21 Bible verses about tithes and offerings

One of the biggest challenges pastors face during their weekend services is how to collect tithes and offerings in a way that’s compelling, effective, and biblical. Churches rely on donations to fulfill their missions, but appealing for financial support can be uncomfortable and difficult to approach. 

Fortunately, the Bible has a lot to say about money, and there are plenty of tithing and offering verses that pastors should consider when encouraging generosity. In fact, there are over 2,000 Bible scriptures on money, tithing, possessions, and giving—twice the amount of Bible verses about faith and prayer combined! 

Let’s take a closer look at tithes and offerings in the Bible, and how these passages can improve our understanding of money, stewardship, and giving.

Tithes and offerings

What are tithes and offerings?

Tithes represent 10% of a person’s income and are typically given to their local church. The word tithe (or tithing) in the Bible is based on the Hebrew word ma’aser and the Greek word dekate, both of which mean a “tenth” of something. The act of tithing is deeply rooted in the Bible—in the Old Testament, it was obligatory—and it is still practiced by Christians today. 

Offerings, on the other hand, are simply gifts that are not part of a tithe. Unlike tithes, offerings were given voluntarily to express gratitude to God. Offerings first appeared in scripture when Cain and Abel brought sacrifices to the Lord.

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. —Genesis 4:2–4a

How many Christians tithe?

Tithes are a critical part of a church’s financial ability to fulfill their mission. However, how many Christians tithe? According to recent studies, only about 5% of Christians regularly tithe. In fact, people tithe less of their income to churches today than they did during the Great Depression.

The good news is that modern technology is making tithing easier with online giving. For example, because donors can set up recurring digital gifts, your community no longer needs to remember to write a check every week or every month. Churches who add online giving options through their church websites and custom mobile apps see an average increase of 32% in their overall giving!         

What does the Bible say about tithes?

What does the Bible say about tithing?

There are numerous Bible verses about tithes and offerings. Abraham presented the first tithe when he gave the priest Melchizedek a tenth of all of his possessions. It wasn’t until later that the practice of tithing became a requirement for the people of Israel.

Then Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. —Genesis 14:18–20

Tithing was a requirement of the Law of Moses

After their exodus from Egypt, Moses gave the Hebrew people the tithing requirement as part of God’s law. These tithes were used to support the temple priests, provide for widows and orphans, and to help finance religious festivals that were held throughout the year. 

A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord. —Leviticus 27:30

Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. Deuteronomy 14:22

There bring your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, what you have vowed to give and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks Deuteronomy 12:6

Tithes belong to God

God told his people that not tithing was equivalent to stealing from him. However, he also promised to pour out his blessings upon those who tithe.

“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 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.” —Malachi 3:8–10

Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. Proverbs 3:9-10

Tithing is a sacrifice from the heart

As soon as the order went out, the Israelites generously gave the firstfruits of their grain, new wine, olive oil, and honey, and all that the fields produced. They brought a great amount, a tithe of everything. 2 Chronicles 31:5

One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:24-25

What did Jesus teach about tithing?

Jesus only spoke a few times specifically about tithing in the New Testament. However, Jesus consistently taught that a person’s generosity reflects their personal values and heart attitudes. 

Love God, not money

Jesus warned that the love of money can distort priorities and actually pull people away from loving God. 

“No one can serve two masters, for 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 God and money.” —Matthew 6:24

Be faithful in more than just tithing

Jesus did not teach that people should stop tithing. He condemned the religious leaders for selectively obeying the laws of their choosing.

“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 practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” —Matthew 23:23 (see also Luke 11:42)

Tithing isn’t what makes you righteous 

Jesus also told the following parable to illustrate that tithing in itself does not make a person more righteous than anyone else.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’  “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” —Luke 18:9–14

Tithe with humility

Instead of tithing to impress others, Jesus taught that people should not seek any recognition when giving.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” —Matthew 6:2–4

Your giving reveals what’s really important to you

Jesus explained that earthly treasures will decay and fade away. Instead of using money for perishable possessions here on earth, it is better to invest in things that are eternal.

“Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” —Luke 12:33–34

Give with no strings attached

It’s easier for someone to give when they know they’ll be repaid. However, Jesus taught that a person should give freely without expecting anything in return.

“And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” —Luke 6:34–36

God repays us according to how we give

Another Biblical principle is that we should treat others how we want to be treated. Jesus preached that this also applies to our giving principles.

“…give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” —Luke 6:38

New Testament verses on tithing!

New Testament verses on tithing and offering 

While there are a few specific tithe and offerings scriptures in the New Testament, it is full of verses that discuss giving and how to manage money. 

Give lovingly

Giving is meaningless unless it is done out of love.

If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. —1 Corinthians 3:3

Give freely and cheerfully

Nobody enjoys receiving a gift given from a reluctant giver—least of all God! Likewise, we should give freely and cheerfully, not because we have to.

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. —2 Corinthians 9:7

Greed brings problems

People need money to live, and churches need money to continue to serve their communities. However, the love of money is greed, and greed is a powerful and destructive vice.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. —1 Timothy 6:10

Giving brings blessings

Have you ever bought a present for someone that you couldn’t wait to give? Anyone can receive a gift, but the act of giving from the heart brings blessings beyond just the gift itself.

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” —Acts 20:35

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way, they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19

Tithes and offering

Next steps

Sharing tithe and offering messages about why we give, not just what and when to give, will help your congregation become more joyful givers. Another important step to having engaged donors is to make the process of giving tithes and offerings as simple as possible. 

People prefer the convenience of making purchases and payments online, so adding an online giving solution makes giving effortless for your congregation. Check out our online giving guide to see how simple it is to get online giving for your church. Beyond providing a wonderful experience for your donors, digital giving also makes donation tracking and reporting much simpler for your church staff.

Ready to learn how your church can simplify tithing and encourage generosity to fuel your mission? [.blog-contact-cta]Contact us today![.blog-contact-cta]

If you’re already using the Subsplash Platform and want to add Subsplash Giving, log in to your dashboard to sign up, or schedule a call with your Client Success Manager!

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Jeff Harvey, Guest Author

Jeff lives in Austin, TX and is a husband, father, and bonsai enthusiast. He’s served churches for over 20 years as a pastor, teacher, and missionary. He also holds a MBA from George Fox University and is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.

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