There is an antipathy – a hostility – between the world and those who follow Christ. The world cannot abide us, but we can abide them because we love them as He taught us to love them. Though we love them, there is a tension between us and them. Though we are favored in His sight, we are despised in theirs. Our place in the world is low and not high. Our place in this world is not with the high and mighty, for they hate the things we treasure and we hate the things they treasure – yet we love them. We bear the world’s reproach, for as they reproached Christ so they reproach those who walk in His steps and honor His name.
There is another post – Scriptures on the World – that focuses just on the world. This list of verses, however, does not limit itself to explicit references to the “world.” Neither is its focus the world per se. Rather, its focus in the tension between people who love God and the world in which they live.
Here then are verses which speak of this dynamic [emphasis and comments added]:
Jeremiah 45:5 ‘But you, are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I am going to bring disaster on all flesh,’ declares the LORD, ‘but I will give your life to you as booty in all the places where you may go.'”
Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
Matthew 5:12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 8:20 Jesus *said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
The people of God have “no lasting place” in this world (see Hebrews 13:14 below). For this reason we “hate our lives in this world” (see John 12:25 below), and are “tormented by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men” (see 2 Peter 2:7-8 below).
Matthew 10:25 “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
Mark 8:36 “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?
Luke 6:22 “Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.
John 9:22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.
John 12:25 “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.
John 12:42 Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue;
John 15:18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.
John 15:19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
John 16:2 “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:19 For it is written,
“I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE,
AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.”
1 Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
1 Corinthians 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
1 Corinthians 1:22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;
1 Corinthians 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,
1 Corinthians 1:24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1 Corinthians 1:26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;
1 Corinthians 1:27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,
1 Corinthians 1:28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,
1 Corinthians 1:29 so that no man may boast before God.
1 Corinthians 1:30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
1 Corinthians 1:31 so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”
1 Corinthians 4:9 For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.
1 Corinthians 4:10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.
1 Corinthians 4:11 To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless;
1 Corinthians 4:12 and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure;
1 Corinthians 4:13 when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.
2 Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
Hebrews 11:13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
Hebrews 11:24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
Hebrews 11:25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
Hebrews 11:26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.
Hebrews 11:35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection;
Hebrews 11:36 and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment.
Hebrews 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated
Hebrews 11:38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.
Hebrews 11:39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised,
Hebrews 11:40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
James 4:4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
1 Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen
1 Peter 2:4 And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,
1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.
2 Peter 2:7 and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men
2 Peter 2:8 (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds),
1 John 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
1 John 2:17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
1 John 4:4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:5 They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.
1 John 4:6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
Further to the point of this post, see How Our Place in the World Is Related to His Place in the World.
As mentioned above, see also Scriptures on the World.
See as well Scriptures on Christ’s Victory over the World.
Series of Posts on Aspects of the World in Which We Find Ourselves
The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)