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Christian Education: 7 Biblical References to Consider (Infographic)

Christian Education Involves Loving God With Your Mind

Updated: 2015-04-20

Christians sometimes feel that dedication to their faith relegates them to an intellectual backwater. The media reinforces this idea by painting Christianity as a kind of intellectual laziness. They make it seem as though Christians want to return to a cultural dark age. Is this true?

Let’s consider what Christianity’s founding documents have to say. We’ll examine seven passages that emphasize the importance of Christian education and explain why a Christian education is the only kind there is.

Further Reading: Why You’ll Never Outgrow the Study of Theology

1. Loving God with Your Mind Is the Purpose of Christian Education

In Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, and Luke 10:27 Jesus alludes to Deuteronomy 6:5 when he says:

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

– Matthew 22:37 (ESV)

As the founder of Christianity, Jesus has ultimate authority to declare what is important. When we put all three passages side-by-side we see the following:

Christian Education Involves Loving God With Your Mind
Christian Education Involves Loving God With Your Mind

 

2. Jesus Is the Very Embodiment of Truth

Christians are those who follow Christ (no surprise there). Christ claimed to be the essence of truth. He didn’t claim to be the essence of illusion, mystery, or the unexplained.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

– John 14:6 (ESV)

[Tweet “Christians need not fear pursuing the truth because all truth points back to God.”]

Christians need not fear pursuing the truth because all truth points back to God. There are times when we can’t seem to reconcile natural revelation with special revelation. At least, we don’t see how we can. Christians take this as a sign that we’ve made a mistake in understanding one or the other. A strong adherence to Scripture allows for only potential contradictions, not actual ones.

3. Knowing Truth Results in Freedom from Sin

We all want to make good choices. The raw material needed to make good choices is knowledge. Just as important though, is the ability to choose what is right. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says the following while interacting with some Jews:

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,

32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

– John 8:31–32 (ESV)

The CIA adopted John 8:32 as their motto while under the guidance of Allen Dulles1. We presume that Dulles had political freedom in mind. That’s what the Pharisees thought Jesus was speaking about. Christ made it clear though that he was talking about freedom from sin. Who could argue against Christian education if it spells freedom from sin?

[Tweet “Who could argue against Christian education if it spells freedom from sin?”]

Christian Education: 7 Biblical References to Consider (Infographic)
Christian Education Infographic

4. Christian Education Is Specifically Commanded by God

After Moses delivered the ten commandments to the children of Israel, God said:

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

– Deuteronomy 6:7 (ESV)

The ten commandments are, of course, moral laws. Few would deny that Christian education should include instruction about morality and ethics. What about education in general? It turns out that the Bible encourages this as well:

An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.

– Proverbs 18:15 (ESV)

Scripture is full of admonitions to live lives full of learning, wisdom, and knowledge.

5. Jesus Is the Treasury of Wisdom and Knowledge

Christianity is not a religion of blind leaps of faith. Christianity places enormous value on wisdom and knowledge. The Apostle Paul tells believers what the core of wisdom and knowledge is:

1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face,

2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,

3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.

– Colossians 2:1–4 (ESV)

Study is hard. Good study is really hard. If you knew that the end of your study is Jesus, what greater motivation could you ask for?

6. An Educated Mind Can Discern Between Good and Evil

In his sermon “Growing in Christian Maturity,”2 Dr. James White covers Hebrews 5:11–14. These verses talk about the maturity that comes from consistent and purposeful Bible study.

But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

– Hebrews 5:14 (ESV)

Christian growth, like physical growth, has a natural progression. If a baby didn’t seem to be growing, we’d get it to a doctor. Growth is natural. For a Christian growth is the ability to discern between good and evil, right and wrong, truth and error.

7. Jesus Is the Intellectual Atmosphere of Christianity

Paul quoted a Greek poet when addressing those at the Areopagus. In doing so, he demonstrated that Christ is the intellectual atmosphere we all breathe:

‘In him we live and move and have our being’;

– Acts 17:28a (ESV)

It’s not just that we live in a world that God created and than left to run on its own. The Christian worldview encompasses all areas of life, including education.

[Tweet “The Christian worldview encompasses all areas of life, including education.”]

An education may be labeled Christian due to its focus or methodology.

  • Focus: A Christian education focuses on the person of Christ (in particular) and the Christian worldview (in general).
  • Methodology: A Christian education methodologically speaking is one which adheres to the principles of Christianity but which may be focused on any topic.

Conclusion

[Tweet “Christians have the most powerful motivator possible to be the most educated people possible.”]

Christians, of all people, should be the most educated. There is nothing in Scripture (rightly interpreted) that would compel or encourage a person to be willfully ignorant. If anyone has a corner on ignorance, it’s not the Christian worldview.

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  1. “Headquarters Virtual Tour.” Central Intelligence Agency. March 17, 2013. Accessed February 28, 2015. https://www.cia.gov/about-cia/headquarters-tour/virtual-tour-flash/index.html.  ↩
  2. White, James. “Growing In Christian Maturity.” SermonAudio. January 1, 2010. Accessed February 28, 2015. http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopup.asp?SID=6281001226. ↩
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Why You’ll Never Outgrow the Study of Theology

The Study of Theology Will Be Perfected When Jesus Appears

What Happens to Our Theology When Jesus Appears

Is it possible to be so old and wise that our theology can’t grow anymore? Is there a point where further study would be useless? Consider these words from the apostle John:

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

— I John 3:2[1]

The phrase to note is, “what we will be has not yet appeared.” [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Our theology will be perfected when Jesus appears.[/inlinetweet]  If our physical makeup will be different in the eternal state, why not our mental comprehension of God as well? Here are some specific changes that will occur when we see Jesus:

  • Errors: Mistakes of all kinds will be corrected.
  • Gaps: The gaps in our understanding will be filled in.
  • Fully Renewed Minds: Our capacity to understand truth, free from the effects of sin, will be realized.
  • New Truths: New truths (which agree with and confirm Scripture) will be understood.
  • Complete Sanctification: The disconnect between knowing right and doing right will be gone.

    The Study of Theology Will Be Perfected When Jesus Appears
    Copyright: Cameron Whitman

172 Years in the Study of Theology

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to talk for over three hours with three people who like Credo Courses. Their combined age was 172. What was the biggest lesson I learned? [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]No matter your age, you’ll never outgrown the study of theology.[/inlinetweet] This shouldn’t discourage anyone. It should serve as a testament to the richness of the Christian faith.

Similarities from My Mini-Survey That Surprised Me

In our digital age there are many ways of learning about your audience, but it’s tough to beat sitting down and talking with someone. The tone of voice, body language, and energy of a conversation is hard to replace.

The three individuals I spoke with were Adrian (the youngest of the group), Janet, and Joel. What surprised me wasn’t that they had some things in common, but how many of them they had. Here’s what I learned:

  • 3 out of 3 – Have been or currently are in full-time ministry
  • 3 out of 3 – Expressed a desire to learn more about their faith and use it to help others
  • 3 out of 3 – Went to college
  • 3 out of 3 – Heard about Credo House first and then Credo Courses
  • 2 out of 3 – Have master’s degrees
  • 2 out of 3 – Are men
  • 2 out of 3 – Have more than one child
  • 2 out of 3 – Get much of their information from a network of friends and acquaintances

Three Preconceived Notions Destroyed

None of them fit my preconceived notions. My brain constructs pictures of what certain “kinds” of people are like. I think we all do this. Sometimes my pictures are accurate, but often they aren’t. People who like to study their Bibles are a “kind” of people in my mind. I should have drawn my picture in pencil because it didn’t stand up to reality.

The Study of Theology: Will Keep You from Being Active in Good Works

For some the study of theology is viewed as a danger. Why? Because they believe that knowing rightly and living rightly are opposed to each other. Or, at least, that you can’t do both equally well. So if you have to pick one, you should choose to live rightly.

Maybe you’ve heard someone allude to this yourself. They may say things like, “We should be concerned about living the Christian life. This theology stuff is just head knowledge.” A more spiritual version might be, “I just want to serve Jesus.” It’s hard to argue with a statement like that. As Christians we should all want to serve Jesus. Let’s try to put this in the form of an argument:

Premise 1: Christians should spend their time serving Jesus.

Premise 2: Time spent studying theology is time we don’t have to serve Jesus.

Conclusion: Therefore, we should spend less time studying theology.

It’s hard to argue with the first premise. In fact, I agree with it completely. The second premise has a built-in assumption. An assumption I deny. What is the assumption? It’s that studying theology is not a service we can do to Jesus. This is untrue.

Theology is the study of God. As such, it cannot be contrary to serving God. It may be done (like anything else) in a wrong way. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Properly done, theology is as much an act of worship as feeding the hungry or caring for the sick.[/inlinetweet]

Joel, Janet, and Adrian are good examples of how theology coincides with good works. Adrian runs a full-time Christian ministry. Joel is a deacon at his church and teaches class on Wednesdays. Janet visits the senior center almost daily. She enjoys chatting with her friends (online and off) about theology.

The Study of Theology: Is for Institutions of Higher Education

While Adrian, Janet, and Joel are all well educated, none of them studied theology in college, seminary, or university. However,  they’ve each continued their education through self-study. They’ve gotten study materials from a variety of ministries (including their local church). They then apply it to their lives in practical ways.

There are thousands of religious schools in the United States educating tens-of-thousands of student yearly. For some the amount of time, money, and focus college requires can be too burdensome. The wonderful thing is that folks like Adrian, Janet, and Joel don’t give up. They’re continuing their education on their own.

The Study of Theology: Is for Younger People

Most formal education takes place when a person is younger. This gives them a chance to get a job in their desired field early in life. They will then have the majority of their adult lives to build their careers. When an older person goes to school they are sometimes referred to as “non-traditional.”

I’m happy to report that Adrian, Janet, and Joel all qualify as non-traditional students. Their age hasn’t slowed down their study. Neither has it slaked their desire to deepen their understanding of God.

Just Keep Swimming

In the movie Finding Nemo, Dory tells Marlin[2]:

Dory: When life gets you down, you know watcha gotta do?

Marlin: I don’t wanna know watcha gotta do.

Dory: Just keep swimming.

This is what the lives of Adrian, Janet, and Joel teach us. Despite age, circumstances, and stereotypes, these three just keep swimming.

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Footnotes


  1. “Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”  ↩
  2. Finding Nemo, dir. Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich, perf. Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, and Alexander Gould (Walt Disney Video, 2003), DVD.  ↩