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 (Essential Biblical Doctrines)
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I.       Why Should We Make Offerings?

A.     All Things Belong to God

1.        The world and all things in it belong to God (Ps 50:10–12, 89:11).

2.        God gives people the ability to attain wealth (Deut 8:18; 1 Sam 2:7; 1 Chr 29:12).

3.        The energy of life is given by God (Deut 32:39; Jas 4:13–15).

4.        We are the stewards of God’s house, so we should do what he commands us (Lk 16:1, 2).

B.     God Commands Us to Make Offerings

1.        “Honor the LORD with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce” (Deut 26:1–3, 10; Prov 3:9).

2.        The Lord said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth ... but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Mt 6:19, 20).

3.        God said, “Bring the full tithes 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 an overflowing blessing” (Mal 3:10).

4.        “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (Heb 13:16).

C.     We Pay Tribute to the Grace of God through Offerings

1.        God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son to humankind, so humanity could be saved through him (Jn 3:16).

2.        God freely forgives our sins by his grace, through the redemption of Christ (Ps 103:2, 3; Rom 3:23–25; cf. Acts 2:38, 22:16).

3.        God adopts us as his children, giving us the Holy Spirit as a seal of our adoption (Rom 5:5; 8:15, 16; Gal 4:6; Eph 1:13, 14).

4.        God heals our diseases, and gives us our daily food (Ps 103:3; Acts 14:15–17).

5.        The Israelites had to offer two male lambs, one ewe lamb, three tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, and one log of oil when the lepers were cleansed (Lev 14:1, 2, 10, 11). Today, our sins have been cleansed by the Lord. Should we not offer more than the Israelites? (cf. Lk 17:12–19; 2 Cor 5:14, 15).

II.    How Do We Make Offerings?

A.      Tithes

1.        The origin of tithes

 a.      Abraham offered a tenth of everything to Melchizedek—the priest of the Most High God (Gen 14:18–20; Heb 7:2). Abraham’s children did the works of Abraham (Jn 8:39). Those who are baptized into Christ are the seeds of Abraham (Gal 3:27–29).

 b.      Jacob vowed to give God tithes (Gen 28:22).

 c.      The offering of tithes included in the law was called “the LORD’s; it [the offering] is holy to the LORD” (Lev 27:30, 32).

 d.      When king Hezekiah revived the nation’s faith, he commanded the people to offer tithes (2 Chr 31:4–8).

 e.      After returning from Babylon, Nehemiah commanded the people to enforce tithe offerings (Neh 10:37, 38, 12:44, 13:10–12).

 f.       In the days of Malachi, some people did not offer tithes and were severely rebuked by God (Mal 3:8–10).

 g.      In Jesus’ time, Jews offered tithes as a regular practice (Lk 18:18).

 h.      Concerning tithes, the Lord said we should not neglect “the weightier matters of the law” (Mt 23:23; Lk 11:42). Furthermore, Jesus said to render “to God the things that are God’s” (Lev 27:30; Mt 22:21).

2.        The use of tithes

 a.      The tithe is the portion of God’s workers

·         Abraham offered a tenth of all to the priest of God (Gen 14:18–20).

·         God gave the children of Levi Israel’s tithes because they served the tabernacle of the congregation (Num 18:21, 24). The first-born males of Israel were set apart for the Lord (Ex 13:12, 13), but God chose the Levites instead of the first-born children of the other eleven tribes to serve the tabernacle. For this reason, the other eleven tribes offered tithes to the Levites (Num 3:40, 41). In turn, the Levites offered to God the tenth part of what they received (Num 18:25, 26; Neh 10:38).

·         God said, “Take heed that you do not forsake the Levite as long as you live in your land” (Deut 12:19, 14:27). Paul said that the Lord commanded that those who preach the gospel should get their livelihood from the gospel. This means preachers live on believers’ offerings, just as the Levites lived on Israel’s tithes (1 Cor 9:13, 14; cf. Lk 10:7; 1 Cor 9:11; 1 Tim 5:17, 18). Paul made a living by making tents because no one supported him (Acts 18:1–3, 20:32). But he told Timothy, “No soldier on service gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him” (2 Tim 2:4–7). He went on, “Who serves as a soldier at his own expense?” (1 Cor 9:7).

 b.      The remaining tithe left over after the Levites had their portion can be used for good purposes. However, one should never forget God’s workers (Deut 14:22–29). Moreover, tithes can be stored up for charitable works—helping God’s workers, widows, orphans, and strangers (Deut 14:28, 29, 24:12, 13).

B.     The Offerings

Offering tithes is our obligatory duty to God, and tithes should be offered accordingly. If one does not offer tithes, the person robs God (Mal 3:8).

Israel’s offering of the first-born and first-fruits was regulated by God (Ex 13:12, 13, 23:19; Neh 10:35, 36). The burnt offering, the cereal offering, and the peace offering were all important offerings for Israel (cf. Lev 1–3). Besides these, the Israelites offered willingly and freely for the building of the tabernacle and for helping the poor. These two offerings are important for Christians today but they are to be offered according to one’s freewill.

The following are some examples of offerings and their spiritual teachings in the Old and New Testament:

1.        For the construction of the tabernacle or the temple.

 a.      The Israelites offered their gifts for the tabernacle (Ex 25:1–7, 35:5–9).

 b.      King David, the commanders, and the officers all offered willingly for the construction of the temple (1 Chr 29:1–9).

 c.      Jehoash told the people to offer for the temple repairs (2 Kgs 12:4, 5).

 d.      Josiah collected silver for the temple repairs (2 Kgs 22:3–5).

 e.      The Israelites readily and willingly offered silver, gold, goods, and beasts to rebuild the temple (Ezra 1:4–11, 2:68, 69).

 f.       In order to rebuild the wall, Nehemiah received nothing from the people. Instead, Nehemiah offered more than what he could have kept for himself (Neh 5:14–19).

2.        For helping orphans, widows, and poor.

 a.      God commanded Israel to treat orphans, widows, and strangers magnanimously (Ex 22:21–24; Gal 2:10; Jas 1:27).

 b.      There was a year of release every seventh year, i.e., a sabbatical year, to relieve poor debtors (Deut 15:1–11; cf. Rom 12:13).

 c.      God told the Israelites to leave the gleanings of their harvest and vintage for the poor (Deut 24:19–22; Lev 19:9, 10).

 d.      The land was to rest every seventh year, and the poor could eat what the farmers had left and grown in the field (Ex 23:10, 11).

 e.      The Lord Jesus said, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Mt 19:21).

 f.       Zacchaeus gave the poor the half of his goods (Lk 19:8).

 g.      g            The Macedonian brethren offered beyond their ability to help the believers in Jerusalem (2 Cor 8:1–5).

3.        The proper attitude and method in offering.

 a.      Do not offer with reluctance, rather, offer with a willing heart.

·         God said that “from every man whose heart makes him willing you shall receive the offering for me” (Ex 25:2, 35:4, 5).

·         2)     “Then the heads of fathers’ houses made their freewill offerings, as did also the leaders of the tribes, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and the officers over the king’s work” (1 Chr 29:6–9).

·         “Your people will offer themselves freely on the day you lead your host upon the holy mountains. From the womb of the morning like dew your youth will come to you” (Ps 110:3).

·         “Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 8:3, 9:7).

 b.      Offer sincerely with a perfect heart.

·         David and the people offered willingly with a perfect heart (1 Chr 29:9, 11).

·         The church at Macedonia was “begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints” (2 Cor 8:4).

·         The Lord said, “But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (Mt 6:3, 4).

·         The deceitful offering of Ananais and Sapphira caused their death (Acts 5:1–11).

 c.      Offer the best portion

·         Offer the sacrifice without blemish (Lev 22:17–25; Mal 1:6:8).

·         Offer the first fruits of all your produce (Ex 24:26; Prov 3:9).

·         Offer the firstlings of the flock (Gen 4:4).

·         Abraham gave a tithe of the spoils (Heb 7:4).

 d.      Put in your best effort when offering

·         The churches of Macedonia offered beyond their power (2 Cor 8:1–3).

·         ‑Mary offered her best in anointing Jesus with the precious oil of spikenard (Mk 14:8, 9; Jn 12:1–8).

·         The poor widow put in two copper coins—which was all she had—into the temple treasury (Lk 21:1–4).

·         The believers of the early church were moved by the Holy Spirit to offer all their possessions (Acts 2:44, 45, 4:32–37).

·         The Lord said, “Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more” (Lk 12:48).

 e.      Offering at the proper time

·         When you are rich (1 Tim 6:17, 18).

·         Before the evil days come (Eccl 11:2; cf. Ezek 7:19).

·         Make use of money in good ways when it is still useful. At the Lord’s coming, all offerings will be useless (Lk 16:9).

·         When you are still alive (Eccl 9:10).

·         When the Lord needs it:

·         Joseph of Arimathea buried the body of Jesus at the opportune time (Mk 15:42–46; Lk 23:50–53).

·         Nicodemus offered a mixture of myrrh and aloes to anoint Jesus’ body at the proper time (Jn 19:39, 40).

·         The women prepared spices and ointments and brought them to the tomb. But it was too late, for the Lord Jesus had already resurrected (Lk 23:56, 24:1, 2). This is not to say their deed was bad, since they rested on the sabbath. However, we should pay attention to the proper and opportune time to offer before it is too late.

III. Offerings And Their Usefulness

A.     Offer for God’s Holy Work

1.        So there will be food in God’s house (Mal 3:10)

2.        Offerings will enable more workers to devote themselves to the ministry of God’s church (cf. Neh 13:10, 11; Mt 9:37, 38; 1 Cor 9:7–11; Phil 4:15, 16; 2 Tim 2:4).

3.        Offerings will help sacred works such as sacred worker training seminars, evangelical works, church publications, and chapel construction function smoothly. As a result, offerings glorify God and benefit humanity.

During Zerubbabel’s time, the people were so self-centered and selfish that the rebuilding of the temple was halted for quite a while (cf. Hag 1:2–8).

B.     Offer to Render Assistance to the Needy

1.        Tend to the needy ones (Deut 15:7; 1 Jn 3:17, 18; Jas 2:15, 16).

2.        The needy can be encouraged in their faith, and will appreciate God’s grace more by giving him praise and glory (2 Cor 9:12, 13).

3.        The needy may pray for those who have extended contributions to them (Job 29:13, 31:20; 2 Cor 9:14).

C.     To Benefit the Offeror

1.        Offerors may be materially blessed.

 a.      “He who has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor” (Prov 22:9).

 b.      “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed” (Prov 19:17).

 c.      God will open the windows of heaven, and pour out blessing to those who offer tithes (Mal 3:10–12).

 d.      God will provide sufficiency in all things (Deut 15:10; Prov 3:9, 10, 11:24, 25; 2 Cor 9:8).

 e.      God will deliver those who help the poor in times of trouble (Ps 41:1).

 f.       Dorcas was full of good works and acts of charity, and so God raised her from death (Acts 9:36–41).

2.        Offerors are spiritually blessed

 a.      Cornelius, a devout man who gave much alms to the people, was remembered by God. He and his household received God’s salvation—they received the Holy Spirit, and were baptized in Jesus’ name for the remission of sins (Acts 10:1–8, 44–48).

 b.      “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever” (2 Cor 9:9).

 c.      Doing good works and distributing money to the poor provides a good foundation against the time to come, so that one may lay hold of eternal life (Mt 6:20; 1 Tim 6:17–19).

 d.      ‑When money becomes useless, the offerings of God’s faithful ones may receive them into everlasting habitations—the heavenly kingdom (Lk 16:9; cf. Mt 19:20).

 e.      The Lord said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mt 6:21). Offerings can spur concern for church work and draw people nearer to God.

D.     The Result of the Stingy

1.        They will become poor (Prov 11:24).

2.        Their prayers will not be heard or granted (Prov 21:13).

3.        They provoke God.

 a.      The people were cursed by God because they did not offer tithes (Mal 3:8, 9).

 b.      God did not care for the people who were not concerned about the temple of God (Hag 1:9–11).

 c.      Belshazzar’s impious feast, where he defiled the temple vessels and provoked God, resulted in his punishment. Since he did not repay God, the Lord divided Belshazzar’s kingdom and he died (Dan 5:27–30, 18–24).

 d.      Hezekiah did not repay God according to the grace given him, thus God’s wrath was upon him (2 Chr 32:25).

We should remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). We have to repay God’s grace and do our best in offering. We must help others in order to please the Lord.

In addition to freewill offerings for the church holy work, Christians should present their bodies as living sacrifices—holy and acceptable to God—and devote themselves to the ministry. In short, we must offer our lives for the Lord (Rom 12:1, 2, 14:7, 8).

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