Home Pastors R.C. Sproul: What Does the Bible Say About Christian Tithing?

R.C. Sproul: What Does the Bible Say About Christian Tithing?

Some people believe that the local church is the storehouse, and is, therefore, the only appropriate place for us to give our tithes. But nothing in the New Testament equates the local church with the Old Testament storehouse. If we believe that the local church is the storehouse, we would then have to argue for a central location where the tithes of all Christians would go. All of your tithes would have to go to a central receiving house and then be distributed from there. I have never heard a local church favor that. It is simply not biblical to require people to give their entire tithe to their local church. I do believe that the lion’s share of it should go to the local church, but I also think that the principle of letting your donation “sweat in your hand before you give it” implies not only discernment but also liberty in giving so that your giving may include a seminary, a Christian college, and other worthy ministries.

The Bible teaches that we are to invest in the kingdom of God. We live in a country that was built on the principle of capitalism, and the fundamental idea of capitalism is this: delayed gratification. Instead of taking the money we make and spending it all now, we save it and invest it. This allows our capital to go to work for us, expanding our wealth.

The most important investment we can ever make is in the kingdom of God, because it has eternal returns. These returns are not just for us but also for our family, our children, our grandchildren. This generation of Christians must invest in the things of God for the sake of the next generation. This follows Jesus” admonition: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).

I honestly believe that if you invest in the kingdom of God, you won’t lose anything in the final analysis. Tithe from the top, and learn to do that as early as you can in life. If your child gets a dollar allowance, make sure that the first ten cents goes into the collection plate on Sunday, so the child learns the principle early. We know we cannot spend the tax the government takes out of our paycheck. We must live on our “take home” pay. Our obligation to God takes precedence over our obligation to government. God should get paid first, “from the top.” If you want to know how serious you are about investing in God’s kingdom, look at your checkbook. It is an objective, concrete record of where your treasure is and where your heart is.

This article about tithing originally appeared here and is used by permission.

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1939–2017: founder of @Ligonier, founding pastor of Saint Andrew’s Chapel, and first president of @RefBibleCollege.