Summary: Advertising lies — Online Bible study with Bible verses on resisting lies in advertising and other negative voices in our culture. The Bible encourages Christians and others to reject the world’s values and advertising lies, develop sales resistance to advertising, and adopt God’s values.
Summary: Bible study on resisting advertising lies and developing sales resistance to advertisements.
Doug Britton Books
Practical • Biblical • Cross-Cultural
Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit. (2 Corinthians 7:1)
Advertising — Sometimes helpful, often misleading
Note: Many of the points in this online Bible study are adapted from Defeating Temptation: Biblical Secrets to Self-Control.
Advertising can help us learn about new products and make better choices. But if we aren’t careful, advertising can be a gigantic snare. Oftentimes advertising lies to us, or appeals to false values that don’t work.
The advertising in TV, radio, the Internet, social media, newspapers, magazines and billboards bombard us with messages intended to stir up our desire to spend. We are told we need a new car, this year’s fashions, expensive perfume, a certain mouthwash, new furniture, the latest smartphone and the fastest computer. Advertisers tell us we need what they are selling, we deserve it, and life is not worthwhile without it.
Once we make the purchase, the excitement and satisfaction quickly wear off, and we realize we have been deceived by advertising lies.
Realize that advertising does affect you
You may think ads don’t affect you, but you probably are wrong. The reason companies pay massive amounts for advertising is that it works. Well-written ads appeal to envy, pride and greed, emotions that affect us all.
Things aren’t made any easier by the materialism in our culture. We idolize people for the most superficial reasons — they have lots of money, expensive possessions or a high-priced house — and we want what they have. We are ill-prepared to resist advertising lies.
Reject the world’s values and advertising lies
Throughout the Bible, we are told to resist greed. Remembering what God’s word says can help us resist temptation and lies in advertising.
You shall not covet your neighbors house. You shall not covet your neighbors wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Exodus 20:17)
Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a mans life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. (Luke 12:15)
Adopt God’s values
The word of God tells us what is really important. Don’t let advertising lies rob you of true peace and joy.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Develop sales resistance to advertising lies
If newspaper ads stir up desires for possessions, don’t read the ads. If catalogs affect you the same way, throw them out unread.
Develop sales resistance. Remember that people have been paid a lot of money to tempt you to make impulsive purchases. Recognize most ads for what they are — appeals to covetousness and greed.
Be content with what you have
Learn to be content, whatever your situation.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12-13)
Describe two advertisements that tempted you to buy something you didn’t need. Also explain whether or not you think there were lies in the advertising:
Next: Guard your thought life
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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible verses are from the 1984 New International Version.
Copyright © 2004, 2016 Doug Britton. (Permission granted to print for personal use.)