By Steve Nelson
- What does the Bible say about school? God values education very highly and this truth is recorded in many ways. Gaining knowledge then taking meaningful action is a basic part of life. Learning is a lifetime adventure that doesn’t stop upon graduating high school, so even without kids you can still gain from this article. Yet to answer the question, the most famous “school” in the Bible, and for that matter technically the only “school” mentioned, is the school of Tyrannus. Located in Ephesus, Paul taught there DAILY for two years to a certain type of Christian student, disciples (Acts 19:9).
Disciples are an elite group of learners who are committed followers of their teacher. In John 8:31, 13:35 and 15:8, in Jesus Christ’s own words, His disciples had these amazing qualities: they continued in the Word of God, loved one another and bore much fruit. (Note: any person today can choose to be a disciple too.)
While in Ephesus, Paul originally offered the truth to anyone who would listen, when he taught publicly for three months. Eventually, due to many people having hard hearts and not believing, Paul became more selective in choosing his audience. That’s when he began teaching at the school of Tyrannus. Perhaps other things were taught at this school, but isn’t it interesting that the only subject we know for sure that was taught there was the Word of God?
- Is the Bible part of education in America today? Harvard began in 1636 with the motto “Truth for Christ and the Church.” Yale began in 1701, founded by ten ministers who noticed Harvard was digressing from the Bible. Congress approved the purchase and printing of Bibles for schools in 1781. In 1844, the Supreme Court ruled that schools are authorized to teach Christianity from the Bible. The first primary schools had the Bible as their primary text. So yes, initially the United States had an emphasis of learning from the Bible, even in colleges. Sadly, those were the glory days of education.
Now in our culture, due to evil influence, God and the Bible have been nearly completely banned from all public schools. It’s the opposite of how our country started. Teachers today, instead of quoting Scripture as the best evidence to prove certain points, now refer to things like popular television shows to gather references. Seriously, we allow the twisted ideas of violence and sex found on “Game of Thrones” to teach culture to kids instead of the truths in Genesis?
Yes, posters on classroom walls in our high schools (where minors under 18 learn) show this most popular TV show (rated for “mature audiences” – those over 18 only). You may say the Bible has the most intense graphic content ever recorded and you would be correct. What’s the difference? Evil actions recorded in the Bible are accompanied by ample instruction on how to identify and choose good over evil. So yes, the Bible is an acceptable resource to refer to as much as you like. As for nefarious content from the world, it is rarely helpful and does not include clarifying instruction.
To include the Bible in education curriculums, private Christian schools and home schooling families have grown in number, yet this doesn’t guarantee they’re getting a better spiritual education necessarily. It only guarantees the potential to learn the Bible during school hours. Not every child has that chance to be in such a school environment.
In 2014, “Bring Your Bible to School Day” was started. This year, the date for that activity is October 6, 2022 FYI. This is just one small example of how to counter this trend in our godless society of excluding the Bible from education. Sadly however, one superintendent of a local school district, in explaining their reasoning, said they will never have a regular school day on “Bring Your Bible to School Day” since they want to avoid the controversy. Instead, each year on the calendar they purposely plan teacher meetings and other non-classroom events. Wow, I was stunned to hear that. It was done to please certain religious and non-religious groups who favor other texts instead of the Bible.
Psalm 119:99 makes even more sense, right? “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.”
- How do we get the Bible into our DAILY education? The best combination of education includes “natural knowledge” (math, science, language arts, history, music, art, etc.) AND “spiritual knowledge” (the Bible). Most people generally learn the natural stuff with varying levels of success, but leave out the most important part, the “spiritual knowledge.” It’s up to us to include it, one way or another. Make a decision to learn the Bible too.
What does a student do if he or she can’t learn the Bible during school hours? According to the Idaho state instruction guidelines, kids must be in school between 450-990 hours each year, depending on their grade. That’s a lot of time but it still leaves children with plenty of opportunity before school and especially after school. Also, summers and breaks and weekends provide much more time for an extended opportunity to get some Bible time in. To maximize the learning during this Bible time, it MUST be spent with parents, or at least under the guidance of parents, DAILY. Parents, it’s your job to make this happen for your kids. No excuse is good enough to justify the lack of Bible time. Life is busy yes, but it’s about choices and priorities. Fifteen minutes a day is only about 1% of a day. You can commit to 1% of your day.
As aspiring disciples of Jesus Christ, let’s customize our time and effort, if as an adult or youth, to include instruction from God’s Word. Otherwise we’re wasting our time. Anything without God is done in vain, including learning. See Psalm 127. Don’t be a fool. Stay in school. Learn the Bible to be cool. God bless you!
Steve Nelson has been a Bible teacher for over 25 years. This article comes from “School: God’s Curriculum” Segment 93 of “CORE,” a course for families on how to read and understand the Bible. See T4FAMILYCENTER.COM or reach Steve at [email protected].