Dave Ramsey and Tithe

A recent Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class attendee asked me if Dave recommends suspending tithing. Here is my response.

Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class is concluded with the final lesson “The Great Misunderstanding.” In this lesson he highlights the importance of giving and faith. However, it seems as if some people interpret Dave  as advocating delaying giving. In fact he even teaches the following 7 Baby Steps:

  1. Save $1,000 emergency fund
  2. Eliminate non-mortgage debt
  3. Save 3 – 6 months income for emergencies
  4. Invest 15%  income
  5. Fund college
  6. Pay off home early
  7. Build wealth & give

It is not surprising that some people think they need to get out of debt and save a lot of money before giving or tithing; in fact some churches that host the class experience a reduction in giving by people that attend. In actuality though, Dave doesn’t teach this. He advocates giving and saving as part of one’s budget from the beginning and not waiting until after accomplishing a particular baby step. The previous version of the course doesn’t perhaps convey this message loud enough, but the newest release of the material for Fall 2012 classes does a better job of making sure that people who take the course understand that they are not to stop giving.

Most churches teach tithing as a principle, not so much as law, but as an act of faith and worship. I posted an article about it at this blog site recently. Whether people choose to tithe is a matter of their own interpretation of scripture, conscience and faith. If people believe in tithing the full 10%, but they are going through financial difficulty, they may wonder if it makes sense for them to do so in light of what they are learning. I feel this depends upon various factors such as the severity of debt, their faith, counsel from wise counselors and prayer. However at the end of the day, I think it is a great idea to always give something, and a regular amount. Doing so helps us walk in faith through difficulty and it is always good to be a blessing to others. It helps us turn the focus away from our own temporary bad predicament, amongst other things. The cool part about Dave’s emphasis on giving while we are doing well and accumulating wealth is that we are in a position to give well above the traditional tithe amount.

4 thoughts on “Dave Ramsey and Tithe

  1. Darrell Davis

    I really appreciate how you deal with this topic. Too many churches today have what I call an extortionist attitude toward tithing. Many will tell you you must tithe 10% – specifically off of your gross income – in order to be in “compliance” with the Bible. I have always refused to teach this even if it was part of the church’s curriculum. I have always told people that your tithe is your “tribute” to the one you call your “King”. It is not a tax and it is not an extortion payment. However, it does reflect the nature of your relationship with your “King”.

    I personally try very hard to continue giving 10% in times of financial difficulty (though I am not always successful) and I believe that God has honored that.

    Thanks again for your very Biblical look at this topic.

    1. Kent Post author

      Darrell, I try to take a balanced approach to this subject, and I appreciate your comments. Also, I like the idea of tribute- never heard that before, but it makes sense to look at it that way as an act of honoring God. Thank you.

  2. Andrea M

    I too agree that the tithe was under the mosaic law. When Jesus came He was and is Grace! As He develops our hearts to give our money, time and prayers to believers and sinners we become more like Him! I used to be a faithful tither but I noticed my time in prayer and the word was not as consistent! I believe God is not concerned so much about the tithe as He is a relationship which will ultimately result in a givers heart like His! If ever a poll was taken on how many tithers help a single mom in need or a elderly person in need of meal or cleaning their home you will find that they do none of those things! Because they have been trained to tithe and give and u will be good to go! News flash!! You will not!


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