What Does The Bible Say About Gambling?
The Bible is a great source of inspiration and wisdom, not just for the Christian world but also for secular people. Some of the most well-known and oft-quoted sayings actually come from the Bible, and they’re used by people from all walks of life to describe their situations or to help them understand what to do. “Rise and shine”, “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”, and “to fight the good fight” are all sayings that originate in the Bible, so if you’ve ever used them, you’ve actually been quoting the Christian Holy Book without realising!
One area in which the Bible is often sought for assistance is gambling. Many Christians – and those who are curious about the religion – want to know what the Bible’s opinion is on gambling; what various Biblical figures have said about the practice of gambling, whether it’s acceptable for someone who follows the faith, and whether it’s morally right to do it. If you’re thinking of heading over to a site like casimba.com to play a little blackjack or take a flutter on a poker game, you might want to consult the Bible first to find out what it says about gambling.
If you’re looking to gamble, you’ll be pleased to know that the Bible doesn’t actually mention gambling or games of chance outright. Some other holy books do; the Qur’an, for example, outright forbids the act of gambling, stating that “the sin is greater than the profit” when it comes to gambling (and drinking, incidentally). However, the Bible itself doesn’t make any mention of gambling at any point, although it does skirt around the issue with other provisions, as we’ll shortly see.
One of the most famous proverbs in the Bible is that found in Timothy, chapter 6, verse 10. Here, we see the phrase “the love of money is the root of all evil”. Hence, if you’re gambling for money – to acquire it or simply because you’re greedy or avaricious – then you’re committing a sin as far as the Bible is concerned. While this isn’t an explicit reference to gambling, it does imply that playing games of chance for a monetary reward probably isn’t particularly in keeping with the spirit of the Bible, even if this isn’t stated in as many words.
In Ecclesiastes 5:10, we see the phrase “he who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income”. This points to the idea that when we’re making money – be it through hard work, gambling, or even theft – we’ll never be satisfied with the amount that we have, and we will always want more. Thus, it’s a sin to covet more money, and it’s a good thing to live your life not in the pursuit of money but in the pursuit of happiness. Again, this doesn’t necessarily refer to gambling, but it’s fair to say that many gamblers are in it for the money.
“He who gathers money little by little makes it grow”. This is a call for people to make their money on a gradual basis, not to try and acquire huge amounts all at once. It’s not a good thing to try and become suddenly rich; instead, we should till the land (work), and make sure that we amass enough money to survive without becoming greedy. This could be construed as another indirect reference to gambling; after all, what is gambling but trying to acquire a huge amount of money at once with little effort? The Bible wants us to work for our living, not to come across it by chance.
Yet another reference to not coveting money or becoming greedy can be found in Hebrews 13:5. This verse implores us to “keep your life free from love of money”, for God has said he will never leave or forsake us. This means that we shouldn’t worship money as the primary source of happiness in our life, because God won’t abandon us. Gambling encourages us only to see the monetary reward at the end of the game and not to live life to its fullest, which could be seen as pursuing a love of money rather than the humble existence we should be striving for.
This is, perhaps, one of the most damning indictments of excessive wealth in the Bible. This verse proclaims that one “cannot serve both God and Money”. You cannot serve two masters; you will always love one and hate the other, no matter what you try to do. In essence, this means that if you are pursuing money as your primary goal in life, then you cannot be devoted to God. Obviously, this is bad news for anyone who covets money, but it’s another clear indication that the Bible doesn’t want us to chase money as the end goal.
As you can see, there’s no specific provision in the Bible for gambling. However, given that gambling is largely focused on making money, it’s easy to use the words of the Bible to justify a hatred of gambling. Still, if you’re playing for free – i.e., if there’s no real money at stake – or if you’re able to rein in the more avaricious elements of gambling, then there’s no real reason that a Christian can’t indulge in a little casino gaming if they want to. Just be sure you’re not going overboard!
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