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4

A Biblical Worldview for Dummies
Posted by Clare
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Is there a simple way to teach a biblical worldview to my high school age and younger kids – a biblical worldview for dummies?

“Yes”, is the short answer I gave to the father asking me the question.  But, let me reduce it to writing for you so you can read it to your children – better yet, study it and tell it to your children.

So, I sent him the following…

The Storyline of the Bible

Have you ever noticed that almost all the great stories follow the same story line?

Once upon a time, things were good and then something awful happens when someone, or something evil destroys the good life people once had.  A hero then rises up, risks or sacrifices his or her own life, destroys the villain, rescues the situation, sets things right again, good triumphing over evil and they all live happily ever after.  Think about it!  From childhood fairy tales, like Little Red Riding Hood, to The Shawshank Redemption, Braveheart, LeMiserables, Titanic, Star Wars, Gladiator and Lord of the Rings, this story line holds.  Why do you think this is so?

It’s because all these stories borrow their power from the Grand Story woven into the fabric of our being.  It’s part of our spiritual DNA!  We were created in the image of God and every person no matter how far they’ve wandered from God knows that something is terribly wrong with this world.  We’re frightened and we long for someone or something to rescue us and make things right again.  We even dream of being heroes ourselves, rescuing others from injustice and evil.

This is the story line which runs through the Bible from beginning to end and it’s the story line of a biblical worldview.  I’m thankful to John Eldridge in his wonderful book, The Epic, for introducing me to these illustrations of how to think of the story of God.

Organizing the Story

A good working definition of a biblical worldview is this – truth from God’s perspective.  Years ago, some very gifted theologians and teachers identified the primary themes – truths of the Bible and put them into five words or phrases that have helped the Christian community organize their thinking about the truths of scripture.  They are:

God

Creation

The Fall

Redemption

The Kingdom

It’s helpful to think of the core elements of a biblical worldview much like the core elements of other disciplines.  Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are the core elements of mathematics.  They are the foundation of all mathematics – of a mathematical worldview.  Likewise, the Ten Commandments are the core element of a God-centered, moral worldview.

The core elements of a biblical worldview serve us much like an iPod does.  The genius of Apple is that they’ve not only made it possible for you to store thousands of songs, but they made it simple for you to access those songs by genre’, artist, album, etc.  That’s exactly what understanding the core elements will do for you as a believer.  They will help you organize how you think about God and how you fit into his plan for this life and for all eternity.  Without them, it’s like trying to put a jigsaw puzzle together, without having the picture on the box cover.

The Core Elements of a Biblical Worldview

God The God of the Bible is:

The Sovereign God The triune God, (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is the eternal, just, all-knowing, ultimate ruler of everything and the first cause of all good things.  We belong to him and therefore we have a responsibility to subordinate ourselves to him and his will for our lives.

A Loving God God cares deeply for all of his creation, but especially for humans whom he created in his image and for whom he eventually sacrificed his own Son.

CREATION God created everything perfect, out of nothing to fulfill his purposes, for his glory.

The Physical World God created physical matter, the universe, plants, animals, eco-systems, humans and the natural laws to make them all work in harmony and he still cares deeply for, and rules over his world.

The Non-Physical World He also created the world of moral laws, love, virtue, rational thought, meaningful work and art/design, which he gave uniquely to humans and angels, but which pre-existed the creation of this world.

THE FALL – When Adam and Eve disobeyed God it set off a chain reaction with these results:

Humans were Corrupted – All people became seriously spiritually and morally flawed and estranged from God and sin pollutes every relationship, our families, our economic systems, and every aspect of society and life on earth.

Nature was Corrupted – Even our physical bodies and the world of plants, animals and nature itself was affected, resulting in death, disease, natural disasters, etc.

REDEMPTION – To redeem something is to purchase back, liberate, or ransom someone or something one loves or values.  God wants all things corrupted by the fall, to be made right again, to fulfill the purposes he intended for his world, including:

Spiritual Redemption – God, the Father, has chosen to redeem, or rescue those who have faith in his son, Jesus Christ, from the power of sin to become his spiritual children again.

Redeeming God’s World – Those who have been redeemed have been given the mission of loving God, one another, virtuous living, holiness and social and economic justice by being impersonators of Jesus and caring for everything and everyone he cares about.

THE KINGDOM – The Kingdom of God is the sphere of God’s sovereignty.  It is present wherever and whenever the will of God is done – on earth or in heaven.

The Present Kingdom – Presently God chooses to carry out his redemptive work, through Jesus Christ and his Church, by giving believers “sub-kingdoms” on earth, which are the people and resources, entrusted to our care, over which we have authority or influence.  (See my January 16 and 23, 2012 blog on The Family Business.)

The Future Kingdom – Jesus will return someday to fully redeem all things and personally rule over his kingdom.  There will be a judgment for all mankind.  The faithful will receive their rewards and live and work with Jesus forever and those who were not will be separated from God for all eternity.

What’s next?

1. Memorize, and have your children or grandchildren memorize all the five core elements (just the short one or two word phrases – God, Creation, The Fall, Redemption, and The Kingdom).  Practice them until you can say them in your sleep.

2. Take some time to explain the two aspects of each of the core elements in your own words, using your own illustrations.  If you’d like to have my teaching notes I used with my own grandchildren, email me at claredegraaf@gmail.com and simply request “Teaching Notes” and I’ll email them to you for free.

3. On this website, under RESOURCES, you can view or download for free God’s Story, my attempt to summarize the Bible in a few pages.  Read it to your children and see if they can spot the core elements in the story.

4. The next time you watch a movie together have your kids watch for these themes and talk about it afterward.

My Questions:  Are there other ways you’ve taught, or have been taught a biblical worldview?

 

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Comments (4)
Comments
  1. Pete Deutsch said...

    Hi MR DeGraaf,

    With my bible class “Wakin with Jesus”, that has just passed the half year mark, we teach the Biblical world view on most issues. Our current 18 week study on the Sermon on the Mount has had many of your core elements as spoken by you.
    I think your take on it being a jigsaw puzzle to figure it all out is a great way to describe the organizational skills the Bible teaches us.
    Our Guest speaker usually takes a part of the scripture from the SOTM, and has made a testimony from it that we decipher in our discussions to an obvious conclusion. Your 5 step approach really hits the nail on the head for our understanding the scripture better. Thanks so much for this reminder of God’s resource’s in our Walk with God.

    Reply
    • Clare said...

      Thanks for your insights. Yeh, there are a number of innovative ways to teach a biblical worldview. Neal Plantinga wrote, “Engaging God’s World” which is a wonderfully written book intended for students coming to Calvin College, articulating a reformed worldview.

      Reply
  2. Christian Overman said...

    Very good, Clare.

    I agree. The five “story components” are a great way to get a handle on the Biblical worldview.

    One of the needs I am finding is that people need some “handles” on how to think about conflicting [non-Christian or anti-Christian] worldviews.

    Along this line, I like to have people think of any worldview as a “big picture” made up of 5 components: God, Creation, Humanity, Moral Order, and Purpose.

    All worldview see these 5 areas in unique ways.

    Here is a link to some free resources along this line: http://www.biblicalworldview.com/ws_workshopcontent.html

    Blessings.

    Reply
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