How do you convince someone that gambling and casino games are not part of a christian life?…Even if it is done occasionally.
Any bible verses that is related to this?


The Bible does not ever put gambling in a list of sins.   I believe that allowing yourself to become addicted to gambling is sinful.  I would argue that even occasional gambling with inordinately large amounts of money is also sinful, but I do NOT believe that it is always and in every case sinful to go to a casino and to bet at least reasonably small amounts of money.   

Let me give a couple of principles according to which one can argue that gambling can, in some cases be sinful or, at best, extremely unwise.

1 Cor 6:12 Paul tells us that “I will not be mastered by anything.”   Paul tells us here that becoming controlled by things is to be carefully avoided by Christians.  I believe that any addiction an be sinful.  This can include addiction to food, to alcohol, to entertainment, and, obviously, to gambling.  If your friend is controlled by gambling (it appears he/she is not) then that would be sinful and would be outside the Christian lifestyle.

Another principle which can be applied to gambling is 1 Cor 8:9-13.  Here Paul tells us that we should not take part in activities, especially publically, which could be a stumbling block to others.  There are many who are addicted to gambling and others who consider it sinful.  We should be aware of this fact.  Personally, I do not believe that this makes gambling sinful per se, but we ought to not put it in the face of others, such as posting our gambling (such as on the NCAA tournament) on facebook or other public media.

We should be aware that many commonly accepted activities can be thought of as a form of gambling.  Investing in the stock market is risky to the point of being close to gambling.  Some kinds of investing in real estate is also risky enough to be a kind of gambling.  I believe that you ought to be cautious in trying to “prove” that gambling is sinful.  That is probably not the best approach.  Instead, we ought to teach people to avoid highly speculative investments as unwise and as poor stewardship of the resources God has given us.  This would include gambling of anything more than a few dollars.  Proverbs 13:11 is helpful here.  We are advised that “Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.”  Gambling, real estate speculation, playing the stock market and many other activities are examples of greed and not heeding the advice to grain money “little by little.”  In Luke 12:15 Jesus warns us against “every form of greed.” Gambling and other highly speculative investments are a form of greed.  In 1 Tim 6:6-10 and 17-19 we are warned against  being attracted to quick money and to be cautious against putting our hope in wealth.  These passages are relevant to gambling.

Another passage you could use is 1 Cor 4:2.  Those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.  If we have been given income by God we should use this income responsibly.  To be honest, I do not feel that gambling $5 rises to the level of disobeying God’s command here, but if we gamble hundreds or thousands of dollars, this would be reasonably be described as not using something God gave us in a faithful way.

Again, I would try to have an honest conversation about gambling and ask if this is what God would want your friend to do, but it could be legalistic to outright declare gambling of all forms and levels sinful.  For a group of friends to play poker with a few dollars on the line does not seem sinful to me.  Personally, I do not do this and I advise people not to, but our Christian freedom  should be applied in this area.

John Oakes

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