Scripture offers practical and accessible wisdom that enables us to consider everything we encounter in the world from a godly perspective – we call this biblical worldview. Here’s how to cultivate it.
We live in a world full of ideas.
Whether we’re watching a movie, listening to music, scanning friends’ social media feeds, indulging in a YouTube fave, or parsing the day’s news, we’re constantly bombarded with ideas, stories, and narratives. Some of them, we may agree with. Some points of view rub us the wrong way. Others, well, we’re not sure what we think.
That’s why having a consistent frame of reference is so important: It helps us to make sense of all those ideas flying at us.
Trying to sort through all those ideas can feel overwhelming. Thankfully, Scripture offers practical and accessible wisdom that enables us to consider everything we encounter in the world from a godly perspective. We call that a biblical worldview, a way of seeing and understanding the competing ideas we might encounter in a given day—whether it’s in entertainment, the news, or social media.
I’ll admit that the word worldview might feel a bit intimidating. It feels kind of philosophical—which might be a bit off-putting for some folks. But it doesn’t have to be. Let me explain…
If I were a worldview, what would I be?
Every person has a worldview, whether we realize it or not. It’s a way that we see the world that encompasses our experiences, beliefs, and ideas about what we think is good and bad, right or wrong, worth our time or a waste of time.
And the people who are creating the entertainment, news, and content I mentioned above all have a worldview, too. Anything we watch or listen to or consume has a perspective that addresses some basic questions:
- What is good and worthy of praise?
- What’s bad and to be rejected?
- What is most important in life?
You may not realize it, but every piece of entertainment you consume is dealing with these questions! Even something as seemingly forgettable as a car commercial has a worldview. Every car commercial suggests that if you buy this bright, shiny new car, your life will be better. That’s a worldview, one that reinforces the ultimately empty promise that true happiness in life comes through consumption and acquiring stuff.
As we pay attention to the ideas floating out there, we begin to see that the people delivering those ideas care about some things and not others. Sometimes it’s obvious. Other times, it’s subtle. But if you dig a bit, there’s always a worldview being expressed. It embraces some values and perhaps rejects others.
What can Taylor Swift teach us about worldview?
Let’s take singer Taylor Swift’s music as an example. Early in her singing career, she had a very Disney-esque, romantic perspective on love. That’s super obvious in her 2010 song “Today Was a Fairytale.” As Taylor got older, though, she made the news a lot for a series of failed, high-profile romances. So, we can see her anger, cynicism and a more casual attitude to sexual relationships reflected in songs like “Bad Blood” and “Look What You Made Me Do.” Those songs deliver a much edgier message, one that reflects Taylor’s changing worldview as she processed her own struggles and disappointments in life.
Those are just a couple of examples. But you can take any bit of popular culture and observe the main narrative it illustrates and reinforces.
In summary, a worldview is a way of looking at life that helps us make sense of it. It’s usually a patchwork of ideas, beliefs, and feelings all stitched together by our experiences. And these days, worldviews are often described today using the word narrative, which gets at the fact that our perspective on life is, in many ways, story-like.
How Jesus shapes our biblical worldview
Everyone has a worldview, a perspective on reality. In fact, you can’t not have one! And when we come into relationship with Jesus Christ, he begins to reshape our hearts, minds, and souls. We are justified by faith in him in a moment, but the process of sanctification—of growing to be more like him—takes a lifetime.
As we begin to view reality through the prism of our Christian faith, our worldview is shaped and transformed, becoming more coherent and integrated because we have a unifying frame of reference. As such, that deepening Christian worldview enables us to think clearly about competing understandings of how we make sense of life—understandings that are everywhere in popular culture.
We also grow in our Christian worldview by reading and thinking deeply about Scripture. There, we see two different paths toward making sense of life and everything in it: one shaped by the world and one shaped by God’s truth.
Laying the foundation
In Ephesians 5:15-17, the Apostle Paul writes, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (ESV).
We might be tempted to believe that the ideas and values of the world don’t influence us. But Paul taught differently. He understood that the ways of the world bend us toward “evil,” toward things in opposition to God. In this passage, Paul encourages us to pay attention (“Look carefully how you walk”) to the ways the world might be shaping us, and compare what we see there to how God would have us live (“understand what the will of the Lord is”).
Paul’s words in Philippians 4:8 give us a great starting place for evaluating the ideas, images, and stories we encounter in our entertainment and engagement with culture: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (ESV).
These two passages of Scripture begin to lay the foundation for cultivating a biblical worldview with regard to our entertainment and content choices.
Building on your biblical worldview foundation
Hopefully, you’ve been able to see here that learning to see your entertainment and media choices from a biblical worldview doesn’t have to be difficult. Mostly, it involves a willingness to move from being a passive consumer to actively evaluating the ideas we see.
Then we begin to practice asking basic questions like the ones above: What’s the main message here? What’s shown to be positive? What’s negative? And then we can add this question: How does that worldview compare to what I believe?
As you and your family start asking and discussing questions like these together, you’ll be cultivating a biblical worldview—and you might just have some great conversations along the way, too.
An example of a biblical worldview
You want to talk about someone who kept a biblical worldview despite living in a culture that was anything but? Check out the stories of Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (better known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) in Daniel 1-3. Over and over, Daniel and his friends faced pressure to conform to the ways of Babylon during the exile. But they stayed true to their faith and God was able to use them to make an extraordinary impact! God can use you in amazing ways, too!
“Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.'”Daniel 3:28 (ESV)