Beyond the Bible: How God’s Teachings Still Influence Modern Values

The teachings of God have had a profound impact on human society, influencing our values and shaping the way we live our lives.

Let’s explore at least ten ways in which God’s teachings continue to influence modern values in areas such as ethics, human dignity, service, compassion, peace, family, education, charity, forgiveness, and hope.

These concepts are central to our understanding of what it means to live a meaningful life and to contribute positively to the world around us.

1. Ethics

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12).

This verse has been referred to as the golden rule. The use of the present subjunctive in the phrase “ποιῶσιν ὑμῖν οἱ ἄνθρωποι” suggests that this is an ongoing, continuous process, rather than a one-time action.

As biblical scholar Craig Blomberg states: “This verse highlights the importance of treating others with respect and love, as it summarizes the ethical teachings of the entire Bible. (Source: “The Gospel of Matthew,” New International Commentary on the New Testament).”

Matthew 7:12 has many ideas that still influence our modern values. For example, it promotes the idea of treating all people with kindness and respect, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, or political allegiance. Secondly, this verse emphasizes fairness and justice, which provides a moral compass in today’s ethical decision-making world. Finally, treating others as you would like to be treated focuses on helping and serving others, which is true in all circumstances.

2. Human Dignity

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27).

The important Hebrew phrase used in Genesis 1:27 is “בְּצַלְמֵ֖נוּ כִּדְמוּתֵ֑נוּ” (betzelemenu kidmoteinu), which translates to “in his own image” or “in our image” in English. This phrase declares the fundamental belief in Judaism and Christianity that humans were created in the image of God and therefore have inherent dignity and worth.

Scholar Tremper Longman III highlights that this verse affirms the inherent worth and dignity of every human being, regardless of their background or circumstances. (Source: “Genesis,” The NIV Application Commentary).

Moreover, John Calvin states in his Institutes of the Christian religion that the phrase “image of God” speaks on the excellence or dignity of human nature–reflecting on our intellectual, moral, and spiritual capacities.

Being created in the image of God has practical value in today’s world. It teaches us the inherent value and dignity of every human being. It reminds us of our responsibility to take care of the environment and to be good stewards of the resources God has granted to us. It reinforces the importance of family, community, and provides a framework for how to understand human behavior so that we can reflect His love and grace.

3. Service

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45).

According to Greek scholar A.T. Robertson, the phrase “λύτρον ἀντὶ πολλῶν” (lytron anti pollōn) indicates that Jesus’ death was a substitutionary sacrifice, redeeming many people from their sins (Robertson, 1930).

Moreover, R.T. France explains, this verse highlights the chief role of service in Jesus’s teachings, as he himself perfectly exemplified a life of sacrificial service to others. (Source: “The Gospel of Mark,” The New International Greek Testament Commentary).

As Christians who are called to conform to Christ, we should be putting the needs of others before our own and be willing to make personal sacrifices to help encourage people around. As Jesus makes it clear here that he didn’t come to be served, but to serve others.

4. Compassion

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36).

D.A. Carson notes that this verse highlights Jesus’s deep empathy and concern for those who were suffering, which was a vital part of his ministry. (Source: “Matthew,” The Expositor’s Bible Commentary). Biblical scholar R.T. France states that the phrase “ἐσπλαγχνίσθη περὶ αὐτῶν” (esplagchnisthē peri autōn), translated as “he had compassion on them,” is a common expression in the New Testament that denotes a deep emotional response to human suffering (France, 2007).

Furthermore, I like what theologian Leon Morris states on this idea of compassion from Jesus in Matthew 9:36: “Jesus compassion for people was not an abstract feeling but an attitude of heart which led Him to do something about it.”

As Christians, it’s imperative we develop a heart of compassion for others, especially those who are suffering. This compassion only comes about through the cultivation of the Holy Spirit. Some practical ways we can alleviate suffering in our communities is through donating to charitable causes, volunteering at your local homeless shelters, or just taking time to listen and pray with those in your sphere of influence. Trust me, by showing more compassion, we can help the world a better and more loving place.

5. Peace

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9).

The Greek word “εἰρηνοποιοί” (eirēnopoiοi) is formed from two root words: “εἰρήνη” (eirēnē), meaning “peace,” and “ποιέω” (poiéō), meaning “to make” or “to do.” Therefore, “εἰρηνοποιοί” (eirēnopoiοi) can be understood to mean “those who make peace” or “those who bring about peace.”

According to scholar Ulrich Luz, this verse emphasizes the importance of seeking peace and reconciliation through nonviolence and love, which was a central aspect of Jesus’s message. (Source: “Matthew 1-7,” Hermeneia). Furthermore, R.T Kendall highlights that being a peacemaker is not this passive response, but rather is an active work that people need to strive for in order to bring authentic unity.

John MacArthur also notes: “Peace is the byproduct of righteousness and holiness (Greatest Teachings of Jesus. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. MacArthur, J. (1985). Matthew 1-7. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers).

This is a simple yet crucial statement because one of the fruits of the Spirit is “peace”, a vital attribute of who God is and what we are called to imitate as Christians. Ultimately, this verse instructs us to resolve conflicts in our relationship with others and strive to be peacemakers. It also encourages us to work towards social justice by advocating policies and laws that promote fairness and equality. And finally, we can create a more harmonious world when we encourage those around us in this modern age.

6. Family

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24).

The Hebrew word “davak” is particularly important in this verse. It means “to cling,” and implies a deep, emotional attachment between the man and his wife. This word is also used in other parts of the Old Testament to describe the relationship between God and his people, stressing the close, intimate bond that exists between them (Deuteronomy 4:4; 10:20; 11:22; 13:5).

In the book, “Meaning of Marriage,” Timothy and Kathy Keller argue that this verse establishes the importance of the marriage bond and that “holding fast” implies a strong, unbreakable commitment that leads to a healthy marriage. Scholar Gordon Wenham declares that this verse affirms the importance of healthy family relationships and has influenced many modern family values. (Source: “Genesis 1-15,” Word Biblical Commentary).

Genesis 2:24 has several practical reasons why it’s important in today’s society. First, it shows the importance of prioritizing one’s spouse in marriage. Second, it demonstrates that deep, emotional attachment and commitment that is crucial in marriage. Third, it shares the physical, emotional, and spiritual unity that characterizes the marital bond. Fourth, it highlights God’s design for human relationships and lifelong partnerships. Finally, this verse offers guidance and encouragement for those who desire to build marriages that reflect God’s love and grace.

7. Education

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.(Hosea 4:6).”

The verse begins with the noun “ami” (my people), followed by the noun phrase “d’muni lada’at” (cut off from knowledge), which highlights the people’s lack of knowledge as the root of their problem.

Furthermore, the conjunction”ki” (because) connects the lack of knowledge to the consequences that follow, as the people’s rejection of knowledge and forgetfulness of God’s law lead to God rejecting them as priests and forgetting their children. The repetition of the noun “da’at” (knowledge) highlights it’s importance concerning the relationship between God and His chosen ones (Sweeney, Marvin A. The Twelve Prophets: Hosea. Vol. 2, The Forms of the Old Testament Literature. Eerdmans, 2000).

Scholar James Luther Mays states this verse underscores the importance of education and the pursuit of knowledge in the Bible, which has influenced many modern educational institutions. (Source: “Hosea,” The Old Testament Library). Education is essential for societal and personal development, and correlates to creating an environment that cultivates ethical behavior and morality. In summary, Hosea 4:6 shows the importance of knowledge, morality, spirituality, and accountability.

8. Charity

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Greek scholar Murray Harris argues that the word “proaireomai” (προαίρεομαι) in this verse means, “to decide beforehand” or “to have previously purposed.” This suggests that giving should be planned and intentional, rather than haphazard or impulsive.

Moreover, Harris notes that the phrase “ἱλαρὸν γὰρ δότην ἀγαπᾷ ὁ θεός” (for God loves a cheerful giver) is a quote from Proverbs 22:8 in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament). This proves that the concept of cheerful giving was already familiar to the Corinthians (Harris, Murray J. The Second Epistle to the Corinthians: A Commentary on the Greek Text. New International Greek Testament Commentary. Eerdmans, 2005).

Some practical ways we can apply charity to the modern era is through tithing, volunteering, supporting local business, and giving to others in need. By being a cheerful giver, we should not give reluctantly. Rather, we should be looking for opportunities and with intentionality to bless others around us.

9. Forgiveness

“Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” (Matthew 6:12).

The Greek word for “debts” in this verse means something owed but was commonly used in ancient Greek to refer to moral debts or obligations that one owes to others. In fact, Matthew’s use of the Greek here indicates that forgiveness doesn’t only effect moral obligation, but is a legal transaction (Allison, Dale C. The Sermon on the Mount: Inspiring the Moral Imagination. New York: Herder & Herder, 1999).

Additionally, N.T. Wright contends this verse shows the importance of forgiveness as a means of healing and reconciliation, which has influenced many modern therapy techniques. (Source: “Matthew for Everyone, Part 1,” The New Testament for Everyone).

Wright is referring to techniques such as forgiveness therapy, a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy to help individuals learn to forgive others. This technique has been helpful in treating mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

There are several ways we can apply this teaching in our lives today. First, recognize our own need for forgiveness. It’s important that we learn from our mistakes and also not be so hard on self.

Second, forgive others is practical in this modern world so we don’t harbor bitterness in our hearts towards people we interact with. Third, when we forgive those who sin against us as well as asking the Lord to forgive our own shortcoming, we are practicing empathy and compassion–a lost attribute in the modern world.

Fourth, seeking reconciliation is vital. If we don’t forgive others, it will be impossible to restore the relationship back to its healthy place. And finally, as believers, we should live with integrity and treat others with respect and kindness.

10. Hope

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16).

Murray J Harris describes in his book, “The Second Epistle to the Corinthians” how the word “exo” (ἔξω) in the phrase “though our outer self is wasting away” is a preposition that means “outward” or “external.” This suggests that the wasting away being described is physical, rather than spiritual or emotional.

Furthermore, Harris highlights the use of the present tense verb “diaphtheirōmen” (διαφθείρωμεν) which means “we are wasting away.” This verb is in the active voice, demonstrating that the process of wasting away is something that is happening to the Corinthians themselves, rather than being forced on them by external circumstances (Harris, Murray J. The Second Epistle to the Corinthians: A Commentary on the Greek Text. New International Greek Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2005).

This verse reminds us to focus our attention on the eternal rather than the modern world we live in. A few ideas we can apply this teaching into our lives is to prioritize our spiritual growth. Instead of focusong on material possessions, we should be exercising our spiritual development.

Moreover, while this temporal world is fleeting, our physical bodies are important to the Lord. The Holy Spirit dwells in us, and we are the temple of the living God. Therefore, taking care of our physical bodies by eating well, exercising, and getting plenty of rest is important in this fast-paced society.

Finally, as we age, our bodies and circumstances may change but our minds and spiritual health can get even stronger. We should strive in all circumstances to get closer to God and find joy in the Lord throughout our entire lives.


The teachings of God have a significant influence on modern values through various concepts, such as ethics, human dignity, service, compassion, peace, family, education, charity, forgiveness, and hope.

Overall, the teachings of God have a significant influence on modern values, creating a moral compass for our society and exhorting us to live in a way that honors God and respects our fellow human beings. Through these values, we can allow a more just and compassionate world, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

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