2: Searching for truth in literature
In this post we'll look at the following:
• Should we read books from other faiths? • What about the books of biblical characters that have been left out of the bible?
• What place does Christian literature have?
Truth is a person, His name is Jesus
As we read our Bibles, and other literature we must remember that Truth is not information, knowledge or facts. Truth is Jesus, Truth is God's word to us.
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me - John 14:6 NLT
Sanctify them by Your truth, Your word is truth - John 17:17 NKJV
The more we know Jesus, the more He frees us from deception. We don't need to study error in order to find or discern what is true. The more we know Jesus His discernment in us will sharpen.
The Desire for Knowledge
We are in a time where there is a great temptation to appear wise and knowledgeable - a temptation endlessly repackaged since the Garden of Eden. Though there is nothing wrong with education, gaining understanding, studying the word and other literature, we have to remember that the highest goal is to "come unto the knowledge of the Truth".
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. - 1 Timothy 2:3-4 KJV
This means an intimate knowing of our Saviour, more than knowing about Him Everything we read should lead us to draw near to Him, recognize Him or understand Him more. Jesus said:
“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life."
The same can be said for other books aside from the Bible. We may search for knowledge and understanding, but if it doesn't point us back to Christ or somehow strengthen our walk with Him, what's the point?
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV
Many in the Body of Christ will argue their freedom to read books like the book of Enoch, and even books of other faiths. Yet the book of biblical characters have been left out for a reason; they were not inspired by God, therefore not revealing Christ or reflecting the love story Abba tells throughout scripture. So yes we are free to read anything, but not everything is beneficial and edifying for us.
All things are legitimate [permissible—and we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life]. - 1 Corinthians 10:23 -AMPC
Remember, knowledge puffs up, but love edifies (1 Corinthians 8:1).
There is no law against reading books aide from the Bible. There are many a great Christian books to help us on our journey, but we should always consider; are we reading edifying books? Do we weigh their concepts against scripture? Are they pointing us back to Christ/Biblical principles or into works/worldliness? Are we reading as led by the Spirit of God?
We are in the last days, and time is precious. May our growth in Christ be supplemented with edifying literature, free from distraction and not given to the temptation for the kind of knowledge that only puffs up.