Words mean what they mean in context - World

by Matt Slick
2/12/2015

The meaning of words is derived from the context in which they are used. For example, what does the word "blue" mean?  It can mean color or depression.  The context determines meaning. Likewise, there are words in Scripture that have a variety of meanings depending on the context. Following is a grid that lists some of the hundreds of instances in the New Testament of the occurrence of the English word "World". You will see that there are different meanings and I have categorize them into five. As Christians we should never impose our understanding on scripture.  It should impose its values and understanding on us.

The word world, has at least five different meanings in the New Testament:  Every Individual: Acts 17:31; Romans 3:6; 1 John 2:2; Limited Area: Acts 11:28; Romans 1:8; Colossians 1:6; All Nations: Matthew 26:13; John 3:16; 1 John 2:2; Revelation 3:10; 16:14. Secular Realm: Matt. 5:14; 18:7; John 1:10; 15:18; Rom. 12:2; Gal. 6:14; 1 Tim. 1:15; James 1:27; 1 Pet. 1:9; 1 John 2:15; The Earth: Luke 12:30; John 1:10; Acts 17:24; Ephesians 1:11; first Timothy 1:15; Hebrews 1:2; 1 Peter 5:9; 2 Peter 3:6

 

World, κόσμος, οἰκουμένη Every
Individual
Limited
Area
All
Nations
Secular
Realm
Earth
Matt. 5:14, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden."       X  
Matt. 18:7, "Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!"       X  
Matt. 26:13, "Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her."     X    
Luke 2:1, "Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth."          
Luke 12:30, "For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things."         X
John 1:10, "He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him."       X X
John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." X   X X  
John 15:18, "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you."       X  
Acts 11:28, "One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius."   X      
Acts 17:24, "The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands."         X
Acts 17:31, "because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead." X        
Rom. 1:8, "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world."   X      
Rom. 3:6, "May it never be! For otherwise, how will God judge the world?" X        
Rom. 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."       X  
  Every
Individual
Limited
Area
All
Nations
Secular
Realm
Earth
Gal. 6:14, "But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."       X  
Eph. 1:11, "just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love"         X
Col. 1:6, [the gospel] "which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth."   X      
1 Tim. 1:15, "It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all."       X X
Heb. 1:2, "in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world."         X
James 1:27, "Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world."       X  
1 Pet. 5:9, "But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world."       X X
2 Pet. 3:6, "through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water."         X
1 John 2:2, "and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." X   X    
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."       X  
Rev. 3:10, "‘Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth."     X    
Rev. 16:14, "for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty."     X    
  Every
Individual
Limited
Area
All
Nations

Secular
Realm

Earth

 

 

 

 

 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.