Handling God’s Word with Your Words  – Part 1

Handling God's Word

What genre do you write? Fiction, nonfiction, children’s, secular or inspirational, Christian?

If you write fiction, you may be thinking, This is for nonfiction writers. After all, I don’t quote Scripture in my book.

Nonfiction writers may be thinking, Hey, I don’t need this, I already know & love God’s Word.

Regardless of what you write, please stick with me & hear me out. The success of your writing – fiction or nonfiction – depends on it. Not necessarily success as the world defines it, but success in God’s eyes. And by making that statement, now I may be stepping on a few toes. After all, who am I to speak for God?

But guess what? Whether you’re a Christian who writes for the general market or you write Christian-focused content, you are using the gift of words as a child of God every time you sit at your computer.

The question is, what are you communicating, even if you never directly quote a Bible verse?

Before we unpack specific principles for handling Scripture, it’s important to consider worldview as we write God-honoring content:

Worldview

Is Christian your default status? In other words, do you identify as a “Christian” simply because other options such as Jewish, Muslim, or Buddhist don’t apply?

A worldview is the filter through which we evaluate the world around us. It influences our beliefs and our choices. And especially in our western culture today, the Christian worldview is under intentional attack.

We hear the following opinions all the time:

  • God? Belief in a deity used as a crutch by superstitious people.
  • The Bible? Just a relic for ignorant people left over from ancient times.
  • Creation? A mythical account believed by uneducated people.
  • Jesus? If he actually lived, then he was only a man who was a good teacher.

Problem is, these incessant attacks on the Christian faith influence us in ways we may not even realize. And the result can easily become a compromised Christian worldview.

For example, Christians often buy into the lie that it’s okay to believe the Bible as long as we keep it to ourselves. Or that parts of the Bible such as the Genesis account of creation or the book of Jonah are just fables. And believing in Jesus is fine if you just follow Him as a good teacher without accepting that He was both fully God and fully man and it was only by His death and resurrection that we are restored to God.

But without a biblical Christian worldview, our faith is gutted.

  • Rejecting the Genesis account of creation empowers humanity to avoid accountability to their Creator.
  • Accepting that Jesus was just a good, human teacher dismisses the justice of a holy God whose righteousness requires a payment for sin by One who is sinless.
  • Believing the lie of evolution enables us to ignore the killing of unborn babies in the name of the right to privacy because they’re just “clumps of cells.”
  • And keeping the good news of salvation to ourselves requires us to stand idly by, watching lost people race down the highway to damnation, their choices cementing eternal separation from the One who offers love and life.

So what does this look like in our writing? To begin with, it does not mean we shove the Bible down the throat of our readers. But it does mean that we are careful what we glorify – even in our fiction and our nonfiction. I love how literary agent Rachelle Gardner once described this:

“Books – including novels written for both the secular and Christian markets “do not have a Christian worldview if their ultimate theme is that there is no God; or that hedonism is the answer to fulfillment in life; or that there are no consequences to a life of drugs or crime . . . characters [may] behave in distinctly un-Christian ways; they might curse or act violently or treat other people badly . . . [even] the Bible doesn’t shy away from portraying reality, but the overall message of the Bible is that Jesus was born and died to save us from all that evil. Good wins in the end. God wins. . . . Does good triumph over evil? Is there hope? . . . Even in the most secular novels, television shows, and movies, traditional values such as honesty, integrity, and fidelity are usually upheld. A book doesn’t have to be “Christian” to support a Christian worldview.”

What is your worldview? How is your worldview reflected in your writing?


9 thoughts on “Handling God’s Word with Your Words  – Part 1

  1. Ava, you’ve done a wonderful job explaining the importance of our Christian world view and how it affects our writing, no matter what type of writing we do. Thank you!

  2. I really appreciate your article and heartily agree. I am always disappointed by an author who seems to be attempting to share scripture or biblical principles but the characters have no interest in church or faith, or they move in together without being wed. And if they do wait, it’s because they are described as “old-fashioned”, not self-controlled.

    If we are Christian writers, our faith should infuse our characters, as Ava described.

  3. Thank you so much for this wonderful article, Ava! I am just getting started with writing for children, and want to write in a way that glorifies God. I have always felt that writers can reflect a Christian worldview even when writing for secular publishers. Kids are exposed to a scary amount of content through all kinds of media these days. It makes me want to write books that show them God’s creation, His grace, and His everlasting love through stories, characters, settings, and language. I am beginning to write for educational publishers, but want to branch out into trade publishing in the future. If my writing doesn’t glorify God, then I am misusing His gift, and that would be a travesty.

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