Should Christians watch television? Since television clearly did not exist in biblical times, there is no direct command for or against this practice. Instead, we can look at biblical principles that may apply in deciding whether we should watch television or in what ways we should watch it.
For example, one area of concern is the amount of time a person can spend watching television. We are to honor God with all areas of our lives, including time. It would be difficult to justify that spending several hours a day watching television is honoring to God. Why? Ephesians 5:15-16 says, "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil."
A second area of consideration is the content we watch on television. Watching a Bible teaching program can clearly be of benefit, but many of today's television programs encourage sinful behaviors and promote ways of living that are more harmful than helpful to our walk with God. It is important to not blindly watch whatever is on the screen, but to research what we are about to watch and determine whether the program we watch will be honoring to God.
A third area of consideration is the example we set for others. If our favorite television shows are extremely violent or vulgar, what kind of example is that to those we seek to influence for Christ? Instead, we are called to live holy lives (1 Peter 1:16) and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20).
On the positive side, television can be used to help in some ways. First, it can offer access to Christian programming. The number of Christian television programs around the world is greater than any time in history. However, even with Christian programs, we must evaluate each program to determine whether the teachings are actually biblical.
Second, television can offer helpful teaching illustrations. For example, when teaching about perseverance, a reference to a professional athlete whose story has been made popular on television can add to the impact of a Bible study or sermon.
Third, television can offer a way for some Christians to use their gifts and abilities. Some Christians are very gifted in acting, production, or video editing. Television can offer ways to use these gifts in a positive manner.
In summary, television is a means of communication that can be used for good or evil. We must consider the time we spend on television, the content we watch, and our example to others. In addition, we can use television to grow spiritually through some Christian programs, teaching opportunities, and the use of abilities in television to positively influence others.
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