Does the Bible say anything about reading or writing fiction?It may be surprising for some, but the Bible places fiction in high standing. It just doesn't call it that—it calls it parables.
Parables are stories that reveal a spiritual truth. The most famous in the Old Testament is that of Nathan when he confronted David about his adultery with Bathsheba. In 2 Samuel 12:1-4, Nathan compared David with a rich man who stole a poor man's beloved lamb. David could see the injustice in the story when he couldn't see it in his own actions. He found spiritual truth through fiction.
The person in the Bible who told the most parables is Jesus. The gospels record nearly fifty stories that He told in order to teach those who were willing to listen. Besides Jesus and Nathan, the Bible records stories by Jotham (Judges 9:7-15) and Ezekiel (17:1-8).
So, it is established that it is not sinful to read or write fiction. But that doesn't mean that a believer should read or write any fiction.
The fiction in the Bible is used to educate its readers and hearers. In truth, all fiction does this, whether the author intends it or not. No fiction can be considered solely entertaining; something of the author's beliefs and worldview must come out. JRR Tolkien insisted that his books were not written to be religious allegory, but millions of Christians since would disagree. C. S. Lewis embraced allegory, and gave unchurched people an understanding of Jesus and His interaction with His followers.
Even if a Christian does not intend to write a spiritual allegory, she should still bear in mind that writing is a form of teaching and teachers are held to a strict standard (James 3:1). Several other verses apply to writing:
Colossians 3:1-2: "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth."
Philippians 4:8: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
Ephesians 4:29: "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."
Ephesians 5:4: "Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving."
It is not sin to read or write fiction, but it is sin to read or write stories that do not edify the reader and the writer. God created art and beauty when He created the world. As we are made in His image, our art should reflect that.
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