The BIG IDEA:
Our worldview affects our lives because it shapes our beliefs and actions, so learning about our own worldview and the worldviews of others can help us understand the world, others, and ourselves.
We don’t think about worldview or understand our own Christian worldview, so it’s easy to simply absorb the worldview of those around us and, without meaning to, move away from God.
Become familiar with what a worldview is, how it affects our lives, and how it serves as a lense for seeing the world.
Our worldview is a lot like glasses. Looking through glasses give you a different picture of the world. The better the glasses, the more of a true picture of the world they will give you. Good or true glasses bring clarity to the mysteries in the world. Everyone has a worldview, the important thing is to make sure you’re looking through the right worldview.
The SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC:
Our worldview affects every action we take and everything we say. Who will I be friends with? How will I treat my parents? What do I do if someone hurts me or others? Does anything really matter? The answers to these questions are shaped by our worldview. The more our worldview lines up with the Bible, the more our lives line up with ultimate reality and the more we experience God’s peace.
- What I want the group to know and understand: What a worldview is and how it shapes our lives.
- What I want the group to experience: A growing awareness of how we are influenced by other worldviews around us.
- How I want the group to respond: Begin to see how one’s worldview affects people in their daily lives.
If you could ask God one question, what would it be?
Allow the group to discuss. Some questions students come up with might be random. Others might be serious. Flowing out of this discussion, let your group know that we’ll be talking about the “Big Questions” in life and how our answers to these questions affect us in a practical way. Today’s discussion will introduce these “Big Questions.” Future discussions in this series will explore what the Bible says about these questions and will also explore some of the different answers our culture offers.
In introducing the topic of worldview, explain that a worldview is like the glasses through which we see the world. We all have bad eyesight because of the effects sin has in our lives, so good glasses help us see the world more clearly. Some have a darker tint or a different colored tint to their glasses. Though these glasses may look pretty, they show a world that is less true to reality. We all have a different worldview, and today we are going to talk about how our worldview affects us and why it’s important to wrestle with life’s big questions.
1. Read Act 17:17-31. Summarize what’s happening in your own words as the story begins in verses 17-21.
Paul is having conversations with people from a variety of backgrounds when some of them hear him talking about Jesus and want him to explain more.
2. As Paul talks with these people, he engages with them about their worldview or views on the “Big Questions” in life: What is God like? What is the source of spiritual truth? What is true of people? Who is Jesus? What is life about? Where in these verses do you see Paul addressing these questions?
Allow the group to discuss (If you have enough people in your group, divide into pairs or smaller groups and have pairs or groups look for verses that speak to each of the questions). He speaks to what God is like in verses 23-25 and 30-31. He points to the source of spiritual truth in verse 23 when he proclaims what God is like. He and others inspired by God communicated God’s truth in what was recorded in the Bible (see also 2 Peter 1:20-21). He speaks to what people are like in verses 26 and 29-30. He addresses who Jesus is in verses 18 and 31. And he speaks to what life is about in verse 27.
3. Read Acts 17:32-34. How do people respond to Paul’s words?
Some make fun of him. Others want to hear more. Still others believe in Jesus because of Paul’s words.
4. Why do you think it’s important to wrestle with big questions like these?
Allow the group to discuss. It’s important to wrestle with these questions because they make a difference in how we respond to Jesus. That in turn affects whether we have eternal life, forgiveness of sins, and the abundant life he offers us.
Our answers to life’s big questions shape our worldview. Some of these big questions are:
- What is God like?
- What is true of people?
- What it is the source of spiritual truth?
- Who is Jesus?
- What is the purpose of life?
We’ll take a closer look at these questions in the rest of our study.
5. WHAT IS GOD LIKE? – One of life’s biggest questions is, “What is God like (or does he even exist)? What difference does it make to believe that an intelligent God created the universe? Or that he didn’t? Watch this clip (see the idea box) to spur your discussion.
Allow the group to discuss. Believing that an intelligent God created the universe and the smallest parts of us can lead to worshiping that God and a sense of peace that the same goodness that created the universe watches over us. Believing that no god was involved in that can lead to feeling like you have no purpose: if there is no purpose or design to what’s in the video, there may be no purpose in my life.
6. WHAT ARE PEOPLE LIKE? – Split into two groups. One group should be ready to defend the belief that some see people as more good than bad. The other group should be ready to defend the belief that people are more bad than good. How does the way you see people affect how you see yourself, others, and the world? How would each group of people make sense of this scene (see the idea box) from Lord of the Rings?
Allow the group to discuss. Those who see people as more good than bad may be more upbeat, but they may be caught off guard when bad things happen in their lives and world. They might be surprised by the scene from Lord of the Rings that someone could do that to someone else, writing it off as an exception. Those who see people as more bad than good may be less surprised at the evil in our world and in our our hearts, but they may find it harder to be hopeful. What happens in the Lord of the Rings scene wouldn’t take them off guard.
7. WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF SPIRITUAL TRUTH? – Some people’s source of spiritual truth is a “holy book” like the Bible or the Quran. Others say, “The answers are all inside of me.” How does your source of spiritual truth affect your life?
Allow the group to discuss. Finding spiritual truth from a “holy book” like the Bible or the Quran gives guidance from outside yourself. The trick is making sure that guidance is reliable (Click here for a great resource on the Bible’s reliability). Believing “the answers are all inside of me” can feel freeing because a person is not submitting to outside guidance. But it can also be limiting because any individual only has so many answers in response to life’s challenges.
8. WHO IS JESUS? – How does your view of who Jesus is affect the way you live?
Allow the group to discuss. Those who believe he is God tend to worship him and follow him unconditionally. Those who see him as a prophet or teacher may respect him but not make him the ultimate authority in their lives. Those who see him as a mere man or a myth may disregard him.
9. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF LIFE? – Some think life has no purpose. Others think life is about having as much fun possible. Still others believe it’s to live for God and others. How does your belief about life’s purpose shape your life? How did a sense of purpose make a difference for George in this clip?
Allow the group to discuss. What you believe about life’s purpose shapes your beliefs and actions. For instance, believing life has no purpose leads people to think and live without concern for right and wrong. Believing life is about having as much fun as possible makes that more important than seeking God or serving others. Believing life is about living for God and others leads people to line up their lives with that focus. When George realized his life had a purpose, it gave him a will to live that he didn’t have before. This clip is from an old movie, so encourage your group not to be distracted by that but to look for the message in the clip.
10. We all have our beliefs about these big questions, but why is it important that our answers to these questions line up with what’s really true?
Allow the group to discuss. It’s important that our answers to these big questions line up with what is really true because they are matters of life and death. For instance, Jesus says that failing to believe in him separates people from the eternal life he wants to provide us (see John 3:36).
When our worldview is not true, it’s like living our lives with blurry vision or dark tinted glasses. We don’t see the world clearly so we can’t make good decisions. When we have a worldview that lines up with what is true, it’s like putting on glasses that make our vision better so we can read the signs, and see the details of life that help us make better decisions and recognize truth when we see it.
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.