Bible Study, Lesson 3

/Bible Study, Lesson 3

Bible Study, Lesson 3

Introduction

When a group of friends, family or co-workers decides to pitch in toward getting a birthday or anniversary gift for someone else, one of the major considerations is how much each one will decide to give. And that is also true in our ministry experiences, as the variety of backgrounds and experiences we each bring conditions our response to the expectations of giving, or tithing. If we come from a more conservative religious background, we might be more familiar with and understand the expectations of tithing, while from a liturgical setting we might be less acquainted with those financial expectations. And if coming from a non-religious background, our understanding of giving might be the “fair share” concept such as encouraged by organizations such as United Way. Regardless of the particular giving point of view we bring to the table, key to determining our individual responses is clearly understanding the biblical call to tithing as found in Scripture.

Biblical Background

Malachi 3:8-11. Will anyone rob God? Yet you are robbing me! But you say, “How are we robbing you?” In your tithes and offerings! You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me—the whole nation of you! Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing. I will rebuke the locust for you, so that it will not destroy the produce of your soil; and your vine in the field shall not be barren, says the LORD of hosts.

 

Tithe has become synonymous with giving, but it literally means one-tenth. Many questions immediately arise when we talk about tithing: Should we tithe the one-tenth on gross or net income? Does the whole tithe go to the local church, or can it include other charitable giving? Is this biblical standard still relevant in our time

While these questions merit some discussion, the sad reality is that research indicates that most Christians give far less than one-tenth in all giving. There’s lots of room for growth when it comes to giving to God’s work.

One of the main teachings about tithing is Malachi 3:8-11, shown above. The first biblical reference to tithing, however, is in Genesis 14:20 when Abram willingly offered one-tenth of all he had to Melchizedek for the glory of “God Most High.”

But tithing is not unique to the Old Testament or to Mosaic Law, as the New Testament refers to tithing four times. Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42; 18:12; and Hebrews 7:4-9 all affirm tithing as an expectation in our communities of faith. The giving of one-tenth of first fruits as tribute has been a key principle in many cultures throughout history.

The Bible clearly outlines: tithing is equal to ten percent; the “full tithe” is to be brought to the storehouse, the house of God, and God will reward our obedience.

Here are some observations as we begin to apply this lesson to our lives. Tithing one-tenth of the annual income is neither the threshold nor should it be the ceiling for most giving. The question here is not what the minimum expectation is, but understanding the biblical expectation. The impoverished nation of Israel gave multiple yearly tithes as well as specific offerings.

Working toward, committing to, and giving beyond the tithe represents the journey of financial responsibility for disciples. Most people who give to the church give to other worthy causes as well.

The ministry of OCF recognizes God calls each of us to give first to the church He has called you to, and then with the Holy Spirit’s leading, to other ministry opportunities. Establishing a church home is difficult for many OCF members, given the nature of their military service. OCF exists to fill that gap, to glorify God by uniting Christian officers for biblical fellowship and outreach, equipping and encouraging them to minister effectively in the military society.

Many people ask for a definition of what OCF is and the simple answer is: a church with no walls, where each member represents the body of believers no matter where stationed in the world.

Application

    Ask yourself:

  • Have you considered the thought that as a member, you are OCF?
  • What expectations do you have for yourself and other members as related to supporting the work God is doing in and through OCF?
    Group discussion:

  • Do you believe that tithing (giving 10% of income) is an appropriate giving goal for Christians?
2017-09-20T09:45:11-06:00 March 31st, 2014|Bible Studies|Comments Off on Bible Study, Lesson 3