Is Gambling Wrong?
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines gambling as "to bet money on the outcome of a game, contest, or other event. To take a risk in the hope of gaining an advantage. To expose to hazard, to risk. An act of undertaking of uncertain outcome."
Simply put, gambling can be equated with coveting the possessions of another. It involves taking a risk in order to obtain something for nothing and more often than not means losing what one has and obtaining nothing. It is fueled by greed, plain and simple.
Today gambling takes on many forms: lotteries, scratch off tickets, slot machines, punch cards, bingo, raffle tickets, card games, shooting dice, keno, sweepstakes chances, numbers, pari-mutual wagering, wagering on sporting events, buying sweepstakes tickets, matching for cokes, pitching for pennies, even online gambling over the internet. The amount that you gamble does not excuse nor negate the fact that it still constitutes gambling, and is condemned by the Word of God.
Even though scripture does not specifically address gambling, it is a practice that is clearly condemned in numerous passages. The Bible provides us with sound principles to guide us in reaching a biblical answer to the question of "Is Gambling Really Wrong?". While God's word does not say, “Thou shalt not gamble,” it does teach that while we are free to do all things, all things are not profitable and we should never allow ourselves to be subject to the power of anything other than Christ in our lives "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not." - 1 Corinthians 10:23; "All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any." - 1 Corinthians 6:12.
What other Scriptures Say Regarding Gambling and it's effects:
Proverbs 28:19-22 - "He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough. A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent. To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress. He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him."
God intended for man to acquire assets through diligent labor, not quickly through games of chance.
Ephesians 4:28 - "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth."
The Bible advocates earning a living through righteous means. Gambling is a process that takes advantage of those who are inexperienced. It often reaps its benefits from funds that would have benefited innocent mothers and children.
Proverbs 13:11 - "Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase."
Wealth obtained by gambling does not endure, it diminishes, it is transitory.
Genesis 4:7 - "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him."
Romans 6:12 - "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof."
God gives us a clear admonition against being dominated by our sinful actions.
1 Timothy 6:6-11 - "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness."
God instructs us to be content with what He has provided us through labor or His providence.
Proverbs 20:21 - "An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed."
Ideas of getting rich quick (the motive behind gambling) are warned against.
Colossians 3:23-24 - "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."
2 Thessalonians 3:7,10 - "For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; 10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."
Gambling undermines and destroys the work ethic which God wishes to instill within us. It encourages the philosophy of "getting something for nothing" and encourages laziness and sloth.
Romans 1:28-32 - "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."
It is clear that those who are driven by the sin of "covetousness" shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Thessalonians 5:22 - "Abstain from all appearance of evil."
Romans 12:9 - "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil;
cleave to that which is good."
As followers of Christ we should shun the appearance of all evil.
Colossians 3:5 - "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:"
Gambling is fueled by covetousnes which is idolatry; and, idolatry is sin.
Proverbs 23:4 - "Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom."
God's Word clearly tells us not to seek to be rich.
1 Corinthians 16:2 - "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 - "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."
Gambling violates the principles of christian stewardship.
Matthew 22:37-39 - "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
Matthew 7:12 - "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."
Gambling violates the principle of "Loving thy neighbour as thyself".
Ephesians 5:23-31 - "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh."
Ephesians 6:1-4 - "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
Gambling violates God's plan for the christian home.
Romans 12:17 - "Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men."
Gambling prevents us from demonstrating to others that we are Christ-like examples.
Romans 13:1-2 "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation."
Gambling is nothing more than a state-sponsored "Vice" that seeks to subvert the moral fabric of society through greed. Government is to be a minister to God. Those in government who should be seeking to promote order and virtue pursuant to God's plan, but promote disorder and disobedience will answer to God for their wrongs.
1 Timothy 5:8 - "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."
2 Corinthians 12:14 - "Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children."
2 Thessalonians 3:12 - "Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread."
Gambling tempts people to neglect their God-mandated responsibility to care for their own families. It is a major cause of family neglect and a growing social problem.
Genesis 3:19 - "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
2 Thessalonians 3:10 - "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."
Gambling attempts to circumvent God's plan and order!
Gambling corrupts the values of the Christian life replacing them with greed and selfishness. It is a form of theft from taxpayers, encourages the neglect of children and jobs, draws unscupulous people, cultivates laziness and entices one to other sins such as alcohol and drug use and prostitution. In any form, it is wrong. Gambling is not authorized by God. It stands condemned by God. As Christians, we believe we must stand against society’s attempts to legalize and promote ANY forms of gambling.