Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Games & the Bible

A couple of years ago, Jay Bloodworth asked me a really good question:

I'm doing a combination bible study/game night with some young teenagers tonight. Do you have suggestions for passages/themes relevant to gaming or competition I might discuss. I was planning on talking about Ecclesiastes 9:11, but I'd appreciate any thoughts you might have.

Wow... good question.

The first one that springs to mind is Psalm 33:3 - "Play skillfully with a shout of joy." It actually refers to singing praise to God, but the principle applies quite nicely to gaming - do your best & have fun.

1st Corinthians 9:24-27 says: "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." I use this (along with Hebrews 12:1) to talk about the difference between healthy competition and unhealthy competition.

  1. Competition is not prohibited in the Bible. It's clear that Paul (and the writer of Hebrews) use sports images without condemning sports.
  2. We are encouraged to live to the best of our abilities - and the same goes for playing games. "Do your best" can sound terribly corny, but it makes sense.
  3. Hebrews 12:2 shows that our focus should be on Jesus, the "author & perfector of our faith." By the same token, we should play games (or anything) keeping our focus on Christ.

The guys at the New Games Foundation had it right - their mantra was"Play Hard, Play Fair, Nobody Hurt", which is a good way to live & play.

  • Play Hard: Psalm 33:3, 1 Cor. 9:24
  • Play Fair: 2nd Cor. 10:3 (The Message) - "The world is unprincipled. It's dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn't fight fair. But we don't live or fight our battles that way--never have and never will."
  • Nobody Hurt: 1st Cor 13


Yehuda Berlinger said...


Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

The paper sounds cool, Yehuda, but all I could reach was an abstract.

Stephanie said...

These are great verses. I'm determined to get to that Mosaic church sometime soon. I hope you're recovering well!!