What does the Bible teach about gambling?

Gambling of any sort is built on a faulty premise; it really has the spirit of thievery. Why is that? Legitimate business is win-win. If I sell you a widget for a dollar, you get the widget and I get the dollar. We both win. Nobody can win at gambling without another losing. Many of the losers are those least able to afford it.

One may object, "But nobody is forced to gamble." Gambling done willingly doesn't make it right. A duel, for instance, is murder by mutual consent. Just because two people agree to shoot each other doesn't make it right.

The person who gambles and wins has the motive of getting something from another for nothing: thievery. The person who loses has the same motive, but has the added problem of being foolish. The Bible says "Woe to him who increases that which is not his" (Habakkuk 2:6). The "woe" that is so evident is addiction, broken homes, increases in theft, and the warping of children.

Investment in the stock market, on the other hand, is not gambling because again it is based on the win-win philosophy. Basically one party provides funding enabling another party to offer a legitimate product or service, and both benefit. Yes, risk is involved, but risk is not what makes gambling wrong. We take risks every day, like when we get in a car. Greed and gain without mutual benefit is the issue that makes gambling a sin. In fact, when it comes to prudent investment for long-term gain, the Bible encourages it (Matthew 25:14-30). That's simple stewardship. God expects our lives, both financially and otherwise, to bring great gain for the kingdom of heaven.

Everything you are and everything you have belongs to God. Your choice is to squander it on the things of this world or give it all to Jesus, the Wonderful Counselor, for incredible eternal gain.

Taken from Adrian Rogers' weekly newspaper column. Used by permission. 2001, The Commercial Appeal.

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