Can Christians Read Books Besides the Bible?

Vivian Bricker

Contributing Writer
Published Feb 14, 2024
Can Christians Read Books Besides the Bible?

Whether individuals are aware of it or not, we have all been given freedom in Christ (Galatians 5:1). What this means is that we are free in Christ. We can read what we want, listen to what we want, and watch what we want. However, it is important to make sure we don’t read, listen to, or watch anything that promotes sin; however, it is also important we don’t push legalism onto others.

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Recently, I stumbled across a social media post where a certain ministry was shaming a certain author. While I was not familiar with this author, I did not appreciate the negative talk the ministry was giving to the author. It is completely okay to have your own opinions, but when it becomes legalistic, you run into a problem. Never should anyone, including this ministry, teach or endorse a legalistic view of theology. 

Whether individuals are aware of it or not, we have all been given freedom in Christ (Galatians 5:1). What this means is that we are free in Christ. We can read what we want, listen to what we want, and watch what we want. However, it is important to make sure we don’t read, listen to, or watch anything that promotes sin; however, it is also important we don’t push legalism onto others.

Just because one person struggles with a specific sin doesn’t mean someone else does too. Therefore, one book, song, or movie might cause one believer to be enticed to sin, but for another believer, it doesn’t bother them at all. It is best if everyone is not quick to judge others based on their book, music, or movie selections. When we start being judges, we are beginning to play God. This is something that would be wise not to do. 

Christian Literature & Christian Classics 

Many individuals believe that Christians can only read the Bible. The Bible is extremely important, and we should be reading it every day, but nowhere does God say that this is the only book we can read. Most of us read a section of the Bible every day. This could be a chapter, a passage, or a book of the Bible. For many avid readers, we also read other pieces of literature and there is nothing wrong with this.

The Bible is nourishment for our soul, therefore, we need to make sure we are reading it every day. It is the main way God communicates with us today as well as it contains everything we need to know to grow in our relationship with Him (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Bible is of utmost importance, and it is for the best that we read it, pay attention to what it says, and apply its teachings to our lives. In truth, the Bible gives us wisdom that can extend to all areas of our lives.

Furthermore, it is important to note that we can read other books besides the Bible. We should be reading the Bible every day, but we can also read other books. A great selection of books could be Christian literature and Christian classics. If you are worried about books that could tempt you into sin or cause you to have sinful thoughts, try to look into some of the Christian classics. A few ideas could be “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C. S. Lewis, “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien, or “The Pilgrim's Progress” by John Bunyan.

When it comes to C. S. Lewis, it is also important to mention that he wrote other wonderful books besides “The Chronicles of Narnia.” If you have already read the Narnia series, maybe you could look into his other books, such as “A Grief Observed,” “The Problem with Pain,” or “The Weight of Glory.” All of these books are great reads and can truly help you in your walk with Christ. Try to read a variety of Lewis’s books as well as other Christian literature works and see if it is the perfect addition to your library. 

With Christian literature, you will not have to worry about profanity, inappropriate content, or glorification of sin. If you want to step more into the lives of individual Christians, you could also try to read a missionary biography. There are many missionary biographies as well as autobiographies that you could try to read. As one can see, there is nothing wrong with reading books besides the Bible. They can be enjoyable and educational and help you learn more about other believers. 

Freedom in Christ

As mentioned, we all have freedom in Christ, but we have to make sure we are not using our freedom as a cover-up for evil (1 Peter 2:16). When we are exercising our freedom in Christ, it does not mean we have a license to sin. Rather, we should want to do good because it brings glory to God. If there is ever a book that causes you to feel as though you are more likely to commit a sin glamorized in the book, it would be best to step away from the book.

We have freedom in Christ, yet Jesus always wants us to be faithful followers of Him. If a book promotes adultery, inappropriate behavior, or intense sex scenes, it would be best not to read the book. While this is a popular genre for many readers, we have to ask ourselves if it is truly honoring God. If it isn’t, we need to put the book down and read something that is better for our spiritual health. 

You do have complete freedom to do as you please, but remember that Jesus sees our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7). If we read books that promote sin, eventually we will want to do the sin too. If you have it within your Christian freedom to keep tight control on these things without books affecting you, then that is great, but we have to face the reality that most individuals do not possess this skill. Temptation is strong, and it can come when we least expect it. This is why we need to be careful and remember to glorify God in everything we do, whether that is what we read, what we write, what we watch, or what we listen to. 

Honoring & Gloryfing God

A good test to run books through is if the book honors God. If it does not, the best decision would be to stop reading the book. Reading books is fun, but if we are honest with ourselves, many of us read books to escape from the world. Don’t use books as a way for escapism or to live out a dream that is not even real. Books are just books—if it is a fictional book, it is a made-up story. Don’t base your life on something that was created by an author. 

If a book ever makes you feel bad about yourself, causes you to want to sin, or raises sinful desires in you, choose to put the book down. If you bought the book, maybe you could return it and get a book that will be honored by God. If you only checked it out from the library, you can return the book and check out a different section the next time you are there. There are great books out there that will not damage your relationship with Christ, nor will they promote sinful desires in you.

Some people might find this restrictive, but as believers, we have to ask ourselves why we want to read literature that promotes sinful behavior. Is there some sort of unmet need in our life? Do we need to spend more time with God in prayer and Bible study? Or maybe we need a Christian mentor to help us in this area. Pray over the matter and allow God to lead you in the right direction. You can read more than just the Bible, but you need to make sure the books are glorifying God. 

Photo Credit: Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash

Vivian BrickerVivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.

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