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Bible Terms

Bible Term: Idol

An idol is literally a man-made image that is worshiped or an object of excessive admiration or devotion. Often idols were crafted for false gods.

In a figurative sense, an idol is anything that replaces God as a priority or becomes preeminent in one’s life.

In today’s culture, that could mean money and the unwavering pursuit of it, possessions (such as homes, cars, and other toys), expensive clothes, prestige, amassing power, and even the accumulation of knowledge. These are but a few common idols.

The word idol appears over one hundred times in the Bible, while idols occurs hundreds more. The context is never positive.

Perhaps the most familiar mention is in the Ten Commandments, to not make or worship an idol (Exodus 20:4-5).

Key verse about Idol: They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt’ (Exodus 32:8, NIV).

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at https://peterdehaan.com.