I am interested in a question to which I don’t find the answer: is it allowed for a Christian to read other books (novels, romans, etc.), except the Bible and other religious books? I would like to know your opinion and the Bible’s. Thank you and God bless you!
The starting point to my answer is the affirmation from God’s Word that says that we, Christians, don’t belong to ourselves anymore, but we belong to God who redeemed us:
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
I know that some of the readers may object here, saying that the affirmations above were written in the context to present the risk of Christian’s exposure to fornication. And still, I want you to look closely at some important truths here:
- The Christian’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit that lives in us and that we have received from God
- We are not our own
- We were bought at a price ( the holy blood of our Lord Jesus Christ)
- We have to honor God in our body and spirit that are God’s.
Since we came to Christ, we have received the great calling to be His priests and in this way, it is written:
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light; (1 Peter 2:9)
It reminds us again that God redeemed us and made us a royal priesthood and gave us a clear task – to proclaim His great power, it means to share the Gospel with those that are lost.
A Christian’s life, like everyone’s on this earth is short and is compared with a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Therefore, we are told to be wise and redeem the time to fulfill our calling that we have from God.
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)
If we will want to read all the books and journals that we find interesting or to watch all movies and TV shows, we will realize that we waste our time and precious opportunities that God gives us. I imagine how in the day when we will stand at the Christ’s judgement, will stand big crowds of christians and and will weep bitterly for all precious time which they have wasted with worthless things which in no way contributed to their calling on this earth. Don’t be one of them. Whenever you want to read a book, to watch a movie and to make any other thing, ask yourself how much it helps you and contributes at the fulfillment of the calling that you have on this earth from God. Don’t waste time, because this is the substance from which our life is made of and we will give account to God for how we used it or not.
And also in the New Testament it is written :
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. (Galatians 5:16-17)
In choosing (or not…) books that you want to read, be careful by whom you are guided. By your flesh? Or by the God’s Holy Spirit? Don’t forget that these lust against each other. I know Christians that are passionate beyond measure by reading secular books, but don’t show the same passion studying the Bible, on the opossite, thet find excuses not to do this.
Any Christian must know that books (movies, journals, magazines, websites that you visit, etc… ) build your thinking and you must pass all the things through the spiritual filter about which apostle Paul writes in the Epistle to Philippians, which is the following :
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
Any novel or any other book that you want to read, must be filtered if it doesn’t come against the things mentioned here.
Our younger son, Daniel, got for summer to read more books at Romanian literature. I bought the books because they were a part of the curriculum. But one day, less than an hour after he started to read the book “Hronicul Găinarilor” by Aureliu Busuioc, he came to me and told that he refuses to continue reading the book and showed me there a few swear words by the author. I am glad for our son’s discernment and that he knew when to stop, because in God’s Word is written:
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.(Proverbs 4:23)
Books, movies, magazines, internet pages, all are like humans because are created by them and is like a way to meet with authors through which they tell you what they think. Because of this, you must proceed with all these sources of information as you would proceed with people that are writing them and about whom Holy Scriptures teach us this way:
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. (Psalms 1:1-2)
Christian’s thinking must be formed by God and by studying His Word- Bible. Therefore, we must make from this a priority, but in choosing the books that we read, we have to be careful and keep ourselves lest through these books, movies, etc. to lose precious time that we have received from God for sharing the Gospel and our heart and thinking to not be affected by bad influences that some authors want to transmit. Nobody can give you an exhaustive list of books that you can or you can not. So, be wise and measure all things with the measure of God’s Word.
I am curious what reader think about this topic? I invite you to write your comment.
Translated by Alina Rotari