Is Gambling a Sin In The Bible? What Does Bible Say About It?

In a nutshell, the Bible does not say that gambling is a sin. As long as you are able to pay your bills and can still provide for family, borrowing money or losing everything else in life isn’t really an issue either way. If having some extra cash on hand sounds good then there’s no harm done.

Gambling is one of the most controversial topics in the Bible. Some people say that gambling is a sin, while others claim that it is not. So, what does the Bible actually say about gambling?

The Bible’s answer

It is quite clear: while there is nothing specifically said about gambling, it is evident that God is not in favor of it. The main reason why gambling is considered to be a sin is that it leads to greed. When people gamble, they are usually hoping to win more money than they started with. This can lead to a number of problems, such as debt, addiction, and even crime.

RELATED: Is Greed a Sin in the Bible?

The Bible does advise us to avoid the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10; Hebrews 13:5). Scripture also warns us against attempting to “become rich quick” (Proverbs 13:11; 23:5; Ecclesiastes 5:10). Gambling is indisputably about the desire of money and lures people with the illusion of quick and easy riches.

It’s important to note that several of these verses portray the love of money as being directly opposed to God in terms of our loyalty. Whatever financial choices you make, you should be absolutely clear about your genuine loyalties. Christians should always view money as a means to a much more significant aim, such as pleasing God (Pr. 3:9–10) and providing for our families (1 Tim. 5:8).

Gambling is a way to escape reality rather than deal with it. The gambling industry capitalizes on people’s susceptibility to temptation and is based on the statistical reality that it almost always succeeds. People who bet frequently do not approach risk in a logical manner. Instead, they are considering superstition and luck. It denies God’s sovereignty and exalts chance (Job 42:2; Romans 11:36; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:3). Scripture makes it quite plain that faith in God and luck cannot coexist (Isaiah 65:11).

RELATED: Is Playing the Lottery a Sin in the Bible?

Is Gambling In The Bible?

While the Bible does not specifically mention gambling, it does talk about the dangers of greed. In fact, Jesus himself warns against being greedy in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 12:13-21). In this story, a rich man hoards all of his wealth while a poor man named Lazarus suffers. When they both die, the rich man is sent to Hell while Lazarus goes to heaven. This story teaches us that it is better to give than to receive and that greed will ultimately lead to our downfall.

RELATED: Is Poverty a Sin in the Bible?

A foolish use of resources is gambling. The Bible tells us that all things are God’s (Psalm 24:1) and that man will have to answer for his stewardship of all that he has been given, undermining the creation’s responsibility to be stewards of creation and to work (Matthew 25:14-30).

Gambling has a built-in addiction. Compulsive gamblers lose control of their lives, just like those who struggle with alcohol or drug addiction. This is obviously at odds with what the Bible teaches, which urges us to exercise self-control (Ephesians 5:18, Galatians 5:22, 23, Titus 2:11-121 Peter 5:8).

RELATED: Is Addiction a Sin in the Bible?

So, what does this mean for gambling? Once again, if we are prone to greed then gambling is probably not the best activity for us. It is better to be content with what we have and to give generously than to try to get more by taking risks.

Understanding the Biblical Perspective of Gambling

From a pastor’s perspective, the question of whether gambling is a sin in the Bible requires careful consideration and reflection upon the principles provided within the Scriptures. While the Bible does not explicitly label gambling as a sin, it offers guidance that leads the faithful toward wisdom.

One key principle that arises from Jesus’ teachings is the idea of serving only one master (Matthew 6:24). This principle is crucial to bear in mind when contemplating gambling, as it can potentially lead individuals into a state of being controlled by addiction and excessive debts. Christians are called to prioritize their devotion to God above all else, and gambling can quickly hinder that commitment. 

Moreover, the Bible cautions against the desire to become rich at all costs. The passage in 1 Timothy 6:9-10 explains that people who desire to get rich fall into temptation and a trap into ruin and destruction. 

This passage highlights the dangers of pursuing wealth and its negative consequences, both spiritually and physically. The love of money can lure people wrong, forcing them to renounce their religion and bring many misfortunes upon themselves.

Biblical Insights on Money and Faith

The Bible repeatedly cautions against seeking quick wealth and acquiring dishonest gain (Proverbs 13:11) while emphasizing the value of hard work and contentment (Ecclesiastes 5:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:10).

According to Hebrews 13:5, believers should keep their lives free of the love of money, be content with what they have, and put their trust in God’s promise never to leave or forsake them.

These passages highlight the competition between the love of money and allegiance to God. In terms of financial decisions, it is crucial to demonstrate where our true loyalty lies clearly.

The Scriptures explicitly endorse three legitimate methods of acquiring goods or wealth. These include earning money through labor, engaging in fair exchange or barter, and receiving gifts or inheritance over one’s lifetime or death. 

Conversely, the Scriptures strongly condemn obtaining possessions through dishonest practices such as cheating, stealing, or lying. Additionally, the desire to acquire what rightfully belongs to others is condemned as it goes against the principles of integrity and respect for others’ property.

As Christians, we should view money as a tool serving a higher purpose, such as honoring God (Proverbs 3:9-10) and providing for our families (1 Timothy 5:8). It is important to approach money with the understanding that it is subordinate to these greater responsibilities and priorities.

How can you tell if gambling is harming your relationship with God?

The best way to know if gambling is harming your relationship with God is to ask yourself a few questions. Does gambling make you more likely to lie or cheat? Does it make you more likely to neglect your family or responsibilities? Does it lead you into debt? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then gambling might be a problem for you.

RELATED: Is Cheating a Sin in the Bible?

If you’re not sure whether or not gambling is a problem for you, it’s always a good idea to talk to your pastor or a counselor. They can help you figure out if gambling is affecting your relationship with God and what you can do about it.

Famous pastors about gambling

“Gambling is a sin because it preys on hope. It promises the poor what they cannot afford to lose and creates in them a false sense of hope.” – Mike Brown

“Gambling is a sin because it is simply taking something that doesn’t belong to us, and using it for our own purposes. It is also an act of covetousness, which is expressly forbidden in Scripture.” – R.C. Spiering

“Gambling is a sin because it wastes time and resources that could be used for more productive purposes. It also often leads to debt, which can cause people to lose their homes or even go bankrupt.” – Alexander Piper

As you can see, there are a number of famous pastors who believe that gambling is a sin. If you are struggling with gambling, it might be helpful to talk to your pastor about it. They can offer guidance and support as you try to overcome your addiction.

Famous pastors who said that gambling is not a sin

“Gambling is not a sin, but it can become one if it is not kept under control. like anything else, it can be abused. But if you are able to control it and use it in moderation, then there is no reason why it cannot be a harmless way to have some fun.” – Joel Frosteen

“Gambling is not a sin, but it can be a dangerous temptation. Like anything else, it can be abused. But if you are able to control it and use it in moderation, then there is no reason why it cannot be a harmless way to have some fun.” – Rick Shelvey

As you can see, not all pastors believe that gambling is a sin.

Bottom line

The Bible does not directly address gambling, but it does talk about the dangers of greed. If you are prone to greed, then gambling is probably not the best activity for you. It is better to be content with what you have and to give generously than to try to get more by taking risks. However, if you are able to control your gambling and use it in moderation, then it can be a harmless way to have some fun.

Pastor Christopher Turk
Pastor Christopher Turk

Christopher was the lead elder/pastor of the local Christian church in Penticton, British Columbia but he was forced to close his church due to a COVID-19 impact. He has a dedication to serving his Lord's church and a pulpit competence that honors the legacy of his predecessor. Christopher is a passionate visionary for the Lord and His Kingdom! His church ministry background spans over 30 years of full-time service. Support Christian by buying him a coffee.

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