When it comes to education everyone has their own opinion. It seems like the suggestions on how to educate children never stop and rarely does the majority agree on what should be done in the school system. Principals and teachers, depending upon the size of school they work at, can have anywhere from 100 to 1000 sets of parents giving their input on how teachers should teach, schools should function and what curriculum should be used.
The situation is no different in today’s modern world than it was in ancient times. We have records describing the Greek and Roman parents’ complaints about their educational system as did the adults of other ancient civilizations.
Concern about education is not a new or modern problem but in all of the complaints, all of the articles, all of the data researched I have not yet found one person who advocated God’s standard for educating students. That is a grave concern as the Bible does say a lot about what God wants for the education of children.
In a brief investigation of the biblical passages, it was found that over 361 verses talked about teachers, teaching, education and how it should be conducted. What follows is a look at what God has to say about educating students. There is no particular order to the points listed nor value of importance placed upon them; that is left up to God to impress upon the reader’s heart and mind.
1. Who is the main teacher?
Both the Old and New Testaments speak on where the main responsibility for teaching the youth lies. In Eph. 6:4 we read: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” and in Proverbs 22:6 we have the following words: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Both passages give clear indication that the initial education of the child belongs to the parents. They are the ones who need to set the correct direction for their children to go in so that in later years, they will not fall prey to those secular teachers who do not believe in God and who do try to ruin the faith of their religious students.
Parents need to teach their children the correct ways and prepare them on how to deal with such unbelieving authorities they encounter as they travel through the educational system. They cannot leave such important instruction to someone else. This means that the parents must make sure they are grounded in the correct information and if they are not, they need to rectify the problem.
This doesn’t mean that the parents cannot hire tutors or send their children off to school. It does mean that they give their children a solid foundation upon which to stand and it means removing lies and other falsehoods from their lives.
2. The hierarchy of education.
In today’s world, many students are given higher positions in the hierarchy than they should be. Schools and parents place the students on some a level akin to idol worship and the identity of the students is skewed because of this distorted placement. Schools often do not teach much any more as the demands of the parents is to have their offspring entertained like an audience instead of educating them like the blank pages they really are.
Students begin to think that they are above their teachers and that they do not have to respect or listen to them. Teachers become something that is endured as the unlearned student thinks ignorance is better than knowing something.
The Bible tells us in Luke 6:40 that ‘The student is not above the teacher…’ which tells everyone the position of the students in the overall scheme of things. There is a reason why children are called students—they need to learn much. They can’t learn if the position of the teacher is usurped and made inferior to the very people they are to instruct. Teaching cannot take place in such a situation.
Parents need to bring this reality home to their children before they send them off to be educated . The children need to realize that they are being sent to school not to be entertained or babysat but to learn from their teachers the correct information that will help them later in life; though that teaching is not supposed to undermine the foundation given the students by their parents.
Proper placement of the students in the hierarchy of education, helps them find their identification, where they fit in life and helps to cut down on problems in the classroom. Teachers cannot teach without the aid and co-operation of the parents.
3. The Importance of Teaching/Teachers
Over the centuries the status of teachers has both risen and fell. In some cultures teaching and teachers have been given high respect because they sacrifice whatever they might gain to take a low salary to teach the next generation or two. In other cultures, teaching and teachers have been demoted to the point of being derided, ridiculed and embarrassed for choosing to do the occupation other nations hold in high regard.
What does God say about teaching and teachers? In 1 Cor. 12:28 we read God’s opinion of the profession: ‘And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues’
Notice that God placed teaching and teachers as number 3 in His kingdom, which tells us that He holds the profession in high regard and gives it great importance. Parents should do no less than God. Does this mean that teachers, school authorities, and ministries of education are given blind faith or authoritarian power to teach what they want, when they want and how they want?
Of course not! Parents should not give total control of the educational system or its content to others. What the positioning by God means is that those who decide to be educators should be humbled that they get to partake in such an important occupation and they should seek to give the students the truth, the best curriculum, the best information and do it honestly following the rules of God found in other verses concerning administration, discipline, treatment of others.
They should not allow for false teaching to enter into their schools nor should they seek to make unbelievers of their students. Jesus gave a stern and very harsh warning about doing that very act. He said that it would be better if they committed suicide than to turn the faithful into unbelievers.
The importance of the profession of teaching should be taught the students by their parents for children will go as their parents teach them and respect for others, especially education begins at home. Parents cannot impress upon their little ones enough about God’s view of teaching and teachers. This does not mean that parents do not prepare their children on how to respond when taught by those who do not believe God.
4. What should be taught?
The answer to this question is found in 1 Timothy 1:3 & 6:3-4. These verses give good direction to the educational authorities of what is expected of them when constructing their curriculum.: “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer” and “These are the things you are to teach and insist on. 3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions”
Then Titus 6:8 and 2 Peter 2:1 add these words: “Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” And “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.”
The curriculum should be sound and godly which also includes giving the students the truth. Doesn’t matter if a theory is declared to be scientific, if it is not the truth then it should not be in the classroom. This standard found in those passages applies for all subjects. One is teaching unlearned children and teens thus great care should be made to ensure that the knowl3edge they get is true, and can be applied in a honest manner.
The importance of teaching n the kingdom of God demands such strict and lofty standards when it comes to curriculum
5. Ignorance is not honor.
Sadly, some people have a dim view of education and feel that the less one knows the better one is. That is far from the truth and there have been far too many christian people who have embarrassed themselves, their beliefs, their church, and Christ by not knowing what they are talking about.
We read about Moses’ education in the book of Acts and in those words no room is left for ignorance. In chapter 7 verse 22 we have these words: ‘Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action’
As you can see, God wants His people to be educated for being ignorant makes one vulnerable to the wiles of evil and one’s faith is in danger. Also, the uneducated are more easily controlled by those in authority and God does into want His people controlled by evil or people whose agenda is different than His.
Knowing something is prized, is an honor and it allows God, who has chosen to work through people, to help His people a lot better. The lack of knowledge hinders God’s work and purpose in this life and believers need to put away those distractions that interfere with their education and wastes their time.
If one does not have the time to learn a lot of different subjects then at least they need to learn how to do correct research for when the time comes and they are stumped, they then know how to find the correct answer and keep the body of Christ strong and impressive. Being ignorant only raises stumbling blocks to Christ and turns a lot of unbelievers off from the faith because of the low view they have of those in the church.
The Old Testament backs up the Book of acts as in 1 Chronicles 25:7 we read—‘Along with their relatives—all of them trained and skilled in music for the LORD—they numbered’. This verse supports the idea that God wants His people trained and skilled in whatever subjects they pursue. It is not limited to music, but if one loves math, then they need to do math well and correctly, for the body of Christ needs believing, educated teachers to receive the truth.
This is a task that cannot be left to the unbeliever for they have no interest in helping the followers of Christ or keeping the Kingdom of God strong. They do not care for the truth but Jesus does thus the believer should as well.
6.Proper discipline is education
Hebrews 12:11 tells us: ‘No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.’
Discipline is a part of education. It instructs the student on what is right and wrong behavior, attitudes and so on. Without proper discipline, the school can devolve into anarchy as students do not learn the correct lessons and society’s co-operative spirit is endangered.
This means that the school authorities, with parents, must figure out what is the correct type of discipline. Such determination does not ignore those verses which talk about discipline being fair, just and has mercy attached to them. Nor does it mean that corporal punishment is omitted from the list of disciplinary tools available.
That form of punishment needs to have proper guidelines so the teacher knows that they have gone too far in their act of punishment and they should contain just and fair punishments when the teacher does over-step the boundaries.
All discipline should be done according to God’s ways for it is not instituted to harden the bad behavior in the student’s lives but to bring them back to the correct way of living and treating others. The Bible is full of verses that speak on this issue and they are not over-ruled by majority vote, popular opinion or fads
In conclusion, for education to work the civilization must be in tune with God and His standards for those alone are the correct methods to use. There are many different human ideas and opinions on how to educate but since they are human none are greater than the next person’s idea or opinion.
They all fail because they originate in fallible, corruptible, deceived people and only God’s way is above all of that. By following God’s ways parents then teach their children that they do the same thing as they require which removes hypocrisy and from the parents’ lives and confusion, doubt, skepticism, anger etc,. from their children’s minds and lives.