What is tithing?
Tithing is an Old Testament concept. The tithe was a requirement of the law in which all Israelites were to give 10 percent of everything they earned and grew to the Tabernacle/Temple (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5). In fact, the Old Testament Law required multiple tithes which would have pushed the total to around 23.3 percent, not the 10 percent which is generally considered the tithe amount today. Some understand the Old Testament tithe as a method of taxation to provide for the needs of the priests and Levites in the sacrificial system. The New Testament nowhere commands, or even recommends, that Christians submit to a legalistic tithe system. Paul states that believers should set aside a portion of their income in order to support the church (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
What amount should I tithe?
The New Testament nowhere designates a percentage of income a person should set aside, but only says it is to be “in keeping with income” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Some in the Christian church have taken the 10 percent figure from the Old Testament tithe and applied it as a “recommended minimum” for Christians in their giving. The New Testament talks about the importance and benefits of giving. We are to give as we are able. Sometimes that means giving more than 10 percent; sometimes that may mean giving less. It all depends on the ability of the Christian and the needs of the church. Every Christian should diligently pray and seek GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wisdom in the matter of participating in tithing and/or how much to give (James 1:5). Above all, all tithes and offerings should be given with pure motives and an attitude of worship to God and service to the body of Christ. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Should we tithe off our gross or net income?
Many people believe that the Old Testament tithe is a good principle for believers to follow. Giving 10% of your income back to God demonstrates your thankfulness to Him for what He has provided and helps you to remember to rely on God instead of on riches. Again, a believer should give what he believes God would have him give. It all goes back to the attitude of the heart. Are we giving out of reverence for God or out of selfishness for our own wealth? “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
If you have a lot of debt, can you temporarily stop tithing while paying off the debt?
It is permissible to stop tithing while paying off debt. Paying debts is a duty; tithing is “optional.” Please do not misunderstandÃ¢â‚¬â€giving to the LordÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s work is very important. Sacrificial financial giving is part of GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s calling for every Christian. If it is truly impossible to pay off the debt and continue tithing at the same time, it would not be wrong to decrease giving, or stop giving entirely, temporarily, in order to pay off the debts that are owed.