Enjoying the Journey

Why I Was Wrong About Reading Fiction

For many years I almost prided myself in not reading fiction. “I read real stories.” Some time ago I was given a work of Christian fiction to read. As I read the book I came to a stark realization…

I was wrong about reading fiction.

Now, like any other genre of books, all fiction is not created equal. Much of it is a waste of time. However, well-written fiction can be a powerful tool in teaching the truth. Even Christ often used parabolic language to convey eternal truth.

Specifically, I believe there can be a great deal of benefit in historical fiction. One definite caution that I would give regarding “Christian fiction” is that we must be wary of authors who want to go beyond revealed truth. Anything that is contrary to Scripture is dangerous. Every book must be measured by the truth of God’s Word.

Here are at least 4 benefits of reading good fiction:

  • It stirs the imagination. Imagination is not a bad thing. It is God’s gift and a part of the human mind that must be developed. In the life of a believer it must be sanctified. It is a good thing for the imagination to be stirred to “see” truth.
  • It opens the understanding. A story is often one of the best way to teach a principle. Instruction becomes clearer through illustration.
  • It helps memory. We are all more apt to remember a story than a statement.
  • It aids communication. Recently I wrote a brief article on “Use A Story!” Well written and well spoken stories can help to gather attention and convey principles.

Read selectively. Balance your reading of fiction with the reading of biography, history, devotional writings, and current events. Well rounded people read widely.

I hope to add more good fiction to my “books to read” list. What fictional writings have you enjoyed and why?

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