The Christian Act of Giving – How Much to Give

Contrary to popular belief, Christians are not commanded to give. Giving is something done voluntarily. Giving should not be done under compulsion, coercion, duress, or conviction. There are some exceptions, of course. Within this article, I will give Biblical insight into the Christian act of giving.

Would it be too bold of a statement to say that Christians should give whatever they decide? However bold a statement it is, the Bible teaches us to give what we have decided on within our hearts. I will show several verses that support how much a Christian is to give.

Give Whatever You Want

The Bible teaches us that within the new covenant, we are to give what we have decided in our hearts to give.[1] If you have decided in your heart to give ten percent, then so be it. No person can force your heart to want to give more or less; the amount that you ultimately decide to give is up to you.

There are several ways the Lord influences our hearts on what amount to give, however. One of the influences is that of the generosity of others.[2] In 2 Corinthians 8:8-9, Paul uses the example of what others have done in order to influence those to give.

As you can see from the above examples, Christians are not commanded on a set amount to give. Even Jesus pointed out that it isn’t necessarily the amount given, but the heart that the gift was given with.[3]

Notes

  1. 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV)

    7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

  2. 2 Corinthians 8:8-9 (NIV)

    8I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

  3. Mark 12:41-44 (NIV)

    41Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins,worth only a fraction of a penny.
    43Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

4 Comments

  1. Ronald,
    This is an interesting and important topic. I have never agreed with the churches that force their members to tithe or give a certain amount (some going so far as to demand copies of tax returns of their members). As you say, this type of behavior is too near to the legalism Jesus preached against. I agree with your assessment that how much to give is much more subjective. I think there's another verse that may apply here as well that goes something like, "To whom much has been given, much will be required." That being said, I should be giving much more of my time and money than I currently am since I have been greatly blessed. Take care,

    -nathan

  2. I believe the verse you are referring to is in Luke 12:48.

    But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (NIV)

    I do believe the verse is in the context of stewardship and talents, so I think you're right on. The verse is more of a warning against taking the Lord's coming (and possessions) for granted.

  3. Thank you both for your constructive discussion on the spiritual, financial, and even "emotional" aspects of tithing/giving. In a similar discussion with my grandmother she reminded me that, "we can't out-give God." When considering alll that He has done for us, my offerings are paltry in comparison, but I do believe He rewards us generously for our faithfulness. Anyway, my point was just to say thanks. God bless you both, and may He give you discernment about when and how much to give.

  4. Yes, giving should come from your heart. It should not be coerced and should be done wholeheartedly.

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