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Is Playing the Lottery a Sin?

While you were driving home back from work, you saw a lottery advertisement. The jackpot specified was tempting, and you wondered whether you should buy a lotto ticket. You are strong in your Christian faith, so the first question that came to mind was – is playing the lottery a sin?

In this article, we will discuss the biblical points on gambling. Our experts gathered highly informative and valuable information on whether the lottery has anything to do with sins. You can find all answers in the article below, so don’t hesitate to share them with your family!

Is It a Sin to Play the Lottery? In short:

The Bible doesn’t specifically prohibit gambling or lottery, which indicates playing lotto games isn’t a sin. It only mentions that you shouldn’t pursue wealth at all costs because money is “the root of all evils.” That means you should focus on playing the lottery for the fun experience it provides and not only play to win prizes.

So, Is the Lottery Gambling?

Let’s get the basics straight first and see what gambling is. It’s the acceptance to wager something on a particular outcome. If the outcome is favorable, you win the specified reward. But if it’s not, you lose what you invested.

The lottery is technically a gambling activity. Purchasing a ticket is a way of wagering on the outcome, and you have the option to win prizes.

What Bible Says About Lottery

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What Does the Bible Say About Gambling and Lottery?

The important thing to mention is that the Bible doesn’t mention gambling or lottery specifically. That means you won’t find that buying a lotto ticket is a sin anywhere. The Christian religion doesn’t condemn gambling explicitly, and you won’t be committing a sin by playing the lottery.

However, the Bible does speak about an important topic related to gambling, and that’s money. In Christianity, it’s imperative to keep yourself free from loving money. Instead, you should be content with what you have.

…Be content with what you have because God has said – never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

Another important point is that love for money never stops. Instead, it possesses a person completely. The Bible explains it:

“Whoever loves money never has enough…This, too, is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 5:10

So, the lottery isn’t a sinful activity in the Bible. The same is true for all other casino games. However, you want to ask yourself why you are playing. If you are only in it for the money, that’s not the right motivation. But if you see the lottery as a leisure activity that might even bond you with others, it doesn’t seem there’s any reason to worry.

Bible Verses about Gambling

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Bible Verses about Gambling

Paul specifies that all things are permissible, but that doesn’t mean they are beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23). 

We can find many examples of this type of activity today. For example, heading to the movies is permissible and can make us feel better. We could even argue it strengthens the bond with our family, friends, or partner.

On the other hand, the Bible indicates that we should “do all things for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).” 

While it’s open for discussion how heading to the movies is beneficial to that goal, it also doesn’t hurt. If you bond with others, that can be a positive thing from the entire experience. So, you aren’t committing a sin by going to the cinema or by playing the lottery. The only important thing is that you use the best discernment and focus on the “fun” part.

God and the Lottery

You won’t find actual examples of lottery in the Bible. However, there are several interesting references to gambling. In Mark 15:24, the soldiers cast lots to decide how to split Jesus’s garments. In Judges 14:12, Samson dares others to answer his riddle for garments and clothes change. You’ll also find many examples where they cast lots to decide on something.

However, there’s an important thing the Bible underlines. You might be thinking that you cast lots, but it’s the Lord’s decision on what the outcome will be. So, if you play US Powerball and win the jackpot, the Lord decided it should be you.

Is Winning the Lottery a Blessing from God?

If you won the lottery, that’s because God wanted that to happen. Whether that’s a blessing is open to how you interpret it. Many believe that winning the lottery will help them do Lord’s will and spread the Word of God.  Whether it’s a blessing or not, it’s God who wanted you to win, and He probably had a good reason for that.

Is It Wrong to Pray to Win the Lottery?

There’s an interpretation that it all depends on what you plan with the winnings. If you plan to do God’s will, it’s okay to pray for that. However, many argue that there might be more important things to pray than to win the lottery. For example, you might consider praying for the health and well-being of your loved ones.

Is It Wrong to Pray to Win the Lottery

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Can Christians Play the Lottery?

Yes, they can play lotto games because religion doesn’t explicitly prohibit gambling. However, the Bible specifically mentions that money is the cause of all evil. It’s a sign that you moved away from the faith and started making senseless decisions. That’s why responsible gaming is crucial, whether you play the lottery or other casino games.

You must make the lottery a fun activity. For example, many players love trying out lottery software and experimenting with different ways of assembling their tickets. It’s the journey that matters and not the destination.

You don’t want to find yourself playing the lotto just because you want the money. Remember that Jesus said that you’ll have treasure in heaven if you “sell your possessions and give to the poor (Matthew 19:21).” So, don’t focus on the potential prizes or pursuing money at all costs.

Scriptures on Winning

You’ll find the following in the Bible:

“Wealth gained hastily will dwindle. Whoever gathers little by little will increase it.” (Proverbs 13:11)

It’s a clear indicator that you shouldn’t aim to get rich quickly. However, if you become a lottery winner, it’s because God wanted it that way. You did your part if you played the lottery for entertainment and not because you expected a reward.

“And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15)

This indicates that winning the lottery is nice, but it’s not Christian to focus on that. There are more important things in life, and that’s what you need to take into account.

A Biblical Look at Gambling

At this point, we already established that Christianity doesn’t consider gambling a sin explicitly. However, you must always apply the best discernment when it comes to your activities. That applies to buying lottery tickets, but also any other area of your life. Here are some main considerations for those who are Christ-followers.

Being Responsible

The Bible doesn’t mention the lottery specifically. However, it mentions that you should use your best discernment on multiple occasions. But what does that mean? You could narrow it down to being responsible. 

At its core, you need to be ready to lose the money you spend on lotto tickets. That will indicate you are truly playing for fun. If you don’t win anything, that’s perfectly fine, and it won’t be a hit to your budget. But if you win a prize, that will only be a nice bonus that adds to the fun of playing.

“If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; f you scoff, you alone will bear it.” Pr 9:12

Here are some tips that will ensure you remain responsible when playing the lottery:

  • Make sure to set a specified budget for lotto tickets and gambling activities. You don’t want to spend any money planned for other areas, especially paying utility bills or other important budget aspects.
  • Don’t let gambling become your primary focus. While it’s okay to play the lotto regularly, make sure it remains a leisure activity. If you find yourself skipping meeting friends or business appointments to gamble, it might indicate you have a problem.
  • Remember that it’s all about having fun. Whether you go to the movies or play the lottery, those are both leisure activities. That means you should focus on the experience of having fun and not winning.

Being Accountable

According to reports, Christianity is the religion with the most followers in the world. Each of the 2.38 billion Christians is the representative of Christ itself. Many followers never read the Bible or expressed the desire to do so. That’s where those who are strong in their faith can help.

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” Galatians 6:1

It’s why you shouldn’t hesitate to share useful insights related to lottery and gambling. Always remember that the Holy Spirit is leading, but you use wisdom and discernment to be accountable. That means that playing the lotto can even serve as a method of sharing the Gospel with others.

Ask the Lord

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1

Are you still having second thoughts on whether you should play the lottery or casino games? Another option you have available is to ask the Lord yourself. The Bible says we can talk to God through prayers.

If it’s possible, you can head to a nearby church. However, any other way of communicating to the Lord that you established (by using your best discernment) is acceptable. The only thing to note is that you should trust He will answer once you ask the question. But once you get your answer, be ready to obey regardless of what it turns out to be. It’s important not to turn your back on what He said, but follow that command.

Conclusion

Whether lottery is a sin depends on which religion you belong to as a member. Many people wonder if the lottery is haram or halal in Islam and offer different views on that question. Christianity doesn’t have an express view on gambling, and that includes playing the lottery. You won’t find a word condemning these activities in the Bible. However, you will find many verses referring to the problems money and pursuing wealth can cause.

So, if you want to play the lottery online, make sure to keep it fun. That includes managing your budget and being responsible. If you find yourself falling into temptation, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Unfortunately, gambling addiction isn’t uncommon. That’s why discovering and dealing with it on time can be crucial. Relying on your friends and family, but also having strong faith, is the way to push through any problem, including addiction. 

FAQ

Does the Bible Say Not to Gamble?

The Bible doesn’t specifically mention gambling. That means it doesn’t prohibit it but also doesn’t allow it. It’s all about using your best discernment.

Should the Church Accept Lottery Money?

Church members have different views regarding this. However, many lottery winners have given generous donations to the church. It can be a way of promoting faith and spreading the Word of God, so many religious facilities decide to accept donations.

Does God Control Who Wins the Lottery?

In the Bible, the soldiers cast lots, but it’s God that ultimately decides the outcome. We could interpret that paragraph in a way that God is also in control of who wins the lottery.

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