Magazine article U.S. Catholic

How Much Should I Tithe?

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

How Much Should I Tithe?

Article excerpt

Even today a potential contributor to a charity drive wants to be told the "requested" donation, because people like to know in advance how much they are expected to give. In biblical times tithing was an explicit expectation: 10 percent of specific agricultural products and newborn livestock, based on the recognition that all possessions came from God. According to Deuteronomy 14, the tithing family was to have a merry feast with God's share of the year's bounty. Every third year, instead of a family feast, the tithed portion became a local banquet for "the Levite, ... the alien, the orphan, and the widow" (Deut. 14:29).

References to tithing--defined as giving a specific portion of one's income--in the New Testament are limited to reflection on Old Testament examples and unflattering allusions to self-serving tithing by the Pharisees (Heb 7:4-10; Luke 11:42; 18:12). From this, scholars infer that first-generation Christians did not embrace tithing as such. The Acts of the Apostles, for example, suggests that at least some Christian communities held all possessions in common (Acts. 2:44-45).

But within a hundred years the early Christian document called the Didache refers to Christians tithing money as well as agricultural goods, though the practice was unevenly accepted among the early Christian leaders. Augustine later endorsed tithing as an acceptable minimum standard for Christians.

Since the 16th century the obligation to contribute financially to the church has been treated as one of the "commandments" of the Catholic Church. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.