Does the Bible say anything about palm reading?


by Matt Slick

The Bible does not mention palm reading. However, it does speak about divination, which it condemns. Palm reading is a form of divination. Divination is an attempt to gain knowledge about events and people that are distant in time and space that cannot be obtained via normal means.  Scripture warns against it.

  • Deuteronomy 18:10, “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer,"
  • 1 Samuel 15:23, “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king.”"
  • 2 Kings 17:17, "Then they made their sons and their daughters pass through the fire, and practiced divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him."

Palm reading, also known as palmistry and chiromancy, is the attempt to read the lines in a person's palm and thereby determine such things as how smart the person is, how long he will live, his personality traits, habits, and even his fortune.  The practice occurs all over the world and different cultures contradict other cultures when it comes to palm reading.  Proponents maintain that the various lines on the palm deal with the heart, life, fate, and more.

There is absolutely no evidence that palm reading works. Generally, those who seek knowledge through the reading of their palms are already open to vague interpretations of the palm readers.  When a person opens himself up to such false things, he is opening himself up to deception. Some palm readers are good at speaking in generalities and reading the emotional and body language cues from a subject in order to determine what to say thereby draw the person in and either get money or keep them coming back. Undoubtedly, however, there are those who believe in palm reading and are not intending to deceive but are being used by the spiritual realm to deceive others.

Nevertheless, palm reading is a form of divination and is condemned in Scripture.

  • Divination: "The art of determining the future or ascertaining the divine will. Practiced widely throughout the ancient Near East, divination involved the observation and interpretation of natural phenomena or of phenomena deliberately caused by the person or persons interpreting these omens."1
  • Divination: "Communication with a deity for the purpose of determining the deity’s knowledge, resulting in clarification of a decision or discernment of the future. Two forms of divination developed in the ancient Near East, one using inductive manipulation of natural or human phenomena and the other taking intuitive forms of inner revelation."2




  • 1. Myers, Allen C. The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987.
  • 2. Elwell, Walter A. Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Baker Reference Library. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1996.

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.