How Were Offerings Used in the New Testament?

Below is an extensive list of all the bible verses that discuss how offerings were used in the New Testament. Although this is not a list of every bible verse that talks about giving, these bible verses are all the ones that reveal how offerings were distributed in the early Church. Do me a favor and compare our giving and distribution model in the Church ‘today’ with the model that we find in the early Church. At the end, you will see a challenge that comes with a cash reward if you succeed. All bible verses below are in NKJV.

  1. Acts 2:44-45 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
  2. Acts 4:34-35 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.
  3. Acts 11:27-30 And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
  4. Acts 20:35 have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak.
  5. Romans 12:13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
  6. Romans 15:26 For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor
  7. 2 Corinthians 8:14-15 but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality. As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
  8. 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.”
  9. 2 Corinthians 9:12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God.
  10. 2 Corinthians 11:9 And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied.
  11. Galatians 2:9,10 and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.
  12. Ephesians 4:28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.
  13. Phillippians 4:10-11,14-16 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: . . . Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. 15Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. 16For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.
  14. Titus 3:14 And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful
  15. James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress
  16. James 2:15-16 a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?
  17. 1 John 3:17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

I will send $50 to anyone who first finds a bible verse that urges generosity in the early church for anything other than an essential need. I will send $15 to anyone who can find a verse to add to the list above. The verse must be in reference to the church in Acts through Revelation, and must be universally translated the same within the KJV, NKJV, NIV, and NASB in regards to how offerings were distributed or used. If you find a bible verse and want the reward, post it in the comments, and i will send you an email to get your mailing address to send the cash through paypal or mail. Hey, i’m offering this without doing extensive research, so you might get lucky. Hopefully, i won’t be broke by the time this is done.

Jared Bartholomew is the author of www.tithing.com. There are over 300 articles written on research and reviews about tithing information.

Posted in Questions Tagged with: , , , , , ,
37 comments on “How Were Offerings Used in the New Testament?
  1. Marty says:

    Matthew 6:2 – “When you give to someone in need…NLT).”

    Matthew 19:21 – “Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor…(NKJV).”

    Galatians 2:9,10 – “In fact, James, Peter, and John, who were known as pillars of the church…their only suggestion was that we keep on helping the poor, which I have always been eager to do (NLT).”

    Galatians 6:10 – “Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith (NLT).”

    1 Tim 6:17-18 “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God…that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share…(NKJV).”

    Hebrews 13:16 – “But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased (NKJV).”

    Here’s my 2 cents Jared,
    Be blessed bro!

    Marty’s last blog post..My Disclaimer

  2. Marty,
    thanks for the verses. You get a $15 credit for Galatians 2:9,10! The other verses don’t really describe how offerings were collected and designated in the early church. i will send you another email shortly to get your information. thanks again

    - jared

  3. The offer is still open. i need more verses. i still have more money to give out!

    - jared

  4. Adam Minneapolis says:

    Hi. This comment is not in reference to the $50 or $15 challenge, but I do have a question related to this post. I’m wondering if you have an opinion regarding the use of the word “offerings” in reference to financial giving in the Church.

    If my memory serves me right, the word “offering(s)” is not used even once in the New Testament to refer to giving. As far as I know, historically speaking, the popular usage of this term today in American churches primarily traces back to Malachi 3:8 (i.e. the popular interpretation by tithing teachers that offerings are anything given above and beyond the tithe).

    In 2006 I wrote a term paper on the subject of tithing (I wholeheartedly agree with your stance that tithing is not required of believers under the New Covenant). When addressing this text in Malachi, I wrote the following:

    “Strong’s Concordance (2001) indicates that the Hebrew word, terumah, used in Malachi 3:8 for ‘offerings,’ had nine uses in the Old Testament. It was used on different occasions to describe heave offerings, animal sacrifices and sin offerings, two different taxes, a land offering; and offerings of gold, thread, animal skins, oil and stones for the Wilderness Tabernacle and the Second Temple Period. The two remaining uses were offerings of grain products set aside for the priests, and a portion of the tithe of the Levites to the priests.”

    Regarding this same text, Nathan Foy offers this insight:

    “The offerings talked about [are] in the first few chapters of Leviticus, which are burnt offerings, grain offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings. These offerings were primarily animal sacrifices. We no longer practice animal sacrifices today but tithing is practiced widely in the church. Why would we still practice tithing and not animal sacrifices when they are mentioned together in Malachi 3:8? Of course most churches somehow switched the definition of offering to mean the amount you give to their church after you give your tithe. I don’t know where this is Biblical.” (Nathan Foy, “Tithing-Is It For Today?” Desert Cry Ministry, 2006.)

    Anyway, I understand that this question is somewhat about semantics, as it’s simply convenient to use the term “offerings” to refer to financial giving. Most everyone today knows what is meant, in that case, and no one assumes that animal sacrifices are being referred to.

    Personally, though, I’m a bit stubborn about this in the fellowship circles I run in. I don’t use the term “offerings” anymore because I don’t want to condone/contribute to the ignorance. It’s one of those Christianese terms I’m trying to leave behind as I’d rather use New Testament vocabulary.

    All that to say, do you have an opinion on this matter? Thanks.

  5. Adam,
    i see your point about using new testament vocabulary, and it is valid. I guess we get caught throwing terms around that can interpreted different ways through different minds. i will definitely look into what you are saying.

    - jared

    tithe’s last blog post..How Were Offerings Used in the New Testament?

  6. Marty says:

    Thanks Jared,
    Have a great day!

    Marty’s last blog post..Apostles Commissioned by Jesus

  7. marty,
    You should have received the payment through paypal. Thanks.

    tithe’s last blog post..Church Doors Closing – Good or Bad?

  8. Marty says:

    Jared,
    I got it!
    Thanks bro!
    ;-)

    Marty’s last blog post..Debate or not to Debate?

  9. Marty says:

    Here are a few more attempts:

    Acts 20: 33-35 “I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes. You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive (NLT).’”

    Ephesians 4:28 – “If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need (NLT).”

    Thanks Jared!

    Marty’s last blog post..Debate or not to Debate?

  10. Sorry, I already have those verses listed above.

  11. Marty says:

    Oh, sorry. I should have checked that. oh well, blessings!

    Marty’s last blog post..Debate or not to Debate?

  12. Dan Davis says:

    Jared, You are very astute in pointing out that the distribution of funds in the New Testament church were always to meet a concrete need. I agree that is how they should be distributed today as well. But as God is the same yesterday, today and forever, but is also the God who is “doing a new thing” (in His own words) which we often times don’t perceive, the church has more than the needs of the poor in finances to meet now; there are the needs of the spiritually poor, and the eternally lost(whom we must equip people to reach), and the emotionally broken whom we must be a healing balm for, etc, etc, etc. Are there misuses and abuses, sure – we see it on the news all the time. for the purposeful abuses God will bring accountability. For less than perfect judgments, God will do as you say and judge the intention of the hearts of those administering the funds. He’s more than up to that task, Brother.

  13. Ed Braithwaite says:

    I have a question more than a comment…Should the Church reveal to its members the amount of “tithing” it receives annually, and give precise accounting as to how the money was used? Or, should tithing be given to the church without any questions? Also, should tithing be used to develop commercial properties, buy ranches, pay salaries for numerous church employees, lobby government, and other non essential needs?

  14. Ed,
    Should churches show how the money was used? – Well, what would be the wise thing to do in order to prohibit fraud, theft, and misuse?

    Should money be used for all the things that you mentioned? – Read one of the most recent posts and let me know what you think? http://www.tithing.com/blog/how-were-offerings-used-in-the-new-testament/

    - jared

  15. Bret Jones says:

    I Tim. 5 discusses the church financially supporting true widows of the church membership.

  16. Bret,
    Thanks for the verse. i will give you credit. as a side note. i am going to have to modify this blog post and take out some verses because i believe i am inconsistent, and included some very general verses. I want verses that show “what” offerings were used for, not “who”. For instance, i want to see if money was given for a car, a need, a house, a building, for food, for clothing. In other words, what was the recipient going to use the offerings for that caused others to give?

    We don’t need insight on “who” offerings were given for, because it’s contingent on “what” they used it for.

    Paul didn’t receive money because he held the office of an apostle. There is no verse that says some church offices are paid ones, while other ones are not. Paul received money because he had needs that had to be met after devoting much of his time to prayer, study, and travel.

    So anyways Bret, once again thanks for the verse. Write another post, but this time make sure you fill out the email when you write. Or you can use the contact form at the top to send an email to me.

    - jared

  17. Todd Johnson says:

    “There is no verse that says some church offices are paid ones, while other ones are not.”

    Jared, how do you interpret
    I Cor 9:14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. and

    Gal 6:6 Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.

    Paul notes earlier in the chapter that the only reason he didn’t accept offerings with which to live was to show he was not intending to take advantage of the Church. And he only worked for a season by choice.

    I don’t believe in “professional preachers” whose ministries amount to little more than speaking engagements, but if one is giving themselves fully to the ministry, putting themselves at a severe living disadvantage, literally at the mercy of those who serve for food, shelter, healthcare, etc. And what of their families? No minister should live lavishly from the gospel, but the minister should be able to LIVE.

    I think balance is key in the discussion. The material support of the apostles is documented in scripture. To say offerings should be used for no other reason than a need of the congregation doesn’t seem right.

    todd

    By the way, just happened upon your blog and am enjoying it.

  18. Todd, the qualifications to living from the gospel is based on the the time you put into promoting the gospel, not on your office.

  19. Todd Johnson says:

    I think you’re just playing with the word office. If by office, you mean a permanent position (like a job) to be filled by any hired hand, I agree. But I don’t view that way. The calling and work merits the support. But the article seems to argue that the ONLY acceptable means of distribution is emergency-like material needs, and there is no mention of acceptable support of those called to proclaim the gospel as a life endeavor.

    todd

  20. Todd Johnson says:

    Sorry for my terrible grammar. And I was an English major in college! LOL!

  21. I agree, the calling and work merits the support.

  22. BILL says:

    Gala 6:6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

    1Tim 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

    1Tim 5:18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer [is] worthy of his reward..1Cor 9:9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?
    1Cor 9:10 Or saith he [it] altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, [this] is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.
    1Cor 9:11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, [is it] a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? .

  23. Freewillgiver says:

    Jared-I would like 15$ but there are no such scriptures for supporting anything financially but needs. If there were such scriptures we would all have them memorized in American Christianity because many U.S. preachers make sure that scriptures helping to entitle them are taught often. Haiti has real needs. Christians all have a responsibility to the poor, children and those in great need. Where a preachers treasure is so will that preacher’s heart be. Missionaries look to give their lives away more than most American preachers. Why do so many U.S. Christians think that Comfortable preachers can help them learn them more about Jesus than missionaries who suffer? All Christians are priest and all priests have missions.

    The best missionaries are the ones willing to suffer and give the most. Who disagrees that the best Christians suffer the most? Leadership in Jesus gives the most away. Too many pastors in the U.S. look like worldly winners and many folks would want their jobs. However missionaries to Haiti, Africa and dangerous Muslim countries live lives like Jesus and the Disciples. Few people want to be missionaries in danger. Who should we look up as models for Christ like lives? Should believers in Jesus, look to common U.S. middle class preachers, or poorer than average missionaries in poor or dangerous countries? Who are the most responsible leaders in Christ? The best answer is those that suffer the most in Christ. Who disagrees with that?

    Christ in Us.

    • Mike says:

      Don’t be so quick to assume that U.S middle class preachers can’t teach us anything as many of them responsible for making these missions in dangerous foreign countries possible.

  24. Akin says:

    The conclusion of the matter is that the church still does not value the words and teachings of Christ. None of you have a problem paying your bills; purchasing merchandise; even though you are probably paying retail which is sometimes a 100%. You pay exhaubitant fees for medical and different types of maintenance needs. But you complain about giving money or even paying tithes? Tithes is simply a tenth; name anyone on Forbes list who does not donate more than a tenth? A Christian gives a part of their earnings as honor to God and to support the church who is charged with the mission of proclaiming this gospel. Jesus told the pharisees, you ought to have paid your tithes and still do good deeds. You complain because you don’t esteem the word of life that is being preached from your pulpits. So keep your money as you will need it for the doctors, psychiatrist, mechanics, etc…

    • Robert says:

      The verse you refer to when Christ says “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier [matters] of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” is Matthew 23:23 seems to suggest that tithing should still be for today as He did not speak against it or said that it should not be practiced any longer.  “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Matthew 5:17) Just because He fulfilled the law doesn’t mean that we should not tithe any longer.  The only thing is is that we are not slaves to the law.

    • joel says:

      Stop twisting scripture ,read it properly it says “MINT, ARNISE and CUMMIN ” Not Dollars,Pounds, or Euros . Money was given to the treasury at the temple but not for tithes .
      Stop adding to scripture food and animals raised within the gates of Israel is holy on to God not money because Ceasars picture was on it and no money was allowed in the temple.
       
      Jesus siad you cant serve both God and money either you hate one and serve the other. People who teach unbiblical money tithes are coveting their neighbours money (10%) for themselves not for God

      • Robert says:

        If you knew anything about the way old testament offerings worked such as the guilt offerings, etc.  If a person was not able to get an animal to temple to sacrifice it was permitted for them to sell an unblemished animal and bring the money to the temple.  Now, that might sound a lot like Dollars, Pounds or Euros although none of those three currencies were in effect then. 

        • joel says:

          I repeat stop lying about the bible , Deuteronomy 14:22-29 NKJ,NLT,AMP says sell the tithe.It does not say sell the money for money and spent it one whatever your heart desires . Do not covet your neighbours money and try to cover it up with twisting and misinterpreting scriptures.
           
          They call that fraud .God does not want us to defraud people using the bible to con christians of their hard earned money .

  25. Akin,
    The only thing i ask is to support your accusations by showing where anyone here is telling you to avoid giving, or being sacrificial?

  26. Charles says:

    My brother recently asked his church for help with a cut off notice on his electric. The church counter offered food  “but would prefer not to give money for a bill.” My brother told them that really wouldn’t help as they have food stamps for food and that their electric was much higher than normal and that was the need.
    It troubles me that we christians do this. Why do churches refer their members to those outside the church for help with a utility bill. If the church has the means they should help their members, why would you send a long time member to the ministrial alliance? Any thoughts?

    • Shawnele says:

      Charles, you obviously asked your question a long time ago – but I thought I’d weigh in with my two cents anyway. I do believe “the church” is to help a brother in need…but I also believe “the church” is comprised of individuals. While I believe it is appropriate for a local congregation to choose to meet needs this way, it is also appropriate for the individuals who comprise the church to do this. In fact, without being too pointed, Scripture is clear that family members are to take care of one another before burdening the church with their need. (See 1 Timothy 5:4, 7 & 8.)

      • Daughterofzion says:

        I respectfully disagree. The bible instructs us time and time again to help the poor and under privledged. (Det 15:11) “For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.” The pastors/overseers, etc expect the people in the congregation to give their monies not only for the upkeep of the church and paying the church bills but many of them put a ungodly burden on their member to finance them their spouses a lavish lifestyle while their members live a poverished lifestyle???? If a member does not pay tithes, the pastor will use spiritual extortion to tell them if they don’t, God will curse them (Malichi 3:8) but that is not true according to (Galatians 3:13) If you notice, churches NEVER read or teach from Malichi 1&
        2, they always start from the 3rd chapter??? Because if someone reads and studies Malchi 1&2 they will see the this commandment wherein God says he will curse someone is directed to the priest, not the people (Malichi 2:1) but because people do not study the bible as they should they think God is talking to the people when he only directed that curse to the priest. If faith church members pay their monies to assist the church, then the church is remiss and has a duty to assist their members. God is not too happy with church that feed themselves and not their flock according to Ezekiel 34, God makes it known how angry this makes him. Jesus saw people hungry and feed multitudes of people and NOT ONCE, did he ask for a dime.

  27. Erick says:

    Seeing brothers share is definitely good stuff. What always seems to amaze me is that although we are all reading the same bible, the same words how we can have a difference of opinion on issues. I speak on my short comings also but there are issues that almost seem basic and that if we are in the word as we should be we would have the answers for already. You would think Christians woul have a consensus on issues like Tithing. Why do you all think is so difficult to have that consensus?

  28. Rengie Gepulgane says:

    Godbless u . God loveth a cheerful giver.

  29. Osas says:

    Please every true believer should tithe and give offering for this is a reasonable service and Gpdly instructions. Bless you.

  30. Osas says:

    Please every true believer should tithe and give offering for this is a reasonable service and Godly instructions. Bless you.

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