By Oyewole Sarumi PhD
This piece is a follow-up to my earlier write-up of October 2023 in this magazine titled “Sam Adeyemi’s Stance on Tithing and What the Church Should Know”. As I was concluding that piece, I wrote, “If we church leaders can be meticulous enough to study the Acts of Apostles, there are about twenty-one principles of giving that are tenable today as developed by the apostles in Acts and the epistles (more on this under a different title)”.
So, here’s the first part of the two-part series that throws more light on how new covenant Christians can give without any forceful regimental schedule that are relics of the old order (pre-crucifixion).
Once, again, let me reiterate that while the concept of tithing is mentioned in the Old Testament, the New Testament offers a broader and more nuanced perspective on Christian giving which is not legalistic, or fearful, but based on love.
Let’s discuss some robust ways New Testament Christians can practice giving without adhering to a specific tithing doctrine:
PROPORTIONATE GIVING :
2 Corinthians 8:1-15: This passage emphasizes giving “according to what one has, not according to what one does not have” (v. 12). This suggests a flexible approach based on individual circumstances and resources.
Romans 12:6-8: Christians are called to use their gifts “in proportion to the faith that God has given” (v. 6). This highlights the importance of joyful and proportionate giving, not a fixed amount.
2 Corinthians 9:7: Perhaps the most well-known verse on giving, it emphasizes that “God loves a cheerful giver.” The focus is on the heart behind the gift, not the amount.
Philippians 4:14-19: Paul acknowledges the Philippians’ generosity and praises them for giving “not as a necessity, but as a willingness” (v. 14). This underscores the importance of giving freely and willingly.
Mark 12:41-44: Jesus commends the widow who gave “all she had to live on” (v. 44), highlighting the significance of giving sacrificially, even when it means personal sacrifice.
Acts 2:44-45:”All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as anyone had need.” The early church practiced a form of communal sharing, where “all the believers were together and had everything in common” (v. 44). This radical model of generosity demonstrated their commitment to each other and the community. However, while this specific model may not be universally applicable, it highlights the early church’s commitment to meeting the needs of their community. That’s what New Testament churches ought to be doing today!
Galatians 6:2: Christians are called to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (v. 2). This emphasizes giving to meet the needs of others, not just fulfilling religious obligations.
Galatians 2:10: “Only they asked us to remember the poor, which I have also been eager to do.” This verse encourages Christians to support specific needs and causes they feel passionate about.
James 2:14-17: Faith without works is dead, and James emphasizes that “if a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ yet you do not give them what is necessary for the body, what good is that?” (v. 15-16). This highlights the importance of practical generosity that addresses immediate needs.
Romans 12:6-8: This passage lists various gifts, including giving, teaching, showing hospitality, encouraging, and leadership. These suggest that giving can extend beyond money and include using one’s time, talents, and resources to serve others.
Matthew 25:35-40: Jesus commends those who “gave me food to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (v. 35-36). This emphasizes that acts of service and compassion can also be forms of giving.
Romans 12:1: “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.” This verse reminds us that giving extends beyond money and includes our time, talents, and service to others.
Hebrews 13:16: “Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” This verse broadens the scope of giving to include acts of kindness, hospitality, and encouragement.
SUSTAINABILITY AND PLANNING:
Proverbs 21:5: “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” This verse encourages thoughtful planning and budgeting for giving to avoid financial strain.
Luke 14:31-33: “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and count the cost, to see if he is strong enough to withstand the other king with ten thousand men? So also, anyone of you who does not first count the cost, to become my disciple, cannot be my disciple.” This verse emphasizes the importance of evaluating the impact and potential outcomes of our giving. It reminds us to count the cost of commitment before making promises of giving, ensuring our generosity is sustainable.
SEEK GUIDANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY:
Proverbs 11:14:”Where no guidance is, the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Discussing your giving decisions with trusted mentors, coaches, or fellow Christians (who are knowledgeable in biblical doctrines, not dealings) can offer valuable insights and encouragement.
2 Corinthians 8:6: “So I urged Titus since he had already made a good beginning, to also carry out this act of grace on your part.” Seeking accountability with others can help you stay committed to your giving goals.
The core principle of Christian giving is not about legalistic rules or specific amounts, but about responding to God’s love and grace with generosity that reflects a transformed heart.
In other words, the most important aspect of giving is not the method or amount, but the heart behind it. When motivated by love, compassion, and a desire to fulfill God’s call, any form of giving becomes an act of worship and service.
Therefore, choose methods of giving that align with your biblical beliefs, values, resources, and opportunities to impact the lives of others in meaningful ways.
RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL READING RESOURCES:
1. “The Generous Life” by Randy Alcorn,
2. “Radical Generosity” by David Platt,
3. “The Treasure Principle” by Randy Alcorn
1. Generous Giving ([https://www.generousgiving.org/]
2. The Center for Stewardship Resources (Check online pls)