Bible Study: Unmasking Popular Idols of Modern Society

Welcome to our new study on modern idols! Over the next 13 weeks, we are going to take a deep dive into unmasking the modern idols in our lives and how to get our focus back on God!

Be sure to join our FB study group (women only) so you can follow along and join in the discussions!

Now, you might be thinking, “I don’t have statues or anything like that in my house.”

But idol worship can be more than just statues—it’s anything we put above God in our lives.

Below, you will find all the study materials for this in-depth study.

Beginning with Week 2, there are 12 modern idols listed and I will add the study questions and additional materials for each individual idol at the beginning of that week (just to help keep us focused on the idol of the week).

This page does have ads displaying. I know they can be a bit annoying but this is how I’m able to keep these studies completely free for you so I do apologize in advance for the annoyance!

Each lesson does have a printable version that is ad-free that you can download and add to your study binder.

What is an Idol?

An idol is anything that takes the place of God in our lives. It can be something we love, trust, or prioritize more than God.

In the Bible, idols were often physical objects like statues or altars dedicated to false gods.

But in our modern world, idols can be much more subtle and sneak into our lives without us even realizing it.

Week 1: History of Idol Worship in the Bible

Before we dive into uncovering modern idols, it is important that we understand just how important this topic is from a biblical perspective. Here are 3 stories of idol worship in the Bible – that didn’t end well.

For each one, you can download an expanded summary of the full story to help you make more sense of it.

  1. The Golden Calf (Exodus 32) (Download summary notes and questions)(Watch video lesson)
    • What Happened: When Moses went up Mount Sinai to talk to God and get the Ten Commandments, the Israelites got impatient waiting for him to come back. They asked Aaron to make them a god they could see and worship. So, Aaron collected their gold jewelry and made a golden calf.
    • The Outcome: God was really angry with them for worshiping the calf instead of Him. Moses pleaded for mercy, but still, 3,000 people died because of their sin, and a plague hit the rest of the people. This story shows how serious God is about us putting Him first.
  2. King Solomon’s Downfall (1 Kings 11) (Download summary notes and questions)
    • What Happened: King Solomon, known for his wisdom, made a big mistake by marrying many women from different nations. These wives brought their own gods and influenced Solomon to worship these gods too.
    • The Outcome: Because Solomon turned away from God and worshiped other gods, God said that the kingdom would be torn away from Solomon’s family. This led to the division of Israel into two kingdoms after Solomon’s death. This teaches us that even wise people can be led astray if they’re not careful.
  3. The Prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18) (Download summary notes and questions)
    • What Happened: During the time of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, many Israelites started worshiping Baal, a false god. Elijah, a prophet of God, challenged 450 prophets of Baal to a contest to prove whose god was real.
    • The Outcome: God showed His power by sending fire from heaven to consume Elijah’s sacrifice, while Baal did nothing. The people saw this and turned back to God, and the false prophets were defeated. This story highlights God’s power and the importance of worshiping Him alone.

Modern-Day Idols

In today’s world, idols can look very different from the golden calves and statues of ancient times. Below, you will find 12 of the most common modern idols that we struggle with today.

Over the next 12 weeks, we’ll be diving deeper into each one.

For each week, there will be a video lesson, a devotional reading, and printable study/reflections. Just go to the current week and download your material!

Week 2: Technology and Devices:

Smartphones, computers, TVs, and gaming systems can dominate our attention and time, often becoming the first thing we engage with in the morning and the last at night.

The can also become the things we spend the most time each day. For every 24 hour period, think about how much “screen time” you spend on these devices.

Is it more or less than the time you are spending with God or in doing activities bringing you closer to God? Are you also spending more time on screens than with your family?

Week 3: Social Media

Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter can consume excessive amounts of time and significantly influence our self-esteem and priorities through likes, follows, and social approval.

Week 4: Money and Wealth

The pursuit of financial success can easily become an overriding focus, leading people to sacrifice relationships, integrity, and even their spiritual well-being.

Week 5: Work and Career Success

Professional achievements and job status can become a primary source of identity and self-worth, pushing spiritual and family life to the background.

Week 6: Celebrities and Influencers

Public figures, whether from entertainment, sports, or even politics, can become figures of near-worship, with their opinions and lifestyles heavily influencing individual values and actions.

Week 7: Politics

Is your political ideology taking a front seat to the person that is truly in charge? Politics can easily become an obsession that drives us from trusting in God to trusting in a particular person or party.

Week 8: Physical Appearance and Beauty:

With a cultural emphasis on looks and body image, striving for an idealized appearance can become an obsession, leading to neglect of inner spiritual growth.

Week 9: Entertainment and Leisure

Movies, video games, sports, and other leisure activities can easily become central to our lives, replacing time spent in worship, prayer, or community.

Week 10: Higher Education

While knowledge and education are valuable, they can become idols when they lead to pride or when academic accolades are valued over spiritual wisdom.

Week 11: Relationships

Romantic relationships, friendships, or even parental relationships can become idols if they are prioritized above our relationship with God.

Week 12: Control

The desire to control a situation or our lives often becomes an idol for many people. They rely too much on themselves instead of God.

Week 13: Self

Perhaps the most subtle idol is the self—our desires, our ambitions, our plans, and our comfort can easily become more important than obeying and serving God.

Embracing True Worship

As we reflect on these 12 modern idols—technology, social media, money, work, celebrities, beauty, entertainment, intellectualism, relationships, self, politics, and control—it’s clear that our world is filled with countless distractions vying for our attention and devotion.

These idols may not be made of wood or stone, but they hold the same potential to draw our hearts away from God.

In the midst of this, let’s remember the first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).

Our call as Christians is to worship God alone, keeping Him at the center of our lives.

This doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the blessings and advancements of modern life, but it does mean we need to be vigilant about where we place our ultimate trust and devotion.

Let’s take practical steps to examine our hearts and remove anything that might be taking God’s rightful place.

Whether it’s setting boundaries with our devices, being mindful of our spending habits, or prioritizing our relationships, we can choose to honor God in every aspect of our lives.

As we strive to keep God first, we’ll find true peace, fulfillment, and joy—things that no modern idol can ever truly provide.

Let’s encourage one another to live lives of genuine worship, reflecting God’s love and grace to those around us.

Thank you for journeying with me through this important topic. Let’s continue to hold each other accountable and support one another in our walk with Christ.

May God bless you and guide you as you seek to honor Him above all else.

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