Can a Christian read the Koran and can you tell me a few reasons a Christian might want to do this? How can it be helpful for the Christian life? How many times did you red Koran and how has it helped you?
Thanks for the question. I have read the Qur’an through once, and have read parts here and there in addition. I can only think of one reason to read the Qur’an, which is so that we can be informed about the world’s second largest religion. God tells us through Peter to “Always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope you have, but do it with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15). I believe that in order to “give an answer” to Islam, a believer ought to consider reading the scripture of Islam. When Paul preached to Epicureans and Stoics in Acts 17 he quoted from Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. He understood the “enemy.” If we do not understand Islam, how can we engage with Muslims? I am not saying that every Christian needs to read the Qur’an, but those who seek to be well-prepared to study the Bible with Muslims and to help to convert Muslims ought to understand Islam, and this includes knowing the Qur’an. When I read it, I took careful notes, paid attention to its doctrines, its theology, its parallels with the Old Testament, its historical errors and other aspects. It was not just an exercise.
How can reading the Qur’an be helpful for the Christian life? Probably it is not helpful at all to the Christian life, unless, when we read it, we are encouraged at how much better we have it in Christ. Maybe it helps by making contrast in a bad way with the Bible! For me, I do not plan on reading all the way through the Qur’an a second time, as I have other things to do, but that is my personal decision. For someone who wants to be a real expert, they might want to read it more carefully and also spend time reading parts of the Hadith (the secondary scripture of Islam) as well.