Thursday, July 4, 2013

God Uses Fiction

by Rick Barry

Authors of Christian fiction, has anyone ever considered your writing unimportant simply because it is fiction? In other words, has anyone (even yourself) regarded your fiction as frivolous because it isn't a Bible commentary, or a tome on theology, or at least a devotional book?

Although much fiction amounts to simple entertainment, make no mistake: God can and does use fiction to mold people's lives. For instance, 2 Samuel 12 includes a remarkable work of fiction. In this passage, the prophet Nathan visits King David (who had committed adultery with Bathsheba and hid his deed by getting her husband killed in battle). By God's prompting, Nathan launched into a short story. The story was fiction, but David assumed he was hearing a true incident. In the story, a selfish rich man who owned large flocks of sheep seized and butchered the sole pet lamb of a poor man in order to feed a meal to a visitor.

Hearing of such an heartless act, David (a former shepherd who could relate to pet lambs) smoldered with rage. "The man who has done this deserves to die!" he declared.

Nathan replied with four chilling words: "You are the man!" He proceeded to deliver God's message of judgment on the king who--despite already having many wives--abused his power by seizing the wife of an honorable soldier in his army.

Nathan's powerful short story hammered home David's sin as nothing else could. He had no defense. "I have sinned before the Lord," he confessed.

Was Nathan's piece of fiction frivolous because it didn't explore the writings of Moses? Not at all. It became the stake with the perfect sharpened point to penetrate the hard shell around David's heart. Fiction became a tool of God's Holy Spirit.

Jesus, too, used fiction. He often told short stories. Whether the story starred a kind Samaritan, or a farmer sowing grain, or someone else, each one of these short stories tucked spiritual applications into fictional settings the listeners could picture.

I'm not claiming that all fiction penned by Christians is inspired by God. Just like unbelievers, Christians can invent characters and weave plots simply for entertainment, or to earn money. There is nothing wrong with that. However, the skilled writer who goes beyond entertainment and subtly weaves spiritual truth into stories joins the ranks of godly people like Nathan, who served God and worked in lives even with fiction.

Rick Barry is the author of over 200 published short stories and articles, plus two novels. Visit his personal blog at


  1. Yes, Rick. Good reminder. Sow the Seeds.

  2. Nice post Rick. Isn't the Bible just one big "real" story? Jesus used Parables...aka story telling. Perhaps from a Christian Sci Fi perspective, the Bible is just "book 3" in a trilogy on the Master's book shelf.

  3. Guess I've always tho't that while the "fiction" in the Bible you mention are great stories, they were also based on true incidences, like my "fiction". . . I've been glad all my life I didn't grow up in a home that didn't allow "fiction" because reading it is "idleness" and therefore a sin. Some of those homes need to read this blog of yours, Rick! :-)