Monday, July 13, 2009

Leigh's Thesis: Chapter 2 (10)


What should be taught? (cont'd)

The entire Bible demonstrates effective educational techniques. The Old Testament gives us the grammar of His Story. The Gospels give us the understanding of His Story. The Epistles give the church the wise application of His laws and grace.

The Old Testament contains knowledge, also known as grammar—lists of laws, lists of communities, families, and individuals, and stories of tribes and individuals unable to save themselves. Then Jesus came to earth and explained that the purpose of all the lists, laws, and stories was for us to see Him.

Through parables He explained that all Old Testament knowledge only points to Him and our need for salvation. Then He left the Holy Spirit to instruct the Epistle writers and His followers, including us, on the specifics of wisely living out the lessons learned from the Old Testament stories in a way that reflects our understanding that He fulfills or completes every story.

The writing style and structure of the Old Testament is more appropriate for a young student than the deep logical arguments of Paul at the end of the Bible. Of course, all of Scripture is good, beautiful, and true for every student, but there is a definite progression of different literary styles that all curriculum developers should model.

The book of Deuteronomy is an incredible example of classical teaching techniques. It takes a set of rules (grammar), and repeats them over and over with just a slight difference every time they are retold. Memorizing Deuteronomy forces the mind to say the same verses over and over again, so we can “hide” the story in our hearts (Ps 119:11).

But once the stories of feasts, sacrifices, and rules are memorized, all the events and festivities of the Israelites take on a deeper meaning as does the law itself. We begin to understand that there is a lot of depth to the laws our forefathers impressed upon our hearts. We study how the Israelites lived them out. Failure, and then, success. Failure, and then, success.

Then Jesus comes to earth and important things happen at each feast that shows how He alone can fulfill the law and provide the sacrifice. Of course! We begin to understand that the Israelites couldn’t obey with their own strength. Then we read Paul and realize neither can we obey. We deserve to be sacrificed at each feast, but Jesus substituted himself for us. And so with a wiser and happier heart, we can take the knowledge of God’s word and His world, understand our place and His purpose for us, and wisely build a place for the Holy Spirit to dwell that bears much fruit.

The Lord has commanded all of us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Him, but He particularly instructs fathers to pass on their growing knowledge of God to their children. He has left the Spirit to equip us. He trusts us to raise godly children. He provided the church to nurture us, so we have resources when we are tired and confused or in trouble. Yet we don’t believe that it is possible to provide every believer’s child with a truly Christian education.

Copyright © 2009 by Leigh A. Bortins. All Rights Reserved

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