Gambling and Christianity: What Does the Bible Say

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gambling-in-bible

Many Christians have wondered whether gambling is a sin and what the Bible says about it. And even though casinos, lottery, and games of chance aren’t mentioned in the Holy Book, the Bible still has warnings about the temptation. So did God say that gambling is wrong? Is it appropriate for Christians to gamble? Let’s check the Bible to find some answers to these questions.

The 10th Commandment

What’s the main reason people play the lottery and gamble? They have a craving to become rich quick and easy. Timothy 6:10 tells that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil;” therefore, although gambling isn’t explicitly mentioned, it’s still implied in the texts. The desire for money can instantly have a negative impact on a person’s life, leading to depression, anxiety, family strife, alcoholism, and eventually, gambling addiction.

The 10th Commandment in the Bible

On the other hand, God gave every person certain talents, which all will be taken into account after death. So from that perspective, if you have a talent for playing Blackjack or slot machines, not playing would be considered as wasting your skills.

Hebrews 13:5 declares: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have.” Here you may argue that there are lots of instances where money is used for the greater good, such as medical research, charity, economic advancement. However, money is also used in conjunction with negative things, such as drugs, booze, prostitution, and war. After all, everything has two sides, like yin and yan, light and dark.

“Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.” — Ecclesiastes 5:10. Almost every person in the whole universe can relate to these words: games of chance and winning make people eager to get more and more. We all know that this ends up with them eventually having a gambling addiction. This problem is pervasive, with millions of addicts in the US alone!

Guy reading Bible in the church

Throughout the Bible, we can track the importance of earning money in an honest way. And only by applying Biblical principles, can players avoid the adverse effects that gambling can have on life.

So Is Gambling a Sin?

Every entertainment or leisure activity is not a sin; however, not all sins are listed in the Bible. On top of that, God says that “everything is permissible, but not everything is constructive.” That means that whenever an activity is not clearly described as a sin, we should ask ourselves whether this activity is beneficial for me, will this entertainment be constructive or destructive to my life?

Moreover, gambling becomes a sin only when we pay too much money for this entertainment. For instance, spending thousands of dollars that your family actually needs on games of luck would most certainly be sinful.

However, why would it be wrong to spend a few dollars for evening entertainment, whether it’s on bingo, movies, or other pastimes?

Side Effects of Gambling

Two Dices on the table

Gambling can only be harmful when it begins to ruin your life and lead you towards a truly destructive path, such as addiction, theft, alcoholism, fraud, serenity, divorce, bankruptcy, poverty — this list can actually go on for quite a bit longer!

The only way to break this vicious circle is to know your boundaries. So as long as you’re only playing for entertainment and as a fun pastime, there is absolutely nothing wrong about it.

Conclusion

Even though we can say gambling in small doses cannot harm you or your surroundings, the church is still against it. And while many countries have legalized gambling, religious institutions are going to fight to ensure legal gambling isn’t undermined.

Still, thousands of people gamble every day and will continue to do so, no matter what. So a simple reminder here: be aware of the pros and cons of such entertainment, and always play responsibly!

Most Popular Questions About Gambling and Christianity

  • What is original sin?

Original sin, also termed ancestral sin, is a belief in Christianity about the sin Adam and Eve committed, and namely how they consumed the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

  • Is buying a lottery ticket considered gambling?

Merely buying a ticket isn’t considered to be gambling, as you’re only paying a fee to participate in a game. The same story with putting a coin in a slot — it’s not gambling until you spin the reel.

  • What are the 7 sins in the Bible?

The Bible names 7 deadly, or cardinal sins:

  • Lust
  • Greed
  • Gluttony
  • Wrath
  • Sloth
  • Pride
  • Envy
  • What is the greatest sin in the Bible?

God said that all sins could be forgiven to men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit can never be forgiven. This blasphemy is insulting or showing a lack of reverence for God or religion.

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