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Biblical Education: Part 1

September 15, 2014

Grace to you! This week we will start a new series on how the bible would have us think about education. The lesson today is the most fundamental idea in reorienting us in thinking biblically about what is education’s goal and how we are to construct an educational paradigm that honors the Lord.

First, some disclaimers. I know many, including myself, have been trained and have taught in public education. The goal of this series is NOT to attack public teachers. Many are doing a fantastic job with the system as it is. Many teachers give above and beyond their calling to pour into their students. This is not the issue in question. What is in question is the very MODEL of education we have adopted and accepted as normal and good for our children. The biblical model of education will bring freedom to the students and teachers.

Genesis 3 is the record of man’s initial disobedience to God. This passage has ramifications for how we are to think of how we gain knowledge and hence how we are to learn or educate. First, we need to understand there are various ways to know something. We can know it by intuition, by experiments, by reason, and/or by someone else telling us. When Satan tempted our parents, he enticed them to ‘know good and evil’ and to ‘become as gods’ through their pursuit of supposedly new knowledge if they would just eat the forbidden fruit. (Gen. 3:5) Notice what Satan does not do here. He does not say: “Forget reason, experience, etc.” He acknowledges these are valid ways of knowing. We too recognize we have education based on these ways of knowing.

Eve’s response likewise affirms that she agrees these are all God given ways of learning. “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate…”(Gen. 3:6)   Eve experimented with the fruit, she reasoned that it was good to take, her senses were engaged, etc. She did learn something: “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked…” She learned guilt and shame in disobeying her Creator. She learned knowledge thru God given ways MINUS one thing. She sought to use the tools of learning apart from basing them on God’s revelation! She used all the valid forms of learning but separated them from God’s word.

Revelation is God speaking to us. Even before sin entered, man needed God’s word. What does this have to do with education? And how does this relate to using the legitimate tools of learning God has given us in reason, experience, science, etc? We’ll look at that next week!

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