You See What?

➡ Average Reading Time: 6 minutes

Your View Of The World

You See What?The worldview you hold determines the way you believe and view Scripture and everything else for that matter. We all operate within a worldview often without being conscious that we are doing so. We assume that the way we view life is the way everyone views life. We assume that what we see is reality. However, what we see is determined by our worldview. Our worldview is our control box.

All worldviews have blind spots and the Western worldview is no exception. As an illustration, the Western worldview keeps most Westerners from dealing with or understanding problems related to spirits, ancestors, or anything supernatural. This is the reason that some Evangelicals refuse to believe that God can and does still heal in today’s world. Strangely, this view is often limited to “physical healing,” while “healing of one’s spirit” or to “be saved” or “born again” is perfectly all right.

The reader of Scripture is often called to shift his or her worldview to understand Scripture. Your worldview changes as it is challenged. This shifting occurs as you begin the process of realizing why you think about and see things the way you do.

What Is A Worldview?

What is a worldview? Do I have a worldview? Is it a valid one? Am I trapped into keeping what I have or can I change? James Sire, in The Universe Next Door, says, “A worldview is a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true or partially true or entirely false) that we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic constitution of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being.” (James W. Sire, The Universe Next Door. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1976. 20).

The point is that our starting place for viewing things is different. Even though we may possess the same reasoning process, we end up with different conclusions. Worldview is imposed on us in our youth through our culture. We don’t learn it as much as absorb it.

To illustrate this, ask yourselves some questions: On what do I focus? How do I see or conceive of reality? Is it true that I do not see everything that I look at? Do I see selectively? Here is an example. Every year in America people are blown to bits by what is called an empty gas can. Why? We have been taught that a can is empty because there is no fluid in it. Empty is our focus. Another equally powerful focus is to see the can as full of gas fumes. If we light a match around a can we perceive as empty, the result might well be a big boom! We accept that which confirms what we have been taught and usually reject what contradicts what we have been taught.

Acts 14.8-18 demonstrates this taught focus. Luke tells us that Paul and Barnabas healed a lame man in Lystra. A commotion in the city arose because the man was healed. The people of Lystra had a basic assumption, a starting point, which led them to a conclusion that for them was real. Their assumption: only the gods could affect such a healing. Therefore, when they saw what had happened, they concluded that Paul and Barnabas were gods for which they had names. They began to worship and offer sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas as gods. On the other hand, Paul and Barnabas’ basic assumption was that they were only carrying out what they were commissioned by Christ to do, which was to heal the sick and bring the Rule of God into the world. Each viewed the same event, but their starting points or focus led them to different conclusions.

Paradigm Shift

Learning that others think differently than we do and that it is not a matter of right or wrong, only different, can be painful. It conjures up many questions about how we read and understand Scripture. This process is often called a paradigm shift. Although painful, a paradigm shift may have to happen in order for one to operate with a mindset that allows “everyone to play” and healing to be more than just “physical.” A paradigm is defined by Webster as an example or pattern. A shift indicates moving from one model or pattern to another.

Illustration: Young Lady – Old Lady

Old Hag Young LadyThe shifting process can be demonstrated with the picture of the young lady–old lady. As you look at the picture, the lines of the drawing do not shift. However, as an observer, your perception can shift and you can see either the young lady or the old lady. As you look at the picture, the visual patterns seem to shift. This, on a small scale, is similar to a paradigm shift or worldview change. As you go through this fairly simple procedure, which is necessary to see these realities differently, try to imagine the complexity of a paradigm shift that leads to a radically different understanding of reality. Even though it is complex, it can be accomplished.

What’s Infinity?

There is a story that illustrates how worldview works: Billy was a sixth-grader. His teacher, reviewing the previous day’s math lesson, called on him to define infinity.

Billy squirmed in his seat and said nothing.

“Come on, Billy, what’s infinity?” his teacher insisted.

Billy just looked at the floor.

Exasperated, his teacher commanded him again to answer, whereupon he mumbled, “Well, infinity is kinda like a box of Cream of Wheat.”

“Billy, don’t be silly,” the teacher snapped and called on Johnny who was eager to share his learning.

“Infinity is immeasurable, unbounded space, time, or quantity,” Johnny said. The teacher was pleased since this was the only appropriate answer the teacher could imagine.

Here’s the rub: Billy had verbalized a complex right-brain image and made a non-literal statement. Literally, infinity is nothing like a box of Cream of Wheat, and the teacher, looking for a literal left-brain definition, understandably ignored his answer. But Billy knew something about infinity. Later, to a more sympathetic ear, Billy was able to explain his image: “You see, on a box of Cream of Wheat there’s a picture of a man holding a box of Cream of Wheat, which shows a picture of a man holding a box of Cream of Wheat—and it goes on and on like that forever and ever, even if you can’t see it anymore. Isn’t that what infinity is?”

Billy had a rich, right-brain understanding of infinity. The left brain definition fed back by his literal classmate meant so little to Billy that he could not reproduce it even though he had written it down the day before. This is an example of hemispheric dominance and two separate modes of processing the same information (Gabriele Lusser Rico. Writing the Natural Way, Gabriele Lusser Rico, 62-64).

What Does All This Mean?

We must begin the process of “renewing our minds” and move away from a quite secular, Western, rational Worldview that insists that true healing is the zone in which the medical world plays. The Western worldview simply rules out the possibility of God intervening in his world to bring about healing. Certainly, we do not want to disdain the medical world, but we must think about including the spiritual world as a part of our worldview. As we make this journey, we become more expectant of God invading this present evil age with his presence to heal!

Community Discussion Questions

➡ |CDQ Info|

  • How do you “see” the world around you? From a “secular” or “spiritual” worldview?
  • Where do you need a paradigm shift in your worldview?
  • How does your “mind” need to renew?
  • Who do you know that has a different worldview than you about healing? How do you treat that person?
  • Do you believe that God can intervene any time into his world to bring healing? Why?

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Read Me First


Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.


I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."


Happy Reading!

Read Me Second


Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.


Happy Reading!

Read Me Third


The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.


Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.


Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers


There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.


(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)