October 17, 2017


By W. Richard Judd

Gambling, as a means to an end or as an art, is of antiquity. To some, a profession; to others a joy; to still others ruin. And to some a problem, hence the request that we study the nature and action of gambling and the gambler to determine whether it is an innocent pastime of no great consequence or if it ' may have sinister undertones of immorality. We could not affirm of gambling (as with many problems) that it is always right or always wrong.

We cannot here consider all types of gambling and so we must be specific:

What Do We Mean

1. Gamble -- "to play or game for money or other stake . . ." (Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary)

Action and value are involved.

2. Play -- "to contend, or take part, in a game, hence, to gamble ... to wager in a game . . ." (Ibid)

Rivalry and another person are involved.

3. Wager -- "that which is risked on an uncertain event . . ." (Ibid)

Possibility of loss and uncontrolled event are involved.

4. Gamble -- "play games of chance for money . . ." (Thorndike-Barnhart Comprehensive Desk Dictionary)

Ordinarily money is the value involved in gambling.

There is an extraordinary prophecy Canaan with the Lord's help (and secondary purpose. Prov. 18:18), OR that the choice of succcessor to Judas (by the Lord. Acts 1:24) are identical in (Ps. 22:18) and its fulfillmen (Jno. 19: 23, 24). The Roman soldiers, after crucifying Jesus, decide to divide his clothes among themselves. Giving every man an equal portion. When they come to his coat, they find it to be a rare and unspoiled work
of some value. Each man desires the coat for himself and they determine to settle who shall have it by gambling. Whether they used bones, stones, or some other marked objects we know not. Here we have our six requisites to gambling. 1. Action "Cast lots". 2. Value -- "Coat was without seam".3. Rivalry - "Whose shall it be?" 4. Others involved -- "Among, themselves". 5. Possibility of loss.--They had previously decided that
each man should have a fourth part of all. Now each man wants not only his share but what belonged to the other three. 6. Uncontrolled event -- Who would be chosen by the lots ?

What Do We Mean --

1. Gambling with one's soul, as Mother Eve took a chance on what the devil told her. This is covered by God's laws of inclusion and exclusion. We must do only what God says.

2. Gambling with life, as a careless driver. Such a person breaks the law of temperance and may be guilty of murder.

3. Settling a question, as whether to take the road to the right or to the left. Rivalry is not inherently involved.

4. Facing the future, as a young man who starts in business. One of our older songs says, "God holds the future in his hands."

5. The casting of lots, as in Lev. 16:8; Josh. 18:10; and Acts 1:26. Supernatural force is involved here.

Who would affirm that the choice of the Lord's goat and the scape goat (by the Lord) OR that the dividing of any substantial way to the dice games, the backroom card game, the ladies bridge club, or the Church bingo and lotteries? Ask those who thus play if they imagine that the Lord is choosing the winners.

Often folks say they gamble for recreation. Is it true that gambling is popularly associated with cheating and even killing? Why? Also, why play for money, the loss of which has caused many a family to be hungry, men to lose respect of their fellows, and others to taste of bitterness beyond description ?

Principles of Scriptures

Often. and concerning many things, the Bibles does not say, "Thou shalt not." We are, however, convinced that God intended it to cover every moral issue. As we study it, we are impressed to see lofty truths stated in such foundation doctrine as "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." (Rom. 3:19), or, "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor." Can such thoughts inhabit the mind of the man who even now plans how he may acquire his
neighbor's paycheck?

Or, in the negative, "Thou shalt not covet". (Rom. 13:9). The Apostle Paul says that all is lawful though not always expedient and "I will not be brought under the power of any." (I Cor. 6:21). So, even if the gambling is right within itself, would it not be sin for those who have what is called "gambling fever"? When a man loses control of himself so as to gamble money away that he sorely needs, you know the Devil is lurking behind the door or under the table somewhere near.

In The Words Of Another

A game of poker, becomes of interest only when some stake is in sight for the winners . . ." (The Question Box, Page 277. Bertrand L. Conway). This is under the heading, "The Occasions of Sin". Again, "But all Catholic moralists are agreed that gambling and betting may lead to grave abuse and sin, especially when they are prompted by mere gain. The gambler usually frequents bad company, wastes much valuable time, becomes adverse to hard work, is strongly tempted to be dishonest when luck is against him, and often brings financial ruin upon himself and those dependent upon him." (Ibid). 11 any one could know about the evils of gambling, it surely would be a Roman Catholic priest! He can get this information first hand in the basement of his church-house and so we have used a reliable witness.

Mr. Conway says that a stake is important, and that gambling MAY lead to evil, AND that the loser is tempted to sin. "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed." Jas, 1:13,14.

And Finally

All too often, we are most interested in "How much can we get away with?" than in living as strangers in the world and looking for a better. (Heb. 13:14).

Morality is involved in gambling and we must therefore be personally concerned with finding the right answers when questions are asked. Especially are we concerned when the question concerns more that one individual and even more when innocent ones may be caused to suffer.

Attitude is involved, for quite often those who ask questions about moral issues have in their minds serious doubts as to the righteousness of the proposed question. An incorrect answer may do a world of harm.

We have not attempted to state even most of the material that could be assembled as necessary to a thorough investigation into the morality of gambling. We do believe that a few principles will help us to get started and pray further that we may be kept out of the company of such as those who played for high stakes beneath the cross of the broken and bleeding Son of God.

Truth Magazine I:6, pp. 10-11
March 1957