What About Gambling?

Although the Bible does not discuss gambling in detail, we can discern from Bible principles that God views gambling as a sin. With so much at stake, we need to look and see what Bible principles would apply to this practice. (Ephesians 5:17 – “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”)

The primary reason Christians should reconsider gambling is that its underlying motivation is greed, which is a sin God hates.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NASB, emphasis mine)

“But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints… For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Ephesians 5:3, 5 NASB)

Gamblers hope to gain money through the losses of others, which is coveting that which belongs to another person.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:17 NASB)

What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” (Romans 7:7 NASB)

For this, “You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans13:9-10 NASB)

Another aspect of gambling that should not be overlooked is that it can arouse a destructive love of money. Many lives, including entire households, have been scarred by gambling addiction. Money that one cannot afford is thrown away in a vain hope for that big win!

“But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:9-10 NASB)

Gambling also plays into a form of idolatry because it encourages reliance on luck and superstitions.  Such idolatry is incompatible with exclusive devotion to the One True God.

“But as for you who abandon the Lord and forget about worshiping at my holy mountain, who prepare a feast for the god called ‘Fortune,’ and fill up wine jugs for the god called ‘Destiny’ (Isaiah 65:11 NET)

Finally, gambling teaches the opposite of what the Bible teaches us. The Word tells us the engage in hard work in order to obtain what we need.

“A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, (Ecclesiastes 2:24 NIV)

“Let the thief no longer steal. Instead, he is to do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need.” (Ephesians 4:28).

Gambling holds out the promise of “something for nothing” and is a lie and a trap for many. Those who follow after God will follow the biblical admonition to “eat what we earn” instead of taking money lost by others for our own use.

 Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just as we do for you. (1 Thessalonians 3:11 CSB)

Remember, the mouse gets caught in the trap because it doesn’t realize why the cheese is free! Let us use biblical wisdom to walk in a manner worthy of our Lord!