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Tithing 101: A Brief Survey of Biblical Perspectives

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The practice of tithing—a term traditionally understood as giving ten percent of one’s earnings to the church—remains a point of contention among Christian believers. Tracing the origins of tithing to the Old Testament and its transition within the New Testament framework warrant a detailed and thoughtful exploration. Let’s delve deeper into the New Testament’s guidance on the principles, purposes, and practicality of tithing and giving for today’s Christians.

A Brief Survery of Bible Passages on Tithing

Tithing in the Old Testament: The Foundation of a Tradition

The historical background of tithing is integral to understanding its evolution. In the Old Testament, tithing was commanded as a means to support the Levitical priesthood and facilitate communal welfare. Key passages like Leviticus 27:30-32 and Numbers 18:21-24 lay the groundwork for this practice, which was not merely religious obligation but a societal pillar for the Israelites.

New Testament Giving: From Mandate to Heartfelt Generosity

The transition to the New Testament principles of giving represents a shift from a fixed requirement to a dynamic, spiritually-led act. Jesus Christ, while acknowledging traditional practices, places greater emphasis on the motives and attitudes behind giving (Matthew 23:23). He advocates for giving rooted in love, compassion, and a deep sense of stewardship over one’s resources.

The Widow’s Offering: A Symbol of True Sacrifice

One poignant New Testament narrative is the story of the widow’s offering (Mark 12:41-44), which epitomizes the principle of sacrificial giving. Here, Jesus commends the widow’s small but significant contribution, teaching that the measure of one’s giving is not in quantity but in sacrifice and intentionality. Her act lifts the veil on the heart of generosity, which holds the intention above the numeral value.