Dialogue: Christians Shouldn't 'Read the Bible Only'

A row of shelves full of books
A row of shelves full of books
By Steve Sun May 17th, 2022

Christians really emphasize reading the Bible, but Christians still need to think about the situations and conflicts they confront in real life. So they have the desire for cognition in different fields such as history, economy, humanism, charity, etc., which can be satisfied by extensive reading.

A few days ago, Christian Times, an online Chinese Christian newspaper, communicated with Brother R regarding the concept of reading.

R holds that Christians should not read the Bible only, their concept of reading needs to be updated, and their scope of reading needs to be extended. He suggested that besides the Bible, Christians need to read other high-quality books, especially liberal study books, which can help us to understand the world and communicate with it better.

"Christians should change their concept of reading and do not read books related to Christianity only. Most of the Christians I know think that they should ‘read the Bible only’ and other books have no value—a very biased view,” he said. "In fact, Christians need to read a lot of books, especially liberal studies books, so that when many new things and trends appear, we can be enough prepared to deal with them. "

"Actually, the purpose of reading is to change one's mind. If a person’s mind is changed, everything else will change accordingly. Books of liberal studies are good to read, for example, to know the conflict between Russia and Ukraine better, you need to read related books. It’s the same for epidemic prevention. If we don’t read good books, we are prone to extreme and one-sided ideas and remarks.”

He mentioned that he had met some unbelievers who knew the British missionary Samuel Pollard better than the pastors and believers. Many good testimonies of missionaries are known by the public through the work of cultural scholars, which really embarrasses people within the church.

He mentioned that in recent years, many good books on the history and culture of the Middle Ages, Byzantium, and major Christian countries have been published in society, which has aroused the interest of many non-believers and has positive effect on the public to know the history and culture of the church. By reading these books, Christians can also have an extended understating of the church’s history and contribution.

Brother R analyzed that the phenomenon of many churches currently emphasizing "read the Bible only" is related to anti-intellectualism in Chinese churches which is the result of false teachings like dualism of good and evil. All of them need to be updated.

"Anti-intellectualism eventually lead Christians to start rejecting all books and knowledge outside the church. It’s better to have an open mind," he concluded. 

- Translated by Katherine Guo

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