matter. We need this truth in our lives.
Acts 20:35: 35 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.’ ”
Who finds out how much I give?
Your giving will be kept private at Catalyst. Only the accounts team and on some occasions the Lead Pastor and/or Pastoral care pastor may be aware of your giving.