Tithing has always been contentious in Christian circles, and now new research has found that fewer churchgoers believe tithing is a biblical command that still applies.
The research, conducted by Lifeway Research, found most churchgoers say tithing is a biblical command and give at least 10% of their income. But they have more diverse opinions on the “where” and “how” of tithing.
More than 3 in 4 American Protestant churchgoers say tithing is a biblical command that still applies today (77%). One in 10 (10%) say it is not. And 13% are uncertain about the matter. Compared to 2017, fewer churchgoers today believe tithing is a biblical command that still applies (77% v. 83%) and more are not sure (13% v. 10%).
“Giving 10% of your earnings to God is still a widespread standard among churchgoers,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “The small decline in considering tithing a command appears to be more from a lack of teaching on the subject than a rejection of such teaching.”
Lifeway found that the youngest adult churchgoers, those 18-34, are the least likely to agree tithing is a biblical command that still applies today. Denominationally, Lutherans are the least likely to agree.
Those with evangelical beliefs are more likely than those without evangelical beliefs to say tithing is biblical and currently applicable (85% v. 71%). And those who attend a worship service at least four times a month are more likely than those who attend one to three times a month (80% v. 72%) to agree.
By definition, a tithe is one-tenth. And while more than 3 in 4 churchgoers believe giving a tithe is biblical, only half (51%) give 10% or more of their income to the church they attend. Three in 10 (31%) say they give a tithe, and 19% give more.
More than 1 in 5 (22%) say they try to give but aren’t always consistent. And 16% say they regularly give less than a tithe. Another 9% say their finances make it difficult to give, and 2% say they do not give.