Biblical Worldview: What It Is, and What It Is Not

By John Stonestreet

A worldview is the framework of basic beliefs that we hold, whether we realize it or not, that shapes our view of and for the world. Everyone has a worldview. The question is not whether one has a worldview, but whichworldview one has.

There has been a recent proliferation of camps, conferences, books, and organizations promoting the idea of Biblical worldview. Whereas the word “worldview” would have in times past elicited a blank stare, many Christians today have at least some familiarity with the concept.

But familiarity can breed contempt. “Biblical worldview” is often thrown around today in a haphazard fashion, and it may no longer be clear what it actually means. Also, Biblical worldview may be in danger of dying the death of the “been there, tried that, and we’ve moved on” mentality that is prevalent in so many contemporary program-driven churches and denominations.

This would be tragic for two reasons. First, a Biblical worldview is not a means, like a curriculum or a program. It’s an end. Seeing God, others, the world, and ourselves as God sees them is a telos of the Christian life. Second, despite all the rhetoricof Biblical worldview, it is not necessarily a reality.According to recent studies produced by the Barna Group, only 20% of those claiming to be born again and less than 1% of young adults in America can answer a basic set of theological questions according to the biblical worldview.

Biblical Worldview: What It’s Not

Before looking at what a biblical worldview is, let’s consider what it is not.

1) A Biblical worldview is not merely holding to Christian morals. Certainly, Christian morals flow from a Biblical worldview, but one could hold Christian morals without having the Biblical foundations to ground those morals. One can even hold to Christian morals for wrong reasons, including mere tradition, convenience, or a legalistic attempt at God’s approval.

Unfortunately, it is common for students to be taught Christian morals without being taught why those morals are true. However, moral values not grounded in truths that transcend one’s context no longer make sense when the context changes. This sort of faith is highly volatile, especially in today’s world of ever-changing contexts.

The Bible grounds morality in God Himself. Because the Biblical worldview begins with a Creator, we live in a world that was designed—not a random place with arbitrary rules. Moral norms flow from God’s character, expressed in His design for His creation.

2) A Biblical worldview is not just living life with Bible verses attached. Many Christians only know the Bible in bits and pieces. Verses and chapters are taken out of context to supplement or “Christianize” their life, and Biblical narratives are only useful for finding that moral nugget to apply to our lives. In this approach, the Bible is merely a therapeutic tool and never alters one’s orientation to life. These Christians view the Bible through the lens of their existent worldview, rather than having their worldview framed by the Bible.

3) A Biblical worldview is not automatic from being “saved”. One can be redeemed and yet not fully think or act like a Christian. The apostle Paul spoke to believers about taking ideas captive\


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