Where does the idea of tithing come from?

Steven PutmanQandALeave a Comment

Question: I’ve heard people say we should tithe a portion of our income. Where does that idea come from?

Answer: Giving generously to the needs of the Church and the poor is an ancient idea, one that’s been with us throughout Christian history and within the Jewish tradition as well. In the Old Testament, the Mosaic Law required that one tenth of produce be offered to God. Leviticus and Deuteronomy describe offering one tenth of harvested grains or fruit, one tenth of pressed wine and oil, and every tenth firstborn livestock. The origin of the word “tithe” is the Anglo-Saxon word for “tenth.” These offerings were given to the priests for sacrifice, sustenance, or further distribution.

Jesus advises almsgiving, and Acts describes wealthier Christians contributing funds in support of poorer members of the community. We are all called to be good stewards of what we have received from God. This means making room to give some things away. We all have necessary expenses, which will vary in our different states of life. For some, giving 10% may be too high. For others, much more than 10% could be offered. We should all assess our finances and make sure offering to the work of God is a priority in our budget.

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