What does the Bible teach about worldliness?


By BibleAsk Team


The Bible provides clear guidance on the concept of worldliness, cautioning believers against conforming to the values and pursuits of the secular world. The Bible contains various references that address the theme of worldliness and offer insights into how Christians should live their lives in accordance with God’s principles. Let’s explore what the Bible teaches about worldliness through these references.

1. Not Conforming to the World

Romans 12:2 (NKJV): “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” This verse from Romans emphasizes the need for believers to resist conforming to worldliness and the patterns and values of the world. Instead, they are called to undergo a transformation through the renewing of their minds.

2. Friendship with the World

James 4:4 (NKJV): “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James warns against forming close alliances with the world, emphasizing that such friendship is in opposition to a relationship with God.

3. Love Not the World

1 John 2:15-17 (NKJV): “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” John’s words in this passage caution against an affectionate attachment to the world and its temporal desires, emphasizing the eternal significance of doing God’s will.

4. Citizenship in Heaven:

Philippians 3:20-21 (NKJV): “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” Believers are reminded that their ultimate citizenship is in heaven, underscoring the distinction between their identity as citizens of God’s kingdom and the transient nature of worldly associations.

5. Riches and Worldliness

Matthew 13:22 (NKJV): “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” Jesus, in the parable of the sower, highlights the dangers of being ensnared by the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth, leading to spiritual unfruitfulness.

6. The Vanity of Worldliness

Ecclesiastes 2:11 (NKJV): “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.” The Book of Ecclesiastes reflects on the emptiness of worldliness when detached from God, describing them as “vanity” and akin to “grasping for the wind.”

7. Not of This World

John 17:14-16 (NKJV): “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” In His prayer, Jesus acknowledges that His followers are not of the world, expressing the tension between their identity as God’s children and their existence in the world.

8. Set Your Mind on Things Above

Colossians 3:1-2 (NKJV): “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Believers are urged to focus their minds on heavenly things rather than being overly concerned with earthly matters, aligning their priorities with Christ’s exalted position.

9. The Narrow Gate

Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV): “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Jesus speaks about the narrow gate that leads to life and the broad way that leads to destruction. The passage encourages believers to choose the path of righteousness, even if it is less traveled.

10. Seek First the Kingdom of God

Matthew 6:31-33 (NKJV): “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Jesus instructs His followers to prioritize seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness over worldly concerns, assuring them that God will provide for their needs.

11. Avoiding Worldly Wisdom

1 Corinthians 1:20 (NKJV): “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” The apostle Paul challenges the reliance on worldly wisdom, highlighting the contrast between God’s wisdom and the wisdom of the world.

12. Overcoming the World

1 John 5:4-5 (NKJV): “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” John assures believers that through faith in Jesus, they can overcome the world. The victory is rooted in their belief in Jesus as the Son of God.


The Bible consistently teaches that believers are to avoid worldliness. They are called to live in the world but not be conformed to its values and pursuits. The references provided underscore the importance of prioritizing the kingdom of God, being cautious of the deceitfulness of worldly riches, and setting one’s mind on things above.

The concept of worldliness is presented as an ongoing tension for believers, who are called to live their lives in a manner that reflects their identity as citizens of heaven. By embracing the teachings of Scripture, Christians can find guidance on how to live in the world while keeping their focus on eternal, godly values.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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