Is it acceptable for a Christian to take part in lotteries or other forms of gambling?

Howard Coles, Coleford, England

Precious Seed

In today's culture where these kind of activities are prevalent it is good for us to consider if that which was once so clearly something a Christian would not engage in, is still today something just as unacceptable. Firstly we need to establish some biblical principles regarding how God views monetary wealth and our responsibilities with whatever money we possess.

Clearly God expects us to work to get the money we need.

'Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth’, Eph. 4. 28. This we must accept as His normal expectancy as to how we provide the means to live and support ourselves.

Scripture also teaches us that all our resources belong to God.

This would imply that we are not free to use them as we wish. We are stewards who have the responsibility to use what is not ours remembering there is a day of account. We are required to use our money as our God directs us. It is appropriate to ask, 'Does the Lord want us to use His money to buy a lottery ticket?'

The wealth we are given is often used by the Lord to bring home certain lessons to us in our lives.

Here are just two:

1) To show us that we are to be utterly dependent on Him and not on money.

The Lord Himself said, 'If then God so clothe the grass, which is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you’, Luke 12. 28-31. The apostle Paul wrote, 'Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content’, and 'God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus’, Phil. 4. 11, 19.

2) To give us direction when faced with multiple choices.

By providing or withholding resources He can guide through what are sometimes difficult choices. It can be one indicator of the Lord's will for us. Should we then seek means to enrich ourselves to the degree that makes us independent of Him and His direction irrelevant?

So the question to ask is ‘does gambling accomplish these results? Are we looking to God or to the lottery for our needs?’

Are we to accept a 'get rich quick' philosophy?

Scripture warns people who want to get rich to think seriously about this deceptive pathway, 'A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent’, Prov. 28. 20. Furthermore, many that have won the lottery soon learn that the wealth gained by these easier means can cause major troubles in a family. 'He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house’, Prov. 15. 27.

Conclusion - greed and covetousness are sin.

'And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth’, Luke 12. 15. The motive behind all kinds of evil is often the love of money. Scripture concludes that ‘the love of money is a root of all (kinds of) evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows’, 1 Tim. 6. 10.

There is no doubt that greed and covetousness are the main motives behind gambling. Gambling is addictive and even if we don't fall prey to it as a compulsive habit, our example may cause others to be enslaved. Christians should definitely steer clear!

There are 18 articles in
ISSUE (2003, Volume 58 Issue 1)

1 Corinthians 13

The Ascension and Glorification of the Lord

Ballymagarrick Gospel Hall, Northern Ireland

Death’s Victory Overturned


And He Came to Ephesus

Evangelism in the Early Church

Everyday Publications - The Story of a Missionary Support Printing Ministry

The Forgotten Command: Be Holy

Gospel Work and other Activities

He is able to save . . .

Is it acceptable for a Christian to take part in lotteries or other forms of gambling?

Light & Life Literature

Regaining the Gospel Offensive

Safe from Harm


The Trials of Jesus Christ

The Utensils of the Altar

This article is not part of a series

There are 47 articles by this author

Do Angels Have Any Relevance To Believers In The Present Age?

I HaveSeveral Questions Arising Out Of Malcolm Horlock’s First Article On 1 Corinthians 14

Are Demons Active Today?

How Does A Christian Deal With Feelings Of Guilt?

How Can I Know the Will of God for My Life?

Is it right for a Christian to drink alcohol?

What do we do if another Christian wrongs us?

How can a young Christian begin to witness for the Lord?

Kingfisher christian camp trust

Does 1 Corinthians 11. 1-16 deal with matters of culture?

Does the Bible teach that there’s a place, or state of existence, called Purgatory?

Christ - Is He not omniscient, all knowing?

Is it acceptable for a Christian to take part in lotteries or other forms of gambling?

How do I deal with temptation in my Christian life?

What is the difference between praise and worship?

Where did evil originate?

How could Christ increase in wisdom and stature, Luke 2. 52?

Is attendance at the meetings of the local assembly essential or optional?

What about Letters of Commendation?

Does intelligent extraterrestrial life exist? and Will God allow man to settle on other worlds?

Is it the fault of Christian parents that their children do not become Christians?

Why doesn’t the Bible tell us exactly when the Lord will return?

Should believers celebrate Christmas?

Should young christian families move to an assembly where there are other young people?

How should a believer deal with depression?

What should be the Christian’s attitude toward Muslims

Why does God allow suffering?

Does God appoint the rulers of this world and does He control their decisions?

Can very young children be saved?

Honesty - Does Truth Matter?

What does the Bible say about same-sex marriage?

What happens to a christian when they die?

Four ‘Yea Lord’s’ in the Gospels

Question Time

Gold and the Glories of the Lord Jesus

Thoughts on the Love of God

Vision for Outreach

Man and the Gospel

How Long

Question: Is it good for us to prepare for the Lord’s supper?

The Christian and the World

The Coming of the Son of Man

The Gospel Yesterday and Today

Question Time

Thoughts on ‘The Disciples’ Prayer’ and the Temptation of the Lord Jesus in the Wi

The King James Version and Principles of Translation - Part 1

The King James Version and Principles of Translation - Part 2