What are Tithes and Offerings
The act of giving, in the form of tithes and offerings, is a fundamental aspect of Christian religions. Tithe comes from the Old English word Old English tēotha, literally meaning one-tenth. In the religious sense, a tithe is a voluntary donation of a tenth of one’s belongings. Tithes differ from offerings, as offerings are donations that exceed what is owed or what is over a tenth.
Tithing is mentioned throughout the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments. Exodus 35:5 is a passage that stands out. It reads “From what you have, take an offering for the LORD. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the LORD an offering.” The voluntary act of giving is a sacred teaching that helps the church fulfill its mission of providing aid to others within their community and around the world, maintaining facilities, paying church staff and demonstrating gratitude to God.
During the pandemic, when church services were done virtually, many people used online giving platforms to tithe, which shows the act can be completed through a variety of different ways.
Continue reading to understand more about tithes, including its importance in Christianity, why we tithe and biblical support for the concept of tithing.
Why Should We Tithe?
There are many reasons to give tithes and offerings in a place of worship. However, as churches work to recover from the pandemic’s negative effects, tithing is more important than ever. Churches have certainly witnessed generosity in their recovery, but the reasons to tithe extend far beyond pandemic recovery. In fact, just a single tithe can provide substantial evidence of the benefits of giving for churches. Here’s a breakdown of the benefits of tithing and why we should tithe when possible.
Tithing supports the church’s missions.Through a variety of missions and programs, churches are responsible for much of the support offered within communities across the country. Whether it's providing food and supplies to those in need or running programs to help enrich the community, funds are needed to help a church reach its goals. Money and supplies that are donated via tithes are used to support these goals.
Tithes help to maintain a church’s facilities and ongoing operation.As a nonprofit entity, a church’s maintenance depends on the community and its congregation’s generosity. A church’s operating expenses, such as utility bills, salary for church staff members, and the building’s rent or mortgage, are covered, at least in part, by tithes.
The Bible supports the practice of tithing.Tithing is mentioned several times throughout the Bible. Followers of the Lord’s words are advised to provide the Lord with an offering of a tithe of their fruits, wealth, or bounty. Within both testaments, tithing is considered a demonstration of one’s gratitude to the Lord.
Though there are many clear benefits of tithing, there’s also a significant need to increase tithing. A Vanco study revealed eye-opening tithing statistics that support the need for an increase in tithing. Currently, only 5% of churchgoers in the U.S. tithe. However, 77% of those who do tithe give over 10% in donations. Most significantly, if every Christian practiced tithing, an additional $139 billion would be generated for faith organizations annually.
Where in the Bible Does It Talk about Tithes and Offerings?
Guidance regarding tithes and offerings appears in both the old and new testament. In fact, there are so many references to tithing in the Bible that an exhaustive list would be longer than this article! That said, although tithing is mentioned as early as Genesis, it’s the mention of tithes in Leviticus that cements tithing as law in the new testament. Below, you’ll find some of the most significant mentions of tithing in the Bible.
1. Genesis 14:18–20
“And he blessed Abram and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.”
This passage represents the first mention of tithing in the Bible. Here, Abram has just returned from battle with his people and many goods in his lot. He is being blessed by the priest and king of Salem Melchizedek. In gratitude to God and his blessings, Abram presents Melchizedek with a tithe of his victory’s spoils.
2. Proverbs 3:9–10
“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”
This passage is an explanation of giving’s reciprocal nature, as is intended by the Lord. He rewards those who practice tithing in good faith. As fair fate and all goods are a direct result of the Lord’s blessings, it is only natural to give thanks for these blessings through tithing. Tithing in the New Testament is marked by a deep faith and obedience to the Lord and his will. Those who have faith and are obedient will be rewarded.
3. Leviticus 27:30–34
“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.”
In this passage, Moses sets tithing as law when addressing the Israelites. Be it fruit of the trees or a healthy flock, a tenth of all goods is to be considered holy to the Lord. This offering is not considered a gift to the Lord, but an act of returning to Him what is rightfully his.
Convenience presents a significant obstacle to tithing. Churchgoers are generous, but when the opportunity to give is limited to a single instance every week or only in-person visits to the church that generosity may go unfulfilled. That’s why it’s crucial for churches to provide their congregation with multiple ways to give, and to avoid relying solely on the collection plate. That’s where Vanco’s eGiving platform comes in.
Vanco’s eGiving platform supports eGiving for churches by helping faith organizations set up a virtual donation portal where members of the congregation and community can donate regularly. If your faith organization is looking for a tool to help facilitate eGiving, increase donations, and simplify the donation process, Vanco can help you reach your goals. Want to learn more? Get in touch today!