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I think it is okay to read other books other than the Bible.The questions however should be two; 1) with what intent? 2) who reads? The Christian creed drawn from the Bible is very clear; that Jesus is the Son of God, He came on earth and manifested in flesh, He was crucified and died for our sins, He rose again and went back to heaven. He is seated on the right hand side of God the Father. To the question; with what intent are you reading that book other than the Bible? If we read any other books that do not focus on Jesus as the cornerstone of the Christian faith, then we are most likely to get lost. However, if we only read any other book other than the Bible simply to look for more information, to enrich our knowledge and understanding, then it is okay and can be acceptable. Some religions have propped up based not on the Bible content, but on simple books written by people other than those who are led by the Holy Spirit. And their only intention has been to dilute the foundational Bible content upon which the Church has been planted for ages. For example, much of the Roman Catholic religion is based on simple books such as the catechist, whose source is another topic to discuss. Much of what they (the Catholics) believe and practice is based on such books other than the Bible. It has not been easy to reach out to such people because they have been brought up the way they believe by simply reading more of such books other than the Bible. Does this also apply to books written by our fellow Christians most of which are simply written to explain and enrich us more in understanding the Bible? I think this is up to the reader depending on what they are looking for in a particular book. But these books should never be taken as any creed or doctrine, they should simply be read for purposes of further explaining the Bible but based on the creed and doctrine of the Bible, the only written word of God. To the question; who reads? To a newly converted Christian, I would not advise them to read such books other other than the Bible. This is because such is a little brain in the matters of God. Such people should be given and taught the Bible as the basic infallible word of God. At a certain stage when a Christian is mature and can judge between what is palatable and what is not, he/she can go ahead and enrich their Christian knowledge. In Matthew 16:11-12; Jesus warns His disciples be careful about the leaven of the Pharisees, doctrine. In that view therefore, it is not absolute, a number of factors will have to come into the picture in this particular case.
Among the bible help books and decent material, I think that other religions should be studied, otherwise how will you know how to defend yourself from the false prophets? How can we tell that they are in fact false? We must study their doctrine and find where they differ from the Christian doctrine i.e. if they do not believe in the trinity, they are already wrong.
Of course we should read other books even as we remain faithful to the study of Scripture. It does matter however what nature and quality of information we feed our minds with. Not every book is suitable or edifying for a believer. This calls for wisdom. Any literature that contradicts or countermands the authority of the word of God is perhaps unsuitable for believers. Again there are books that subtly support new age or post modernism values. Some question and ridicule the deity of Jesus or deny the existence and sovereignty of God and reject major Bible doctrines on creation and science or attack religion. The believer will need to exercise discretion and wisdom on what literature is valuable. Books of art and sciences or other areas of knowledge are valuable to the believer because they expand our knowledge base and do not offend our faith. All said and done, the Bible remains our daily guide. It can never compare with or be replaced by other books and its centrality to our Faith and practice should never be obscured by any other forms of literature.The Bible is authoritative, inerrant, and speaks into past, present and future.
Although the Bible does not say anything about it, I think it is completely fine to read books besides the Bible. Nonfiction books can be helpful for increasing knowledge. For example, a book on cooking can help a Christian learn to cook and thus bless others with his cooking. A book on how to repair a dishwasher will help him repair his dishwasher. Books on Bible matters can help a Christian understand the Bible and His faith better. Realistic fiction books, and even some "fantasies", have good messages that can aid a Christian in His life (Think: Pilgrim's Progress). However, Christians must carefully inspect every book before they read it. Not all books are acceptable in the sight of the Lord. Many openly blaspheme the name of the Lord. Others are filled with violence, killing, and other things that Christians must avoid (1 Thessalonians 5:22 says to "abstain from all appearance of evil"). The Hunger Games and Harry Potter come to mind here. And, while some books are okay to read, we must always remember the True Book given to us by God: the Bible.
In spiritual truth, the bible always is our only truth. Other books can be helpful, but spiritual truth only comes from God which is the bible for us. We can not know counterfeits unless we know the truth. To the Christian the bible is a great comfort knowing that all our sins are forgiven and that we have Christ's righteousness given to us at salvation, That we have been born into the family of God when we first believed and have eternal life though Jesus who saved us by grace. The bible is also our guide to righteous living. Not our righteousness but His. It is the only book that can be discerned by the Spirit of God that works in us. First Corinthians 2:14 To unbelievers It makes no sense and is foolishness to them. It is the greatest love story ever told. How God became a man, so that we could be saved through Him who took the punishment we deserve so that we do not have to pay for our sins in hell. John 3;16 Christ is our righteousness given to us as a free gift. Romans 4:5 No other book written is inspired of God. So we maintain that Gods word is true above all other books as for spiritual truth and growth. Other books are written by men who are all fallible, but the bible was written by men who were inspired by God to write it. But much can be learned to help us in other ways, by books that teach us how to do things. How to books are great for maintaining what we have. Most anyone can learn the basics of electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and even electronics by reading books on the subject if you are a do it yourselfer.
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