Essentials of Christian Education - Lesson 9


In this lesson, you will learn the basics of Christian education, including its biblical basis, theology, philosophy, and practice. You will understand the importance of Christian education and its role in making disciples and renewing the image of God in humanity. The lesson covers critical topics such as the command to make disciples, the model of teaching by Christ, the theology of education in the Bible, the image of God, redemption and renewal, the purpose and goal of Christian education, curriculum, methods, and outcomes. At the end of the lesson, you will have a comprehensive understanding of the essentials of Christian education.

Gary Parrett
Essentials of Christian Education
Lesson 9
Watching Now

I. Introduction

A. Background

B. Purpose

C. Importance of Christian education

II. Biblical Basis of Christian Education

A. Command to make disciples

B. Christ's Model of Teaching

C. Theology of Education in the Bible

III. Theology of Christian Education

A. Image of God

B. Redemption and Renewal

C. Purpose of Christian Education

IV. Philosophy of Christian Education

A. What is Education?

B. What is Christian Education?

C. Goal of Christian Education

V. Practice of Christian Education

A. Curriculum

B. Methods

C. Outcomes

VI. Conclusion

A. Recap

B. Next Steps

  • The lesson covers all aspects of Christian education.
  • This lesson provides insight into the misconceptions about Christian Education and the true nature of it, including its definition, relationship with the Bible, and role of teachers and parents.
  • This lesson provides knowledge and insight on the essentials of Christian education, including its biblical basis, characteristics, and challenges.
  • This lesson provides an overview of the essentials of Christian education, including its biblical basis, goals, models, and challenges.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the essence and significance of Christian education, its biblical basis, and different approaches to imparting education in a Christian context.
  • The lesson explains the significance of timing in Christian education through a biblical and pedagogical perspective, including the importance of God's perfect timing and student readiness, biblical examples, and personal application.
  • This lesson covers the basics of Christian education, including the target audience and what is taught, and the methods used to teach it.
  • The lesson teaches about the various ways and places in which education can take place as a Christian, including at home, in the community of faith, and in the world.
  • This lesson covers the basics of Christian education, including its biblical basis, theology, philosophy, and practice, and its role in making disciples and renewing the image of God in humanity.

How do you communicate the gospel within the setting of a church? Who are you teaching? What are you teaching? Why? These questions and more are answered in a way that will help you train up people in your local congregation, and especially train up the next generation.

These lectures are a summary of the full course, Educational Ministry of the Church. It is an introductory level course to the ministry of education within the church. These lectures were recorded by Biblical Training during the summer of 2003.

Dr. Gary Parrett

Essentials of Christian Education



Lesson Transcript


The final question we look at is the WHO question. And again, as we said before, the WHO question can be looked at on a three levels. First, whose job is it to teach? And then secondly, how do we organize these various persons involved in teaching ministry? And thirdly, who do these people need to be in terms of character in order to teach most effectively? Let's look briefly at some of these. The WHO question, again is is reminding us of the importance of contact and personal ministry that where there's not real face to face, person to person, heart to heart contact, real discipleship can't occur. Jesus ultimately called his disciples to be with him in Luke. When Jesus calls the 12, it says He call them first of all, to be with him. And that's part of the fundamental features of Christian education as we be with people. Christian education is more than simply giving a book to someone or a tape or a video and saying, Here's the content you need to know. Christian education is about discipleship, and discipleship involves relationship. So in the Bible, first of all, who is charged with the task of Christian education? Some important texts for us. Deuteronomy Chapter six, especially verses one through nine and again in Deuteronomy Chapter 11, it's clear that the biblical understanding is that parents will teach their children in Deuteronomy six. The text says that the commandments, the statutes must be learned. How are they learned by speaking about them in all circumstances and environments? But among those circumstances are talk about them when you lie down and when you rise up. Impress these things upon your children. When you walk upon the road. The whole picture is certainly a picture in which parents are engaging their children and parents are are seen in the Old Testament and throughout Jewish history. Parents are understood as the primary teachers of their children in terms of the faith, and fathers are uniquely charged with the Office of Teacher in terms of their children. The New Testament picks up on this right away in Paul's right in Ephesians chapter six, verse four, when he says that fathers must raise their children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Fathers and mothers parents are the first Christian educators in the church. And one of the great misconceptions of Christian education today is that is the task of the local church leadership primarily. Sunday school teachers will teach my children No Christian educators at church at best can supplement and complement and support what parents will do at home. Of course, that means that if parents are not Christians and people are in the church whose parents are not Christians, the church has a special burden upon them to try to fill in the gap and to do everything possible to help those parents become Christians and thus become the parents that they were called to be. Because Christian education has to be the job of parents first and foremost, to start to simply pragmatic level. Think about hours per week. If we send kids to church for one hour or 2 hours, 3 hours, 4 hours a week, maybe that that may be significant, but it's by no means comparable to the multiple hours spent in the home. What someone may learn at church in terms of a few things that are told them or they experience in different settings will not have the same kind of impact as what's learned by the modeling in the home, by the environment, in the home. So churches should be, first of all, calling parents to their biblical responsibility, but not not simply calling them to that, doing everything possible to encourage them in that and equip them in that It'd be wise for church to have frequent pastors or parents seminars, classes that are aimed on helping parents do a better job, a more effective job of parenting their children, and walking alongside parents in the difficult times when things are not going well with their kids and helping them encourage them through that. The parents are biblical teachers, but not only parents. Pastors are called to teach, as we saw before. A lot of pastors think Christian education is not really in their domain right now. But biblically, I think certainly pastors are called to teach and they are key educators in the church in the history of the church. And I think this is the biblical understanding to the way that these two relate. Parents and pastors would primarily be that pastors were perceived as the key teachers when the community is gathered together and the adults will learn from the most part from their pastors and then would go into the home where in the home the parents would in turn teach their children. Pastors in the New Testament, I would argue, are equivalent to the term for Elder. Pastors and elders, I think is one New Testament office. And as we see in the writings of Paul and first Timothy three and Titus chapter one. Elders must be able to teach. We also read from Ephesians chapter four, verse 11, that pastor teacher was an office that was given by God to the church for the sake of equipping the church for ministry. So pastors must teach, not asserting the authority of parents, but in partnership with parents and probably, again, ideally, pastors focusing attention on raising levels of knowledge and understanding of the faith of parents, and then spurring on and encouraging and supporting parents as they raise their own children in the home and the admonition nurture of the faith. Another biblical examples of who must teach that we could point to gifted teacher Paul speaks in First Corinthians 12 and 14, and the Bible also speaks elsewhere about the spiritual gift of teaching. The supposition is that there are some who may not be in the office of elder or pastor or apostle, and yet are still called to teach, gifted uniquely to teach. Hopefully those who are involved in the various teaching ministries of our church have teaching gifts of one form or another. And if some are teaching who don't have teaching gifts, maybe that's necessary in some circumstances for a short period of time. But we should move toward identifying those with gifts of teaching and encouraging them to do that work. Another category of teachers in the church is the category of mature believers who will teach less mature believers. For example, end of Hebrews five, beginning of Hebrews six. That whole discussion where Paul says in the negative that his readers should be able to teach others but still find themselves in need of being taught all over again the basics of the faith. Well, implied in that is that as we grow in Christ, the more mature we become, the more we will be able to teach others. Titus Chapter two. Paul says to Titus that the older woman in the congregation should be teaching the younger women in the congregation. Or second. Timothy two two. When Paul says things that you have heard from me and trust to reliable men who will be able to teach others. So one of the ongoing principles in Christian education is that those who have grown and matured in the faith should love and care for those who are coming up along behind them, the less mature and younger in the faith and take them under their wings and teach them, disciple them and mentor them. Still more categories of teaching in the Bible. There is certainly, in addition to all of these, there is a command that we teach one another in the church. There's a sense in which every member of the body is called to the teaching ministry of the church, not just the leaders, not just the older members, but all of us. For the Scripture says that we are to let the Word of Christ while richly in our midst. Colossians Chapter 316. As we teach and admonish one another, or as Paul says in Ephesians five 1819, we are filled by the Holy Spirit as we speak to one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. So there is a one another component of our teaching ministry. And finally, there's also the responsibility that we build up ourselves in the whole holy faith. Build yourself up in the most holy faith, the Scriptures say. So not only should we be looking to others to provide input into our lives, but we must take responsibility for ourselves as in Second Peter Chapter one. When Peter urges his readers to add to their faith, goodness and to their goodness knowledge and to their knowledge of self-control, we must all take responsibility for our own faith as well. So lots of people engaged biblically in the task of education. We can certainly think of others, but ultimately all human teachers submit themselves to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the true teacher in the Christian Education Ministry of the Church. Jesus made that clear in John Chapter 14 through 16, when He promised that though he was leaving us to return to his father, he would pray the father and the father would send another counselor. The spirit of truth would be with us and in us forever. And he's call the spirit of Truth. And he's promised to be the one who would guide us into all truth. John picks up that language in First John chapter one when he says Every believer has an anointing from the Holy One, from the Holy Spirit, and we know the truth because of that anointing from the Spirit. The Spirit is the true teacher. St Augustine's, a marvelous human teacher, urged that all human. Teachers would constantly understand that they are not the true teacher, that the Holy Spirit is the true teacher. And for August. And that meant that even as I teach, I need to be also a petitioner and a hearer. I need to be a hearer. That is, even though I am purporting to teach others, I must be a hero or a learner myself, eager to learn. Constantly growing because the teacher is ministering in my life as well as through my life. And he said, I must be a petitioner that is a praying person. I must pray constantly that God would teach the people I'm teaching. Because if indeed the Holy Spirit is the true teacher, then even if I talk to I'm blue in the face, that's not efficacious. The Spirit of God has to teach. So I'm on my knees praying as Paul models for us throughout his letters. Think how often Paul begins his letters with prayers and fact in many cases. After soon after the greeting, he launches into a lengthy prayer or a profound prayer for the sake of those that he's writing to. That seems to be Paul's norm, unless he's really mad. If he's really mad, he just yells at them like he does in Galatians Chapter one. But typically he prays for them, as in the beautiful prayers of Ephesians one, Ephesians three, Philippians one, Colossians one. Paul prays for them. Beautiful prayers. May the eyes of your heart be opened. May you have power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. May you grow in the knowledge of God. Prayers like that. May you bear fruit in every good work to the glory of God. Paul prayed these things because he understood that the true teacher, in spite of all of his efforts, was the Holy Spirit. And in fact, even in his own explanation of his teaching ministry. Colossians 128 As we saw, I teach and admonish all men so that I may present all complete in Christ. He says that I do this with the energy that he works so powerfully in me. So even as I teach, it's by the empowering of the spirit that I teach, and it's only by the gifting of the spirit. The knowledge that I have is only my knowledge because the spirit gives me that knowledge. First Corinthians two Apart from the Spirit of God, it's all foolishness to us as we look at the Scriptures. So Christian teachers must be utterly dependent on the Ministry of the Holy Spirit, and we should be very clear about that. We won't take the time to speak about those other aspects that concern how to organize the various teachers. But just his final words on the character of the teacher in addition to be being dependent upon the Ministry of the Holy Spirit in our life, Christian teachers must understand that the conduct of our life is going to be more important than the content. Explicit content of our teaching is simply is a reality about how people learn. They learn more from watching and seeing things modeled than they do from all the things that we will say to them. Paul therefore could say to the Corinthians Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ. It's a bold statement and Paul can make it without claiming, in any case, in any way to be perfect. But his claim is this I am following. I am pressing on after Christ, and as I follow him, you follow me. And that's the bold declaration that all in Christian education should be aiming to make. Follow me as I follow the example of Christ. As an old poem goes, someone has said I would rather see a sermon than here one any day. I'd rather have you walk with me than simply point the way. And the reality is people are learning by watching us. Modeling is absolutely critical. Richard Baxter of the Great Periods and Pastor warned his fellow pastors in his famous address that's available to us in the book called The Reformed Pastor about these things. And Baxter said, Take heed to yourself lest you unsay with your lives all that you have said with your mouth and become yourself the greatest hindrance to your ministry. And there's a good word for us to end on as we think about the Ministry of Christian Education. Be careful that we live the things that we profess lest we unsay with our lives. All that we've said with our mouth and become great hinders of our own ministries. Well, there's a brief overview then of our seven questions an introduction to the Teaching Ministry of the Church.