This document represents a Biblical view of the training and Christian education of children. Since most Christians are unaware of the Biblical instruction on these matters, I have endeavored to lay out the clear direction of Scripture as it relates to the mandate of parents to provide Christian education for their own children in the ways of the LORD.
All of this is predicated on the realization that God has given children to their parents (see Genesis 33:5, 1 Samuel 1:27 and Psalm 127:3), and has charged them with inalienable rights and responsibilities.
What the Bible says about Christian Education:
Exodus 10:2: “That you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians, and how I performed My signs among them; that you may know that I am the LORD.”
- Instruction of the young is given to parents and grandparents.
Exodus 20:3: “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
- Evolution and Humanism are substitutes for the true and living God.
Exodus 20:12: “Honor your father and mother.”
- Government schools dishonor parents (and by example teach children to as well) by claiming that the State can nurture children better than the parents.
Exodus 20:15: “You shall not steal.”
- Government schooling forcibly takes money from property owners (who may not even have children) to pay for the education of other people’s children. This is legal plunder (socialism—taking from the “rich” to educate the poor) and it is immoral. Legal plunder is legalized theft and is a violation of the 8th Commandment.
- It is hypocritical that schools expect Johnny not to cheat on a test (taking answers from Billy—i.e. Billy’s intellectual property), but they see nothing wrong with taking money from Billy’s dad (i.e. his physical property), to pay for Johnny’s education.
- Government schools do not operate upon the Biblical ethics that insist that all charity or giving to the poor should be voluntary (See Matthew 6:1-4). “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
- While taxation is not Biblically immoral, confiscatory taxation for things that are outside of the proper jurisdiction of the civil government (i.e. abortions, education, etc.) is immoral.
Matthew 5:19: “Jesus said, ‘Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.’”
Deuteronomy 6:6-7, 11:19: “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
- This describes a 24/7/365 discipleship paradigm, centered on the commandments of God.
Deuteronomy 32:46: “Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law.”
- Christian education is modeling first, instructing second. You have to have God’s law written on your own heart. If you don’t own it, you can’t sell it.
Psalm 1:1-2: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night.”
- We are blessed if we avoid the unGodly counsel our children will receive in government schools, and the socialization of sinful classmates and the mocking, scoffing attitudes they pick up in school.
- How can a child meditate day and night on God’s law in government school? He can do this when his parents teach him to apply God’s law to every area of life.
- Contrast “Blessings” promised in this passage with the “Cursings” in Deuteronomy 28, and see which one you want to receive.
Psalm 34:11: “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.”
- How are children supposed to learn the fear of the LORD? Parents teach it to them by instruction and example!
Psalm 78:4: “We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.”
- We should not allow the faithfulness of God in history to be revised, hidden or concealed in their textbooks or by unGodly teachers. Parents must take responsibility for passing on true Christian education and providential history to their own children and grandchildren.
Proverbs 1:8: “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”
- It is assumed that the father and mother are doing the teaching. No one else is mentioned in Scripture as having that role.
Proverbs 9:10: “Fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in understanding.”
- Government schools lack the fear of the LORD, therefore cannot properly transmit wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.
Proverbs 13:20: “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”
1 Corinthians 15:33: “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’”
- Children should not be allowed to have foolish companions.
- Proverbs 22:15 tells us that foolishness is “bound” in the heart of a CHILD.
- Ecclesiastes 4:12 indicates that a “cord of three strands is not easily broken.” It is hard to break a bond of foolishness once friendships with fools are made.
Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is grown, he will not depart from it.”
- There is a way a child should go, and parents need to be training the child in THAT direction, not in the direction of the world.
Isaiah 38:19b: “A father tells his sons about Thy faithfulness.”
- This mandate for Christian education is given clearly to fathers, not to another person or institution.
Isaiah 54:13: “And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.”
- Our children are to be trained by the Lord, through true Christian education. The result of this teaching is that they will generally embrace God’s peace.
Jeremiah 10:2a: “Thus saith the LORD, ‘Learn not the way of the heathen.’”
- What part of “Learn not the way of the heathen,” do we not understand?
Joel 1:3: “Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.”
- Christian education is best understood as the equipping of each successive generation to train the next. This is a family matter, not a governmental mandate.
Matthew 10:32-33: “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in Heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in Heaven.”
- John 1:3 and Colossians 1:16 declare that Jesus made the world. The government schools adamantly deny this. Therefore they are disowned by Christ.
Matthew 28:18: “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.’”
Matthew 12:30 and Luke 11:23: Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.”
- Are the government schools for Jesus? Do they recognize His lordship over education and all other areas of life? If not, they are in open rebellion against Him.
Colossians 2:3: Jesus is He “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Proverbs 1:7: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,” but “Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
- Despite the clear teaching of Scripture, government schools teach that Jesus has nothing to do with education and therefore are cultivating fools.
Matthew 18:5-6: “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My Name welcomes Me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
- Studies show that between 65-88% of all churched youth indoctrinated in government schools leave the faith by their freshman year of college.
Matthew 19:14b: “Do not hinder (the children) from coming to Me; for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.”
- We must not allow our children to be hindered by any other influences (secular instructors) from coming to Jesus.
Matthew 22:20-21: “And Jesus said to them, ‘Whose likeness and inscription is this?’ They said to Him, ‘Caesar’s.’ Then He said to them, ‘Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.’”
- The Roman coin Jesus used as an illustration bore the image of Caesar, so Jesus said to give it to him. However, Genesis 1:27 tells us that children bear the image of God, therefore we should give them to God, not to Caesar.
Luke 6:39-40: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”
- A Christian parent must not turn the leading of their child over to someone who is spiritually blind. Education is discipleship. The student is becoming like the teacher. Do you want your child to become like his atheist teacher?
Romans 14:23b: “Everything that does not come from faith is sin.”
- The government schools are not teaching from a position of faith in God.
2 Corinthians 6:13-18: “I am talking now as I would to my own children. Open your hearts to us! Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can goodness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: ‘I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be My people. Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them,’ says the LORD. ‘Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be My sons and daughters,’ says the LORD Almighty.”
- We are forbidden to partner with unbelievers in the education of our children.
Ephesians 5:11: “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”
Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the LORD.”
- Is schooling mentioned in the Bible (and does God have an opinion)? Why YES! I’m glad you asked!This is just one of many passages that should solifiy this issue, but in Ephesians 6:4 we are commanded:”Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but instead, train them up in the nurture (literally, “Biblical counseling”), and admonition (the Greek word, “Paideia”) of the Lord.” (KJV)
What does Paideia mean? From the Encyclopeida Brittanica:
“Paideia, (Greek: “education,” or “learning”), system of education and training in classical Greek and Hellenistic (Greco-Roman) cultures that included such subjects as gymnastics, grammar, rhetoric, music, mathematics, geography, natural history, and philosophy. In the early Christian era the Greek paideia, called humanitas in Latin, served as a model for Christian institutions of higher learning, such as the Christian school of Alexandria in Egypt, which offered theology as the culminating science of their curricula. The term was combined with enkyklios (“complete system,” or “circle”) to identify a large compendium of general education, hence “encyclopaedia.”
Everything that could be taught in academics was wrapped up in the Greek word, “Paideia.” It was the word the Greeks used for “Schooling.” Paul commanded fathers to train their children up NOT in the Paideia of the world, but instead, in the Paideia of the Lord.
Colossians 2:8: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world.”
- Christian education must be predicated on the foundation of Christ, not on humanistic thought.
1 Thessalonians 2:11: “Just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children.”
- In this passage, in the Greek, EXHORTING means, “inviting” or “calling near,” ENCOURAGING means, “consoling” or “comforting;” IMPLORING means literally, “flogging” or “scourging.”
- It is assumed in Scripture that fathers are taking responsibility for drawing their children to themselves for instruction, comforting and being gentle with them, and for their physical discipline.
- Notice that the verse says, “his OWN children,” not someone else’s. Christian education is intended to be parent-led and parent-directed.
1 Timothy 3:4: “He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity. Let deacons be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households.”
- Church leaders must set the example for the rest of the Body of Christ by taking responsibility for managing their own households. If men are not successfully training their own children to follow God, they are not eligible for leadership in ministry.
- The government schools teach false doctrines that are not accordance with the teachings of Jesus. We would never knowingly send our children to a church that teaches false doctrine, so why would we send them to a school that does?
Titus 2:4: “That (the older women) may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children.”
- A young married woman’s primary responsibility is to her own husband and children, not to someone else’s.
Hebrews 11:6: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”
- According to Hebrew 11:6, government schools CANNOT please God because they refuse to teach students that He exists and can be known.
Proverbs 16:25: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
James 4:17: “Therefore to him who knows the right thing to do, and does it not, to him it is sin.
Israel Wayne is an Author and Conference Speaker on the topic of Christian Education and the Director of Family Renewal, LLC. He is also the Site Editor for www.ChristianWorldview.net. Israel is the author of Education: Does God Have an Opinion? A Christian Apologetic for Christian Education & Homeschooling.