Education is a hot button topic these days, with new reports coming out nearly every day about the violence going on in schools, as well as all the controversial things being taught there. More and more parents are pulling their kids out of public school to homeschool them.
Nearly everyone agrees there is a major problem with America’s education system, but aren’t sure how to go about fixing it. But maybe it doesn’t work because it was broken to begin with.
Since the word “school” isn’t specifically mentioned in Scripture, we tend to think the Word of God is silent on the subject of education.
The Bible doesn’t mention “credit cards” either, but it is full of warnings not to borrow money! These principles must be followed if you want to succeed in the area of personal finances.
Likewise, if you apply biblical principles regarding the instruction and training of children, you will have a clear idea about how to approach your child’s schooling. A good, solid education is predicated on what Scripture says.
True knowledge is built on respect for God
Being the Creator of the universe, God is the source of all knowledge. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). Wisdom begins with a proper understanding of who God is and who we are not.
Knowing and submitting to His rules point us to the right way of living. We can’t make good decisions for our lives if we’re unwilling to surrender to the Author of life.
Discovering more and more of the character and nature of the Father helps us and our children gain a greater understanding of the world He has created! Conversely, if that character and nature is hidden from a child’s learning, they aren’t being taught to choose wisely.
Education isn’t morally neutral
1 Corinthians 1:19-20 says, “There is no room for worldly wisdom that raises itself up against the knowledge of God.” Godly wisdom and worldly wisdom cannot co-exist. One will inevitably dominate the other.
Education by its very nature must encompass a worldview. It will either be God’s, or man’s. Every time you give someone advice, you are drawing upon your insight about how some aspect of the world works.
Our children’s schooling works the same way. History, math, science, nature, literature, and music can either be taught from a biblical perspective, or from the viewpoint of an entirely different set of beliefs.
Good Examples & Counsel Brings Wisdom
In our culture, there is a strong emphasis on students being global citizens and understanding social responsibilities. One of the outcomes of this philosophy is that children are extremely peer dependent and find it difficult to go against the flow of popular opinion.
But the Bible doesn’t describe education as essentially a social process. Rather, in Proverbs 13:20 we’re told, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
In order for our kids to become truly wise, and not just learn facts, dates and events, they must spend a fair amount of time learning from and emulating wise people. When children are mainly influenced by their peers, who are still immature in many ways, they’re less likely to have the knowledge they need to make good decisions.
Faith is passed on through education
Without an understanding of the providential role God has played throughout history, it results in people being unprepared and unfaithful.
For He established a testimony in Jacob
And appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers
That they should teach them to their children,
That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born,
That they may arise and tell them to their children,
That they should put their confidence in God
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments,
And not be like their fathers,
A stubborn and rebellious generation,
A generation that did not prepare its heart
And whose spirit was not faithful to God. – Psalm 78:4-8
Many curricula these days revise history so God’s faithfulness to His people is concealed. Our kids need to be in a place where they hear God’s praises being sung, one which gives Him glory for His mighty works.
Discipleship and education go hand in hand
Jesus says in Luke 6:40, “A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.” Hopefully that student has a teacher worth becoming like!
Essentially discipleship is training a person to think, feel and act like someone else, to follow after them. Ideally, this “someone” would be Christ. And ideally we should, as parents, be helping our children grow to more and more maturity in Him. But there are a lot of people and things that gain our loyalty and then persuade us to follow them.
Education involves so much more than just imparting knowledge. It involves the shaping of character and transmitting of values. There’s an old adage that goes “whoever who holds the child’s heart will be the one discipling him.”
God’s Word is the most important subject
Scripture is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (1 Timothy 3:16-17). This makes the Bible the best teaching manual out there. No textbook can make a claim like that!
While the study of God’s Word should be your first priority, it shouldn’t be compartmentalized to a subject “block”. Rather, it should be something you live out daily.
Every subject of learning can be held up to God’s Word as your children search out truth. They will learn the importance of relying on the Lord in every circumstance, whether that is praying for wisdom while doing a math problem, finding joy in caring for a sibling, or respectfully obeying a parent.
Education’s true goal is to love and serve the Lord
Contrary to popular opinion in our culture, the main goal of education is not to achieve the American dream. It is not to secure a well paying job and a life of peace and affluence.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 commands parents to diligently teach their children to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
Education is not just getting good grades and acing tests. A child’s heart is so much more important than their head! Academics should take a back seat to character training and discipline, but all too often it is the primary focus.
While financial gain and a comfortable life aren’t necessarily bad things, if our kids don’t have a heart for the Lord, their years of schooling are all in vain. To raise children who love and serve Jesus, we must choose a method of education consistent with this goal.