As a modern Christian, it can oftentimes be difficult to navigate the world and know that you are walking the right path. In an age of excess and indulgence, understanding your own limits, and the limits laid out by the Lord, is crucial.
Gambling has been around for centuries and is one temptation that is mentioned specifically within the Bible. But is it a sin?
Or can it be an innocent pastime when approached appropriately? And what about the lottery tickets and scratch cards? Prize draws, and slot machines?
Are these things all seen in the same light, or are there degrees of gambling, some of which are more acceptable for Christians than others?
As with all queries of Christian morality, the best place to start looking is the Good Book itself. The Bible is the most wonderful guide through life’s complexities.
So, let’s take a look at some verses about gambling, and how can these ancient teachings be interpreted in our modern world?
Bible Verses About Gambling
Matthew 6:24: “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
This is an important verse to begin with because it lays things out really rather clearly. Matthew says “You cannot serve both God and Money”, implying to worship money like a God is wrong and sinful.
Although we all have to engage with money as part of everyday life, we must never let it become the master of us and corrupt us.
The enticement of gambling is such that many people get sucked in and neglect their families, friends, and their faith as a result of it. The Bible warns against this and tells us to keep God first and foremost in our minds.
Mark 8:36 (NKJV):
“For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
This verse is often quoted as proof that the Lord thinks indulgence, excess money, and gambling are sinful and will cost you your place in Heaven.
If we gamble, then we are putting our souls in jeopardy. We may win big, but we could also lose everything. What good is it to have money, fame, and status, if we are going to hell because of it?
However, there is another, more gentle interpretation. The “loss of one’s soul” could refer to the effects of gambling and how they will make you lose your sense of self and of perspective.
Gambling will not bring you happiness and therefore should always be approached with caution. It warns us not to put ourselves under the influence of any form of addiction, whether it be alcohol, drugs, food, sex, etc. Gambling addiction fits into this category perfectly.
Hebrews 13.5 (ESV):
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'”
Here, the Bible tells us that the Lord’s love is consistent and unswerving. It is far more fulfilling and dependable than earthly riches.
In fact, gambling has an artificial risk factor and can take everything from you. Though the temptation for riches might be great, the Lord’s love should override it.
Luke 12:15 (NKJV):
“And He said unto them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.'”
The Bible acknowledges that money and gambling pose a difficult issue, because we are human, and we all have weakness within us.
This warning is given out of love. Not your allotment of land, nor the riches in your chest can amount to the value of love and respect between you, your God, and your neighbors.
1 Timothy 6:9-10 (NKJV):
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
But if we have food and clothing, let us do good with them. Let us make room for each other in the Lord. As surely as I live – no death shall separate me from the love of Christ.”
Timothy reminds us how we cannot take our worldly possessions to Heaven, only our souls will make it. No drug money, gambling winnings, inheritance, or hard-earned cash can buy us our place beyond the pearly gates.
The only thing that can do that is our generosity and the choices we make surrounding how we spend our money.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 (NASB):
“He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity.”
This verse makes it clear that even though we may enjoy spending money on certain things, we will never truly be satisfied.
This is how Casino gambling can become compulsive gambling – because the acquisition of money will never be enough to sate our craving for more money. If we were to concentrate on more Godly purposes, we could find greater joy and contentment.
“Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.”
This Proverbial wisdom tells us that money earned fast and loose is often lost just as quickly. Gambling and games of chance are risky activities that can take just as often as they give.
However, honest, hard-earned money will accrue if you are responsible and dutiful. If you do not live beyond your means, your well will never run dry.
“A lot is cast in the lap, yet its every decision is from the Lord.”
This proverb really speaks to the heart of the issue and outlines the Bible’s attitude towards gambling and other risk-based sorts of activities. They are based on chance, rather than skill.
In fact, many people who gamble claim they are doing so because they are trying to beat the odds! However, all things in life are governed by the Lord and so it is his will that ultimately decides our fates.
“The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.”
This verse really sums up just how much of a corrupting and negative impact money can have on our lives and our world.
Capitalist greed filters down from the most powerful in society and affects those at the bottom the most harshly. That is why we should all be aware of the dangers that money can bring and not be sucked in by temptation.
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures”
And finally, this verse is really helpful if you are wondering about asking others for money to raise funds for your church or other causes, and if you are wondering about how best to spend your own lottery proceeds.
If we spend our money on each other and on those less fortunate than ourselves, we will in turn reap the benefits.
We are all human, and to be human is to have weaknesses and flaws. The Lord knows this and forgives us for it. The teachings in the Bible regarding gambling and monetary wealth are all there to protect and guide us, rather than to frighten and threaten us.
If we live our lives with moderation, appreciation, and generosity, then we will be happier and more blessed for it.
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