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Ask the Pastor 136

How much should we give?

When we give at church, we are giving to support the church, to advance the gospel and to meet the needs of those in need. In our society the focus is more on the first two, because we have a welfare system in place which is paid for by our taxes. On the average the American citizen will pay 15% of their income to support the government to provide services and protection for its citizens including welfare, social security and medicare for the aged, medicaid for the poor etc. In the local church, we usually think in terms of a tithe of 10% of our income. This originates from Jacob in Genesis 28:22 and then is incorporated into the law of Moses. It has been calculated that if every Christian gave 10%, there would be more than enough to support all the churches and ministries in America and all the missionaries and then some to support the spread of the gospel throughout the world. Only about 5% of those going to church will tithe, the rest will give between 2% and 3%. There are two primary passages of Scripture in the New Testament that address giving. The first is in I Corinthians 9 where we see that those who are in full time ministry are worthy of being paid, we see this again in I Timothy 5:17-18. In II Corinthians 8 and 9 we have principles of giving. The context here is of the need to raise money for the church in Jerusalem. The principles remain good for our learning and practice. Giving is in the same terms as a grace which is compared to the grace of our Lord Jesus (8:9). Giving is to be done bountifully, with purpose, not grudgingly or of necessity and cheerfully, as God loves a cheerful giver (9:6-7). We give as the Lord leads us, and as He has prospered us, so this may be more than just 10%. We do not give because we have to but because we want to out of love for the Lord who has given to us, much more than we can ever repay.

Have questions about the Bible? Send them to Dr. Greg Koehn at and read the answer here in this article.

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