What does the NT say about giving?
I’m sure someone has told you that Christians should tithe. That is, you should give one-tenth of all you make to the church. That principle has the virtue of being easy to remember, but does it have the virtue of being true?
The problem is, tithing is not a clear NT teaching. It’s not even a clear OT teaching. Israel’s system of tithes, taxes, and offerings was complicated. And it did not involve giving ten percent of all you had. Not exactly (see here and here).
So what are some clear NT principles for giving? Here are some from 2 Corinthians 8-9.
First, God gave you more than enough, so you could give to those who have less than enough:
now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality (2 Cor 8:14).
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work (2 Cor 9:8).
Second, giving is proof of your love:
But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also. I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others (2 Cor 8:7-8).
Third, give voluntarily (you need the correct mental attitude):
For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing (2 Cor 8:3).
So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity (2 Cor 9:7a).
Fourth, give cheerfully:
for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7b).
Fifth, give according to what you have, not according to what you don’t have (e.g., don’t take a cash advance on your credit card to help someone out):
For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have (2 Cor 8:12).
Sixth, give so that one day when you need it, someone will give to you:
that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack (2 Cor 9:13-14).
Seventh, give to promote equality among Christian assemblies:
For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality (2 Cor 9:13-14).
Those simple principles offer a lot of freedom in how you give and in how much you give. As in all things, use your freedom to glorify Christ.