Bible Study Guides – Tithes and Offerings

December 13, 2003 – December 19, 2003

Memory Verse

“The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” Proverbs 11:25.

Suggested Reading: Patriarchs and Prophets, 525–529.


“It is through the blessing of God bestowed upon the unselfish and benevolent soul, that he has wherewith to bestow gifts to help the needy, and to bring tithes and offerings to carry the gospel into regions beyond. Nothing can be given that has not first been received from our heavenly Father. Will the Christian world ever learn that the soul must be refined from the dross of selfishness before Christ can be represented in character? Can anything be withheld by those who know the blessedness of giving? Shall it be said of professed believers in Jesus Christ that he is ashamed to call them brethren? Selfishness, covetousness, pride, and vanity misrepresent Christ to the world. The name of Christian is applied by the world to men and women who are not so named in the books of heaven. On the record above it is written of them, ‘Weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, and found wanting.’ The worldly spirit that leads the professed people of God to misappropriate their Lord’s goods, causes them to bring reproach upon the name of him who has exercised boundless beneficence toward the sons of men. The character of God is falsified before the world by those who withhold their Lord’s intrusted means from benevolent purposes; for they do not represent him who ‘so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ ” The Medical Ministry, November 1, 1894.

1 Into what do those fall who choose to be rich? What is said of the love of money? What exhortation is given the man of God? 1 Timothy 6:9–11.

note: “The love of money has its root in covetousness. Covetousness underlies all evil. It was Lucifer’s coveting the place occupied by God that led him into sin. He coveted the worship, the honor, the power belonging to the Creator. Those who will be rich, those who bend every power of their being to acquire the possession of money, fall into hurtful lusts which drown men in perdition. This is an age of the world when this one thing has well-nigh become the overmastering ambition. Colossal fortunes are amassed only to become a curse to the possessor, to drag the soul down to perdition. From all this God seeks to deliver His children.” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1912, 33.

2 How much money is brought into the world at birth? How much can be carried out? With what should we be content? 1 Timothy 6:7, 8.

note: “With the follower of Christ the love of money will not be all-absorbing. For Christ’s sake he will labor for it, deny self, cut off every needless expenditure, that the means which come into his possession may be used in the great work of saving souls who are without Christ and without hope in the world.” The Signs of the Times, October 13, 1898.

“In the day of final judgment men’s hoarded wealth will be worthless to them. They have nothing they can call their own.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 372.

3 How does Heaven value contentment with godliness? 1 Timothy 6:6.

note: “The love of money is the besetting sin of many. Men and women who profess to worship the true God become so deceived in their pursuit after riches that they suppose gain to be godliness. [1 Timothy 6:6–12 quoted.]

“The length and happiness of our lives consists not in the amount of our earthly possessions. . . . Those who use their wealth in doing good will see no necessity for large accumulations in this world. Their treasure will be used to advance the cause of God.” The Signs of the Times, December 13, 1899.

4 What searching question of God must every one sooner or later face who selfishly lays up treasure for himself on earth? Luke 12:20, 21.

note: “Christ points out the way in which those who have worldly riches and yet are not rich toward God may secure the true riches. He says: Sell that ye have, and give alms, and lay up treasure in heaven. [Luke 12:33.] The remedy He proposes for the wealthy is a transfer of their affections from earthly riches to the eternal inheritance. By investing their means in the cause of God to aid in the salvation of souls, and by blessing the needy with their means, they become rich in good works and are ‘laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.’ [1 Timothy 6:19.] This will prove a safe investment. But many show by their works that they dare not trust in the bank of heaven. They choose to trust their means in the earth rather than send it before them to heaven, that their hearts may be upon their heavenly treasure.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 681.

5 How much of man’s time does God claim as His own? How much of his property? Exodus 20:8–11; Leviticus 27:30.

note: “God has given man six days in which to work for himself, but He has reserved one day in which He is to be specially honored. He is to be glorified, His authority respected. And yet man will rob God by stealing a little of the time which the Creator has reserved for Himself. God reserved the seventh day as a period of rest for man, for the good of man as well as for His own glory. He saw that the wants of man required a day of rest from toil and care, that his health and life would be endangered without a period of relaxation from the labor and anxiety of the six days.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 532, 533.

“All should remember that God’s claims upon us underlie every other claim. He gives to us bountifully, and the contract which He has made with man is that a tenth of his possessions shall be returned to God. The Lord graciously entrusts to His stewards His treasures, but of the tenth He says: This is Mine. Just in proportion as God has given His property to man, so man is to return to God a faithful tithe of all his substance. This distinct arrangement was made by Jesus Christ Himself.” Ibid., vol. 6, 384.

6 What offense is charged against the one who appropriates God’s tithe to himself? Malachi 3:8, 9.

note: “God’s requirements come first. We are not doing His will if we consecrate to Him what is left of our income after all our imaginary wants have been supplied. Before any part of our earnings is consumed, we should take out and present to Him that portion which He claims. . . . If we have prosperity in our secular business, it is because God blesses us. A part of this income is to be devoted to the poor, and a large portion to be applied to the cause of God. When that which God claims is rendered to Him, the remainder will be sanctified and blessed to our own use. But when a man robs God by withholding that which He requires, His curse rests upon the whole.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 477.

7 What command is transgressed if we disrespect the Sabbath hours and withhold our tithes and offerings to God? Exodus 20:17 (first four words).

note: “The tenth commandment strikes at the very root of all sins, prohibiting the selfish desire, from which springs the sinful act. He who in obedience to God’s law refrains from indulging even a sinful desire for that which belongs to another will not be guilty of an act of wrong toward his fellow creatures.” Sons and Daughters of God, 65.

8 Why is covetousness so offensive to God? Ephesians 5:5; Romans 8:32. Compare Colossians 3:5.

note: “Those who allow a covetous spirit to take possession of them cherish and develop those traits of character which will place their names on the record books of heaven as idolaters. All such are classed with thieves, revilers, and extortioners, none of whom, the word of God declares, shall inherit the kingdom of God. ‘The wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth.’ [Psalm 10:3.] Covetous attributes are ever opposed to the exercise of Christian beneficence. The fruits of selfishness always reveal themselves in a neglect of duty, and in a failure to use God’s entrusted gifts for the advancement of His work.” Review and Herald, December 1, 1896.

9 Were all the tithe brought in, what would be the result? Malachi 3:10.

note: “God has made men His stewards. The property which He has placed in their hands is the means that He has provided for the spread of the gospel. To those who prove themselves faithful stewards He will commit greater trusts.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 529.

“All His gifts are promised on condition of obedience. God has a heaven full of blessings for those who will co-operate with Him. All who obey Him may with confidence claim the fulfillment of His promises.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 145.

10 At Bethel, what sacred vow did Jacob make to God? Genesis 28:20–22.

note: “A vow or pledge to give the Lord certain things, made at times of spiritual refreshing when the Holy Spirit moves the heart to benevolence, God holds very sacred indeed. It can not ruthlessly be set aside, nor later counted as a light matter, without great peril to the soul.” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1912, 34.

“Jacob made his vow while refreshed by the dews of grace and invigorated by the presence and assurance of God. After the divine glory had passed away, he had temptations, like men in our time, but he was faithful to his vow and would not harbor thoughts as to the possibility of being released from the pledge which he had made.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 466.

11 How serious should we consider to be our vow made to God? Numbers 30:1, 2; Deuteronomy 23:21–23. Should the payment of a vow be put off? Ecclesiastes 5:4, 5.

note: “Of the means entrusted to men, God claims a certain portion,—the tenth. He leaves all free to say whether or not they will give more than this. But when the heart is stirred by the influence of the Holy Spirit, and a vow is made to give a certain amount, the one who vows has no longer any right to the consecrated portion. Promises of this kind made to men would be looked upon as binding; are those not more binding that are made to God?” Counsels on Stewardship, 318.

“If a Christian deliberately or accidentally underpays his neighbor, or refuses to cancel an honest debt, his conscience, unless seared, will trouble him; he cannot rest although no one may know but himself. There are many neglected vows and unpaid pledges, and yet how few trouble their minds over the matter; how few feel the guilt of this violation of duty. We must have new and deeper convictions on this subject. The conscience must be aroused, and the matter receive earnest attention; for an account must be rendered to God in the last day, and His claims must be settled.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 468.

12 Upon whom does God command special blessings? Isaiah 32:8; Proverbs 11:25.

note: “Divine wisdom has appointed, in the plan of salvation, the law of action and reaction, making the work of beneficence, in all its branches, twice blessed. He who gives to the needy blesses others and is blessed himself in a still greater degree.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 253.

“None of our churches need be barren and unfruitful. But some of our brethren and sisters are in danger of starving to death spiritually even when they are constantly hearing the truth presented by our ministers, for they neglect to impart that which they receive. God requires every one of His stewards to use the talent entrusted to him. He bestows rich gifts upon us in order that we may bestow them freely upon others. He keeps the heart flooded with the light of His presence, in order that we may reveal Christ to our fellow men. How can those who fold their hands in ease, content to do nothing, expect God to continue to supply their necessities? The members of all our churches should labor as those who must give an account.” Review and Herald, November 11, 1902.

“A faithful tithe is the Lord’s portion. To withhold it is to rob God. Every man should freely and willingly and gladly bring tithes and offerings into the storehouse of the Lord, because in so doing there is a blessing. There is no safety in withholding from God His own portion.” Counsels on Stewardship, 66, 67.