Musings on….Christians and Gambling


This one has been sitting in my drafts for a while; it’s long, but here goes:


What does the bible say about gambling?

Does it say anything about gambling?

What is the Christian to do about gambling?

Is it a sin? Should Christians do it?

How should a christian think about money and proper use of it?


(philarguria, 1 Timothy 6:10, literally, “love of silver”; compare corresponding “lovers of money” (Luke 16:14; 2 Timothy 3:2), equivalent to “avarice”):

The vice that seeks to retain and hoard all that is acquired (Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament, xxiv); described as “a root of all kinds of evil.”


In Matthew 7:15-20, Jesus Christ laid down a test by which every activity or philosophy could be assayed, and its true value assessed. He said, quite simply, that “every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” Jesus’ statement was addressed specifically to false teachers, but it certainly can be applied to various philosophies and activities of life (such as gambling). What kind of fruit does gambling produce? When legalized gambling arrives in a new community, does it raise the moral standards of that community? Does it help to lessen the hardships of families in that community? Or, is the opposite the case? Does legalized gambling place a burden on the communities by an appreciable lowering of the moral standard and an increase in the financial burden for those who already are working with a poverty-level budget? Let’s take a walk down the gambling produce aisle and see what it has to offer.


God’s Attitude Toward Gambling (did someone ask God to answer this? I’m just saying)
God’s people in Bible times apparently were not greatly tempted with gambling. It seems the vice manifested itself only when Israel was dominated by heathen nations. When gambling did occur God clearly indicated His attitude concerning it.

During their Babylonian captivity the Israelites came under the influence of people who gambled. As a result some of the captives also became involved. To these people God through Isaiah said, “Ye are they that forsake the Lord, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number” (Isaiah 65:11, KJV). As indicated in some modern translations of the Bible, the Hebrew words translated “troop” and “number” were names of the heathen gods “Gad” and “Meni.” To the heathen, Gad was the giver of good luck. Meni was the god of bad luck.

The translation of Isaiah 65:11 by James Moffat is as follows: “But ye who have forsaken the Eternal, ye who ignore his sacred hill, spreading tables to Good Luck, pouring libations to Fate, I make the sword your fate.”

E. H. Plumptre, late Dean of Wells, has pointed out that Gad was worshiped as the greater fortune, the giver of good luck. Meni was worshiped as the lesser fortune. George Rawlinson, who at one time served as professor of Ancient History at Oxford, has indicated the name Meni “designated a deity who apportions men’s fortunes to them.”

The sin for which some of the Israelites were condemned was trusting in luck rather than God. Isaiah made it clear that trust in God and trust in luck cannot coexist. If people rely on chance it is evident they do not rely on God. Isaiah described those who trusted in gambling as “they that forsake the Lord” (Isaiah 65:11).

1. Gambling is wrong because it is a disregard of responsible stewardship.

2. Gambling is wrong because it involves a chance of gain at the expense and suffering of others.

3. Gambling is wrong because it is inconsistent with the work ethic of Scripture.

4. Gambling is wrong because it tends to be habit forming.

also from above website.

To entice someone to gain money at the certain loss of another violates virtually every principle taught by Christ. It breeds selfishness, greed, and covetousness and, in fact, promotes them.

“For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things” (Philippians 3:18-19).

We pass our value system along to those around us–first, to our own families, then to our friends and neighbors. If our value system is no better than the world’s in which we live, then truly we have been conformed to the image of this world.

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved” (1 Corinthians 10:31-33).

Gambling flows from what is depraved about human nature. It’s a violation of the Tenth Commandment — “Thou shalt not covet” (Ex. 20:17). Jesus strongly warned against this sin, saying: “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Lk. 12:15). The apostle Paul counseled, “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” (I Tim. 6:9-10).

wow, check out this forum here

At Belief

Actually, I will copy/paste this one out, its good and with references.

Gambling and the Bible
Gambling isn’t expressly mentioned in the Bible. But it’s a vice that goes against many biblical principles.
By Ronald A. Reno

Reprinted with permission of Focus on the Family.

Love of neighbor: Jesus commanded, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). Gambling, meanwhile, is predicated on the losses, pain, and suffering of others. For one to win at gambling, others must lose. For many, the ramifications attributable to their gambling losses are profound. Families touched by a gambling addiction are at greatly increased risk for such negative outcomes as divorce, bankruptcy, child abuse, domestic violence, crime, and suicide. More than 15 million Americans already struggle with a gambling problem, and the number continues to grow as gambling expands.
See also Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31, 10:25-37; Romans 12:10; Philippians 2:3-4; Hebrews 13:1-2.

Exploiting the poor: Gambling preys on the desperation of the poor. The National Gambling Impact Study Commission found that those with incomes less than $10,000 spend more on lottery tickets than any other income group. High school dropouts spend four times as much as college graduates. Scripture exhorts us to look out for the poor and disadvantaged, and issues strong warnings against taking advantage of their plight.

See, for instance, Proverbs 14:21, 14:31, 22:16; Isaiah 3:14-15; Amos 5:11-12; Zechariah 7:10a.

Work ethic: Work has been part of God’s design for mankind from the very beginning. We are to invest our time and energies into labors that supply our needs and those of our families (Proverbs 31, 2 Thessalonians 3:10, 1 Timothy 5:8) and that allow us to share with others (Ephesians 4:28). Scripture is replete with exhortations toward industriousness and admonitions against slothfulness. Gambling, meanwhile, portends something for nothing. Indeed, gambling advertising and marketing frequently belittles hard work and diligence.

See also Genesis 2:15; Exodus 20:9; Proverbs 12:11, 13:4, 20:4, 21:25, 28:19.

Greed: Gambling is founded on greed and undergirded by a “get-rich-quick” appeal. In a recent national poll, two-thirds of respondents stated that the reason they gamble is to win money. The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 6:9-10a: “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”

See also Proverbs 15:27, 28:20; Matthew 6:31; Luke 12:15; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; Hebrews 13:5.

Covetousness: The 10th Commandment (Exodus 20:17) prohibits Christians from coveting another’s possessions. Gambling is precisely the attempt to obtain the resources of others without providing anything of value in return. Some have rightly described gambling as consensual theft.

Stewardship: Christians are responsible before God for how they invest the resources entrusted to them, as the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) makes clear. In many cases, money spent on gambling is money that should have gone to provide for the well-being of one’s family or the advancement of a worthy cause. In all cases, it is an unwise investment with an almost-certain negative return. More importantly, such spending propagates an immoral, predatory and exploitative industry.

See also Genesis 1:26; Romans 14:12; 1 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Colossians 3:17.

The role of government: The God-ordained purpose of government, as outlined in Romans 13:1-5, is to protect the welfare of the citizenry and to suppress evil. State-sanctioned gambling does the opposite. It victimizes many, especially the most vulnerable. It also condones-and even promotes-a vice that has historically been repressed specifically because of its inherent debilitating and corruptive nature.

Deception: Legal gambling operations are steeped in deceit. Lotteries that conceal or misstate the odds, casinos without clocks or windows to hide the passage of time, slot machines programmed for “near misses,” and “riverboat” casinos that cannot sail are but a few examples. Scripture, on the other hand, detests deceitful conduct (Psalm 5:6: “You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the Lord abhors.”). Indeed, Jesus describes Himself as the embodiment of truth (John 14:6) and Satan as “the father of lies” (John 8:44).

See also Psalms 26:4, 55:23, 101:7; Proverbs 14:8, 12:20, 24:28; Romans 1:29.

Avoiding temptation: Gambling establishments are often host to other corrupting vices, including prostitution and drunkenness. Christians are urged to avoid such environments (1 Thessalonians 5:22: “Avoid every kind of evil.”). In 1 Corinthians 15:33, Paul writes, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.'” Other Scriptures warn believers to flee temptation (1 Corinthians 6:18, 2 Timothy 2:22).

Lack of trust in God: The Bible teaches that Christians are to look to God as their provider, and that we are to be content with the material blessings we receive from His hand. To engage in gambling indicates both a lack of trust in and dissatisfaction with God’s provision.

See, for instance, Matthew 6:25-34; Philippians 4:11-12, 4:19; 1 Timothy 6:6; Hebrews 13:5.

Alright this is really long, sorry about that, there is lots of info. about it.

Please just read when you have time and enjoy the content, maybe you can use it when talking to others about gambling.

My mother, who is not a Christian, took a friend, who is a Christian, gambling and I started thinking about it.

Have a great day! Kristina

28 responses »

  1. I often wonder why so many Christians try to call things “sin” which are no where called sin in scripture.

    Is gambling a social injustice? Probably, but it is certainly not the worst or most pronounced. Specifically when you can point to many passages of scripture where particular social issues are pointed to as evidence of social injustice.

    The only scripture I know of speeks directly of the lottery:

    “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.” – Prov 16:33

  2. And don’t forget that soon after Christ returned to heaven the disciples cast lots to decide who would take the place of Judas. This also goes without mentioning that God commanded the use of lots to decide certain legal issues in Jewish law (property disputes, etc.)- the kind of situations that required impartial decisions.

    And WC has already mentioned the other verse that comes to mind.

    My family and I, barring some strong direct pull from God, will most likely use lots to decide which job I will be accepting after grad school- assuming I have multiple offers. 🙂

  3. Kevin;
    I like the focus on the family article.
    If people would follow the ‘biblical principles’ maybe gambling wouldn’t be such a problem/addiction.
    my thought in this post was, my mom, who loves to gamble, took her (christian) friend with her, who immediately loved the high of winning.
    My hope is the people who are christians among my mother, including me, would be a light, showing her there is something to relying on this God and being set apart and having contentment with Him not things of the world.
    But alas, I fail most of the time, falling into ‘her’ worldly rountine when i’m with her. It’s hard.
    I do like your scripture, ”but its every decision is from the Lord.”
    So, if my mother wins the lottery, shall I tell her its God decision she won? 😉
    What’s up with your site and the comments section?
    So, I’ve been meaning to ask you, is there anything your family or small group/fellow believers do to get the gospel out or volunteer somewhere?
    I’m going somewhere with this, follow me….trust me…..

  4. I do think gambling can certainly be a problem–especially combined with the fact that most people live within a 2 hour drive from a full-fledged casino. Smoking is also a problem. So are refined sugars and high-fructose corn syrup.

    I have bought a couple scratch and sniff cards in my time, but my dad is a big gambler. Out of his ample retirement income he buers one lottery ticket a week. It’s cheap fun for him.

    And, yes, if your mother wins the lottery, tell her it was God’s idea.

    Witnessing: We try to honestly love people. We have found being regulars does wonders at getting to know people. Bank tellers, waitresses, bar tenders, even online friends at forums we frequent.

    Pretty much my philosophy on evangelism is to let them ask. The other day I was sitting at a table with the Mikes and one of them, a non-Christian, started talking about spiritual things. I was able to share my faith. A group of atheists I regularly meet with asked me why, if I have a sound mind, I could ever be a Christian. As a result, I got to share my faith.

    If the people who are around us every day don’t know we love them, how can we ever share our faith–no matter what programs we put together?

  5. not programs.
    I was just getting at exactly what you told me, what do you do, i guess, pertaining to the great commission.
    If there are things, on a regular basis, you/family/friends do for others in a gospel sharing way or helping with meeting general everyday needs i.e., salvation army, homeless shelters, etc.
    my mind is wandering in a way as to get butts out of church pews and into the streets…..not in an obnoxious kurt cameron sort of way, but really helping, i dont know, like i said, my mind is just thinking. i think my bipolar-mood fluctuation is on high.

  6. ”not programs.
    I was just getting at exactly what you told me, what do you do, i guess, pertaining to the great commission.
    If there are things, on a regular basis, you/family/friends do for others in a gospel sharing way or helping with meeting general everyday needs i.e., salvation army, homeless shelters, etc.”
    from what me and Kevin were talking about above….

  7. Hold up a second. I thought the topic was

    “Musings on….Christians and Gambling”

    I mused on gambling, not the great commission. But I guess if I must answer the question.

    Our church has, as part of our mission statement, set a goal for each member. That goal is to initiate relationships with three unsaved people, pray for them three times a day, and invite them to three events (whether it be church, BBQ, dinner, etc.). The short hand language is “invest and invite.”

  8. TT;
    is that for the year or as a member?
    and how is that going with your family directly?
    like i said above, my mind is racing on things, thinking about getting out of church pews, and what is the best way to ‘do’ the great commission. which is to spread the word, right?
    ah, here it is;
    ”And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20) ”
    my thoughts are not new, im sure, but pretty much every one that has been sitting in a pew for a length of time has the ability to do this….
    so why arent more christians…i will post on this, but im curious what you and others are doing personal….

  9. Kris,

    Maybe I wasn’t clear…

    “being a regular” is a strategy. When you become a regular you get to know people you wouldn’t know otherwise. I’m not sure I made that clear above.

    The second part of the strategy (if it is one) is to just be interested, truly interested, in the people you meet. Love them.

    Other things we do are pretty much “as they come.” If you care about people you will have opportunities. One summer one of our neighbors had new twins the beginning of June. That summer I mowed his lawn.

  10. One more comment Kris, as I think you are on to something here…

    If we are led by the Holy Spirit it seems to me we will do things spontaneously whether or not someone else tells/reminds us to. What do you think?

  11. erm, the comments have strayed a bit and i don’t know that i have anything to add to them as they’ve evolved, but touching on the original post ::

    while i would hesitate to call gambling a *sin* or even desire to see it regulated (by the church or the state), i will say that people need to be aware of their own vices.

    for myself i stay away from gambling because i KNOW i will get carried away with it.

    gambling caused me some regrets in the past, but nothing irredeemable. i was single, it was fun, the landlord was understanding that one time i overextended myself and fell short on my rent.

    (by understanding, i mean he gave me a day to make it right and didn’t send anyone bigger than me over to break my legs)

    now that i’m an adult and married with children i just stay away from anything bigger than penny poker. i could make excuses and hem and haw, but the simple fact is i will always think i can beat the system or bluff my way past the guy with the royal flush

  12. WC is right, you really have to care. You can’t be that guy who sits down across from a total stranger and says, “Do you know Jesus as your personal savior?”

    That is why our church looks toward relational evangelism. All of us live and work in the world. We eat in restaurants, we have jobs, we have neighbors.

    We are sincere and loving in our offer of friendship. I have learned that if any two people know each other for long enough the topic of religion will come up. And 9 times out of 10, when it comes up, it comes up as a question posed to me (you).

    But also we should pray each day for our neighbors, the check out guy at the local grocery store, and the over burdened waitress at the local Outback Steakhouse. They all need God- we all do. When the time is write to talk about it, it can be amazing how the Spirit moves you.

  13. My own comment got thrown into SPAM!!!!
    it does find you tasty, it just burped you out… 🙂
    TT, but how has your family does with this mission statement so far?
    how are you doing with that personally, if you haven’t done up to par, thats cool with me, i just want to know.
    ”If we are led by the Holy Spirit it seems to me we will do things spontaneously whether or not someone else tells/reminds us to. What do you think?”
    i may have to think on this one some more, but my first thought is, yes things will come spontaneously, but we are such sinful I.e. lazy, selfish, people that we needs reminding.
    that said, right now, i should be leaving to go to the humane society and i’m dallying with you people!
    my mind goes to so many things i could do, should do,
    my mind goes to what are those other people doing?
    for example, the people who berated me the most for taking a sunday off to go the humane society orientation are the ones who don’t go out and volunteer or help others anywhere.
    (disclaimer: that i know of, anyway)
    im led or burdened to, to buy bibles for people overseas, who want the Word.
    Im burdened for the animals who don’t have homes (becuz people dont take care of Gods creatures)
    i’m burdened for the women who enter Crisis pregnancy center, and so on. but i cant do it all.
    and if i do it, what do i say, how do i act, do i wear the t-shirt, drop hints, use God in a sentence, just ask how their day is?
    i know the answer ‘build relationships’ is the key.
    most people, and me included, especially on the low mood days, don’t want to expend the energy to build relationships.
    and where do i build them? and do we really want those people we just give money to, to be in our lives?
    alright, im rattling, but i think you get my drift. i guess there isnt an equation to just put up on the board and follow it. i guess i have to just keep it in perspective and keep doing what im doing and try to be an example of Gods love.
    keep the comments coming, i’ll be back….

  14. ”If we are led by the Holy Spirit it seems to me we will do things spontaneously whether or not someone else tells/reminds us to. What do you think?”
    WC-Damn, i typed a big long comment up and …gone.
    will respond later, i need to go to some time at the humane society.
    Brah- it does think your tasty and it just burped you out!
    TT- but how has your family personal done with this mission statement. its ok if you havent been ‘up to par’ i’m just curious as to the results…

  15. “TT, but how has your family does with this mission statement so far?
    how are you doing with that personally, if you haven’t done up to par, thats cool with me, i just want to know.”

    No matter what I’ve done my answer would be the same, not enough. What have I done thus far? I’ve gotten to know quite a few people who I see on a weekly basis. Included among them are a nice older lady who runs the check-out at Wal-mart, one of my neighbors down the road who is also a dog enthusiast, and an online atheist friend. I know all of them well enough to know that they haven’t accepted Christ as their savior. I have only had the opportunity to share the gospel with one, but I view even the foundational issue of getting to know them as part of the greater message.

    Hope this answers your question.

  16. Total Tranny;
    yes, and don’t worry, i wasn’t expecting or wanting a perfect answer. We are just people and at least you are trying! Kudos for that!!
    You are doing much more than most of the people I know. You just keep it up, buy some veggies and dog treats at walmart and give the treats to your neighbor. 🙂

  17. Kris,

    My observation about the leading of the Holy Spirit v. the prodding of others…

    If someone doesn’t respond to the Holy Spirit then why would they respond to the prodding of humans? Possibly it is because they care more about what people think than what God might desire. I think this is the root of Matthew 7:21.

    You do what God leads you to do. That’s enough. It’s God’s job to tell us what we need to do. A Christian can no more miss God than an apple tree can bear oranges.

    Total Tranny,

    How much is enough? How do you measure enough? When will God be satisfied with your efforts?

    The reason I ask is this: I suspect your feeling is based on the common Christian belief they can never be “good enough” or never “do enough.” The Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom. He knows you are dust. Every righteous requirement for us has been met in Christ. I suspect the Lord is a lot happier with your efforts than you have been taught to believe.

  18. “How much is enough? How do you measure enough? When will God be satisfied with your efforts?”

    I know God is happy with any effort on make on this front- as long as am responding to and not running from his prompts. But of myself, I know I could always do more. I don’t think these actions are securing my salvation. I just know that throughout the world our persecuted brothers and sisters risk death to spread the gospel, and I do so little here, where my actions are both legal and safe.

  19. Total Tranny,

    “I know God is happy with any effort on make on this front- as long as am responding to and not running from his prompts. But of myself, I know I could always do more.”

    If God is pleased, then why the “but”? If you lived with persecution then you would do what you need to do to serve Christ in persecution. Right now you aren’t called to do that. Right now you are pleasing God. Can you do more than please God?

  20. i don’t see the contradiction in that *but*

    i can be pleased with my son for cleaning his room without me asking.

    but there is still the potential for more. i will be even more pleased when he makes it a habit to keep his room clean regularly.

    we live each day as best we can. or not. but as long as we have breath there will be tomorrow to consider.

    at the same time, i do see your point.

    i would not beat myself up over where god has placed me or think that my effort is less because another is doing *more*

    my view just isn’t broad enough to make that call

  21. erm, the above comment was mine. i was on my wife’s computer last night and forgot to log out of her account.

    we now return you to your regularly scheduled comments already in progress.

  22. Anyone else care to chime in about what they do ‘in the community’
    do you do anything, brahnamin?
    pertaining to what we are talking about….of course. 🙂
    still thinking on your proposal….;)

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