Is gambling or betting a sin? What does the Bible say about gambling



Whenever you try to tell someone that gambling or betting is not right they often seem to disagree and disputing it with the fact it is a way of income generation. Some even want you to prove them wrong with the Bible while dont want to reason with you at all. So the question am going to try and answer here for a few minutes of your time if you allow me to take you through is: Is gambling a sin? What does the Bible say about gambling?

In trying to answer this question I picked up a few scriptures to help bring it you about gambling in the Bible. Well I must warn you that the word gamble or bet or their synonyms, nouns, verbs, adjectives may have not been used in Bible writing but lean not unto your own understanding. I pray that God gives you spritual eyes to see what am about to prove to you.

1. Mark 8:36 - "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?"
2. Hebrews 13:5 - Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
3. Ecclesiastes 5:10 - "He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity."
4. Luke 12:15 - "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.'”
5. Proverbs 13:11 - “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” God is sovereign and will provide for the needs of the church through honest means.
6. 1 Timothy 6:10 - For the love of money is the root of all evil: while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and peced themselves through with many sorrows.
7. Proverbs 23:5 - Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

The Bible does not specifically condemn gambling, betting, or the lottery . The Bible does warn us, however, to stay away from the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10; Hebrews 13:5). Scripture also encourages us to stay away from attempts to “get rich quick” (Proverbs 13:11; 23:5; Ecclesiastes 5:10). Gambling most definitely is focused on the love of money and undeniably tempts people with the promise of quick and easy riches.

While the Bible does not explicitly mention gambling, it does mention events of “luck” or “chance.” As an example, casting lots is used in Leviticus to choose between the sacrificial goat and the scapegoat. Joshua cast lots to determine the allotment of land to the various tribes. Nehemiah cast lots to determine who would live inside the walls of Jerusalem. The apostles cast lots to determine the replacement for Judas. Proverbs 16:33 says, “The lot is cast in the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”

Proverbs 13:11 says, “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” God is sovereign and will provide for the needs of the church through honest means. Would God be honored by receiving donated drug money or money stolen in a bank robbery? Of course not. Neither does God need or want money that was “stolen” from the poor in the temptation for riches.

First Timothy 6:10 tells us, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Hebrews 13:5 declares, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Matthew 6:24 proclaims, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”

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 sat. 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

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 of New York from 1943 to 1954, 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!!!

If no passage of Scripture explicitly forbids it, can we with confidence claim that gambling is wrong, a moral evil, sin? With good reason, CHRISTIANS ARE HESITANT TO LABEL SINS THAT THE BIBLE DOESN’T MENTION, yet we often have to distill principles from the Bible that we apply to contemporary situations. Pornography, computer hacking, or cheating on tests aren’t mentioned in the Bible either, yet believers who want to live like Jesus know intuitively and correctly that these behaviors run counter to the will of God. While biblical texts may not mention them explicitly, biblical principles speak to them directly. In the same way, the ethics of Scripture clearly teach that gambling is wrong and a sin against God, not for one single reason but for many. The slot machine, casino, or poker table are not for believers submitted to the Lordship of Christ.

Many Christians object that if they budget a certain amount of their discretionary entertainment funds for gambling and don’t go beyond that, what’s the harm? After all, Christian people waste money on all kinds of diversions. Far from convincing me that gambling is not necessarily wrong, this particular argument actually confirms it in my mind, because it reveals a complete disregard for what one’s participation in gambling does to others. This argument reveals A SELF-CENTEREDNESS AND LACK OF CONCERN FOR WEAKER BROTHERS AND SISTERS that believers ought to find disturbing (Rom. 14:21). In reality, even Christians who are not personally hurt by it are not free to participate in an industry that preys on the weak and the poor.

The Bible is full of references to God’s view of economics. In the garden of Eden, even before sin entered the world, God established a work ethic by which humanity was to exist (Gen. 1:28-30) Part of God’s creation of man in his own image was that man would work for his food. While God provided it, Adam and Eve had to exercise “dominion” over the plants and animals and till the soil, working for their sustenance. After they sinned, work changed to a more laborious task, but it remained the way God provided for them. In other words, God’s way is that we should earn what we get.

REASONS WHY GAMBLING VIOLATES CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES:
  1. GAMBLING IS ALWAYS WIN/LOSE but Working and investing for a living is based on a win/win scenario. God put his stamp of approval on commerce and work. When a carpenter builds a cabinet and gets paid, both parties win. One of them gets the cabinets she wanted, and one of them gets the money he desired. They can both feel good about the transaction. Not so with gambling. Someone always loses and pays a price.
  2. GAMBLING IS MOTIVATED BY GREED. Let’s be honest and admit that greed lies at the heart of all gambling. The desire to get something for nothing is really another name for covetousness (Exod. 20:17; Prov. 21:25-26). Gambling is a wasteful use of the Lord’s money. I doubt that many Christians who gamble tithe, but even if they do, New Testament Christians understand that God doesn’t have the right to only ten percent of our money, but all of it. Even though I am a tither, I am still required to be a steward of all I have because it belongs to God. I am no freer to gamble with God’s money than I am with anyone else’s. Even though others might waste the Lord’s money on equally frivolous things, their sin doesn’t excuse mine.
  3. GAMBLING SHOWS A LACK OF LOVE FOR MY NEIGHBOR. If I really love my neighbor, I want only what is for his good (Matt. 22:39, 1 Cor. 10:24). When legislators talk about putting casinos on the state line so we can prey on the greed and weakness of our neighbors, they reveal the harmful assault that gambling really is. Can I in good conscience support something that preys on the weaknesses and indulges the worst instincts of the precious people around me?
  4. GAMBLING FAILS TO CONSIDER INNOCENT FAMILIES. We might be tempted to think that if a person gambles away all of his money, then that is his problem and serves him right. But what of his ten-year-old son who can’t afford school supplies? What of his wife who has to work to pay off the credit cards she didn’t even know she had? What of his ailing parents who cannot count on his help in their senior years? What of his daughter’s college education? Proverbs 15:27 says “A greedy man brings trouble to his family,” and nowhere is that more obvious than in the gambling industry.
  5. GAMBLING SHOWS NO CONCERN FOR GOD’S GLORY. A Jesus-follower should try to glorify God in everything (1 Cor. 10:31), and use his or her money to accomplish good for the kingdom (Matt. 6:19-21, 24). Gambling is not an act of faith but a game of chance. Paul wrote that “Everything that is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). The Christian life is to be lived in dependence on God to meet all needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19).
  6. GAMBLING MONEY IS CURSED. For a person to win money from gambling/betting several people must have lost it unfairly. The people who loose it often end up cursing the whole thing, others become thieves for the sake of compesanting the lost money, others gamble with other valuables like shambas, wives, or anything near them. And oof course others commit suicide. Dont you think that already a world of curses on you the winner.
  7. GAMBLING IS ADDICTIVE, HENCE A PRISON those who think it is a solution to their problems. Often people gambling are those from poor families. They make most of the winners according to recent statistics. The promise of quick riches prompts a loser to continue gambling or betting because he may be next winner. Winning also on the other end is not satisfactory at all. It just exposes the person to bigger risks which he thinks have bigger returns. It therefore becomes an endless loop of gambling. 
As I rest my case I want to ask you some very simple questions: Would Jesus would do it? Can you picture Jesus sitting at a slot machine with a cup full of quarters? Can you imagine Jesus analysing football fixtures and placing a bet? Did God bet when he let you be born into this earth? When you sleep just to wake up the next day is it a win/lose scenario or a win/win scenario. Do you know why Jesus would not bet? He was interested in doing his Father’s business, alleviating suffering and grief, not contributing to it.

Complied from various internet sources and the Bible. 

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