What does the Bible say about gambling?

Let's look at what the Bible says about gambling and the scripture texts that address the principles involved. 

Quotes about gambling in the Bible?

Mark 8:36 (NKJV), "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?"

Hebrews 13:5 (ESV), "Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'"

Gambling in the BibleEcclesiastes 5:10 (NASB), "He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity."

Luke 12:15 (NKJV), "And He said to them, 'Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.'”

 

Browse: Is gambling one of the seven deadly sins?

The 10th Commandment

Commandment number ten found in Exodus 20:17 talks about coveting which is the root of many of our problems. What is one of the reasons that people gamble and play the lottery?

They covet money, which they hope to make in a quick and easy way. 1 Timothy 6:10 declares that "the love of money is the root of all evil." Therefore, the enticement of gambling and playing the lottery comes under these texts. But there is more. God has given to each person certain talents, which includes time, money, and influence. God is going to have each person give an account of how their talents were used. If talents are wasted and dissipated, often the indulgent ones are not the only ones who pay the price. Families often must go without basic necessities because of one member's addiction.

Christ says in Matthew 6:21, "where your treasure is there will your heart be also." For those who engage in this traffic, money is the mutilator. In the parable Jesus told of the rich farmer. He condemned him for saying how rich he was and that he would tear down his barns and build larger ones. You recall that the story ends with the man dying that very night. With that in mind, consider to whom the rich man's wealth will go?

The Bible, Gambling and Fundraisers

As you know, some churches use bingo and lotteries as a means of raising money for charitable purposes. Yet, many conservative Christians frown upon gambling of any kind, be it lotteries, slot machines, horse/dog racing, the Irish sweepstakes, roulette wheels, poker, bridge, or flipping a coin. Why? Matthew 7:16 says, "by their fruits you shall know them."

What are the fruits of gambling? Revenue and jobs are two arguments frequently advanced in favor of gambling and the lottery. Yet, when Tom Dewey was governor, he addressed the NY legislature as follows: "the entire history of legalized gambling in this country and abroad shows that it has brought nothing but poverty, crime, and corruption, demoralization of moral and ethical standards, and ultimately a lower living standard and misery for all the people." A gambler can become just as addicted to his bewitching pastime as the alcoholic does to his liquor or the drug addict to drugs.

Is Gambling a Sin?

A guiding principle to consider is that both one's time and money belong to God. "You are bought with a price" (1 Corinthians 6:20). Consider the parable of the talents where the owner gave one servant five talents, another three and the last got one. The last man hid his talent in the earth. The owner rebuked him. How much sterner might have been the reproof if he had gambled it away? If your time and money were your own, we could say, "gamble all you please, it's your own business." But to gamble with money that is not your own, to waste time that is not your own, makes one nothing less than a thief in God's sight. The Bible adds that thieves will not get to heaven. 1 Corinthians 6:9,10.

This is an interesting statement: "One has 1 chance in 10 million of winning the state lottery in California. Whereas, if you leave home and drive just a few blocks, your chance of a fatal car accident are 1 in 1 million." One cannot vouch for the accuracy of these facts, but it is worth considering.

The Effect of Gambling

Another interesting bit of information: Governor Washburn of Wisconsin in his annual message of January 9, 1873, declared, "Some law seems to be required to break up the schools where gamblers are made. These are everywhere. Even the church (unwittingly, no doubt) is sometimes found doing the work of the devil. Gift concerts, gift enterprises and raffles, sometimes in aid of religious or charitable objects, but often for less worthy purposes, lotteries, prize packages, etc., are all devices to obtain money without value received. Nothing is so demoralizing or intoxicating, particularly to the young, as the acquisition of money or property without labor. Respectable people engaging in these chance enterprises, and easing their consciences with the reflection that the money is to go to a good object, it is not strange that the youth of the state should so often fall into the habits which the excitement of games of hazard is almost certain to engender." Remember: this was in 1873, not 1973!!!

Pray this is the help you are seeking.

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