”…if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
It’s one thing to say our faith can change the world around us in small ways, but it’s something else to talk about a faith that changes culture. Culture seems so big and hard to describe. How does faith change it? Good choices are part of the answer.
A life of faith can be used by God to do great things. But that still feels too small to change something as big as culture. The answer lies in a better understanding of what culture is, and how it is changed by faith. (Read more at RedemptiveLeader.com)
Culture is made up of individual choices. All those choices together create what we see as good or bad culture around us.
The word for goodness, or moral excellence (aretē) describes the importance of our good or bad choices. In effect, this describes culture, or at least the kind of culture the ancient Greeks wanted to create.
Good Choices in Scripture
Good, or excellence, is only used this way four times in the New Testament. Once in Philippians 4:8, twice in 2 Peter 1:3 and 5, and once more in 1 Peter 2:9. That is very infrequent for such an important word.
However, this word (aretē) is used a lot outside the Bible in important Greek literature of the time. It also gets used by Jewish writers who are not part of the Bible, but are considered reliable historical sources.
By using an important cultural word to describe a morally excellent life, the Bible makes a connection between faith and culture.
Peter tells us what these good choices can accomplish. If we are in Christ we can escape the corruption of the world (2 Pet. 1:4). And we can be effective and fruitful in our Christian lives (2 Pet. 1:8).
But is that enough to change culture?