38 Question 1

The subject of gambling is not addressed directly in the scriptures.  Some consider going to casinos, betting on sporting events, or buying lottery tickets to be an innocent form of entertainment.  Others think that gambling of any sort is wrong and should be avoided.  Which is right?  I think the best we can do is point out a few scriptural principles to help you determine if you should be going to casinos.

The Bible warns us against gaining wealth by any other means than working for it.  Proverbs 13:11 says, “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.”  Ephesians 4:28 tells us, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”   Now let’s read 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.”  There are many more verses I could quote, but I’ll use just one more.   Proverbs 28:19 says, “He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.”  The common theme in these verses is obvious: the Lord wants us to earn the money that we have.  He would have us work for our wages.  To chase a fantasy of striking it rich in a casino or by winning the lottery often just brings poverty.  I remember years ago walking into a convenience store that had an electronic poker machine that would pay out cash prizes.  A man and a woman were perched on two stools putting quarters into these machines.  Between them, their little girl was asleep on the dirty floor.  That was a heartbreaking scene.  While some people enjoy a form of gambling as a harmless past time, so many others are spending their rent and grocery money hoping to strike it rich.  They are truly chasing a fantasy that just brings poverty.

Another warning we have in the scriptures is the love of money.  1 Timothy 6:10 says, “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.”  We read in Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  When we are dissatisfied with the things we have and turn to gambling with the hope of becoming rich, it shows our hearts are not where they should be.  Instead of gambling to gain more money, we learn in Proverbs 11:25 that, “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”  We prosper when we are willing to give away our money.  Of course, when we, as believers on the Lord Jesus Christ are willing to work to have enough money to give to others that are in need, as we read in Ephesians 4:28, we lean upon the Lord to provide for our needs.  The Apostle Paul exhorted young Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:17, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.”  In Psalm 62:10, King David wisely advised those that had riches that, “…if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.”

Some have justified gambling by pointing out that people cast lots in the Bible.  That is true, but it wasn’t for gambling purposes, it was a way for them to discern the mind of the Lord.  Proverbs 16:33 says, “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.”

So, with this information, I suggest you pray and seek the Lord’s mind about going to a casino.  Make sure that you can do it to the glory of the Lord.  1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”  I hope this helps you decide for yourself if going to a casino is right or wrong for you to do.  (38.1)