What the Bible Teaches About Money
The Bible teaches that our decisions about money and possessions are spiritual decisions; they affect, for good or ill, our relationship with God. The Bible addresses the issue of our finances over 600 times. Jesus talked about money more than anything else except the Kingdom of God. What does Scripture say about money? It can be summarized by these four great Biblical Principles, four great Biblical Questions, and four great Biblical Promises.
Four Great Biblical Principles
#1 - Everything belongs to the Lord
Beware lest you say in your heart, 'My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.' You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
In the wilderness before they entered the land of milk and honey and gained riches beyond anything they had known before, the people of Israel heard this warning from Moses. God, the Bible tells us, is the giver of all that we have. What we possess is not earned, but is a gift from Him.
#2 – We have received a God-given trust as stewards. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
(1 Corinthians 4:2)
We are accountable to God for what we do with all that He has entrusted to us. We are not owners, but mangers of God’s possessions. All that we have comes from God and we will one day be called to account to Him for what we have done with His bounty.
#3 – Being a trustworthy steward means giving.
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.
Knowing the Lord who is the all giving God, the God of Creation and Salvation, means that we, as followers of Jesus, are a giving people. Giving brings us closer to God. What we do with our possessions reflects and shapes, for good or ill, our relationship with God.
#4 – God wants us to give freely in thankfulness for all that God has done for us in Christ.
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
(2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
Think about all that God has given you. What is the only response that makes sense. To give generously and joyfully as a statement of your gratitude to all that God has done for you in Jesus Christ.
Four Great Biblical Questions
# 1 - How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me?
The motive for Christian giving is not guilt or fear. The motive for Christian giving is thankfulness. The biblical answer to this question is found in the same Psalm: “I will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving” (Psalm 116:7). Our gratitude should lead to generous giving.
# 2 - What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? (James 2:14)
Faith in God, which is mere lip service, is seen by God to be hypocrisy and it counts for nothing. Unless we put our faith into practice, unless it makes a difference in the way we live our lives, then our faith is dead.
# 3 - “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—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 you will not have room enough for it.
The Bible clearly gives us the standard for Christian giving – the tithe. At least 10% of what we receive is to be given back to God as a way of expressing our love for Him and our understanding that everything we have comes from Him. Jesus endorsed the tithe and said that we must tithe while living lives that work for justice and show true love for God (Matthew 23:23).
# 4 - Who then will offer willingly, consecrating himself today to the LORD?"
(1 Chronicles 29:5)
King David asked this question in calling on the people to give to the Lord so that the temple might be constructed. He was calling for giving, but, on a deeper level, he was calling on people to offer themselves totally to the Lord. Their giving should reflect their total commitment of their lives to God.
Four Great Biblical Promises
# 1 - Give generously to him (your poor brother and sister) and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.
As we respond to God’s call to give generously and with a loving heart, God promises to bless us. Our lives will be better as we obey God and give.
# 2 - And God is able to give you more than you need, so that you will always have all you need for yourselves and more than enough for every good cause.
(2 Corinthians 9:8)
God will bless us with abundance, not to make us rich, but to enable us to have enough to give. He wants us to experience the joy and blessing that comes from giving to others.
# 3 - Your gifts meet the needs of God's people. And that's not all. Your gifts also cause many people to thank God. You have shown yourselves to be worthy by what you have given. So people will praise God because you obey him. That proves that you really believe the good news about Christ. They will also praise God because you share freely with them and with everyone else. (2 Corinthians 9:12-13)
God says in Malachi 3:8-10 that we can test Him; if we tithe, He will provide for us. Here He says that He is also testing us. We will demonstrate the reality of our love for Him by our response to His goodness and generosity.
Questions & Answers About Tithing
What is tithing?
Tithing is returning to God 10% of our income (10cents of every dollar) as a way of expression of our joy and thanksgiving for all that the Lord has given to us. The Bible poses the questions, "What shall I give the Lord for all His bounty to me?" (Psalm 116:12) The Bible's answer is for us to offer our very lives to the Lord and then to offer the tithe as a symbol of our commitment to Him.
What is the Biblical basis for tithing?
Many Christians are surprised to discover that tithing goes all the way back to Abraham who offered 10% of all he had to God. Abraham, the biblical model of faithfulness, had experienced such blessings and had such love for the Lord that he freely gave a tithe to show his thankfulness. God then commanded His people to tithe. The tithe is taken "off the top" - the first 10% is holy and belongs to the Lord (Leviticus 27:30). The tithe is important for us spiritually, and it is also God's way of meeting the practical needs of the church and local community (Acts 2:42-46). Your faithful financial response provides for the worship and ministry of this church: the care of our children and youth, the encouragement and equipping of our adults and the privilege of spreading the good news of God in Christ in and beyond our community.
What was Jesus' attitude toward tithing?
Jesus did not belabour the issue of tithing because He assumed that His people would be already tithing - it was an expected practice of God's people in Old Testament times. Jesus explained that He came "not to abolish the Law but to fulfil it." (Matthew 5:17). Our Lord spoke against those who were so caught up in calculating their tithe that they had no concern for those in need around them. Instead, He taught the importance of tithing with a generous and compassionate heart (Matthew 23:23).
Does tithing apply to 21st century Christians?
Yes! Throughout history, the Church has affirmed the tithe as the standard for Christian giving. At St. Mary & St. Bartholomew's, the Rector and a number of parishioners are committed to returning to God a minimum of the Biblical tithe. More individuals and families of our parish are tithing and discovering the joy and freedom from anxiety about possessions that God promises to those who trust in Him.
God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it, He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out. This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.
2 Corinthians 9:8 The Message
Calculating God’s Tithe:
Many people desire to tithe, but find it difficult to know how to get there. One key step is to look honestly at where we are now in our giving so we can then move toward the tithe by increasing the percentage of our income that we give God. This worksheet will help you assess your giving in percentage terms and develop a plan to reach the tithe.
Suppose your present income is: $30,000.00
A tithe is (Move the decimal one place to the left): $3,000.00
Consider your current giving:
a. My income this year is:
b. A tithe would be (move one decimal place to the left)
c. 1% of my income would be (move one decimal place to
the left again)
d. My present giving to God is:
e. I may discover what percent of my income my present giving
represents by simply dividing item (a) by item (d):