A young Christian lady with whom I am friends recently commented on Christian fiction. (This is a different lady than the one I am mentoring). She was not talking about books such as the Janette Oke series where fictional characters live in certain historic periods and whose faith is an integral part of the story. No, she was talking about Christian authors who take a person from the Bible and "flesh out" the life and character, stretching a few verses into an entire book of many chapters and many "adventures" These authors then stretch a series of characters to create an entire series of books.
Then there are "Christian" fiction such as the Left Behind series. When the first book in the series came out it seemed that all my friends were well acquainted with them. And so I borrowed the first volume from the church library. I made it through two chapters before I put it down, never to pick it up again.
The Left Behind series has since grown to sixteen volumes of fiction. And I emphasize the word "fiction". I am glad I have not read them. I do not want my Biblical knowledge messed up with the things of these books. First, I do not agree with the authors' eschatology (the study of the end times). And if I do not agree with their eschatology how can I affirm all else that they write? And why in the world would I look to them for answers that I can find in the Bible? And if I am willing to spend the time to read sixteen volumes, why not take that time to read and study the Bible itself? Do you know how much time it takes to read sixteen volumes?
In the 1970s I read two-thirds of the way through Hal Lindsey's Late Great Planet Earth. I did not agree with his eschatology, either, and when I got to that part in his book, I put it down, never to pick it up again. It's interesting to note that Lindsey predicted the end of the world would occur sometime in the 1980s. Well, guess what! It didn't. To my way of thinking that ends any prophetic authority on Lindsey's part. Why should I listen to him forty years later in regards to the end times when he loused it up the first time? Doesn't that put him in the category, surely close to the category, of having made a false prophecy? (If you like the guy, well, then I guess you like the guy.)
I once tried reading a Christian fiction book based on Rahab of the Old Testament. Rahab is mentioned in a few short verses and then her name appears again in the New. Because I was interested in Rahab and in the fact that she is honored by being named in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew, I thought I would enjoy the book. But again, I couldn't get past the first chapter or two. There was so much more "added" detail...superfluous things that were simply conjectures on the part of the author. I did not want my mind messed up with additional details that were just...well...just fiction.
My point is this...if you want to read more about the heroes/villains of the Bible, why not go to the Bible itself? Many people read through the Bible every year. Last year I availed myself of a chronological reading and really enjoyed it. (You do know, don't you, that the Bible is not printed in strict chronological order!?)
Or how about using a down-loadable program such as e-Sword to search names and phrases and which offers several commentaries as well!
I really like my NASB reference Bible because it helps me cross reference to other verses that help explain a particular verse or phrase.
I also like the ESV Study Bible and the ESV Classic Reference Bible, and the Reformation Study Bible.
I don't mind if you enjoy reading Christian fiction...I'm just outlining some of the reasons that I do not.
P.S. History channel offers programs on Bible subjects...I just want to say I do not consider them "history" nor do I see them as accurate in their convoluted surmisings of the things of the Bible. Just my humble opinion.
P.P.S. Lying in bed early this morning I'm thinking you probably think I read nothing but the Bible! Not true!
Books just finished:
Perelandra, 1944, C.S. Lewis (liked)
North to Freedom, Anne Holms (supposed to be inspiring but I found it a bit unreal)
On the Beach, 1957, Nevil Shute (Terrifying but interesting)
Large stack of gardening, cooking, decorating magazines purchased for 10 cents apiece at my neighbor's yard sale. (I cut out a lot of recipes and deco ideas.)
Kevin DeYoung's The Good News We almost Forgot.
A nifty 1888 hardback (original) I found somewhere at another yard sale, Short History of the Modern Church in Europe by John F. Hurst, D.D.
And Mayo Clinic: Guide to Women's Cancers (for obvious reasons)
And blogs...I read a lot of your blogs.