Should Christians be involved with lotteries or other forms of gambling?

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The Bible does not specifically forbid gambling, but there are several biblical principles that should make Christians hesitate to participate:

  1. God presents work as the normal way to get the money we need (Eph 4:28; II Thess. 3:12; Prov. 31). When a person cannot work, the second choice is prayer (Phil. 4:6, 19).

  2. All my income belongs to God, not me (Psa. 24:1), and I am not free to use it as I wish. I am a steward, who should use it for God's purposes. Christians are called on to meet the needs of their family (I Tim. 5:8), and share with others, particularly Christians who have needs (2 Cor 8-9; Gal. 6:6-10; 3 John).

    Ask: Does God want me to use His money to buy a lottery ticket?

  3. God uses money to accomplish important purposes in my life:

    1. Meet basic needs (Matt. 6:11; I Tim. 6:8).

    2. Build character (Phil 4:10-13)

    3. Give direction, by providing or withholding resources.

    4. Helping others through me.

    5. Show His power by providing miraculously.

    Ask: Does gambling accomplish these results? Am I looking to God or to the lottery for my needs?

  4. Greed and covetousness are sin (Ex. 20:18; I Tim. 6:9; Heb 13:5), and these are motives in most gambling.

  5. Proverbs warns of disaster for people who want to get rich quickly (28:20,22).

  6. Wealth that comes easily goes just as easily (Prov. 13:11).

  7. Wealth gained the wrong way breaks up families (Prov. 15:27).

  8. Gambling can be addictive, and even if you don't fall prey to it as a compulsive habit, your example may cause others to be enslaved by it (I Cor. 8:9, 13).

Author: Dr. John Bechtle

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