QA: Is GAMBLING a sin?

QA: Is GAMBLING a sin?

Hey everyone,

Good to have you reading with us on this fine day.  We’re taking the time to answer more questions that are out there so please don’t hesitate to ask at connect@swordsharp.com.

SURE, YOU’VE HEARD a Christian in a debate respond to the question “YOU WANNA BET?” with something like, “I WOULD… but I don’t gamble.”  Another well-intentioned Christian may be invited to a casino but deny the request saying, “No, no, I’m a Christian.  I don’t do that.”  This, naturally, leads the requester to internally ask, “am I sinning when I make a bet?

So, let’s ask the question directly so we can answer it in an unbiased way: Is GAMBLING a SIN?

There is a big group that will say, “yes” but if asked to provide scriptural references for their stance many may struggle to find one that definitively counts all forms of betting or gambling as a sin.  While many have learned from “tradition” that betting and gambling are sins, the Bible does not directly outlaw them.

There are those believers that say, “no, it is not a sin to bet or gamble.”  Based on our research we can say without bias that their position is actually the correct one.  But it is not a good enough reason to say, “the Bible does not mention it, so it is not a sin!”  The Bible does not mention cocaine or Russian roulette either but that doesn’t make them ok with God!  Let’s examine 1 Corinthians 10:23:

All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.

Assuming it is lawful in your area, gambling is lawful in God’s eyes.  It may not edify you and it may not be profitable, (no pun intended 🙂 ), but that does not make it unlawful.

Now there may be subsets of the “gambling is not a sin” crowd that may have a gambling problem.  To them it may be true that gambling IS a sin.  Eating meat is not a sin in and of itself, but if eating that meat causes one to be made weak or stumble then it IS A SIN (Romans 14:13-23).  Similarly, if you or another you know have a gambling weakness that leads to gambling addiction or other gambling problems then do not do it!

Betting and gambling themselves are not sins, but the motivation to do them may be:

  • Covetousness
  • The love of money
  • Envy
  • Greed
  • Discontentment

If you do gamble, stay prayerful that you remain in God’s will in your actions, maintaining self-control, Godly contentment, and the right attitude in His eyes.  If you think you may have the potential to have a gambling problem, remember that you can’t get addicted to what you don’t start.

In conclusion, there are many good reasons not to gamble, but those reason do not necessarily make it a sin.  If your motivation is wrong or if there’s a good chance you might stumble, don’t do it.  Otherwise, if you’re making a friendly betting joke with a friend, if you set aside a small and comfortable amount of money for a good time, or someone gives you a scratcher at a kids party don’t let your friends condemn you!  Jesus doesn’t.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this.  Feel free to comment below or email us at connect@swordsharp.com.  We do take prayer requests on this issue and others so know we are here for you!  Be well and stay sharp!

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