In this article, we seek to reconceptualize content-based instruction (CBI) curricula and practices from a critical perspective. Further, we propose developing criticality as an essential component of CBI, advocating for an approach we call critical content-based instruction (CCBI). While the importance of CBI has long been recognized, previous discussions predominantly focused on its effectiveness for language learning (and content learning to a lesser degree), and overlooked its fundamental linkage and relevance to broader educational missions. In order to fully maximize the potential of CBI and envision language education as integral to the advancement of society, we argue that a critical approach to CBI should be considered. First, we lay out how CBI came to be and how it has been treated in language pedagogy. We believe CBI is indeed a suitable forum for introducing and implementing a critical perspective because of its original contribution of broadening language education to meet societal needs. Second, we provide an overview of recent discourse surrounding world language education. Based on these reviews, we lastly and most importantly delineate directions for CCBI by presenting examples and possible challenges.