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What The Bible Says About Gambling

The Bible generally has a lot to say about gambling, albeit none of it is good. From the earliest days of the Church, holy scriptures warned against the practice and consistently reiterated that God does not want His people participating in the vice. As such, a biblical look at gambling makes one thing clear: any form of gambling is forbidden, no matter how innocent or seemingly harmless.

There are various biblical passages that confirm this notion. For example, the Bible’s Old Testament reveals that, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1: 5). This encourages faith and reminds believers that they shouldn’t try to find quick solutions to life’s problems and instead put all their trust in God. This passage speaks directly against gambling which relies solely on uncertainty and luck.

Other biblical passages point to money being a source of corruption and discord. 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “the love of money is the root of all evil”. This is another reminder of why people should seek out other means to make money such as working. Jesus himself, in Matthew 6:24, said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.” This is another indication of how money “serves” a person, in this instance it’s worshipped, rather than being a tool to serve God.

These Bible passages reveal a philosophy that is shared by many Christian denominations, which unanimously oppose gambling. Their reasoning is two-fold: On one hand, gambling is argued to be a form of stealing and is sometimes synonymous with selfishness and greed, as it involves taking something away from someone else in order to gain something for oneself. On the other hand, gambling is seen as something that one can’t control, which is contrary to the general perception of biblical living.

In addition to the ethical arguments against gambling, there are also the practical implications of it. Gambling can bring poverty and financial ruin to individuals and families, even if they’ve been lucky once or twice. Moreover, it can be highly addictive, as the excitement is often aimed at creating an ongoing “high” that one can never quite achieve with other forms of entertainment.

For all these reasons and more, the Bible is unambiguous about gambling. Society may change, technology may progress, and public opinion can shift, but the Bible is a reliable source that will never change its tune on the matter.

The Mental Effects of Gambling

Due to its unpredictable nature and the uncertainties of life which gambling involves, the bible stresses the need for one to remain content and at peace with the material resources provided by God. “Therefore do not be anxious, saying ‘what shall we eat?’ or ‘what shall we drink?’ or ‘what shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all” (Matthew 6:31-32). According to Dr. Jennifer E. Hurst, a professor of psychology and social work, extensive gambling can lead to excessive stress and anxiety, which might lead people to make bad decisions in times of desperation. The bible therefore serves as a reminder of how people can remain content even with the losses they may face in life.

Gambling is also said to be a form of escapism, as it serves as a distraction from the hardships of life. It is said to bring a temporary relief and distraction from the emotional pain and disappointments experienced in life. But the truth is, it does not really solve the problem in any way, it only serves as a temporary relief. People are then caught in a cycle of betting more money, without adequate thought as to how it is being spent and with no real intention to break away from the addiction. People become so immersed in the activity and tend to block out true realities, disconnected from the world for the duration of their gambling time.

Gambling is a clear and present danger to mental health. It can lead to depression, mood swings, and then to anger management issues. It also puts a burden on the gambler’s loved ones. They are concerned about their problems and trying to cope with their behavior, so anxiety can be contagious and can spread to other family members, friends, and even work colleagues.

The Physical Effects of Gambling

Gambling is considered to be a form of addiction, which could have a seriously detrimental effect on a person’s physical health. Most addicts of this behavior are caught up in a vicious cycle of getting further away from the realities of life, such as going to work, spending time with family and having a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Research by Dr. John Dombrink, a professor of criminology, reveals that addicts can suffer from high levels of stress, lack of sleep and skipped meals, leading to heart health concerns and even diabetes.

These physical concerns, in turn, lead to a weakened immune system, making it difficult for the addict to fight infections and be less able to rapidly recover from any health issues that may arise. Studies further suggest that the withdrawal symptoms of this behavior, when suddenly stopped, can induce within the addict great levels of nausea, vomiting, or seizures and also drastically affect coordination and physical balance.

Hence, according to the bible, gambling is not only an ethical issue but a physical one as well. People should be cognizant of the adverse physical and mental effects of gambling when making financial decisions, as in most cases gambling has little long-term benefit, but instead leads to substantial loss in the short run.

The Financial Effects of Gambling

The major issue confronting gamblers is that it can often be a slippery slope. This usually starts with innocent fun, but quickly turns into a serious and uncontrollable problem, consuming savings and investments. Research by Dr. Peggy M. Charren, assistant professor of psychology, shows that problem gamblers showed a larger increase in average gambling expenditures than recreational gamblers, who just stay in the game for fun.

Beyond this, debt related to gambling can be a real burden, causing stress and alienation between those incurring the debt and the people that matter most. These debts accumulate and can stretch for years, dividing couples and communities. In worst case scenarios, especially with addiction, gamblers turn to crime and even suicide to escape their debts.

In the bible, taxes and “usury”, or interest, are spoken of as two separate entities and gambling debts are also to be separated from taxes by the bible. It prevents people from incurring debt or losing more than they can afford. This is why individuals are encouraged to take precautions to limit their exposure to gambling losses, and to avoid gambling altogether whenever possible.

The bible’s admonition against gambling is also echoed in financial statistics. Statistics show that the median wealth of problem gamblers is drastically lower than that of recreational gamblers, with the former boasting a median wealth of about $4,000 and the latter with a median wealth of about $40,000. This indicates that problem gamblers actually have substantially less wealth and savings than non-gamblers.

The Spiritual Effects of Gambling

The bible is quite clear that one should not attempt to gain easy wealth through gambling. Still, there are those who might not understand the biblical position, or even intentionally ignore it. To these individuals, gambling can become a temptation, a way to make some easy money without having to work for it. However, the bible warns that such actions are an affront to God and can bring with them the risk of spiritual destruction.

The bible speaks of those that slot themselves into a “spiritual death spiral”, whereby the longer one gambles, the more one alienates themselves from God and his teachings. This type of lifestyle is a mere escape from the true meaning of life, which is to live for the glory of God. These people reject this notion and instead sell their souls for a “debtless” lifestyle that only gambling can offer.

The bible also speaks of gambling in a negative light in terms of charity. Some people may think that gambling can be a source of additional funds for charitable or religious causes, which is frowned upon by God. Despite this, some choose to attempt to make right their wrong, by donating some of their funds made through gambling. But this sort of behavior is not approved by God, as it is thought to disparage the values of charity, and goes against His teachings.

A life filled with gambling is not a life of faith, but rather a life of disregard. God opposes those who gamble and promise His wrath for all those who go against the notion. Followers who gamble fail to be examples of righteousness and therefore God states that such behavior is unacceptable.

The Social Effects of Gambling

Gambling can have a vast array of social effects starting from the family of the gambler. Gambling not only affects the gambler’s family financially but can also take away from time spent with each other. Instead of focusing on building relationships, the gambler will focus on gambling activities, which can create tension in the family. Additionally, people will be judged harshly by society and those in their immediate circles will think less of them.

Gambling has also been linked to crime. People will often turn to criminal means to get the money they need to feed their gambling addiction. This is because, when someone is swallowed in the trap of gambling addiction, they don’t think rationally. As such, the bible takes the stance that such behavior should be avoided as it leads to a greater desire for material wealth and power.

The bible does not forbid lotteries, and it doesn’t specifically speak against certain kinds of gambling. Yet, it encourages believers to abstain from any form of gambling as it can lead to psychological, moral and spiritual decline. This is because the primary purpose of any gambling activity is to get rich quick or to make easy money, which goes against the biblical notion that life should be lived with poverty, humility and a sense of oneness with God.

The bible discusses the effects of gambling on relationships and how it can be difficult to build friendships and connections, because it can lead to hostility and dishonesty. In 1 Thessalonians 4:6, the bible says “that no one should ever take advantage of or exploit a fellow believer, for the Lord will punish all such offenders”. This passage speaks of the negative aspects of gambling, which can lead to selfishness and temptation. With this being said, moral principles and teachings from the bible certainly stand in opposition to the concept of gambling.

The Impact of Gambling Addiction on the Community

The main impact of gambling addiction on the community is that it can negatively affect the local economy. Problem gambling can take a toll on the local economy, leading to a lack of funding for programs, community resources, and businesses. Gambling has been said to reduce

Hilda Scott is an avid explorer of the Bible and inteprator of its gospel. She is passionate about researching and uncovering the mysteries that lie in this sacred book. She hopes to use her knowledge and expertise to bring faith and God closer to people all around the world.

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