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Bible Study: July 24, 2016

NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.

Bible Passages: 1 Corinthians 7:31; Colossians 3:2

Discussion Questions: What does worldliness mean to you? How might someone who is not a Christian define worldliness differently? Is worldliness defined differently now than when you were a child?

Food for thought:

Worldliness means different things to different people. For our Amish friends, it means such things as electricity, telephones and automobiles. For the very conservative church in which this lesson’s author grew up, it was a list of prohibited activities, such as dancing, card playing and going to movies. Without meaning to denigrate either of these views, we should understand that worldliness is much broader than a list of prohibited activities or modern-day conveniences.

Based on Paul’s warning in 1 Corinthians 7:31, the author defines worldliness as being attached to, engrossed in, or preoccupied with the things of this temporal life. The things may or may not be sinful in themselves. What makes us view as worldliness things that are not sinful is the high value we put upon them. Paul tells us in Colossians 3:2, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” The things we value most should be “things that are above.”

The non-Christian world clearly does not focus on things of God. Even our nice, decent but unbelieving neighbors are focused only on this life. By definition, they cannot be focused on the things that are above. Yet their lifestyles are outwardly not much, if any, different from ours. That’s why living among them makes worldliness look so acceptable to us.

So we can further develop our understanding of worldliness by this secondary definition: Worldliness means accepting the values, mores and practices of the nice, but unbelieving, society around us without discerning whether or not those values, mores and practices are biblical. Worldliness is just going along with the culture around us as long as that culture is not obviously sinful.

Worldliness is a broad subject worthy of an entire study. We limit our discussion of it to three areas that have become acceptable sins to us: money, immorality and idolatry. This list may startle you because of the two words — immorality and idolatry — that are clearly unacceptable. But there are certain aspects of both that have become acceptable. So in all three areas, we will limit ourselves to what seems acceptable to us.


MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at www.lifeway.com/masterwork.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.

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