Set Free to Give!

A Biblical Study on Christian Living and Giving
by Brent MacDonald

This document continues to be a work in progress. We want it to invoke discussion and to solicit comments. We welcome eMail detailing any omissions, typos or grammar mistakes, areas not covered, or specific dissent; as long as it is accompanied by Scriptural reference (or historical reference in regards to the cited history).

Article History...

Posted version 2a: Expanded examples in many sections including quotations. Fixed some formatting errors.
Posted version 2b: Added sections on Dr John MacArthur's teaching on the tithe. Response to reader input from version 1.
Posted version 3a: Added an example of current teaching on the tithe from a message by well known teacher John Piper.
Posted version 3b: Added a brief look at the real temple tax
Posted version 4a: Fixed numerous grammar and phrasing errors (thanks David!), plus a couple clarifications. Started an index of scriptures used (see end of document, after appendix).
Posted version 4b: Fixed more spelling/grammar errors (thanks Mark!), plus a few clarifications including Appendix B. Scripture index is now complete. Copyright notices added.
Posted version 4c: Even more spelling/grammar errors and a few expanded clarifications.
Posted version 5: Added expanded details on early church fathers/history, and additional clarifications in other sections.
Posted version 6: Two more sections were added providing additional details on how a believer should live a life of giving. Smaller grammatical changes and clarifications throughout.

In the three years that we have circulated and posted versions of this article we have had virtually no biblical challenges to the substance of this document. Primarily there have been requests for additional details or means of addressing other cited passages by teachers in regards to giving. Most general challenges have stemmed from church traditions and appeals to teachings of various church leaders, neither of which affects the biblical nature of this work. As such, with version 6, we believe we are approaching a conclusion to this work.

Written by Brent MacDonald of Lion Tracks Ministries, (c) 2003-2006, as posted on and Please contact the author for written permission to reprint in whole or in part. Web links to this page are welcome and encouraged.

All quoted Bible passages in this document are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise marked. Our use of this translation does not imply endorsement or recommendation, rather it was selected due to its widespread usage. Each passage was compared with other popular translations, including KJV and NASB, to assure clarity of usage. We recommend examining the passages in your favorite translation.

New International Version (NIV), Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

New King James Version (NKJV), Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.