True Education

 "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him" (Genesis 18:19).

This is a very important verse comprising the first direct reference in the Bible to what we today would call education, and it is given in connection with God's approving testimony concerning Abraham. Note that nothing is said concerning degrees or diplomas, the sciences or humanities, school buildings or textbooks.

It does tell us that God's highest priority in the training of the young is that they learn to "keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment." Such instruction is the responsibility of the home, especially the father—not of the government or some educational association. It is to be given in the context of God's promises and plans (thus in the context of divine revelation) and is to be framed in terms of "commands."

This is also the teaching of the New Testament: "Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).

The Bible never refers to "education," but there are many references to teaching, learning, and instruction. There are no references to teaching under the sponsorship of the government, however. As far as Biblical precepts and examples are concerned, teaching the young is strictly a function of the home and the church (this could no doubt include several homes and churches cooperating in the provision of advanced or specialized instruction). Most importantly, all instruction, in every subject, should be governed by Biblical criteria, for "All Scripture . . . is profitable . . . for instruction. . . . That the man of God may be perfect [i.e., `fully prepared']" (II Timothy 3:16-17) for the work God wants him to do. HMM

Series: 
The Patriarchs
Book: 
Genesis
Verses: 
18:19
Article Type: 
Days of Praise

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