Is Tithing Law or Grace?


Malachi 3:10 – “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”


Is Tithing Law or Grace?

This question has been debated by pastors as well as laymen through the years. As a child, I greatly appreciated the great teaching I received on the importance of generosity and giving. I was raised in a large family of eight in Forest Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. We were members of the Messiah Baptist Church of Broadview. In addition to receiving sound Biblical teaching by a faithful pastor and teachers, I had the example of my parents who practiced Biblical tithing and grace giving through our local church.

I read an excellent article on this subject by Pastor John Ortberg…“One of the things Jesus never actually said was, By the way, now that I’ve introduced grace into the equation, no one needs to worry about tithing anymore.” A frequent question among Christians is, “Isn’t tithing an Old Testament concept? Aren’t we under grace now? Ortberg continues, “This question more or less assumes that it was only post-Pentecost that the church discovered that God is the owner and that people are stewards. It implies that legalistic old Israel thought all they had to do was check the “I tithed” box and then got to spend the rest however they wanted (ignoring Biblical statements like, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof”). What if tithing isn’t opposed to grace, but is actually a vehicle of it? Is tithing in fact God’s great tool to create generous people? Tithing is likened to “training wheels when it comes to giving. It’s intended to help get you started, but not recommended for the Tour de France. When do you know when to take the training wheels off? The answer: When they are slowing you down.”

When do you know it’s time to stop tithing?

The answer: When you give much more than 10 percent. In Malachi 3 the prophet warns the Jewish people that failure to tithe is actually robbing God, but if they proved or tested God, he would open the windows of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.