Monday, 21 June 2010

What the Bible says about gambling

A summary of the Bible Hour presentation at the Christadelphian Hall, Blackpool Street, Burton-upon-Trent on Sunday 20th June 2010.

This blog uses Bible references. If you don’t have a Bible, you can find the Bible text online.

We’re just going to look at one type of gambling: “To play a game of chance for money”.

There are possibly only two mentions of gambling in the whole Bible:
 the soldiers at the foot of the cross casting lots for Jesus’ garment (Luke 23:34)
 Ephesians 4:14, a reference to the “sleight of men” as one of the deceitful influences of the world – the Greek word “sleight” means to gamble or cheat.
Gambling was probably as widespread in Bible times as it is today. Why does the Bible say so little about it? …

The Bible doesn’t give hard and fast rules on the subject. It’s a matter of getting to grips with some principles of Christian living, and allowing them to guide the conscience. Here are some of the principles:

The love of money

1 Timothy 6:610 is a summary of what the Christian’s attitude should be to money generally. Don’t be in love with money!

Ecclesiastes 5:18 and 9:10, and Proverbs 13:11, give guidelines for the Christian life – to work diligently and enjoy the fruits of our labour is much better than to try to ‘get wealth by vanity’.

How does this principle affect daily life? the work we do, our leisure activities (for example should we watch TV shows that encourage gambling and glorify greed?)

Trust in God

Proverbs 16:33 – probably not talking about gambling, but the principle is that God is in control of our lives. Trust in God, not luck.

No man can serve two masters

These were words of Jesus, Matthew 6:24. The Christian’s master is Christ. There’s a danger that the pursuit of money can take over as our master. Paul calls this idolatry (Colossians 3:5).
The pursuit of money can take you over. Much more potent, the excitement of gambling can take you over. Gambling addiction is the cause of many ruined lives.

Love thy neighbour

The Christian looks out for the welfare of others, as well as himself (Matthew 22:39). Gambling addiction can be the cause of suffering beyond the individual concerned – whole families suffer poverty when one member has an addiction.

God loves a cheerful giver

These are words from 2 Corinthians 9:7. The Christian should be willing to give to a good cause, freely and wholeheartedly. Games such as lotteries and raffles which encourage giving by the bribe of a possible reward go against this principle.

What’s the best thing to do if someone is collecting for a good cause by selling raffle tickets? …

Holier than thou

When a Christian tries to live according to the high principles of the Bible, there’s a very real danger of becoming sanctimonious and self-righteous in his attitude to others who don’t live by those principles. Christians must not be ‘holier than thou’!
Colossians 3:17 describes the true Christian attitude – thankfulness, and a genuine desire that others might see the wisdom of God’s ways.

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