Read any good books lately? Obviously if that question were posed to me and I hope to you, the response would be that I have been reading the best book of all time, the Bible! Though true the question intends a slightly different answer. I have been thinking about that question a good bit as we have been preparing for our vacation this week. For me vacation has always been a time to read things I have been saving for such a time of relaxation. Even so, this year I have been at a loss to select which books to read. Perhaps I should just read the Bible, or maybe I shouldn’t be so picky. Which will it be?
Sometimes Christians fall prey to a false teaching that we should not watch, read, or listen to anything that is not the Bible. Though I certainly think we should not engage in anything that is unbiblical, I find a problem with those who like the Pharisees form a hedge between themselves and the world. On the other hand, Christians normally fall into the other extreme reading, watching, and listening to all things uncritically. Just because something is popular in our world does not mean that we as Christians must experience it to relate to a lost world. Furthermore there is some media that can place doubt or error into our minds concerning biblical truth. There is one such book in most Christian bookstores right now. How should a Christian go about selecting media?
All media demands that we engage it, thinking about its assertions. As such Philippians 4:8 seems to apply. This verse gives two general tests we should consider when we select things to “think on”. First we should consider if a book, movie, or song encourages us to consider an attribute of God. Philippians lists things such as those that are true, honorable, just, pure, and lovely. Then the test shifts from a pure attribute of God, which excellence certainly is, to a measure of how well a thing reflects God’s excellence. The verse lists these things as commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy. All media should be subjected to these two tests. Anything that fails the first test by not encouraging a consideration of an attribute of God should be dismissed. With the things that pass the first test those that best reflect God should be dwelt upon.
So as I went to the online bookstore I selected three titles for vacation that I thought encourage contemplation of God’s attributes as well as being excellent in their content. If you would like to hear more about them, check out future blogs!