3 Keys to Teaching from a Biblical Perspective (no matter where you teach)
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No matter where you teach, you need to always remember that what God tells us in His Word is the truth – regardless of whether it’s popular, regardless of whether anyone else agrees with it.
There IS absolute truth. Values are not different than facts. This is not what the world’s wisdom teachers, but are we going to trust God or the world?
Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” – I Cor. 3:18-20
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. – Col. 2:8
No matter what situation comes up in our classroom – from girl drama to college advice to a student who comes out to you – if you want to lead students in the right direction, you have to start with a Biblical view of the situation.
4 Keys to Responding with a Biblical Worldview
- Realize that what God has designed is best for everyone.
If we miss this truth, we miss the whole point. And I’m worried too many Christians are doing just that.
Think about God. He knows everything. He is perfectly good. He designed this world, designed us.
If anyone knows the best way to live life, the best way to function as a society, don’t you think it’s God?
Why on earth do we think that we’re somehow smarter than Him? That we’ve somehow evolved past His moral law?
God didn’t give us His commands just for the fun of it. He gave them to us because He they are the best way to live – because they are the foundation to a stable and healthy society.
Think about it, He loves us desperately & wants what is best for us. He knows His commands are the path of life and blessing, so He ask us to follow them. He knows when we reject them or deviate from them, we set ourselves on a dangerous path that leads to sorrow and destruction. So He warns us strongly against the dangers.
You are good, and do good; Teach me Your statutes. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me. Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. – Psalm 119: 68, 98, 104, 160
We cannot and should not expect everyone to believe what we believe or act the way we act, but where we have opportunities, we should always champion the Biblical way because it’s the best way. We should always champion the truth because it’s the truth.
Once again – those of you in public school, I’m not saying you should tell people “the Bible says to be content with what you have.” But you can still talk about the virtue of contentment and why it’s important.
And when it comes to controversial issues – issues where our culture and the Bible stand vastly apart, we remember that God loves us, that He knows what He’s talking about, and that His ways truly are best for everyone – whether they know Him personally or not.
And as teachers, we can and should be concerned about the culture we are shaping for the next generation. Will we go along with what’s expected, encouraging young people towards all kinds of behavior that is bad for them, bad for their families, and bad for our society in general? Or will we do what we can to encourage young people towards the paths that are truly best for them?
- Reject the viewpoint of a sacred / secular split.
Over the past few years I’ve received numerous comments and emails from Christian teachers arguing or asking about the role of faith in the public school system. Some argue that faith has no place in a public classroom, while others seek advice for how to incorporate their beliefs into their day-to-day work.
But I’ve recently come to realize that there’s a big misconception underlying most of this – and that is the concept of a sacred / secular split. It looks something like this:
Sacred (Faith) – Private
Secular – Public
In other words, many Christians essentially divide their lives and work into two parts. In one part is their faith – it’s very genuine. They love God, they read their Bible, maybe even teach Sunday school or lead a Bible club, and witness when they can. But their faith is for their private life – for their soul. It has little if anything to do with secular issues.
Thus they go to church and worship on Sunday but when speaking with a student on Monday, they don’t see that their faith has anything to do with the latter.
Or, even if they do think the Bible has something to offer, they don’t see it as their place to bring that view into the secular sphere.
But the Biblical view is exactly what the secular sphere needs.
Remember how we said God’s truths are good for everyone? That means there is no sacred / secular split. We might create one in our minds, but it doesn’t actually exist. We are thinking incorrectly.
God has created truths that are universal, that will help those who adhere to them, regardless of whether they are saved or not. His truths plow through all barriers and belong in the public sphere just as much as in the private sphere.
And if you’re thinking “but I’m not allowed to bring up God or the Bible,” you’re missing the best part – These truths are universal. That means they can be defended apart from the Bible. That you can argue His truths from a logical or scientific standpoint without mentioning God once.
I just want you to ask yourself if you’ve started to compartmentalize your faith in this way. Do you value your faith on a personal level but bristle at the thought of applying Biblical truth to “secular” issues?
Do you embrace a “separate of church and state” viewpoint, thinking that your views can & should be set aside when you step in the classroom?
If so, it’s time to reject this sacred/secular split and embrace the joyous reality that God’s truths are meant for our whole lives & our whole society.
(For further discussion on this topic, I strongly recommend Nancy Pearcey’s book Total Truth.)
And if you’re concerned about separation of church and state, check out my article “Life, liberty, and Censorship? What the first amendment really says about religion in government“”
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:13-16
- View every issue through the Biblical framework of Creation | Fall | Redemption
We’ve laid the groundwork for bringing Biblical truth into everything you do (including your public life in the classroom), but in order to do that we need to understand exactly how God views the subject.
The Bible is the supreme source of truth, and in many cases it is crystal clear. Other times, however, the Bible doesn’t speak directly to an issue and we must apply Biblical truth and a Biblical view of our world to understand the truth of a topic.
In these cases, it’s extremely helpful to view an issue through the lens of the 3 key aspects of Biblical history: creation, the fall, and redemption
For example, let’s take this framework & examine a common modern-day question: what is a family? (or, perhaps more accurately, what should a family look like?)
*Creation: We must always start with the fact that God created us and designed us. As such, He knows what’s best.
In regards to this particular question, let’s think about how God designed the family. He created a husband and wife and put them together. He designed marriage and intended it to last a lifetime. He intended that children be born only to married parents and that families would be strong and devoted. This was His original pattern, and it was a good one.
*The Fall: Next, we must consider how the fall – or sin & its curse – has affected God’s original plan
In the case of the family, the Fall has brought a multitude problems and deviations to the family. Sins of the heart such as pride and selfishness cause problems within marriage and often lead to divorce. Satan has brought confusion to the minds of many and has led them to seek affection and marriage in someone of the same gender, something that was not part of God’s original plan. Children are born outside of marriage because couples do not wish to follow God’s pattern. Parents are often selfish and don’t put enough energy and love into raising their children. All of these deviations cause serious heartache for all those involve. And the children struggle because of it.
(Notice how important it is to remember that deviations from God’s plan always lead to pain and heartache. They might not at first, but they do in the end.)
*Redemption: Through Jesus, God has made a way to heal what is broken and to restore us to His original design.
In regards to the family: Christ has the power to heal all the brokenness – to restore marriages, to build strong families, to break the power of same-sex attraction, to empower parents to raise wise children. This is the ultimate hope for our society at large and for individuals in particular.
For those who are not saved, still, the closer they can follow God’s plan, the better things will go and, ultimately, the happier they and their family will be. The more families that follow God’s model, the more stable and productive our society will be.
This is just one example. Try using this 3-part framework the next time a question or issue comes up & see if it helps you think through the topic from a Biblical perspective.
- Recommended book: Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity by Nancy Pearcey
- Related Article: “Life, Liberty and Censorship? What the First Amendment really says about religion in the public sphere”