Many Christians practice tithing by giving ten percent of their income to local churches and other Christian and charitable causes. It is a good discipline to follow but in the case of giving to the local church it is often based upon just two verses of Scripture in the entire Bible, found in Malachi 3:8-9. "Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing me! But you say, 'How have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you.'" Plus, taken in the Old Testament context, people gave a lot more than ten percent, and it wasn't just limited to money.
Notice the words used here: rob, and cursed. Those are words that place a person under compulsion or obligation to give out of fear of the consequences. How many Christians actually believe they will incure a curse if they do not tithe? The verses have a negative motivation.
Now let's jump to II Corinthians 9:7-8 "Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." These verses emphasize the exact opposite. The contrast is striking! There is no compulsion out of fear, and no emphasis on a percentage.
Here is the problem. The Malachi passage is almost always quoted to the exclusion of the II Corinthians passage. This presents a very unbalanced teaching on giving. The New Testament simply emphasizes generous and sacrificial giving, as each as purposed in his or her own heart. That might mean only five percent, but it also could imply fifty percent.
To further sustain this more balanced teaching with the New Testament, is another Old Testament verse in Deuteronomy 16:17, that is totally ignored. "Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God, which he has given you."
Another problem that presents itself here is to never build a teaching on just one verse of Scripture. This is being done by many Christians, including pastors. Always take the complete whole of Scriptural teaching to build doctrines.
Tithing is a very practical way to plan a local church budget, but wouldn't most Christians rather follow the New Testament principle of simply giving generously, than abiding by a compulsion and percentage that if you don't keep, you could be cursed? Giving has become so complex.
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