If I own a business, should I tithe off the business or off my income from the business?
The short answer is that you tithe off of your income. I’ve always said that you can’t give what you don’t have. While you may own your business, all of the money in the business is not your income.
For instance, you have things like payroll, money you put back into your business, money for supplies and resources, and a host of other parts of the business. Tithing has always been done out of your income and resources.
Consider Abraham, who was the first to offer a tithe to Melchizedek, the Prince of Salem. Salem would later become Jerusalem. He is an interesting person in the Bible. This is a priest of God who is also a Prince. If I can put it another way, he holds two of the three offices that Jesus does (prophet, priest, and king).
Abraham does not take all of the possessions of everyone in the camp and give a tenth of them to Melchizedek. He only gives a tenth of his own possessions. So we are not obligated to tithe from our businesses. The obligation is only from ourselves and our own income.
The tithe becomes part of the law of Moses in Israel (Deuteronomy 14:22, 28). God used it to take care of the Levites and the priests (Numbers 18:26). It also became one of the signs that Israel was not being obedient to the Lord (Malachi 3:10-12).
Just before this Scripture we often hear quoted is the situation that the Israelites had become calloused before God (Malachi 3:7-9). But God gives some of the blessings from being obedient and our tithing. He will keep the devourer away from us, open the storehouses of his blessing, and others (the nations) will call us blessed.
We don’t tithe just to receive these blessings from God. They are byproducts of our obedience to him. This is the one time in all of Scripture that God said that we may test him. If you don’t think tithing is important or you think it is an Old Testament principle, God has put himself behind it.
Beyond this, 10% is the bare minimal in the New Testament. In fact, God expects our whole person to be wholly devoted to him alone. He expects 100% from us. Who says, “I’m a New Testament Christian and Old Testament laws don’t apply to me, you are opening yourself up to an even higher tithe of your whole being. But then again, each of us should be giving him that already.