Biblical Values in Various Cultures

Values are directly connected to an individual’s beliefs about what is important in life (Hultman, 2001) and the desire to meet the basic needs of physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualization. (Maslow, 2000) These basic needs are universal regardless of culture context of an individual; however, different cultures approach these areas of need with different values systems.

In the Indian culture, family is a strong unit of authority and a primary source of value education. Primary values of the Indian culture are duty and devotion by children to the parents, which have roots in ancient Indian epics such as Mahabharata and Ramayan. (Tripathi, 2014, p. 20) Such a value by children to uphold the authority of parents through duty and devotion do echo similar sentiments from the Old Testament account of God’s ten commandments to the nation of Israel to honor father and mother. (Ex. 201-17)

For a group of college students in Papau New Guinea, values such as life abundance, reciprocity, and clan feelings are strong. (Jose, 2013, p. 63) Through logical and moral reasoning, students in this culture see welfare and benevolence as normative behavior which aligns with teachings of Jesus in the Gospels (Lk. 6.38, 6.31, Mt. 6)

Predominantly in Western society, values such as honesty, equality, and caring are at the top of the list. (Kumar, 2012, p.78) Western society, in contrast to Indian and Papau New Guinea, values are often more fluid and follow the societal needs of the day rather than ancient, or timeless, traditions. Despite not being grounded in timeless truths, the values of honesty, equality, and caring are also found in the teaching of Jesus and his disciples. (Mt. 5.37, Co. 3.9, Ga. 3.28, Ga. 6.10)


Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: study Bible: English standard version (ESV text ed.). Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles.

Hultman, K. (2001). Balancing Individual and Organizational Values: Walking the Tightrope to Success. Wiley.

Jose, O. (2013). Stages of Moral Reasoning among University Students in Papua New Guinea. Journal of Human Values, 19(1), 55–64.

Kumar, G., & Pandey, J. (2012). How Indian and Western Teacher Trainees Differ in Their Perception about Values? Journal of Human Values, 18(1), 73–84.

Maslow, A. H. (2000). Motivation and Personality. Pearson Education Asia.

Tripathi, A. K. (2014). Intergenerational Differences in the Preferences for Family Values: An Indian Perspective. Journal of Human Values, 20(1), 19–31.

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