The Necessity of Christian Education

The Bible does not tell us where we should educate our children, but it does tell us how we should educate our children. So before we evaluate our educational options for our children (public, private, or homeschool), we must first look at what the Word of God says about education. The first place we must go is Deuteronomy 6:4-9:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6 is the foundational passage for the education of God’s people. It begins with the declaration that Yahweh (“the LORD”) is God and then follows with the command to love God with all of our heart, soul, and might. Jesus quotes this command to love God and tells us it is the greatest commandment (Matt 22:37), though he adds that we are to also love God with all our mind. It is clear from Deuteronomy 6:4-9 that God’s words as taught in Scripture are to be a part of everything families do. Parents are to “teach them [God’s words] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them” whether sitting or walking or lying down or waking up. This means every aspect of parenting is to involve the Word of God, and this certainly includes how and where parents educate their children.

The New Testament reaffirms this Old Testament command, as the Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” This verse teaches us that Christian parents, particularly fathers, are given the responsibility of providing their children with a Christian education.

Every Subject in Submission to Christ

And to provide children with a Christian education means they should be taught a comprehensive biblical worldview. Every subject should be taught from a biblical perspective and in submission to the Lordship of Christ. Students should be taught about God and His work by studying the Bible, theology, and church history. But students should also be taught other important subjects—science, math, logic, literature, art, and world history—all from a biblical perspective. All subjects should have the triune God of Scripture as the foundation for all knowledge and wisdom. As Scripture says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov 1:7). If we want to teach children genuine knowledge, we must teach from a Christian foundation.

What is the alternative to providing children with a Christian education? The alternative is to provide children with a non-Christian or secular education, meaning children are trained to reason without God. Many would call this a “neutral” education, but really this should be called an atheistic education, as it teaches children that God is not necessary or even relevant to history, science, math, logic, and art. But we know that God is necessary to these subjects, as He gave us both the ability to reason and the world to study with this ability.

The Goal of Education is Moral

It must be also said that there is a moral component to education. Education is not simply the transfer of information from one individual to another. Education involves the shaping of the whole person. Children need to be taught facts, but they also need to be trained to make moral judgments about things like wars, people, and movements. For example, how ought a Christian to think about the Enlightenment? An atheist historian will evaluate the Enlightenment much differently than a Christian historian.

In conclusion, Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Ephesians 6:4 teach us that Christian children need a Christian education. Children need to be taught every subject in submission to the Lordship of Christ, and they need to be trained to live and think biblically. So when Christian parents evaluate the educational options for their children, the first question they need to ask is this—does this school provide a Christian education?