Why Worldview Matters

Dr. Josh Mulvihill 1 Comment

A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.
-Theodore Roosevelt

Many Christian young people are unprepared to navigate the tidal wave of unbiblical ideas that confront them. If George Barna is correct, over 70% of Christian young people will reject their faith before they reach the age of 30. We all know teenagers who have drifted and walked away from Christ. We never think that person could one day be our own child. When the pressure is turned up, our children will struggle if they don’t have confidence that comes from knowing what they believe and why they believe it.

Who is doing a better job of imparting their worldview to children, the world or the church? If we are honest, many churches and families are struggling to pass on a deep, lasting, actionable faith to future generations. Athletics, academics, and the arts are often prioritized over the nurture of a child’s faith. Children may end up at a prestigious university or receive an athletic scholarship, but their faith lags far behind and leaves them vulnerable to the deception of the world.

George Barna states, “A person’s worldview is primarily shaped and is firmly in place by the time someone reaches the age of thirteen; it is refined through experience during the teen and early adult years, and then it is passed on to others during their adult life. Such studies underscore the necessity of parents and other influencers being intentional in how they help develop the worldview of children.” High numbers of parents and grandparents are not developing their child’s worldview, and the spiritual vacuum is filled with cultural ideas and secular thought.

That’s why worldview matters. Biblical worldview is worthy of our attention and resources.

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Below are six reasons why every family and church needs to help children develop a biblical worldview.


1. Provides Wisdom for Life

When you have a parenting problem, where do you look for answers? When you want to learn how to grandparent, where do you turn for guidance? When you want teaching methods, where do you look for ideas? When you have a decision to make, where do you turn for wisdom?

Through the power of God, we have “everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Pet 1:3). 2 Timothy 3:15-17 says, “The sacred writings are able to make you wise for salvation in Christ Jesus ... and equipped for every good work.” The key word in these verses is the word “everything.” God has given us everything we need to do what he has commanded us in the Bible.

 Today many believe in biblical authority, but fail to help our young people understand how the Bible is sufficient for life and work. We confess its authority of scripture, but we fail to communicate its relevance. When the rubber meets the road, often due to a lack of faith, we discount its ability to do what is necessary to draw unbelievers to Christ, enable us to grow in godliness, provide direction for our lives, and transform and revitalize society. In our day, the battle is against those who would have us use worldly means to do God’s work.”

2. Develops the Foundation for a Lifelong Faith in Jesus

Perhaps you’ve heard about the high number of young people who are dropping out of the church, walking away from their faith in Christ, and about the low numbers of young believers who have a biblical view of life. As a pastor to families for nearly twenty years, I’ve seen the following patterns develop:

  • Biblical illiteracy: Alarmingly high numbers of children raised in Christian homes do not know what the Bible teaches.
  • Biblical confusion: High numbers of young Christians do not know why they should believe the teachings of the Bible instead of other views.
  • Biblical immaturity: When young people encounter a different belief system, many do not know how to defend their faith or explain the basic truths of the Bible.

 What leads to lifelong faith for children? According to the apostle Paul, a Scripture-saturated, Bible-based upbringing of engaged faith shapes the beliefs of children. Paul instructs Timothy, “Continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings” (2 Tim 3:14-15).

 One of Paul’s goals for Timothy is firm belief which is the result of three things: what Timothy learned (biblical truth), who he learned from (parent, grandparent, and spiritual mentor), and how he learned (being taught the Bible from childhood). Notice, the Bible is concerned with what children learn, who teaches children, and how children are to learn. If we want children to live a godly life, for their entire life, then these are God’s methods toward that end.

3. Shapes Character and Conduct by Truth

A common phrase used to communicate how to pass on faith to future generations is this, “Faith is caught, not taught.” It sounds spiritual. But it is an unfortunate perceived dichotomy. In both Hebrew and Greek learning is seen as experiential. Faith is caught and taught!

 Faith is caught, which is why we must be able to say to young people, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). Faith is also taught. The Bible prioritizes teaching as the primary method of helping future generations know Christ and grow in maturity. Let’s explore a few passages (paraphrased) that command parents and grandparents to teach the truth of God’s Word to young people.

  • Teach these things to your children and your children’s children (Deut 4:9).
  • You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk about them when you sit, walk, lie down, and when you rise (Deut 6:7).
  • Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and forsake not your mother’s teaching (Prov 1:8).
  • Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:4).
  • Older women ... are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind and submissive to their own husbands. Older men ... urge the younger men to be self-controlled (Titus 2:2-6).

 Parents and grandparents are to use the Bible to shape who a child becomes and how the child lives. This is the pattern and command of Scripture.

4. Defends Against Counterfeit Ideas

A biblical worldview helps children defend their faith. Raising children today requires a Colossians 2:7-8 mindset: “As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”

 The strategy that Paul provides is simple. We are to teach the core truth of Scripture so that a Christian is established in the faith, then introduce a competing belief system and dismantle it by exposing why it is false. When I teach kids, I refer to this as the Bible’s big truth and the world’s big lie.

 In a post-Christian society, children are going to face strong opposition and competing belief systems, and unless they are rooted in the Bible, they will absorb the ideas of our day and assimilate to the beliefs of our culture. Our aim is to shape the beliefs of young people, and to do that, we must train children to defend their faith against deceptive and competing belief systems.

5. Answers the Big Questions of Life

A biblical worldview answers the big questions children ask: Where did I come from? Why am I here? Who am I? What went wrong with the world? What is the solution? What is the purpose of life? What happens in the future?

 Young people are hungry for truth and are searching for answers. They desire open and honest face-to-face conversations. Young people want real answers and are attracted to authenticity. Due to an abundance of information, young people do not know what information is trustworthy; thus they have a prove-it-to-me mindset. One of the most compelling proofs for young people is an authentic life. The individual that speaks the truth in love and practices what he or she preaches is incredibly influential in a young person’s life. Here are three suggestions to answer the spiritual questions children will have:

  • Ask questions before children ask them. Don’t be afraid to talk about difficult topics. Encourage children to think deeply about the truths of the Bible.
  • Answer with Scripture. Encourage children to become a student of God’s Word. They either know the answer or know where to get the answer.
  • Aim to be an askable parent, grandparent, pastor, or teacher. Invite questions, take them seriously, and answer them diligently so that the child who is weighing the claims of the Bible will be persuaded to believe in Christ.

 6. Equips Individuals for Service to Christ

The world does not need Christians who are culturally-saturated. It needs agents of the gospel filled with the aroma of Christ. A biblical worldview not only shapes what a child believes but also equips the child to live in a manner worthy of the gospel, for the good of others and the glory of God through their future vocation. A biblical view of topics such as science, law, medicine, and education will provide the framework so that children can positively impact the world for Christ. A biblical worldview equips children to serve God using the gifts He has given them.


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This is an excerpt from the first chapter of Biblical Worldview written by Dr. Josh Mulvihill and is one of many Christian Worldview resources available from our friends at Renewanation.

About the Author
Dr. Josh Mulvihill

Dr. Josh Mulvihill

Dr. Josh Mulvihill is the Executive Director of Church and Family Ministry at Renewanation. He served as a pastor for nearly 20 years, is a board member of Awana, and helps to provide leadership to the Christian Grandparenting Network. He holds a Ph.D. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in family ministry. He is the author or general editor of ten books including Biblical Worldview, Biblical Grandparenting, Preparing Children for Marriage, and 50 Things Every Child Needs to Learn Before Leaving Home. Josh is married to Jen, and they have five children. Connect with Josh at GospelShapedFamily.com This article originally appeared in The Renewanation Review® magazine. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted here by permission of Renewanation. For more information regarding Renewanation, visit renewanation.org.

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