Educational Ministry of the Church - Lesson 5

OT to NT

Instructions for spiritual education from passages in the Old Testament and New Testament.

Gary Parrett
Educational Ministry of the Church
Lesson 5
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OT to NT

A Historical Survey of Christian Education

Part 1

I.  Jewish Old Testament Teaching

A.  Deuteronomy 6:1-9

B.  Deuteronomy 11:1-21

C.  Judges 2:10-12

D.  Psalm 78:1-8

E.  Torah

F.  Derek

II.  New Testament

A.  Home centered

B.  Ephesians 6:4

C.  Acts 2:42

D. Ephesians 5:18-21

E. Colossians 3:16

  • Seven questions that provide a framework for choosing and implementing curriculum.

  • Our misconceptions about Christian education can cause us to choose poor or inaccurate content and use ineffctive strategies.

  • The three essential tasks of the Church are worship, outreach and teaching.

  • Christian formation focuses on the process of becoming more like Christ.

  • Instructions for spiritual education from passages in the Old Testament and New Testament.

  • History of Christian education from the early church to modern Sunday school.

  • The Heidelberg Catechism provides essential elements for a Christian education curriculum.

  • The Torah contains the essence of what God wants us to know. Jesus clarifies and exemplifies the Torah.

  • A CORE curriculum should be Comprehensive, Orthodox, Reforming and focused on Essentials. Delivery systems may include bible studies, small groups, Sunday school and sermons.

  • The Ten Commandments are the basis for Old Testament Law and the core teaching of the New Testament.

  • Tailoring curriculum by taking into peoples' physical and spiritual developmental stages can make teaching more effective.

  • Tailoring curriculum by taking into peoples' physical and spiritual developmental stages can make teaching more effective.

  • A key element for effective education to take place is for teachers to know their students relationally.

  • Effective teachers know their audience and avoid attitudes and expressions that would create obstacles to communication.

  • Asking the right questions about the curriculum and the audience can help you identify what information to emphasize and how to present it effectively.

  • How you define teaching determines content and strategy.

  • Effective teaching engages the whole person.

  • When preparing curriculum, an effective teacher will take into account both the content and the audience.

  • Many people fill the role of teacher in your life at different times and in various ways.

  • Christian education involves recruiting, training, modeling, organizing and supporting people who volunteer to teach.

  • Being trained in skills for conflict resolution helps you to have realistic expectations and gives you the tools you need to effectively resolve situations as they arise.

Through this course, you will gain a deep understanding of the educational ministry of the church, its foundations, principles of teaching and learning, and the development of an effective educational ministry. You will also explore strategies for different age groups, including children, youth, and adults, and learn how to address contemporary issues such as cultural relevance, technology, media, and special needs inclusivity.

Educational Ministry of the Church 
Dr. Gary Parrett 
OT to NT 
Lesson Transcript


I want to look at the why question a little bit further today. And the way we're going to do it this morning as we continue is trace through some key historical understandings of forming people and shaping people as believers. We're actually going to start by looking at the Old Testament and the practices of Israel and even modern Judaism in shaping people. We spent most of our time in the Scriptures last night on the New Testament, but really the New Testament emphases are not a radical departure from what was already clearly deposited in the Old Testament scriptures. And so there are a number of key Old Testament passages that illuminate our task of building lovers of God and lovers of neighbor. Those are that whole goal of loving God and loving neighbor that's from the mouth of Jesus, just lifted from the Scriptures, His scriptures, the Hebrew Scriptures, taking out Deuteronomy six five and coupling it with Leviticus 1918. We have the two great commandments. Let's look at several passages together. Have your Bibles out, please. And let's start by having everybody look at this passage. Deuteronomy Chapter six verses one through nine. Deuteronomy 6139. These are the commands, decrees and laws. The Lord, your God directed me to teach you, to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all His decrees and commands that I give you so that you may enjoy long life here or Israel and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you, that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey.


Just as the Lord, the God of your father's promised you here, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one love, the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road. When you lie down. When you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your forehands. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. Amen. This is a key passage in the Old Testament and in Jewish understandings about education and faith training. There's a parallel kind of passage in Deuteronomy 11 verses one through 21, but keep the 6139 passage in front of you. This is a great spot to linger. And from this one passage, we can look at a number of those key questions that we have posed for this class. For example, what's the answer to the why question? Why is it that this teaching was to occur in Deuteronomy six? Do you find some answers there? But through the verses, what do you see? Yeah, part of the reason why you're to teach these things is so that it may go well with you when you enter the land that I'm giving you to possess, that you may live long in the land and prosper in the land. And again, our tendency might be to think because we're trained this way, the you is a singular concern here. That's not the thought that it may go well with you as a people, as a community of faith. When you enter the land, what else may enter into the why question? Why else do we teach? To what end? What? What's the point here that you may go well with you and you may live long? It may as a people, again, not just individually, but as the people you will live long in the land that you're entering, that you may fear the Lord.


That's a very important goal of teaching. In fact, in some ways we're going to find that to be part of the the overriding concern for training and the Jewish thinking. People who fear the Lord revere him, honor him, what else? That something may happen that can be passed on from generation to generation. That's an important theme in the Old Testament. We'll see more of that. Anything else? Fear the Lord. And let's well, let's add to the idea of fear the Lord, the idea of love, the Lord loving the Lord also is clearly part of the goal and part of what is aimed at fear. The Lord love the Lord obedience, teach so that they may obey Him, and that we have right at the heart of this that coupling of verses six, four and five, six, four is six, four is the in the most is the most strict definition of what's called the shamar of Israel. There are some different understandings of what the shamar incorporates, but in the most narrow sense the Shamar is Deuteronomy six four Here on Israel. The first letter first word in the Hebrew is the imperative form of the verb Shamar. It's shamar here. Listen Hiro Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And that's coupled with. Verse five You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul. Mine is strength. It's interesting. We see a pattern here of something that's a profound truth and a fundamental and foundational truth. The Lord, our God, the Lord is one. And flowing from that foundational truth comes the appropriate imperative. Since that is true, since God alone is God and He is the God of Israel, Yahweh is God, therefore you must love Him and Him along with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.


And that goal of loving God, fearing God, obeying God really sums up the big picture of the why question. The the benefits of that are numerous for us. But what we aim at, what the Jewish father was aiming at in teaching the child would have been a life of revering God. Look at some of the other questions here. What is to be taught in Deuteronomy six? What's the heart of the teaching? Right at the very outset it says in verse three, Isn't it these commands or excuse me, verse one, these commands and decrees and laws you are directed to teach, I'm giving you teach them and observe them and obey them, impress them upon your children, he says later. What is it? This verse six These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. What commandments? Well, it probably is a whole bunch of things that we can incorporate there, but certainly it would include verse or chapter five of Deuteronomy, what shows up in chapter five, the Ten Commandments. So part of this would certainly be meaning at a minimum, the Ten Commandments are to be upon your hearts. Not only that, but especially that. And these are to be impressed upon your children. Just briefly, what would we say about the how question? How are these things to be taught? Yeah, just be creative. Come up with as many ways you can do to do it and do it in ways that hit more than just one. One of the senses talk about them. So there's a conversational element about this, and it's not just lecture your children about this, but talk with your children about these things. And also it says write them on the doorframe of your houses and even tie them as symbols on your hands.


The idea is a variety of approaches and make this a key emphasis related to the question The where question. Where is this teaching appropriate? Yeah, home especially. But everywhere. Everywhere, everywhere you can. We could get the same idea with the when question. When do we teach this stuff? Every time you get a chance. When do you start? The younger, the better. Continuity is strongly emphasized here, but sees every teachable moment. That would have been the understanding here, sees every teachable moment. On the issue of the whom question Whom are we teaching? Who is the special, especially in view here? There's a special emphasis here on children. There's a special emphasis on children. The whole community is being called to know these things and obey these things. But there's a special emphasis on children. And finally, the WHO question who's the teachers? Who's to do this? Teaching parents? Only the parents. I think it'd be hard to say. Only the parents, but clearly, especially the parents, we might add to the mix the whole idea of the community. The whole community was responsible for all the children of the community. And watch out again for our tendency to read this and privatize it. There's clearly a focus on what's going to say, a focus on the family, but it sounds like a commercial answer. There's clearly a focus on families, and you can see that because it talks. It says talk to your children when they sit at home, when they walk along the road, when you lie down, when you get up, something parents alone have access to. But on the other hand, there is there is clearly in Israel's understanding, there's a corporate responsibility. The community is responsible for all the children. Remember that African proverb that became famous in America through a Hillary Clinton book some years ago? It takes a village to raise a child.


And then the Republican convention came back with Bob Dole saying, it doesn't take a village, it takes a family to raise a child. They turn this into some good politics. But biblically, I think you would say it's a both and not an either or. Fundamentally, it takes a family. But there is a family of faith as well, and there is a community. So Deuteronomy six is very significant for us. Keep this particularly in mind that the goal of the teaching is the fear of God and the love of God, the fear of God, the love of God, obedience to God. A couple of other key Old Testament passages that set things up for us, and we'll talk about some of these features. Of Hebrew education in different ways. Judges Chapter two from Deuteronomy. Of course, we go into Joshua, and Joshua replaces Moses as leader of Israel, and Moses leads them out of Egypt. Joshua leads them into the Promised Land, and Joshua charges them before his death as they are being settled in the Promised land that they must choose which gods they will serve, whether the gods from beyond the river or the gods of this new land that they've lived in, or the Lord God. And then when Joshua departs, we have the sad history recorded in the Book of Judges, where basically the answer is they didn't choose the Lord. So judges, chapter two starting at verse ten. This is after Joshua's death. After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers. Another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord. They served the bails. They forsook the Lord. Verse 12. They forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers who had brought them out of Egypt.


And they followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the Lord to anger because they forsook him and served bail in the ash trusts and in his anger against Israel, the Lord handed them over to the Raiders who plundered them. This is a very sad passage in Israel's history, and particularly I'm always struck by verse ten. A whole generation that had passed away is followed by a generation that grows up, and what is said about them is says they knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. It doesn't say only that the subsequent generation did not know the Lord. If that's all it said, perhaps we could say, Well, you know, there's never any guarantee that one generation will be followed by a generation of people that really know the Lord. Back to the history of Christianity is full of this kind of story of very spiritual generation B being followed by a not so spiritual generation. And we could do everything right as parents, and it would not be any guarantee that our kids will grow up as we would have them grow up lovers of God. In the end, someone had said this way the end. God has no grandchildren and none of us will stand before him and call him Grandfather. We'll have to know him as father ourselves. And my parents can raise me in the fear and admonition of the Lord. But I have to put my my own faith in the Lord. So we could say, well, you know, there's no guarantee, but it doesn't say only they did not know the Lord. What else didn't they know? They didn't know what God had done for Israel. And if the parental failure wasn't evident in that first phrase, I think it is evident here that something had not been passed.


And we talked about that as a key emphasis from Deuteronomy six. Something been passed on from generation to generation. Something had not been passed on. The generation that had more firsthand experience of the mighty deeds of the Lord had not pass them on to the generation. And this had becomes a really dark statement in judges. And it's it's a it's a challenge to all of us who would seek to love the Lord, the challenge to make sure that we do whatever we can do to let our generations that follow us have a knowledge of the Lord, at least the knowledge of what he has done. Look at judges, too, in light of this passage, or look at Psalm 78 in light of judges to maybe I should say. And let's turn to Psalm 70 and another passage that I've asked you to consider memorizing Psalm 78 verses one through eight. It's a lengthy passage, but let's just focus on these eight versus the Psalms lengthy, but we'll just take the first eight. All my people here, my teaching, listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth and parables. I will utter hidden things, things from of old, what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children. We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children so that the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born. And they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds, but would keep his commands and they would not be like their forefathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation whose hearts were not loyal to God, who spirits were not faithful to him.


And in almost hearing the words of the psalmist at this point, sort of reflections on that kind of history that we just read about judges, too, and a resolution, that this will not happen again. It will not occur. On our watch. We will not let this happen. And part of that resolution of passing this faith on from generation to generation includes some specific reference, once again to the what question, What are we going to teach our children? What are we going to teach from generation to generation? As I look at these verses, there are a couple of things that we could point out, but especially to jump out at me. Two things that Osama says We must make sure we pass out from generation to generation. What are they? Yeah, the mighty deeds of God. The glorious deeds of God. Mighty works of God. What else? There's another one. I call that one of the two key ingredients. And the other, I would say is begins down in verse five. He decreed statutes. For Israel, for Jacob, an established law in Israel which he commanded our for fathers to teach their children. So there is a coupling here of two key things that were to be passed on. On the one hand, they were to teach the law of God, just like we saw in Deuteronomy chapter six. But on the other hand, they were to teach the mighty deeds of God, the mighty deeds of God, what God had done for Israel. The very thing that was neglected in judges. Chapter two what God decrees, what God has done. As I think about this problem that happens often in the church of one generation, not giving rise to another godly generation, I actually think that there's some wisdom for us here.


And a few months ago I was reading this and I was really struck by my own failure in this regard. I am what you would call probably a first generation Christian, in a sense, who wasn't raised in a Christian home, became born again when I was about 16 years old. And for me, God's safe saving work in my life was very powerful and transformative. I was delivered from some great visible sense, but I was delivered from a heart of genuine hostility towards my neighbor, for example. And I was a bitter and angry young man, and God rescued me from that. So his saving work for me was a mighty deed. But now, as a Christian parent, it's so interesting to see what happens as a Christian parent that what was powerfully redemptive in my life and a magnification of the grace of God saving me from from from a heart of sin in my life very easily becomes reduced to just teaching statutes and commandments to my child. And so she grows up wanting to raise her up, as I ought to raise her up, and the fear and admonition of the Lord. I give her fear and I give her admonition and I give her commandments and I give her statutes. That's what I give her. And I was cut. Upon reflection on this passage some months ago with how much of I told my daughter of the mighty works of God. Now, we might take that to say, Well, go back and teach the good old Bible stories. There's a great place to do it. But what about the mighty works of guys that are that are still going on today? Have I taught my daughter about that? I experienced them firsthand how God rescued me and redeemed me.


But if I taught my daughter about God's mighty work in my own life and about God's mighty work in the rest of the world, if I don't, I think it's very easy for that next generation to grow up with a view of Christianity, which is simply do's and don'ts. Do's and don'ts. Do this. Don't do that. So I thought to test this this idea at one time on my my daughter, I came home from a visit to a hospital where a student of mine who is a doctor ministry student, had come to Boston to have his daughter, his younger daughter have surgery. She was having surgery on her brain. And I visited the hospital to see the family and the daughter was just a blessing. She was spunky little thing and was recovering quickly from the surgery. But I had a great chance to just talk to this demon student, and he was telling me about his church down south where God has filled their pews with people who are being delivered from drug addiction and life of prostitution and the great mighty deeds of God going on in that church. So I was came back from that hospital visit. I had my wife and my daughter sitting beside me and I thought, well, let me seize upon this opportunity to tell my daughter some of the mighty deeds of God because I've reduced my faith sometimes just do's and don'ts and statutes and commandments. So I started telling her about this, and I said, Honey, do you know that? God, this is the kind of God that we are serving and loving and kind of God who delivers people from lifes of drug addiction and all kinds of pain and brokenness. Did you know that God is that powerful? And then I said, Did you know that your own dad as a teenager was a bitter, angry young man and would have still been that way of Jesus, hadn't come and met me? And did you know that your mom would probably was in a deep depression as a teenager and might not even be alive today if Jesus hadn't met her as a teenager? And I was trying to tell my daughter the mighty works of the Lord, and I was impressed that she was so she was so intent and listening to me.


Unusually intent, I thought, looking at me very intently. Then finally she said, Daddy. I said, Yes, honey. Daddy, if you shaved off your mustache, would it be really white underneath there? So while I was going on with the mighty works of God, she was intently looking at my mustache and wondering what was. However, kids are amazing things and they can do more than one thing at a time. So I think she was still listening to this teaching about it. But I honestly think that some of this problem from generation to generation is attributable to this this oversight. What was powerful and redemptive works of God in our life. We don't tell those stories to our own children. And so my wife and I have talked about wanting to tell those things, but also put our daughter in a position alongside of us where she can see the mighty deeds of God today. So we're scheming of ways to go on family mission trips together, for example, and let her experience some of this stuff firsthand. From seven or eight judges to Deuteronomy six. Just kind of a background for this whole idea of faith training and in the Jewish settings. And then we'll go from Jewish settings to the early church and then on through church history, Jewish Old Testament teaching some of the key features here of Christian education or excuse me, we won't call it Christian education, we will call it faith training at this point. Back to Deuteronomy six four and five. One of the key things we mentioned here is the goal is really the goal of teaching in the Hebrew mindset is acknowledgment of God and commitment to God and fear of God and love of God. That's the goal.


It's not ultimately in the Old Testament, a goal about speculative or abstract knowledge. It's really much more of a goal about ethic and lifestyle rather than the abstract and speculative knowledge. One great Jewish thinker of the past century is Abraham Heschel. Abraham Heschel at some point compared Jewish education and its goals with what he called Greek education and modern education. And Heschel said this The Greeks learned in order to comprehend something the ancient Greeks learned, in order to comprehend moderns, learn in order to use moderns, learn in order to use. But Hebrews learn in order to revere. Hebrews learn in order to worship. Greeks learned in order to comprehend cognitive focus Moderns learn in order to use. Hebrews learn in order to revere. There's not a great emphasis ultimately on speculative knowledge, but really emphasis on worship, reverence, or another way of putting it worship that translates into integrity of life. And the goal is really expressed again by Deuteronomy six five in light of who God is. Love him with your whole being, love him with your whole being. That's the goal of faith training in the Jewish mindset. So the goal of education is worship. The goal of education is obedience. The key place, if we wanted to look at the where question, the key place of teaching is the home. The home is central in faith training. In fact, the home is seen as a small sanctuary. The home is viewed as a small sanctuary, sometimes called the MC Dharma or McDermott small sanctuary. And in the small sanctuary there is a an altar. The altar turns out to be the table. And there is a priest, the priest is the father, and there is a congregation, the whole family. And everything about that place matches the idea of the synagogue.


Synagogue has three principal uses and the home follows on those same uses. The three uses of the synagogue, three purposes of the synagogue. Synagogue is the house of prayer. The synagogue is a house of study, and the synagogue is a house of assembly and the home is a miniature synagogue. The home is a miniature sanctuary. Again, the father is the priest. The key teacher turns out to be father. Both parents play huge teaching roles, but there is special emphasis on the role of the father. And even if a child goes off to formal education, the formal teachers are seen as an extension of the father. The father is the teacher, and any other teachers in their child's life are extensions of the father. The key content of the teaching? In terms of the white question, the white question points ultimately to one word. Anybody know what it would be? What's the key content? The key content is Tora! Tora has multiple meanings, especially as Judaism progresses. There is the oral Tora! There is the written Tora! There is a tour of this identify. The written Tora would be identified with the five books of Moses. But there's also sort of a heart and sense of Tora, a heart, heart and soul of Tora, which may be ultimately found in passages like the Ten Commandments. Like the Ten Commandments. Not only that, but the heart and soul of Tora is very interesting in terms of this curriculum. Tora! The Hebrew word usually translates into English as what? Usually in English we translate Tora as law. Let me ask a question. When you hear the word law, how do you respond that negative or positive? Is it binding or freeing? You don't respond the way a faithful Jew responds to the word Tora.


When we translate Tora! Law, we think negative, binding, restricting. A faithful, observant Jew thinks liberating, life giving. Freeing. And so there's problems with our translating of Tora into the word law. I think that's problematic because of all the connotation that it has for us. There's a sense certainly in which Torah as law, and that's the way our English Bibles almost always do it. But I think this is one of those cases where we do better just to leave it in the Hebrew. There's some Hebrew words which are just too good for English. This is one of them. Shalom is too good for English, so just leave it alone. Call it Shalom. Peace will never do. And it is too good for English. Let's just call a cassette and leave it there and we'll teach people with that stuff. So Torah is one of those words. Probably if we had to do something with it in English, I would prefer something like guidance or instruction, because I think they get more at the heart of what Torah is about. Torah comes from a from a Hebrew root. That's related to a couple of other words. But the root meaning of Torah is to shoot. Or to cast. It's used, for example, in describing an archer who shoots an arrow and hits a target. That's from the root word that's at the heart of Tora. Or it's used in a sense of casting lots. And that's kind of illustrative for us. What was casting lots about in the ancient world? Well, it's about discerning the will of God, discerning the mind of God. And Tora is about that. Tora is about hitting a target. Target is about pointing the way and discerning the mind of God. From the same route come the word for parent.


And from the same root comes the word for teacher. All of these are from the same route that we derive the word Tora and a way to put to understand the role of a parent and a teacher, both our guides, because that's what Tora is about. Tora is guidance. When we think of the word Tora, we want to link it to another Hebrew word. That's the word, Derek, which is the way Derek is way or path or journey and the way that Tora and Derek relate to each other in the Old Testament and in Jewish thinking is there is a way that God wants me to go. There's a way that leads to life. There is a way that leads to death. There is a way of the righteous. There is the way of the wicked. There is a way of the godly. There is the way of the ungodly way of God in a way of the world. God wants me to know His way and the way I discern His way is through Tora! Tora points me through the way Psalm 32 and verse eight, then also Isaiah chapter 30 and verse 21. Just simple quick illustrations of this concept. Psalm 32 eight The word teach in that passage is the Hebrew word Yara. It's from the same root the Torah comes from. And notice I will teach you what the way Derrik, that you should go is through Torah that a person discerns the way. Or Isaiah Chapter 30, verse 21 in Isaiah. Right before that it says, You've gone through a period of adversity. Your teachers have been hidden from you, but it will be so no longer. Whether you turn to the left or to the right, you'll hear a voice behind you saying, This is the way.


Walk in it. Your teacher will point you to the way, Torah will point you to the way. So the key point of the curriculum, the curriculum is Torah, which includes both the mighty deeds of God, is the five books of Moses in written form and the statutes of God. It's the unfolding of God's redemptive work on behalf of Israel, but it's also the summary of God's decrees for Israel. And this becomes a guide to teach me the way that I should go in life. It really puts together much of what we've already said. The goal, again, is not about speculative knowledge or knowledge in the abstract. The goal is about ethical behavior and obedience and reverence of God. And how do I get to that goal in the Jewish mind through Torah? And so for the Jewish mind, the greatest thing that a person could do with his spare time is see, none of it is spare and spend my moments in meditation upon Torah. That's the greatest thing. Read through the Psalms. Psalms are full of exhortations to meditate. Guess what we're supposed to meditate on, especially on Torah. So you have those marvelous Psalm, Psalm one, Psalm 19 and Psalm 119 all about meditation on Torah. What's the point that I may discern the way of God and I may live the kind of life that pleases Him? A life of fear and honor and obedience to God very instructive to us. And we're going to return to some of this thought later. I wonder again for us as application for Christian education today, if we're watching out for the way we're teaching our children, do our children understand the commands of God? Is something liberating, freeing positive or something binding, negative and restrictive? Do they really understand the heart of God that's revealed in the commands of God? We have to think about that and is the commandments of God, the statutes of God.


Our Torah is a link to this dramatic history of God's dealings on our behalf. If not, we will be guided in our teaching. A couple of other things that we'll say here about the Old Testament pattern, Hebrew pattern, about the how of teaching. How is Torah taught? Well, we saw a little of that Deuteronomy six again, and it's taught in a variety of ways. It's not only about or even primarily about you sit down and listen to me and I'll lecture you. That's not the primary teaching methodology. There's a lot of of of oral teaching for sure. Oral instruction is important, but often it's through question and answers. And through storytelling. The use of storytelling is very important to have one wonderful book of Jewish tales. And and stories are famous in Judaism. And this book of Jewish stories begins with the question that someone asks. The rabbi said, Rabbi, why did God create people? And the rabbis answer was, Because God loves stories. That's why he created people. And Jewish people love stories. So oral instruction particularly think of the use of story and the use of Q and a question answers powerful teaching tools, not only through oral instruction. However, there is a great emphasis on visual learning in the Jewish world in the sense of children particularly would grow up and they would learn not only by what they heard but by what they saw. They would learn through observation and they would learn through the rituals and they would learn through the experience of the Holy days and the Holy festivals. And all of those things were powerful teachers. The family rituals. What takes place in this moment at home? What the family does around that altar, the questions that take place as every hour, the whole ritual that unfolds with every Sabbath meal in the Jewish home, the ritual that's unfolded every Passover and every other holy festival.


These become potent and powerful teachers, maybe more powerful and longer term effect than any of the oral instruction that's done. And they're paired together so that with the experience of the ritual comes the oral instruction, the Passover celebration, for example, lots of ritual that involves observation of the child, also participation of the child. And it explicit points the child is to ask questions. There are scripted questions for the child to ask Why do we eat these bitter herbs and why? Why do we celebrate this Passover feast? And it's used to instruct combining ritual with the visual. There's a book by a fellow named Robert with now a sociologist called Growing Up Religious. Robert with now Growing up Religious. It's a book about primarily about Christians and Jews who have grown up religious and with nows, asking the question what turned out to be the most significant have the most significant lasting effect upon these children who grew up Jewish and stayed Jewish and grew up Christian and state Christian? It turns out, according to with now, it's the rituals. The rituals were the most significant things, the rituals at home and the rituals at church. Those family traditions, those church traditions, those synagogue traditions, those are the things that stuck most with the children and the shape them most over the course of time. As part of that oral instruction, again, question answers. We talked about story, but also the teaching of the Psalms and songs of the people, the Psalms, the praises, the prayers of the people. Psalms, praises and prayers are a key component of that oral instruction that goes on as well. And they're just as significant as any of the the lecture or other oral instruction that goes out. Well, there's a lot more, we should say, but we're not going to we're walking fast this morning.


We're going to do just some really quick historical survey. A couple of other things from the New Testament. Well, the New Testament picks up on so many of these patterns in the New Testament. Again, Christian education is primarily home centered, especially when it comes to children. But the idea in the New Testament, it seems to be that you have a pattern of the adults being instructed by church leaders with the understanding that the adults will go back to the home and they will become the principal instructors of the children. So it's still home centered in terms of training the children and the parents are the key instructors. And again, fathers are singled out for special attention. Ephesians six four Fathers do not exasperate your children, but bring them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. But the adults themselves are taught by if we want to go out the WHO question In the New Testament, we have several features here on the WHO question. We have gifted leaders, spirit endowed leaders, who will be instructing the whole community and then parents, having been instructed, go home and become teachers in the home. So again, to 42 passage we saw before, one of the key commitments of those brand new baptized believers was a commitment to the apostolic teaching. They steadfastly devoted themselves to the teaching of the Apostles, and they in turn would become teachers in the home. There's gifted leaders whose teach. In the New Testament. Who else teaches? Think about some New Testament passages. Any other teachers? Gifted leaders? We can incorporate words like pastor here, and we could also speak about the spiritual gift of teaching. Not necessarily the pastor, but others who inherit that gift of teaching. But who else would be called to teach in the New Testament? Elders are called to teach.


Elders must be able to teach. It's one of their qualifications. Does that mean necessarily that they have the spiritual gift of teaching? I don't think so. But on their list of criteria, they must have some capacity to teach. Does it mean teach in a formal setting? No. That's our that's our little minuscule understanding of teaching today could mean teaching through their life, through their example. Just as importantly. But elders are called to be teachers, not only elders as and church officers, but elders as in mature Christians. For example, the older women, says Titus, are to teach the younger women, and the author to the Hebrews is rebuking the Hebrew Christians because they're at a point where they ought to be teaching others. The end of Chapter five Beginning of Chapter six. But they themselves need to be taught again the basics of their faith. So mature Christians or again. Second, Timothy two two picks up on this idea. The things which you have heard from me, Paul says, Entrust them to reliable men who will be able to teach them to others. So there's this idea of mature leaders.