What Does The Bible Say About Gambling?

What Does The Bible Say About GamblingWhat does the Bible say about gambling?  Well, if you run a search for the word "gambling" you are not going to find it in the Bible.  So does that mean that the Bible approves of gambling?  It isn't quite that simple.  You see, the Bible has a whole lot to say about money.  In fact, there are so many Scriptures about money that it would take whole books to go over them all.  God is very concerned about how we make our money, how we view our money and what we do with our money.  It is in the Scriptures about money where we can get an idea of what God thinks when we gamble our money away.  The truth is that gambling is a massive problem in modern society.  Recent research has shown that there are approximately 2.5 million "pathological gamblers" in the United States today and another 3 million U.S. adults who should probably be considered "problem gamblers".  Well over 500 billion dollars is spent gambling each and every year in the United States.  That is a problem.  But it is not just in the United States where gambling is a problem.  Similar problems are found all over the world where gambling is permitted.  So what does the Bible have to say? 

Well, in 1 Timothy 6:9-10 we find perhaps the most frequently quoted Scripture about money in the entire Bible.  It tells us that the "love of money" is a root "of all kinds of evil".....

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. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

While those who put a dollar into the office football pool may not be doing it for the love of money, the truth is that the vast majority of gambling addicts do it for the money.  Money becomes an overwhelming obsession for them.  Many become convinced that gambling will solve their money problems or will open up the door to a better life.  The truth is that those who become fixated on money fall into a trap.  The Scripture above warns us that the trap can cause us to wander from the faith.

In fact, Hebrews 13:5 warns us to keep our lives free from the love of money and to be content with what we already have.....

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

God is going to provide for those who trust and obey Him.  But for most people that is not enough.  Most people think they know better than God.

But even if someone is able to "hit it big" gambling, the Bible warns that money obtained in such a manner will dwindle quickly away.  Proverbs 13:11 tells us this.....

Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.

In addition, Ecclesiastes 5:10 tells us that those who love money never can get enough of it.  It becomes an endless addiction.  Anyone who has ever known a gambling addict knows that no matter how much money they win, it is never enough for them.  King Solomon was very wise when he wrote the following (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) in the book of Ecclesiastes.....

Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.  This too is meaningless.

What ends up happening to most gamblers?  Most of them end up having massive financial problems.  Why?  Because most gambling games are designed so that the odds are not in your favor.  So gambling addicts usually find themselves hurting very badly financially.  When that happens, they often find themselves not able to provide for their own families.  This is a very serious evil according to 1 Timothy 5:8.....

If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

We are to watch over and take care of the money we make.  We are to use it to further God's kingdom and to take care of our families.  We are instructed to make wise choices.  Gambling our money away is not a wise choice.

We have to ask ourselves who our master is going to be.  According to Matthew 6:24, we cannot have two masters.....

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

So who are you going to serve?  If you are addicted to gambling, you are not serving God.  You are serving someone else. 

But the good news is that if you are addicted to gambling there is hope.  Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of all mankind so that we may have our sins forgiven and be granted eternal life.  If you are addicted to gambling there is still time for you to get your life turned around and to have the ultimate happy ending.  We encourage you to read more about it in our article entitled "What Does The Bible Say About Salvation?".

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  • Doug

    Thanks for the Biblical insight on gambling, I believe the Holy Spirit does convict and direct us as per the scriptures that you used.

    • Admin

      Thank you for saying that Doug.

      Hopefully this article will help a lot of people.

      Michael

  • mike

    Thanks for that.. I just got home from the casino. and I lost money. I know about god a little bit just started going to church about 3years ago and I knew it was wrong but all what is and what was said is very true.. I’m done with it.

    • Admin

      Good for you Mike!

      My wife and I will be praying for you.

      Michael

  • Sandria. Watkis-Madden

    I am so glad for this, so many people try to justify gambling where I’m from and I just never had the right words to back up my stands that it is wrong

  • Gambler

    Lord please, help many gamblers to turn to you and stop gambling and spend our money for what you want. I am one of the gamblers. I lost about 10 thousand dollars in CHicago and in LA in 1 year. I really regret. I should never went to casinos from the beginning. Now, help me Lord please. Forgive me please. Make me better person. Help me pay my tuition. please.

  • John Olive

    My son bet $10 in an office football pool and now his father-in-law because it is gambling and the Bible is against it. My son doesn’t even buy lottery tickets and does not gamble except for this one-time Superbowl pool. I don’t believe this is what God said not to do.

  • Jon

    You holier than thou self-righteous types make me want to throw up.

    “Recent research has shown that there are approximately 2.5 million ‘pathological gamblers’ in the United States today and another 3 million U.S. adults who should probably be considered ‘problem gamblers’”.

    In a U.S. population of 308,745,538 only 5,500,000 have a problem with gabling. In other words there is no gambling problem in the U.S. Furthermore the problem these people have with gambling is not a problem with gambling. These people are addicted and if they weren’t where they could gamble they’d be addicted to something else.

    Most people that gamble do so as an amusement, not because they love money so much that they are willing to risk the money they have on a chance that they can have more. So I Timothy 6:9-10 doesn’t really apply. Someone who speculates in the stock market or in real estate are more likely to love money than a recreational gambler is and they are far more likely to bring harm to others (remember October 1929?) than recreational gamblers are.

    Of course people want to get rich; only a fool would want to get poor.

    “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

    How many people have wandered from the faith when they don’t care a whit about money at all?

    “the truth is that the vast majority of gambling addicts do it for the money.”

    Proof? Documentation?

    “Money becomes an overwhelming obsession for them.”

    And sex is an overwhelming obsession for the sex addict, but do you really want to tell the rest of us that we cannot have sex?

    “Many become convinced that gambling will solve their money problems or will open up the door to a better life.”

    How many become convinced that going to church and tithing to the Lord will do likewise? Personally, if I have to miserable anyway, I’d much rather be miserable in a higher tax bracket.

    “In fact, Hebrews 13:5 warns us to keep our lives free from the love of money and to be content with what we already have…..”

    Let’s see, my mother was pregnant at age 17. My parents were divorced before I was 6 years old. My mother didn’t think I was worth demanding child support for and my father never paid the child support that the judge told him to pay anyway. My mother worked 50-60s hours a week and in the long run I have nothing to show for it. So please God let me win a lottery jackpot.

    “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.”

    You don’t get much from honest money either nowadays. I am 44 years old and have a bad heart. I have $100,000 in the bank that isn’t earning enough to keep even with inflation. I won’t live long enough to make anything in the stock market. The real estate market doesn’t exist anymore. I don’t have the physical wherewithal to run a business because of my health. I could put the money in a bond fund (and still just stay a step ahead of inflation with interest rates being what they are) but if the companies I lend money to go bankrupt I’ll be doing good to get paid back pennies on the dollar.

    “In addition, Ecclesiastes 5:10 tells us that those who love money never can get enough of it. It becomes an endless addiction.”

    The same is true with sex and food, but should all of us have to go without?

    “King Solomon was very wise when he wrote the following (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) in the book of Ecclesiastes…..”

    King Solomon also had a thousand wives and concubines, worshipped rocks and mismanaged his country to the point that he couldn’t leave his children with an intact inheritance.

    “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

    How much are family and relatives entitled to?

    “We are to watch over and take care of the money we make. We are to use it to further God’s kingdom and to take care of our families.”

    Let me win powerball and this will be possible.

    “’No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.’”

    I don’t want to serve money; I want money to serve me.

    • ian

      Jon, many people have it worse than you, they make less in a lifetime than you have in savings. Be grateful for all you have and be content simply having food and a bed and clothing, for the son of man has no place to lie his head. You are above all men most richly blessed. Stop worrying about tomorrow and how you will live. People have survived losing homes to floods, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, and foreclosures. God can and will provide if you trust him. And what he does no provide, you don’t need or it is not his will to provide. If you die, you die. People have survived in much more dififcult situations don’t be discouraged. Keep the faith. Hope dies last.

    • Ian

      “In a U.S. population of 308,745,538 only 5,500,000 have a problem with gabling. In other words there is no gambling problem in the U.S.”

      Wrong. Even if only one person had gambling addiction, there would be a problem, and we are our brother’s keeper. By your logic, no drug problem exists because most people are not addicted to drugs. Throwing away health and money enslaved to gambling and drugs is bad, regardless if 5 million or 300 people.

      “Furthermore the problem these people have with gambling is not a problem with gambling. These people are addicted and if they weren’t where they could gamble they’d be addicted to something else.”

      Some of them would, but not all. It is just not logical to say say they would all be an addict to something else. I would rather be addicted to coffee or sugar or sex or going 10-20 miles over the speed limit (like most drivers do) than gambling or narcotics. How about you? Which is more harmful?

      “Most people that gamble do so as an amusement, not because they love money so much that they are willing to risk the money they have on a chance that they can have more.”

      Prove it. Have we studied each person going into a casino or buying lottery tickets and shown that “most” aren’t gambling away food or rent money or their child’s college fund or something else? You are incredibly naive and just plain illogical.

      “Someone who speculates in the stock market or in real estate are more likely to love money than a recreational gambler is and they are far more likely to bring harm to others (remember October 1929?) than recreational gamblers are.”

      The stock market is a giant casino, you are right in that respect. We should regulate & tax the stock market and we should regulate and tax other gambling or outlaw it. God is in favor of creating wealth with hard work, not speculating and taking money from bets, the career of choice for bored unproductive people without enough going on their lives.

      “Of course people want to get rich; only a fool would want to get poor.”

      Only a fool thinks that money is wealth and being rich makes you happy. You’re as happy as you want to be. Being content with basic needs and simple pleasures makes you richer than all the celebrities who spend like mad trying to get that which can not be bought. Everyone does NOT want to be rich. Only the gullible who swallow the lie that money and THINGS bring happiness. They never have and they never will. Want less and you will be rich. Be grateful, thank God, and trust in Him and you will be richer than Solomon who you rightly point out was an idolater.

      “How many become convinced that going to church and tithing to the Lord will do likewise? Personally, if I have to miserable anyway, I’d much rather be miserable in a higher tax bracket.”

      You don’t need to give anything to churches IMO. Wherever two or more gather in Jesus’s name, God is with them. The word church for church (ecclesia) just means a gathering or assembly, not a building or an institution, designed for tax-exemption and hoarding and showing off wealth before men.

      “You don’t get much from honest money either nowadays.”

      Says who? The rich build castles of sand to be washed away.

      “I have $100,000 in the bank that isn’t earning enough to keep even with inflation.”

      That is more than 90-95% of people have and more than most of the world will make in a life-time. Be grateful and trust in God. Do not worry about tomorrow so much.

      “I won’t live long enough to make anything in the stock market. The real estate market doesn’t exist anymore. I don’t have the physical wherewithal to run a business because of my health.”

      Putting money in stock and real estate is a form of gambling and it’s not necessary. A lot of people lived happy long lives, never having in $100,000 savings or an investment portfolio of assets won by gambling – with no real work or sweat of their brow, simply taking advantage of other people. You seem awfully sure of what you can or can’t do. A lot of disabled people started businesses. You don’t need to start a business to live a productive and meaningful life.

      “The same is true with sex and food, but should all of us have to go without?”

      We shouldn’t be slaves to sex, food, money, or anything else. You’re right money should serve people, but investing or gambling or speculating does not serve people. It just serves selfish pride, it’s a game that cuts off and exploits billions of people.

  • http://Twitter.com/KadinYoung Kadin

    Jon – I’m praying for you that God might heal your heart condition and that he will provide for you! Those are some very tough challenges you’re facing and I pray that you can find comfort and even joy in spite of these trials. Jesus said “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV). Giving your burdens to Jesus brings an unbelievable feeling of comfort and peace within tough times I can’t even explain it! Here’s my prayer for you and I know countless others who stumble upon this page will pray for you too. Also, if you have any questions or anything I’d love to talk I use twitter a bunch I’m @KadinYoung

    Dear Lord, we thank you so much for Jon. I pray that you would be with him and give him comfort as he deals with difficult health and financial problems. I pray that he would discover your incredible unfailing love and be open to receive it. Please heal Jon’s heart. We don’t understand why some people get sick and why some are healed while others aren’t, but we pray if it’s in your will that you would heal him from this and give him a long and prosperous life here on earth. Most of all I pray that Jon can learn to trust you with all his problems and find comfort in knowing that you are in control no matter what happens and that no problem is ever too great for you. I thank you for this opportunity to learn about and pray for one of your children and I pray that Jon will learn to call you Father. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen

  • Sabrina

    Dear Heavenly Father,

    I too pray for Jon. Lord God I pray that he receives the salvation of Jesus that he comes to accept Jesus as his Lord and savior. I pray he come to the understand that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is enteral life through the acceptance of Jesus for the redemption of his sins. Please forgive him father for his knows not your son and therefore he lack understand of your deliverance and your every lasting power to heal if it be your will and that no money can heal.

    I pray for comfort of his spirit and more over for him to get understand of your word and that he become a doing of the word that his name one day be written in the book of life.

    I pray for spiritual awaking that your word would become a living testimony in his life. And that he come to understand that something are meant only for you to understand and for us to trust in you.

    Dear Lord, bless Jon in a special way that would be a testimony for the edification of your kingdom that Jon would become like Saul and revert from the slaying of your word and become a discpline. Oh God please bless him with your holy spirit that he would receive a spirit awaking where he can find healing in the blood of Jesus.

    Dear God bless Jon to understand that love out way the value of money and that the love his mother had for him could not be brought by any wordly wages. I pray by faith that I speak life in the Jon.

    In Jesus precious name

    Amen

  • PM de Jesus

    Jon and others-
    I think there may be a bigger picture here.
    the scriptures that were quoted are all true. you need to make a decision about believeing the word of God. That means all of it, not just part of it. Once you say yes to that, then look at the teachings of the scriptures. All of them have something in common.. where is your heart? God sees what is in our hearts. If a person puts more emphasis on gambling, money, etc. than they do God,then this isnt a good thing.

    Did God say not to gamble? maybe not, but I believe God is trying to instruct us in steering clear of lifestyles that can harm us and get us away from him and his love.
    Money gained by unjust gains dwindles away but money gained little by little grows…
    This scripture encomasses so much more than just gambling such as having respect for money, appreciating where it comes from (God) and trusting Him , making Him your source to have your money grow, not the world.

    As far as your heart is concerned, im sorry to hear about your condition. what a man thinketh, in his heart so is he…
    Jon, if you would let go of bitterness and anger and resentment and forgive, I believe your heart condition would have a positive outcome of healing and restoration.

  • Susanne

    If people want to justify their wrong habits, they will say anything. Like Jon above. The thing is that God told Adam in Gen 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.” Gambling is not work. You cannot go to a casino without cash and expect to leave with it. Even if you did go in with money, you’re more likely to come out bankrupt. I know a lot of Christians who react just like Jon. But if they knew the spiritual implications they would not come close to a lottery ticket. Perhaps it would be wise to study the lives of those who gamble and their posterity, you would be enlightened. In Deuteronomy 28 we see the blessings that would be our portion if we listened to and did the Word of the Lord. We also see the curses if we don’t listen. I will tell you something I’ve noticed in the lives of those who gamble: “Some of the curse.” If you don’t know how curses work, you will say that I’m lying, but if you do know how they work, do your own research on the subject. And although I don’t think a heart condition is something to joke with, I would like to direct you to the ministry of Jesus about the subject of healing. I can tell you from personal experience that it works like a charm. Try it and be less sarcastic.