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We sorely need a definition of education. Is it the dissemination of data, facts to fill student heads? Or should it be wise information to learn how to live?
Why do we need a definition of education? Because we are discussing practical Bible wisdom. Simply put, those three words, plus moral, summarize an excellent definition of education. I suppose I could end the blog post right here :), but we need to give some Bible corroboration to this definition of education.
After all, isn’t the Bible, at worst, just an archaic collection of imaginative myths, and, at best, an outdated record of a few historical nations and people? Let’s put both those ideas to rest and reveal how and why the Bible gives the definition of education, which is 21st century up-to-date. We need both facts for a prosperous professional life and wisdom for a peaceful social and spiritual life. If you don’t care for the term spiritual, then substitute peace of mind, I believe everyone can live with that.
We’re giving this definition of education in a specific context. Practical Bible wisdom for all people worldwide, regardless of nationality, language, gender, age, religion or any other nomenclature we use to divide and group humans. Humanity is one race with the same modus operandi worldwide. We differ in traditions, beliefs, customs and many other areas just as you can have huge political or religious differences splitting any family. Nonetheless, it’s still one family.
The state of moral education today is in shambles, particularly in the West where we’ve abdicated our appropriate authority role as parents. We’ve handed the responsibility to other authorities, namely schooling, which is ill-equipped to instill morals by the time children reach class-going age. Here’s a definition of education and its in tight straights.
Here’s a practical definition of education from the start, in Genesis, throughout the Old Testament and into the New Testament. Here are the first instructions God gave the first man and woman.
God’s Education to Adam and Eve
Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:
He told them what their occupations would be. 1. Develop socially in the family of humankind. 2 Subdue Earth encompasses their professional lives. They are managers of Earth’s resources. Think about it. Those two activities are identical to our 21st century vocations: family and profession. We do not differ from Adam and Eve. Those are our occupations. Is there any direction, the definition of education, we are to follow as guidelines? Yes, there are.
15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shalt not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.
The definition of education is twofold.
- God is the basis and focal point of education
- Moral choices for our own well-being and that of others comes first.
- God is the foundation and all-in-all definition of education.
This blog post cannot develop the meaning of Gen. 2:15. At first reading is appears God named Adam chief landscaper, grass-cutter, and gardener in the Garden of Eden 🙂 Not so, read this post to understand. “Dress it and keep it” means “serve and obey, the ‘it’ points to God.” That’s the foundation of the definition of education. The first words of wisdom of King Solomon in Proverbs corroborate this basis for education.
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
Fear refers to the deep respect all humans should have for God. Of course, that’s not the case today. Humankind does not know their true origin. Their definition of education is askew, instead of God being the foundation it is scholars and diplomas, erudite knowledge. There is a place for that, but it is not the start of proper education.
2. Moral choices to guide us toward life and away from death
We can eat from ALL trees, first choice, with one exception (second choice), the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which leads to death. Both choices are permanently in front of us.
The full definition of education is teaching and learning how to make life-giving moral choices to progress in our family (social) and professional (subdue the Earth) lives based on the respect of God, the beginning of all knowledge.
To press home this definition, to help you realize this is Bible wisdom, we’re going to follow the lives of some key Bible personalities. We’re going to see the primary role this Godly definition of education played in their lives.
God’s Education to Noah
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.
15 And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.
22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
7:1 And the LORD said to Noah, Come you and all your house into the ark; for you have I seen righteous (H6662) before me in this generation.
צַדִּיק tsaddîyq tsad-deek’; from H6663 (צָדַק); just:
KJV – just, lawful, righteous (man).
צָדַק tsâdaq tsaw-dak’; a primitive root; to be (causatively, make) right (in a moral or forensic sense):
KJV – cleanse, clear self, (be, do) just(-ice, -ify, -ify self), (be turn to) righteous(-ness).
The definition of education includes both the teaching and learning. An identifying sign of God’s servants is their preaching in conformity with the Tree of Life. God’s moral code in social and professional affairs that leads to peace and prosperity, abundant life, here and now and in the future.
5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher (G2783) of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
κήρυξ kērux kay’-roox; From G2784; a herald that is of divine truth (especially of the gospel):
KJV – preacher.
A herald is an instructor with a message. A righteous herald is someone who knows and practices the Godly definition of education.
God’s Education to Abraham
Following Noah, the next milestone servant of God is Abraham. He is a key figure in God’s plan because he is the father of the faithful. The profoundness of this phrase needs expansion, but one quality included in the faith of faithful is his understanding of the necessity to teach God’s moral code of ethics. In the next two contexts, we first see God preaching/teaching to Abraham who then transmits God’s knowledge to his family.
6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
7 Know you therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel to Abraham, saying, In you shall all nations be blessed.
17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;
18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he has spoken of him.
The definition of education is not only WHAT education is, but its continuity down through the generations. All the nations are to be blessed in Abraham. They will obtain this blessing only because the same gospel is preached to them and because they have the same acceptance as Abraham did. This is prophetic. What we should retain is the Godly definition of education is regardless of gender, nation, culture, traditions, creed, generation, and beliefs. It is the same Godly education for everyone at all times. Practical Bible wisdom is the same for peoples today as it was in the time of Moses.
God’s Education to Moses
After educating Abraham and he, his family, that education went on until Joseph became a great leader in Egypt. With a change in Pharaoh, Israel’s fate changed radically and over the 430 years of captivity (Exodus 12:40-41) God’s education was lost. With the arrival and 40 year preparation of Moses, the definition of education, God’s way, could again be applied. This time, not to an individual and his family (Abraham) but to the entirety of his descendants. A nation.
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
5 And thou shall love the LORD thy God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
6 And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart:
7 And 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 up.
8 And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
9 And you shall write them upon the posts of your house, and on your gates.
Note the education of Israel contained the same content as that of Adam, Noah, and Abraham. “Love the Lord” is first, the beginning of practical Bible wisdom. The presence and continuity of God’s education is assured by the teaching to the future generations and its presence at frontlets and on doorposts. Jewish people still practice this today with Tefiliin and the Mezuzah. According to the New Covenant definition of education, the law is now written in our minds. As with them, God’s education is permanently with us.
God’s Education disseminated by the Priests (Kohanim) and Levites
God set aside an entire tribe, the descendants of Levi, to be the teachers of Israel. The Levites had various professions and tasks. But one of their primary roles was education. It was their responsibility alongside the Priests to give Israel God’s instructions, His education.
Studying this aspect of the Levites, their role as educators is an exciting and stimulating dive into the definition of education in the Old Testament. I leave this study up to you. Remember UnlockBibleMeaning.com with an online concordance can help you easily locate verses and context to bolster this study.
The point I’d like to emphasize here goes beyond just God’s education. It is the choice of an entire tribe, about one twelfth of the population for God’s service primarily to make sure that His education was available throughout the nation. From North to South and from East to West.
The point being if you want a vast number of people to follow God’s education, you must have sufficient qualified teachers versed in God’s definition of education.
Practical Bible wisdom points out In Old Testament time, that lot fell to the Levites and Levitical Priesthood.
God’s Education to Kings David and Solomon
We cannot omit them, for at least two reasons.
- They are the author’s, inspired by God, of Psalms and Proverbs. These books are the epitome of the practical definition of education under the Old Covenant. These words define God’s lifestyle for His people. And much further than that. They define God’s lifestyle for ALL peoples EVERYWHERE on planet Earth. It is in Proverbs we find the verse I quoted earlier, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.”
Fools despise this practical wisdom and instruction, with the catastrophic results we have in our 21st century society in the social family and environmental management fields. The Explanation has written extensively about the content of Proverbs. It carries practical wisdom for all peoples. It is God’s definition of education to clothe all of humankind in peace and prosperity. If only humanity would apply it.
To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings (H2420).
Note the meaning of dark sayings translated elsewhere, hard questions.
חִידָה chîydâh khee-daw’; from H2330 (חוּד); a puzzle, hence, a trick, conundrum, sententious maxim:
KJV – dark saying (sentence, speech), hard question, proverb, riddle.
There are many hard questions in life. We’d also call them the Big questions of life. There’s so much confusion in Science, Philosophy, and Religion regarding such answers. Practical wisdom is not in those disciplines. It is in the Theology of the Bible, God’s Word, His definition of education.
2. The second reason for including these servants of God and their books is because of the management of Earth’s resources. Both were men animated by God’s will. Solomon was extremely rich, maybe the richest man to have ever lived. God gave him the wisdom to know how to rule over such riches. Proverbs gives many hints the rich should have in their approach to their money and belongings.
Christ’s definition of Education
The teachings of Christ are innumerable. He is the Word who taught the Word. Not only by the spoken word, but by His living example. He is The Teacher.
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
He is the Teacher of a universal education to ALL peoples of all languages and origins. I’d have to verify this more closely, but I don’t think any other religious or spiritual leader destined their teachings for a worldwide audience. Jesus Christ did. He gave the definitions of education, the example of education for each person who has ever walked the face of this Earth.
But there is another aspect to Christ’s Teacher experience. He specially chose and trained twelve Apostles. He spent 3 1/2 years with them, day and night. They were impregnated with His approach, answers, analysis and awe. Why did Jesus put so much effort into creating this tight group of followers?
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
The twelve Apostles represent the core of teachers that will set the stage of a future worldwide teaching program. The basis of this education is “Teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” It is the two great commandments. Love God and love your neighbor and the entire way of life, in the form of all the law that results from the knowledge of God.
Verse 20 sets the standard for the definition of education. Education God’s way.
God’s Education to the Apostles and His Church
In the Old Testament, when God preached the Gospel to Abraham (Gal. 3:8 above) his symbol of acceptance was the circumcision of himself and the males in his household. God taught the Gospel to Abraham. It is the same as the Apostle’s teaching, “repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins.” Repent is the equivalent of saying, “there’s a moral code you’ve transgressed, it’s now time to turn your life around. Observe the things I’ve commanded you” Baptism is the symbol of the water burial or death of one’s past sinful life and the acceptance or coming out of the watery grave to a new righteous life according to God’s definition of education.
God’s Education to His Church Today
We’ve gone from Adam and Eve to the 21st century with God’s definition of education. In essence, it has not changed. It’s always been for all peoples everywhere. It’s always been teach and do what I, God, command you.
Unfortunately, there are many teachers-pastors teaching the WRONG way, leading the flock astray. Peter gives a stern warning to false teachers and teachings.
1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not.
We are to study to show ourselves approved, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). We are to hold fast to the word (1 Cor 15:1-3). This is the definition of education. Why is it so important? Because is has great impact on the future, and for all eternity.
God’s Education in the future
Some wonder, why doesn’t God Return NOW?! When Christ returns, there will be millions and millions of people of all nations on Earth who do not know Him or anything about Him. Each one is going to need personalized help. That help will be in the form of teaching. Not just anything, but the Godly definition of teaching as practiced from the Creation by God’s servants.
To teach millions, you’ve got to have a core of multi-thousands of trained and qualified teachers. God prepared teachers in the Old Covenant era, but it speeds up with Christ, the Apostles and the establishment of His Church. That group of priest-teachers is growing, It has to reach an optimum number of people who’ve shown God, by their belief and actions, they will be faithful to His Gospel message throughout eternity. This is the growing group with Christ at the summit as Top Teacher.
If you don’t have that core ready and equipped, you’ll have nothing but confusion, which is exactly what we have today. Then, it will be a different and wonderfully exciting story. Let the prophet Isaiah give you a glimpse.
18 And therefore will the LORD wait (Sam. during this waiting time, teacher training is on-going), that he may be gracious to you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy on you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.
19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: you shall weep no more: he will be very gracious to you at the voice of your cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer you.
20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not your teachers be removed into a corner any more, but your eyes shall see your teachers:
21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk you in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left.
God can raise up teachers from stones. But He will not. He will have a core of Godly trained teachers. That’s one of the reason for the present dispensation. You can join His team, under His conditions.
The words of Elihu are a fitting conclusion. “That which I see not teach you (God) me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more,” (Job 34:32). An appropriate definition of education.
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