As Christian educators, our goal is to prepare students to listen and obey God’s voice. Our job revolves around applying principles and utilizing curriculum which enables us to do so. As an educator, I should know the content I teach and be dedicated to mastering all the skills and knowledge needed to connect the student with the subject matter. I need to have a strong biblical base. This paper discusses my beliefs of a Biblical philosophy of education and my personal application of this philosophy in the classroom.
In my personal philosophy, my core foundation is centered on Christ. In my classroom, all paths of knowledge will stem from God. My students were made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27); they are created with a specific purpose in God’s plan; students are fallen and separated from God through sin (Rom. 3:23; Romans 12:5; Hebrews 9:27); and that God acted through Jesus Christ to redeem a people from among our fallen race (Rom. 5:8; Revelation 5:9). They are created with physical, mental, spiritual and social interests (John 2:23-25). My students have a mind to understand, discover, appreciate, perceive, and respond to the truth (John 7:17).
Since God is central in the universe and is the origin of all truth, then all truth is God’s truth. The word of God is essential in the communication of knowledge. Therefore, God must be incorporated and be the center of all subject matter in the curriculum. Every student begins with basic needs, and it is my job to inspire the student to explore and apply God’s provision to their lives. Students need to learn to obey God’s word in all that they do. They need to influence others with the knowledge of God and His truth. They must carry this truth over into all walks of life. They should be able to evangelize and disciple to family, friends, and strangers. In addition, to understanding the nature of the learner, it is essential to a Biblical philosophy of education to understand my role as the teacher in a Christian school environment.
As an educator, I need to have a strong foundation and commitment to God. The foundation rests in my relationship with Christ. I think it is imperative for Christian teachers to spend time building up their own faith. For me, this means learning Scripture, praying by myself and with other people, spending an ample amount of quality time reading the Bible, worshipping God through music, and confessing sin. My relationship with God is my foundation; I cannot carry the weight of my students’ needs unless I am grounded in Christ. If I stumble, I am not only bringing myself down; I am also bringing my students down with me. I must be diligent in renewing my relationship with God. I am placing Christ first in my life to set an example to my students that nothing is more important than God. My goal is to be a teacher whose private life is focused on Christ and whose public life mirrors that focus.
In addition, I need to exhibit obedience and self-discipline to God in my classroom. I am to be obedient to the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit. This will help me connect God’s word to the student’s experiences. I need to show my students how to have a well-defined understanding of their biblical belief and in turn, they will learn to evaluate worldviews, so they can be “in the world but not of it.” Students need to know that the Bible is the truth, the unfailing Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and Jesus Christ is the “way, the truth and the life” (John 3:16).
Education will only take place when the truth is understood in the mind and not mere repetition, believed in the heart and actualized into life (Acts 8:37-38; Proverbs 3:6). Respect for God, His Word and His leaders in the classroom is expected (1 Peter 2:17). Education has to be balanced suitably between empirical methods and conventional methods of teaching. Some things can be explained by writing them on the board, but most are more successfully taught when the student is allowed to experience what is being taught. What is taught needs to be carefully examined for its consistency and its value with the Word of God. I believe it is adequate to use secular textbooks in a Christian school as long as they are combined with Biblical integration, the content is carefully assessed and contradictions with God’s Word are presented clearly to the students. This is a tool that can be used to assist the students in learning how to have discernment when hearing or reading materials in any situation.
For the Christian Educator and student, the goal of the education is essentially wrapped in the Gospel. The truth of the Word is revealed in all subjects. Science and Math show the order and design God has placed in all things. The fine arts showed the beauty in even the simplest things. History shows God’s hand in human events. English and foreign languages give us the ability to communicate our understanding of God’s love with others. Students will need to understand just how each component of their education fits into their ability to share their hearts with those in their lives. Understanding that there is more to life than fulfilling our own selfish aspirations is where true meaning in life can be found. Students will come to know and address the world around them through love, respect, and concern for others.
When I became a teacher, I knew teaching was a calling from God. I was confident in my conviction that education is the great equalizer that enables students to live up to their God-given gift. If I, as a Christian and a person who was made in the image of God, I am going to live out my purpose as I teach my students, I must be intentionally imitating God’s moral fiber as I do His work and use the subject matter I teach in my classroom to show God’s truth to my students. The duty of the Christian school and the duty of the Christian is to honor and praise God. I glorify God when I do my best work, when I treat my students as the created, fallen, and redeemed image-bearers that they are, when I seek Him and His truth daily in my classroom, and when I acknowledge that I cannot accomplish anything of value in my classroom apart from Him and His power.
In summary, I feel as a Christian educator, I need to focus on the needs of the whole child. A child’s education is mainly the responsibility of the parents. My role is to complement that teaching and to fill in the gaps. The most essential teaching I can teach to my students is the Salvation of Christ and the promise that is in Him and our relationship with Him. If we seek Him first He will provide all our needs and guide, direct and lead everything we say and do in and out of the classroom. I am working for the Kingdom and on a daily basis I am walking in obedience to Him and seek advice in my decision-making process. When I fall short, I will seek mercy and “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I will press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13b-13).