What Does the Bible Say about the World?

The world covers the earth, but the earth isn’t identical to the world. The world is led by Satan. The world systematically directs the affairs of men and women, youth, and children who aren’t actively following Jesus Christ yet. But God so loved the world…

David Sanford
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This year, I’ve heard more people mutter, grumble, and complain about the “world” than at any other time I can remember.

So, what are they muttering about?

What the World Is and Is Not

My sporty red 2003 Alero is an Oldsmobile, but Oldsmobile is not my Alero. Similarly, the “world” covers the earth, but the earth isn’t identical to the “world.”

The earth is created by the Lord God Almighty. He is omnipresent and continually searches it (2 Chronicles 16:9). Nothing takes Him by surprise.

The “world” is led by Satan. The “world” systematically directs the affairs of men and women, youth, and children who aren’t actively following Jesus Christ yet.

Those seeking God and following His Word on earth are in the middle of the “world,” but aren’t part of that system. Instead, they shine as lights within that dark, evil system.

Many will become aware of the presence and glory of the Lord (Habakkuk 2:14). People from nations around the world will worship Him (Zephaniah 2:11). The day will come when the Lord will judge the world (Obadiah 1:15) and rule over all the earth (Zechariah 14:9).

What’s more, the day will come when the Lord shakes the heavens and the earth (Haggai 2:6; Haggai 2:21) and burns them with fire (2 Peter 3:7). Then He will present the new heavens and the new earth to be enjoyed by His followers for all eternity (Revelation 21:1).

The Lord God didn’t just create the earth and walk away. Instead, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16, NLT). What good news!

After His resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ commanded His followers to “tell people about me everywhere — in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NLT). His good news is meant to be shared!

In turn, the Apostles Peter and John declared, “There is salvation in no one else! [besides Jesus]. There is no other name in all of heaven for people to call on to save them” (Acts 4:12, NLT). Therefore, call on the name of the Lord and be saved (Romans 10:17).

Is this good news only for “nice” people? No. Just the opposite. The Apostle Paul said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — and I was the worst of them all” (1 Timothy 1:15, NLT).

Active followers of Jesus Christ seek to “live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world” (Philippians 2:15, NLT). How? “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven” (Colossians 3:1, NLT).

How else? “Worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if you are asked about your Christian faith, always be ready to explain it” (1 Peter 3:15, NLT).

Why reject the world system and all it stands for? James says, “Don’t you realize that friendship with this world makes you an enemy of God?” (James 4:4, NLT). Therefore, “stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you” (1 John 2:15, NLT).

Never forget, “the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world” (1 John 4:4, NLT).

Biblical Examples to Heed Regarding the World

Like Noah, I live a blameless life even if I am the only one who does so (Genesis 6; Genesis 9).

Like Joseph, I want to enjoy God’s ongoing presence and blessing no matter what the world does to hurt me (Genesis 39; Genesis 50).

Like Abigail, I appeal to other believers to resist sinful choices and continue in godliness (1 Samuel 25).

Like Esther, I act courageously even when I’m afraid, knowing God is in control (Esther 4).

Like Daniel, I will remain true to God in the midst of compromising situations (Daniel 1).

Like the Good Samaritan, I do good to all people from all walks of life (Luke 10:29-37).

Unlike the Rich Fool, I do not trust in wealth alone to make me happy (Luke 12:15-21).

Unlike Pilate, I embrace God’s truth wholeheartedly (John 18:28-40; John 19:1-22).

Like Cornelius, I’m so glad God longs to bring everyone to repentance (Acts 10; Acts 11).

Biblical Truths to Affirm about the World

I believe God created the world [but not evil] (Genesis 1:1; Genesis 14:19-22; Exodus 20:11; 2 Kings 19:15; 1 Chronicles 16:26; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 33:6-9; Psalm 104:24; Psalm 121:1-2; Psalm 146:5-7; Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 45:12; Jeremiah 27:4-5; Jeremiah 32:17; Jonah 1:9; Acts 14:15; Colossians 1:15-16; Revelation 14:7).

I believe sin has wreaked havoc in this world (Genesis 3:16-17; Genesis 6:5-7; Romans 5:12; Galatians 5:19-21).

I believe Satan currently is the prince of this world (Matthew 4:8; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; 1 John 5:19; Revelation 12:9).

I believe the world is filled with sin and death (Ecclesiastes 3:16; Ecclesiastes 4:3; Jeremiah 17:9; John 16:8-9; Ephesians 6:12; 1 John 2:15-16; Revelation 21:4).

I believe the people of this world are bound in sin and lost without Jesus Christ (John 1:29; John 8:34-36; Romans 5:15-17; Romans 6:6-7; Romans 6:23; Romans 7:24-25; Galatians 3:22).

I believe Christians are to be a light in this world — beacons of hope, protection, truth, and joy (Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 58:10; Matthew 5:14-15; Luke 11:36; John 3:21; Acts 13:47; Romans 13:12; 2 Corinthians 4:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:5).

I believe Christians will help the Lord judge the world and angelic beings (Luke 22:30; 1 Corinthians 6:2-3; Revelation 20:4).

I believe that God one day will make new heavens and new earth (Isaiah 65:17; Romans 8:20-21; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:4).

Biblical Commands to Obey Regarding the World

I praise God, who created the heavens and earth — the whole universe (Genesis 1:1; Exodus 20:11; 2 Kings 19:15; 1 Chronicles 16:26; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 33:6-9; Psalm 104:24; Psalm 121:1-2; Psalm 146:5-7; Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 45:12; Jeremiah 27:4-5; Jeremiah 32:17; Jonah 1:9; Acts 14:15; Colossians 1:15-16; Revelation 14:7).

I do not love the things of this world, which are temporal at best (Psalm 119:36; Ecclesiastes 5:10-11; Matthew 6:24; Mark 10:21-22; John 12:25; 1 Timothy 6:10; Hebrews 13:5; James 2:5; 1 John 2:15).

I long to see the Good News of salvation proclaimed around the world! (Psalm 96:2-3; Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; Romans 10:14-15; Revelation 14:6).

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/ktsimage


headshot of David Sanford new 2020 David Sanford’s book and Bible projects have been published by Zondervan, Tyndale, Thomas Nelson, Doubleday, Barbour, and Amazon. His next book is Life Map Devotional for Men due out concurrently with his wife Renee’s next book, Life Map Devotional for Women.


Originally published November 09, 2020.