What is Tithing?

by | Apr 22, 2013 | 01 Podcasts

The Bible has about 500 verses on prayer and over 2000 verses on money and income.   While both prayer and finances are important to God, I suspect money gets more verses because we have more trouble with it — particularly giving it away.

We don’t like to think about tithing; we avoid sermons on it and we have lots of questions about it.

In my experience, most sermons on tithing boil down to “give more, give often — to us”.  But the information I really want is the whys and hows behind tithes and offerings from the giver’s perspective and whether the New Testament changes anything.

Here’s a sermon that answers those questions.

This talk was given by one of my role models Ken Elzinga on September 22, 2002. Professor Elzinga is a famous economist and the Robert C. Taylor Professor of Economics at the University of Virginia. He is also a very wise man.

He spoke on tithing at a local church but his talk — “Bible Arithmetic”  —  was lost in a website change.  Thankfully, I had downloaded my own copy for repeated listening. Professor Elzinga has graciously given me permission to republish his sermon here on Wednesday in the Word.

If you have any questions about tithing, listening to this talk could be the best 30 minutes you invest in the subject.


3:6For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. 7From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ 8Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. 9You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the LORD of hosts. 12Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the LORD of hosts. –  Malachi 3:6-12

Part of the series: The Elzinga Collection

Podcast Season 3, Episode 16