How to Add Christian Messages to a Novel (And 60 Questions to Ask Yourself When Editing)

Hello again everyone! With Christmas just behind us, I thought that I should do a post with something concerning Jesus, who was truly the reason for Christmas. So what better thing to discuss than how to incorporate Him and Christianity into your novel!

Obviously there are multiple reasons that Christians either shy away from this or don’t even try to incorporate Him into the books. One is that they don’t want to sound “pushy” and “preachy”. Another is they are afraid it will sound forced and fake. I am going to try and show some techniques that, in my opinion, take away the “preachiness” or “fakeness” which some writers are nervous about.

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1. Look at Your Characters

Depending on who your audience is and who you are writing for, you will style your characters accordingly. In one of my stories, I’m aiming at all types of people, saved and unsaved. Thus my class of characters are also that way. Some have been saved for years, some are newly saved. Some are on the fence about the gospel, some are skeptics, and some are downright atheists.

Obviously with so many character types, you must make them act accordingly. An unsaved person who is a skeptic, for example, might laugh at someone religious. A person who is on the fence about the gospel, however, might be rather curious about the matter. And a Christian would applaud the person for standing up for what is right.

Everyone has issues, even Christians. But when your Christian characters face something that your non-Christian characters face as well, there should be some difference in how they respond, at least most of the time. When Sunday rolls around, your Christian character should get up to go to church, and your unsaved character lay in bed and watch tv or something else.

That doesn’t mean your saved characters must be perfect. They can sin just like everyone else. But the difference is that they should eventually repent of their sin and genuinely try to change.

So look for your character’s special sets of skills, personalities, and other such things, and think of if they existed in real life. How could God touch them in their life?

For example, say we have two girls who are best friends, Jessica and Sally. Jessica is in high-school, is slightly boy-crazy, and is insecure about how she looks. She identifies as an agnostic. She believes God exists, but He’s just “up there” somewhere. Sally, on the other hand, is also in high-school. She doesn’t struggle with her looks, but she does struggle with her grades and is made fun of for being stupid. She is a Christian, however.

Instead of just off-handedly mentioning once that she is a Christian, and then at the end of the book having her suddenly witness to Jessica or invite her to church, sprinkle in bits and pieces about how her relationship with the Lord affects her life. You don’t even have to mention Jesus when you do it. Just show her helping out the girl who always bullies her, or congratulating students who got A’s on their tests even though she didn’t. You can later have your other characters notice that and mention that she credits it to Jesus, or even have a student curious about why she acts the way she does, and goes and asks her. You don’t have to make every character admire her; you can even have the characters scorn her for her actions, but your reader won’t. And then at the end, her witnessing to Jessica, or even Jessica asking her about Jesus won’t be so surprising and sound out of place or forced.

So think of your character’s personalities, activities, and everyday lives, and how having a relationship with Christ or being around someone who does could affect them.

2. Remember, Not Everyone Gets Saved

It’s okay to have a book where everyone gets saved, but realistically, not everyone does. Even Jesus Himself could not save everyone. This could potentially cause some people to think the message is forced.

When you have an unsaved character, you must portray them realistically. Unless they’re a very small child, they will probably have questions about Christianity, fears, doubts, and maybe even completely closed off to it. You must show these realistically, or else it will sound forced.

You can’t have Cody Jones, who’s been an atheist all his life, suddenly and for no reason, want to become a Christian. You have to show what has softened his heart and opened his eyes to the truth of the Gospel.

And it’s all right to end a book where some of the characters reject Christ, and some accept Him. Again, Jesus Himself didn’t even win them all.

3. Use Theme

You can use the theme of a story to also add Christian messages to your novel! Every book, and even movies, have underlying messages to them, whether it’s good or not. For example, the theme of the movie The Gladiator is to get revenge. The theme in Pilgrim’s Progress, on the other hand, is to follow Christ. Each story has a theme with a message.

I’ve noticed the theme sort of ties into the ending as well in many of the stories, such as Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress receiving his reward for following Christ faithfully. So the climax and ending could be a good place to show your Christian theme. The story doesn’t even have to have a positive ending to show a good theme, like, for example, your theme could be based on Romans 12:19, about letting the Lord take revenge. Yet you could end your story with a main character who ruins his life because he took vengeance into his own hands. As long as it’s made clear that if he’d forgiven his enemy, his life wouldn’t have been ruined, then you would be showing a Christian theme.

In one of my stories, the theme is based on Proverbs 3:5-6, which basically states to trust in the Lord, not on your own understanding, and He will direct your paths. My main character is a Christian, but during the course of the story he begins to doubt in God because all of these bad things are happening to him. It turns out, he’s been believing he’s been trusting in the Lord when in reality, he’s really been relying on his own self to make things happen. In the ultimate climax, the theme comes into play as he must obey what the Lord directed him to do, even though his logic and the logic of others says it’s not a good idea.

So a lot of times, theme can bring a Christian message into the book very easily without it sounding preachy. Using the characters to work the theme through the book without tons of dialogue talking about theological points can make the story more enjoyable and the theme not stick out like a sore thumb. And the climax is one of the easiest places to show the theme, at least in my experience.

4. Ask Yourself Questions

So say you’ve written your story already, and you’re editing it, or reading over it, wondering how you can add (or add more) Christian messages to your novel. One thing I’ve noticed for me that helps, is to ask myself questions about the scene I am working on. I use scenes because it helps to break down the story as a whole, and not take one novel and stick a piece of Christianity in it. That can cause the scene to feel out of place, and read awkwardly to the reader. Thus, in my opinion, it’s best to allow the Christian messages to flow seamlessly and sometimes unnoticeably throughout my novels until the climax or a directly Christian scene comes in (such as a witnessing scene). That makes these scenes fit better with the rest of the story, and it doesn’t seem awkward or forced.

Here are some questions I have come up with to ask yourself about your novel:

Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Novel:

  • What do you want God to accomplish in the lives of your readers through your book?
  • What lesson or moral do you want your readers to learn?
  • How will your book bring people closer to the Lord?
  • How have you tried to show this in your novel? (For example, if you want to win people to Christ through your book, you added a witnessing scene and the Gospel message.)

If you want to add more Christian messages to your story, consider asking some of these questions about the individual scenes in your novel.

Questions to Ask Yourself Concerning adding Christian Messages to a Scene:

  • Does this scene glorify God in any way? If so, how?
  • If this scene does not glorify God, will it bring glory to Him later on? How?
  • If the scene does not glorify God at all, what is the point of the scene?
  • Is there a way this point can be illustrated in a way to bring God glory?
  • Ultimately, what is your underlying goal in this scene? (Not just to get your character from Point A to Point B.)

Finally, here is a list of sixty questions that may help you with editing your story. Some of these are like the ones above, and some are not, so pick and choose which ones you’d like to use for your own editing.

60 Questions to Ask Yourself When Editing A Scene:

  • How is this glorifying to God?
  • How is it edifying to the reader?
  • What is the meaning behind the scene?
  • What is the purpose for the scene in the story?
  • Is the scene necessary?
  • Who am I seeking to bring glory to in this scene — myself or God?
  • What characters are in the scene?
  • What takes place in the scene?
  • What are the major themes in the scene? 
  • Is the scene a plot twist, dilemma, or disaster scene? 
  • What happens before the scene?
  • What happens after the scene?
  • What other possibilities could there have been?
  • Is the scene too long?
  • Is the scene too short?
  • Could it have been told better from someone else’s point of view? 
  • What is the scene bringing to the story? 
  • Is it a major or minor scene? 
  • Could the scene be cut all together and still make a good story? 
  • Is there head hopping in the scene? 
  • Are there too many characters in the scene? 
  • Are there any unnecessary characters in the scene?
  • Unnecessary actions?
  • Unnecessary dialogue? 
  • Are there things promised in the scene that are later fulfilled?
  • When are they fulfilled?
  • If they aren’t fulfilled, is the foreshadowing necessary? 
  • If so, why? 
  • Are the characters consistent throughout? 
  • Do they change personality? 
  • Change looks? 
  • Change goals?
  • If so, is there a reason? 
  • What is the reason? 
  • If not, should they be taken out or changed? 
  • How does the scene impact the end of the book? 
  • How does the scene impact the characters?
  • Do any of the characters change?
  • How do they change, for better or worse? 
  • What do the characters learn?
  • What does the reader learn? 
  • What is underlying message of the scene? 
  • What are the results of the character’s choices?
  • Are they shown clearly, both negative and positive consequences?
  • How does the scene flow? 
  • Is it choppy or smooth or somewhere in between?
  • Are you (or the author) pleased with the scene?
  • If not, why? 
  • What are three ways you could change the scene? 
  • What type of scene is it? (A flashback, dream, backstory or normal.)
  • Could it be used better in a different format? 
  • Where about is the scene located in the story? Beginning, middle, or end?
  • What does the scene accomplish? 
  • Is the scene boring to the author? Is it boring to the readers?
  • What do readers think of the scene? Is it confusing? Boring? 
  • Is the scene too fast?
  • Is it too slow?
  • What is the result of this scene on the point of view character, or the character who has most at stake? 
  • How does the events of the scene move them closer (or further) from the Lord?
  • Does the scene flow well with the rest of the chapter/book?

I hope these questions and suggestions help you with integrating Christ into your novels and stories! In everything, as Christians, we should be seeking to give God glory, so I hope some of these ideas will help with that!

Do you have any questions to add to the lists? Do you have any other ways you use to add Christian messages to your novels? Let me know in the comments below!

If you enjoyed this post and would like more like it, please like, and if you have a request of what you’d like me to do my next writing tip post on, let me know in the comments! I hope you have a blessed rest of your week! ~ Kay Leigh

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