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Bible Dictionaries

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

Education

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In early times there were no schools such as we know them today, and most children were educated at home. It was the responsibility of parents to teach their children the history and social customs of their nation, to instruct them in right living and to prepare them for adult life. This preparation involved teaching and training in reading, writing, crafts, trades and household work (Exodus 13:8; Exodus 13:14; Deuteronomy 4:9-10; Proverbs 1:8; Proverbs 4:1-9; Proverbs 31:1). In the case of Israelites, parents had a particular responsibility to teach their children the religion given them by God (Deuteronomy 6:6-9). Christian parents have a similar responsibility (Ephesians 6:4; 2 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 3:15; see FAMILY).

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People of higher social status often received a more formal education through private instructors who were appointed as the children’s guardians (2 Kings 10:1; Acts 7:22; Galatians 3:24-25). Institutions known as wisdom schools were later established for the teaching and training of upper class people in philosophical thought (Ecclesiastes 12:9; Ecclesiastes 12:11; Jeremiah 18:18; see WISDOM LITERATURE). Prophets also had schools for the training of their disciples (2 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 4:38; Isaiah 8:16; see PROPHET).

For ordinary Israelites, the highest academic instruction they received was the teaching of the law of Moses. Originally the priests were the teachers, but by New Testament times the scribes had taken over most of the teaching activity (Deuteronomy 33:10; Ezra 7:6; Ezra 7:10; Nehemiah 8:1-4; Nehemiah 8:8; Matthew 23:2-3; see SCRIBES). The power of the scribes had developed along with the establishment of places known as synagogues, which became centres of instruction for Jewish people in general (Matthew 4:23; Luke 4:16-21; see SYNAGOGUE).

Jewish men could, if they wished, receive a more thorough education in the Jewish law by becoming students of learned Jewish teachers (John 3:10; Acts 5:34; see RABBI). They usually sat at the feet of their teachers (Acts 22:3), and learnt by memorizing facts and having question-and-answer sessions with their teachers (Deuteronomy 31:19; Luke 2:46). These teachers often taught in the temple (Matthew 26:55; Luke 2:46; cf. Luke 19:47). (Concerning teachers in the church see TEACHER.)

In addition to education in this traditional religious setting, education in a Greek philosophical setting was also common in New Testament times. This created difficulties for Christians, because of the conflicts between values taught in this kind of education and values taught in Christian homes and churches (1 Corinthians 1:20-25; Colossians 2:8).

Such conflicts will always exist. Christians may consider that when a government accepts responsibility for the education of its citizens, it is fulfilling part of its God-given task. It is helping provide for society’s well-being (Romans 13:4). But this does not relieve Christian parents and church leaders of their responsibilities concerning the proper instruction, development and growth of those within their care (Ephesians 4:13-15; Ephesians 6:4; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; Hebrews 5:14; Hebrews 13:17; see also ETHICS).


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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Education'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/bbd/e/education.html. 2004.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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