Understanding Christian Education
What makes Christian education different? Is it approach it has to learning or is it what the subject that it teaches or is it both? Let us discover the foundations of Christian Education.
A Working Definition of Education
Let’s examine the goal of Christian education. It is is in Deuteronomy 6:6 that we are given a working definition of what Christian education looks like. According to the passage, Moses tells the people of God that they must educate their children in the ways of the Lord in every aspect of their lives.
More Than Just a Book
That suggests that education is more than book knowledge; it is also about applying what we learn from the Bible. Jesus Himself, before He ascended to heaven, told His disciples to go and make disciples of all the nations and teach them the commands of God and how to live them. So what is the goal of Christian Education? It is to make life-long learners of Christ.
The Role of the Teacher
In order for this goal to be accomplished, there must be a teacher who is knowledgeable of the commands of God. How does the Christian educator teach his/her students? He/She teaches by personal example.
Paul: Example of a Christian Teacher
A good example of this in the Bible is shown in the life of the apostle Paul. He showed his students how to live a Christ-centered life by showing examples of what that life looks like in his own ministry. Furthermore, he encouraged them to imitate his example.
Living By Example
What was Paul’s example? He stressed that believers have Christ as the most important thing in their life. To Paul, a teacher was more than a giver of facts and truth, but a living model of what Christ looks like in an individual. The Christian educator serves as a trainer of believers to provide the tools needed to fulfill the calling which God had given them.
A Christian Student is a Disciple
If the role of a teacher is to equip the student for every good work unto God, then what function does the student play in Christian education? Before we continue, let’s define a Christian student as a disciple.
Defining a Disciple
A student, regular education, is merely a receptacle for knowledge. A disciple however is one who learns not just facts, but learns to be like their teacher. Take the disciples of Jesus for example.
A Disciple Wants to Learn
When Jesus called them, they set aside their old professions and devoted themselves to His teachings. A disciple must be willing to learn and not let anything distract them from their learning. During His three years of ministry on earth, Jesus taught His disciples, not just in words, but in the ways that He lived.
The Goal of the Disciple
They lived where He lived and ate what He ate, etc. This shows that a disciple must be observant to everything that the teacher says and does. Eventually,when they have learned enough from Him, Jesus gave them authority to teach the Gospel, and gave them the Holy Spirit so that they would be able to teach as He did. This shows that a disciple must also become a teacher as well, for a disciple learns more about God when they teach others about Him.
Scratching the Surface
What are your thoughts about Christian Education? We have covered the importance of the roles of the teacher and the disciple. As of right now, we are still just scratching the surface. There is more that needs to be discussed from explaining what is taught in Christian education and the different methods in which to teach the content. Do you think Christian Education is important in the development of newborn believers; how so?