Watching the video of Omega Schools’ French teacher, Abdalla Kama got me thinking:
“What does the Bible actually say about education?”
It’s an interesting question. The history of the Church and the history of Western Civilization are so closely linked because of the Church’s early role in educating others. Yet following the Enlightenment of the 17th-18th centuries and the rise of secularism, the Church and the academy have often been separated. Within the Church, our views on education are as diverse as our membership. Some have leaned toward anti-intellectualism. Some have been fearful of learning that might somehow contradict or challenge our faith. Some have reduced the saving power of the Gospel to an exercise in rote memorization. Some have idolized academic achievement and credentials at the expense of a Biblical view of wisdom.
For the next few posts, I hope to explore briefly what the Bible teaches about education. At Edify, it’s our mission to improve and to expand low-cost, sustainable, Christ-centered education in the developing world. We are working with our partners in Ghana, Dominican Republic and Rwanda to ensure that Edify’s schools are embarking on a trajectory to be significantly better than other alternatives. So what exactly is “Christ-centered education”?
Proverbs is a great place to start. Most of the book is written from the perspective of Solomon teaching, admonishing and encouraging a young student. Proverbs 22:17-21 (NIV) says:
“Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach, for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips. So that your trust may be in the LORD, I teach you today, even you. Have I not written thirty sayings for you, sayings of counsel and knowledge, teaching you true and reliable words, so that you can give sound answers to him who sent you?”
Some phrases here that stand out: “Apply your heart”, “Ready on your lips”, “Trust may be in the Lord”, “Give sound answers”. There are many aspects of a Christ-centered education. Today I am proposing a very simple one: we learn so that our “trust may be in the Lord.” It’s pleasing to God! When we actively engage students at both the head and heart levels equally and with excellence, they are prepared to fully put their trust in the Lord.