Biblical Basis of Christian Education
I. OLD TESTAMENT HERITAGE
A. General Characteristics
1. Christian Education is a Primary Activity
- Hebrew emphasis on training and instruction helped them to remain the “most persistent, resilient and irrepressible of peoples.”
- Education became the sole means of perpetuating their way of life.
- “If you would destroy the Jews, you must first destroy their teachers.”
- Among Jewish people today, education continues to be a leading activity.
2. All of Life is Sacred
- The Hebrews has an integrated approach to life; there was no separation of the sacred from the secular.
- When life is sacred, all activity is for the glory of God.
- The Jews’ cultic and domestic life are intertwined.
- Thus, education in all of its phases came under the sacred canopy.
3. Education Centered on God
- For the Hebrews, God exists, and He is holy, righteous, faithful, and makes covenants with men who will maintain a relationship of faith to Him and obey His commandments.
- God’s dealings with men, and His intervention in their lives, were events to be told from mouth to ear. Also there obligations of Sabbath worship and stewardship responsibility.
- These were to be made known to the children.
- When the Hebrews failed to tell of God’s work and His laws, they failed to educate properly.
4. Education was Practical
- “Learning by Doing” was standard policy among the Hebrews.
- Every boy was taught a trade – to work with his hands.
- Agriculture and mechanical arts were a part of his training.
- Every girl was taught how to sew, weave, plant, cook, feed animals, fetch water and other domestic chores.
- Conversation, imitation, and example were effective educational methods for the Hebrews.
5. Education Produced Results
- Three clear achievements in Hebrew education:
- High ideals in religion and morals
- Outstanding character
- National Greatness
- But in all three there was the added dynamic of the unique presence of the Spirit of God.
B. The Hebrew Family
1. Education Centered in the Home
- The family was the important place of educational activity, and the father was held responsible for training his children (Deut. 6:6-9)
- The mothers actively taught their daughters domestic arts; also children were urged to “hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the teachings of thy mother” (Prov. 1:8).
2. Symbols Helped to Educate Children
- Hebrews made regular use of visible symbols that served as reminders of their relationship to Yahweh.
- They used a variety of phylacteries to remind them of walking in the Law and keeping the Commandments. These phylacteries were small receptacles containing verses of the Scriptures; they were bound on the forehead and on the left arm during prayer.
- Passages of the Scripture were also attached to the doorposts of the home (Deut. 6:9.
- Such symbols naturally aroused the curiosity of children and provided parents a teaching-learning situation.
3. Dramatic Ceremonies Were Teaching Aids
- Family Rites
- Circumcision, purification, weaning
- “Bar Mitzvah” – “A son in the Law” – passage from boyhood to manhood
- Community Rites
- Feast of Passover
- Day of Atonement
II. NEW TESTAMENT HERITAGE
A. Jesus as a Teacher
- His Emphasis on Teaching
- Jesus serves as our best Example for teaching and education.
- He was a teacher – a designation which He acknowledged (Jn. 13:13), and by which others identified Him (Jn. 3:2)
- NT has been written to describe Jesus as a teacher and to set forth the emphasis He placed upon teaching.
- His Aims
- Jesus’ primary aim was to bring life to men (Jn. 10:10).
- Also, He communicated the abundant quality of that life through teaching.
- His message included a clearer concept of God, deliverance from pain, freedom from false and paralyzing fears, victory over temptation, effective citizenship in the kingdom of God, and training in discipleship.
- His Methods and Principles
- Direct teaching was a deliberate choice of a method by Jesus.
- He inscribed His teachings upon the hearts of men, and the Holy Spirit was sent to bring them to conscious reality (Jn. 14:26).
- The parable became Jesus’ most characteristic form of teaching. Example, the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-38), Jesus recognized the possibilities in each individual and challenged them to fulfill every God-given potentiality.
- Jesus also used other methods, such as lecture, question and answer, object lessons, and projects.
B. The Teaching of Paul
- The life and ministry of the Apostle Paul gives strong support for religious education.
- Well schooled at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3).
- In his ministry, teaching supplemented his preaching (Acts 15:35).
- He used discussion, argumentation, and persuasion in Thesalonica, Corinth and Ephesus (Acts 17:2, 17; 18:4; 19:8).
- He called himself a teacher as well as an apostle (2 Tim. 1:11), and designated his work as teaching (1 Cor. 4:17).
III. EDUCATIONAL PRINCIPLES IN THE BIBLE
A. Biblical Purpose
- The purpose to communicate biblical truth is set forth as a motif in 2 Tim. 3:16, “ All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
- The Scriptures are therefore central in Christian education.
- It is the heart of the curriculum of Christian education; and therefore must penetrate the whole of Christian education.
B. Commands to Teach
- God commands us to teach.
- Deut. 6:6-9
- Matt. 28:16-20
C. Teaching is God’s Action
- Job 36:22
- Exodus 35:34
- Titus 2:11-12: A compelling insight, it means that God gives enabling grace through the educational process.
- Faithful parents, teachers, and church leaders work together to release God’s grace in the lives of persons under their care. Paul indicates that in our ministry we are “workers together with God”; he admonishes us not to frustrate that grace (2 Cor. 6:1).
D. Biblical Principles of Learning
- Early Training
- Teaching and Learning in a Free Atmosphere
- Motivation and Inspiration
- Conversion and Instruction
- Involvement of the Whole Person
a lecture delivered by Rev. Jimmy Pante
District 1-North Teachers’ Training
15 August 2009, Morga Worship Hall, Tondo