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Biblical References to Education

The Bible puts the parents in charge of their children's education, not the state.  State control of education is a serious violation of our Constitution, and contrary to Biblical order.  The freedom of a people will not long survive government control of education, as we are seeing in America and in the West today.  Government control means coercion -- you are forced to learn what the government (generally controlled by "special interest" groups) thinks you should learn. 

That cuts the props right out from a free-market of ideas.  Free-market education is the necessary foundation for a freemarket of ideas.  Since the covenant with God is a free-will covenant, God requires a freedom of honest education and search for truth, no coercion. 

 There is an obligation from God on parents (not government) to educate their children as instructed, but no external coercion.  The Hebrews did very poorly in this matter of educating their children.  Hardly a single king raised up faithful children, including David and Solomon. 

During the Babylonian Exile they began forming local synagogues to perpetuate their faith, which tradition they then brought back to Judah when they returned seventy years later. 

Prior to that their education seemed to consist almost entirely of occasional trips to worship at the Temple in Jerusalem built by Solomon, which, for most, was only a few times a year for major festivals.  The fruit of that was the terrible history of backsliding into paganism, we see almost from the very entry into Canaan.  With the advent of synagogues, local groups would hear the Torah read on the Sabbath, and the tradition began to grow of the fathers being the spiritual leaders of their families. 

The Hebrews were warned of the dangers of having a king, i.e., of centralized civil government (see I Samuel 8), but insisted nevertheless.  We see those sad results in almost every nation today.  Putting education in the hands of civil government puts into the hands of governors the capacity for mind-control -- the worst possible enemy of a free people.   

Here are a few quotes regarding education from the Bible (RSV unless noted).

Deuteronomy 4:8 ff.

    And what great nation is there, that has statues and ordinances so righteous as all this law which I set before you this day?

    Only take heed, and and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children's children --- how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, the Lord said to me, "Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children so....  And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and ordinances that you might do them in the land which you are going over to possess. 

Deuteronomy 6:4 ff.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.  And these word which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; 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 arise.  And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 11:7b ff. 

...for your eyes have seen all the great work of the Lord which He did.  You shall therefore keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that you may be strong, and go in and take possession of the land which you are going over to possess, and that you may live long in the land which the Lord swore to your father to give to them and to their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. 

Psalm 78:1-8  (Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, 1979, p. 694)

Hear my teaching, O my people;

    Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

I will open my mouth in a parable;

    I will declare the mysteries of ancient times.

That which we have heard and known,

        and what our forefathers have told us,

    we will not hide from their children.

We will recount to generations to come

        the praiseworthy deeds and the power of the Lord,
    and the wonderful works He has done.

He gave His decrees to Jacob

        and established a law for Israel,

    which He commanded them to teach their children;

That the generations to come might know

        and the children yet unborn'

    that they in their turn might tell it to their children;

So that they might put their trust in God,

    and not forget the deeds of God,

    but keep His commandments;

And not be like their forefathers,

        a stubborn and rebellious generation,

    a generation whose heart was not steadfast,

        and whose spirit was not faithful to God. 

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