Our Entertainment Culture

Darth Vader

Our society is saturated with entertainment in various forms – movies, television, music, internet videos, professional and collegiate sports, etc. Even during a time of economic hardship and uncertainty, Americans are paying billions of dollars a year in movie ticket sales alone. While occasional entertainment may be fine, we need to let our consumption of entertainment be regulated by the Scriptures.

In evaluating our entertainment consumption, we should ask ourselves some basic questions:

Does our entertainment interfere with worship services? The Hebrew writer emphasized the importance of assembling with the saints: “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25). While there may be circumstances which prevent one from attending the regular assembly of the church (such as sickness), choosing to be absent from the assembly for some form of entertainment (such as watching the Super Bowl) is forsaking the assembly.

Does our entertainment replace our time for Bible study? Bible study is not just to be done when we gather with our brethren in Bible classes or to listen to a sermon in the assembly. Studying the Scriptures is an individual responsibility. Paul told Timothy, “Be diligent [study, KJV] to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). All Christians are to grow to maturity (Hebrews 5:14) and develop the ability to talk to others about spiritual matters (1 Peter 3:15). This only happens by taking time to study the Scriptures as the “noble-minded” Bereans did (Acts 17:11). We cannot ignore our need to study and choose instead to feed our desire for entertainment.

Does our entertainment get in the way of family responsibilities? Husbands and wives have responsibilities to one another (Ephesians 5:22-29; 1 Corinthians 7:3-5). Parents have responsibilities to children (Ephesians 6:4; Titus 2:4-5). Children have responsibilities to parents when they are young (Ephesians 6:1-3) and after they are grown (1 Timothy 5:4, 16). We cannot allow our pursuit of entertainment to cause us to neglect these God-given responsibilities.

Does our entertainment hinder our work? We are expected to work in order to provide for ourselves (2 Thessalonians 3:7-10), our families (1 Timothy 5:8), and to have something extra to help those in need (Ephesians 4:28). This means we must not strive to work the least we can to get by in order to maximize the time we have for entertainment.

Is our entertainment wholesome? David said, “I will set no worthless thing before my eyes” (Psalm 101:3). Paul told the brethren in Philippi, “Whatever is true… honorable… right… pure… lovely… of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8). Much of the entertainment that is out today is filled with immorality and all kinds of wickedness. We should not take those things which should “not even be named among you” (Ephesians 5:3) and use them as entertainment.

Is our entertainment a waste of time? Paul wrote, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). We should ask ourselves: Is it wise to spend hours a day everyday watching television or movies or playing video games? Paul warned that when people “learn to be idle,” they open themselves up to temptation and following after Satan (1 Timothy 5:13-15).

Is our entertainment a waste of money? The Scriptures teach that we can use our money as we see fit (Acts 5:4). Choosing to buy an occasional ticket to a movie or sporting event might be fine. But we should evaluate our spending to be sure we are being good stewards of our blessings. Spending money on entertainment is not a necessity, it is a luxury. If we have been blessed with the financial means to indulge in occasional entertainment, we should also take heed to the instruction Timothy was to give to the rich: “Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share” (1 Timothy 6:18). No, it is not wrong to spend some money on entertainment. But if we are able to do so, we should also be looking for ways to “do good” with our money.

Has our entertainment become an idol? John closed his first epistle with these words: “Little children, guard yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21). An idol is not just an image carved out of wood or stone. An idol is anything to which we devote ourselves above our devotion to God. For some – even some Christians – entertainment has become their object of devotion, rivaling God or crowding Him out of their lives altogether.


Let us examine ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5) and our entertainment in light of the Scriptures. Remember what Jesus said:

If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell” (Matthew 5:29-30).

Jesus’ point is that we must be willing to give up anything that becomes a stumbling block and hinders us from serving God. If our entertainment choices are hindering our service to God, we must be willing to cast them aside for the sake of our souls. On the other hand, if our entertainment choices are in line with the Scriptural principles discussed above, then let us be watchful to be sure that they remain in their proper place so that God and His will always take precedence in our lives.

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  1. Wayne D. Teel says

    Our world has become entertainment and sports crazy. Diversions from the job can be befeficial. But so many Christians have gone completely overboard in this area. They know all the “stars” names. They can tell you all the statistics of the sports figures and they will never miss a game of their favorite team. We have a raido station in our area that is strictly a sports station. Many are constantly talking sports and they have no time to talk “religion” to anyone. But just mention the word sports and they can talk all day about that.

  2. You’re right, it can be good at times to have something as a diversion. Personally, I’m more of a sports guy than a movie guy. But we need to keep the right perspective and priorities. Spiritual things are far more important than these temporary diversions.


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