I'm curious what the Bible says about Luck. Is this something that is a real occurrence or is every little detail ordained and controlled by God (fate)?

I searched biblegateway and did not find "luck" under NIV. Then I tried NASB. The closest thing I've found comes out the of Good News Translation (which I don't trust at all) and out of the book of Sirach (which I've never heard of).

Sirach 20:9 (GNT)
Bad luck can sometimes lead to success, and a stroke of good luck can sometimes lead to loss

There are more sayings in that book and translation, however, this really doesn't satisfy me, since I've never heard of the book of Sirach (and I really don't trust the Good News translation).

What is the biblical case against the concept of Luck?

Just to be clear, I'm referring to Luck as the random chance—coincidence—that brings good or bad fortune. I'm not referring to an external force that influences the good or bad that happens in our lives.

Clearly, if there is an external force that brings us good or bad fortune, that could be directly attributed to God, Satan, demons, or angels from a biblical/Christian stance.

Scope: Just to be clear, I'm interested primarily in the Protestant Bible, but I'm willing to accept Catholic translations and Deuterocanonical books.

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    Why don't you trust the Good News Translation? Commented Jan 10, 2012 at 14:07
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    To close voters, I've edited to make this specifically the case against luck, since that's the approach taken by the answers. Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 20:20

6 Answers 6


Proverbs 16:33 (New Living Translation)

We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.

Another translation:


The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.

Apparently, therefore, luck as such does not exist but providence does.

  • You could also mention that the disciples cast lots to replace Judas, not because they really wanted a random decision made, but because they believed that God would make the decision and tell them thought the dice.
    – user3961
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 21:57

In both the Old and the New Testaments, drawing of lots is used as a means of discerning the will of God - he controls events that appear random to us.

The Urim and Thummim were (probably) two objects kept inside the clothing of the high priest, who would draw one out "at random" to get a yes-or-no answer to some question. This happens, for example, in 1 Samuel 14 to see who had broken Saul's order not to eat any food on a particular day; here are verses 40-42 in the NIV:

Saul then said to all the Israelites, "You stand over there; I and Jonathan my son will stand over here."

"Do what seems best to you," they replied.

Then Saul prayed to the LORD, the God of Israel, "Why have you not answered your servant today? If the fault is in me or my son Jonathan, respond with Urim, but if the men of Israel are at fault, respond with Thummim." Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot, and the men were cleared. Saul said, "Cast the lot between me and Jonathan my son." And Jonathan was taken.

The part I have put in italics above is in the Greek version (the Septuagint) but not in the Hebrew.

In the New Testament, the disciples draw lots to determine who is to succeed Judas. This happens in Acts 1:23-26:

So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs." Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

  • Great answer. You write of the practical application, I wrote of the theory. :) Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 15:05
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    another example of casting lots is in Jonah 1 - " Each man said to his mate, “Come, let us cast lots so we may learn on whose account this calamity has struck us.” So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah."
    – warren
    Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 15:52
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    @warren, true, however this does not say anything about God's view on throwing dice since the men were not believers in God (in verse 6 they instruct Jonah to call on his God). Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 17:05

You may be surprised but there is no such thing as "luck" for Christians. As the other nations believe that if one has a good luck, whatever one does, he always wins, or if one has a bad luck, whatever one strives to make good, he always fails, but sadly this is the world view or pagan view which leaves no choice to anybody whereas the Bible clearly states in Deuteronomy 11:27-29 about how to receive BLESSING OR CURSE. The choice is ours. If we start accepting the pagan view, it leaves no choice to luck believers.

For us the commandment is not to indulge or adopt the teachings of any other nation.

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    Welcome to Christianity.SE! Please feel free to the full text of your references - this is a well sourced good first answer! Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 22:10

James says

If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?

James 2:15-16 NABRE

which I thought I recalled being translated, "good luck, see ya later, hope you don't starve to death and die of exposure!" But still has the same connotation as wishing someone luck while not providing for their needs.

Clearly depending on luck is a bad idea and having an expectation of good fortune for others when you could be providing form them rather than merely wishing them good luck is useless, and is not true faith.


I am surprised that there is not yet an answer that makes reference to Ecclesiastes 9:11:

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to the intelligent, nor yet favour to men of knowledge; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Although there are Biblical examples of the Lord controlling the outcome of drawing lots and so on, it is apparent that He also intentionally exposes all people to seemingly random and potentially adverse events, so that we can grow. For example, one should not expect always to be first in line or to live a life free of misfortune merely because we have faith in God. Faith in God is a means to overcome adversity and adverse happenstance, not a guarantee against its ever occurring.

Of course God can and does influence these outcomes as well, but they are for all outward purposes apparently essentially random. Therefore while chance or randomness is a thing affirmed by Scripture, personal luck (as in a person being stably "lucky" or "unlucky" is not. All people experience various unearned favors and undeserved adversities over time.


To the committed believer who rests upon God's love, there is no such thing as luck. As the passage says, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).

To the one who has finally believed that God really takes care of him or her, there is no such thing as luck; God uses both the good and bad for the good of the individual. From the carnal standpoint, we would see unlucky happenings as undesireable things happening to us, but for the one who is convinced that God loves him, those event are allowed by God for some reason, such as to train him up in character, like teaching him patience. They are neither lucky nor unlucky incidents, but guided by God for good.

So the idea of luck, whether good or bad, depends on the perspective of the person's relationship with a loving God, according to Romans 8:28.

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