The following article is going to deal primarily with the Christian school format of Christian education. In theory, Christian schools are to provide a biblical worldview through the direct teaching of the Bible and biblical integration throughout all other academic disciplines. I wanted to focus on what the direct teaching of Bible should look like within a Christian school.
The adjective “Christian” is no small adjective when describing education. This term sets the focus and serves as an overarching theme under which all other academic disciplines find their position. A Christian education simply means that all topics must be taught from a Christian worldview. This worldview is found in the pages of Scripture. Therefore, a Christian education is a biblical education. Within Christian education, much time is given concerning the integration of the Bible within every academic course, and rightfully so. However, when Christian schools offer a Bible class, the importance of a biblical education tends to be marginalized because Bible classes are rarely academic in nature. Too often Bible class resembles a series of anemic Sunday School lessons that respond to the needs or current topics of interest among the students. Very few Bible programs possess a proactive approach toward providing a biblical foundation for the students resulting in a well-understood and well-articulated theology.
A foundational understanding of the Bible and theology is the necessary ingredient for spiritual transformation in our students. It is insufficient to simply address what our students should do. Biblical instruction must also address how our students should think. Students often do the wrong thing for two reasons: 1. They are depraved. Through the redemption of Jesus Christ we are thankful that this depraved nature is being eradicated progressively through the strengthening of the new man. 2. They have a corrupt view of God. Our students act sinfully and make wrong choices because they do not know enough about their own sinful character as opposed to the righteous character of God. It is insufficient for us to use the Scripture to simply try to change behavior. We must show them the God of Scripture so that we might un-corrupt their view of God. You may say, “This sounds like a ‘heady’ approach to Scripture. I just want my child to love God more. Isn’t that the purpose of Bible class?” We all want our kids to love God more, but we must also realize that the quality of one’s love is proportionate to one’s knowledge of the object of his love. There is a big difference between my love for a pet dog and my love for my wife. The object of my love makes all the difference. Sadly, we often spend too much time telling our kids to love God more whom they do not know well because the teaching has focused more on doing than knowing. If we teach our kids to simply do biblical actions and bypass correcting their view of God from Scripture, we are simply teaching morals. If all we are trying to do is teach good morals rather than a right relationship with God, then we might as well allow a Rabbi to teach our Bible class. Right actions are the result of a right relationship with God, and a right relationship with God begins with right thinking about God, and right thinking about God comes from thorough biblical teaching. We must not use Scripture superficially as proof texts of behavior, but rather we must study Scripture rigorously as the basis of building a better relationship with God through Christ.
Part II will cover specific strategies to accomplish this task.