PLAGIARISM FREE “A” WORK IN 12 HOURS Or LESS You are to read this week’s assigned materials (ATTACHED) which you think could be helpful to you in your role

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You are to read this week’s assigned materials (ATTACHED) which you think could be helpful to you in your role as a teacher. In the equivalent of 2 double spaced, 12-pt. Times New Roman pages, explain why you chose this theme or concept, and elaborate on how you might utilize the theme or concept in your teaching. Identifying these “big ideas,” in addition to encouraging critical thinking and reading, will also help you engage in self-reflection prior to and during the formation of your Philosophy of Christian Education. To have effective “big ideas” you must read thorough through your chapter and be a good note taker.

                                                Textbook Reference

Maddix, M. A., & Estep, J. R. J. (2017). Practicing christian education : An introduction for ministry. Baker Academic.

2
Biblical Principles for Practicing

Christian Education

The Bible is not a theology textbook, nor is it a God-given “user guide for life,” as if it were
all arranged systematically and sequentially, with an alphabetic index. Essentially, the Bible is
a story. A true story, but nonetheless it is a story, laid out in narrative, expounded on in poetry,
reflected upon in epistles; it is the story of God’s people from the time of creation to the birth
of the church to the consummation of creation. However, it is not just a story for story’s sake,
or for its entertainment value; rather, it is a story with a unique purpose. As Romans states,
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through
endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (15:4). This
story was given to teach us. Notice Paul’s affirmation of the practical nature of the God-
breathed story: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof,
for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete,
equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16–17, emphasis added). Scripture isn’t just any
story; it is God’s story given by God to his people, the church, and part of the story is about
teachers, teaching, learning, places of learning, and reflections on what we need to know. For
Christian educators, as we endeavor to be “equipped for every good work,” the Scriptures
play an integral, irreplaceable role for practicing Christian education. The Bible gives us
insight into the educational practices of God’s people throughout its story, from which
principles for today’s Christian educator can be gleaned.

The Bible Explains Why We Are Practicing Christian Education

Why education that is Christian? Educating God’s people is a fulfillment of God’s divine
imperative to teach. Why do we teach? Because God commanded it in his story. The Old and
New Testaments are replete with examples of the commitment of God’s people—faithful men
and women, families, communities, congregations, and nations who were dedicated to
fulfilling God’s call to teach others. For most of us, the divine mandate might be sufficient, but
it still begs the question, Why did God command us to teach?
Teaching God’s story is a catalyst for conversion and the formation of a distinctively

Christian faith. Biblical instruction’s purpose is the formation of the individual and the
community with a distinctively Christian faith. A holistic Christian faith is the vital objective

Maddix, Mark A., and James Riley Jr. Estep. Practicing Christian Education : An Introduction for Ministry, Baker Academic, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/amridge/detail.action?docID=5248599.
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of Christian education. Without Scripture, conversion and faith are generic rather than focused
on the God who revealed/inspired the Word and redeemed/transformed the individual. This is
why teaching the Scriptures, particularly in the Old Testament, included foreigners who were
living among the Hebrews (e.g., Deut. 31:12; 1 Kings 8:41–43). Scripture is relevant to our
spiritual lives before conversion, during conversion, and throughout our walk with Christ.
The earliest educational mandate given by Moses expresses the essential nature of godly

instruction for faith formation, especially for children, in Deuteronomy 6:4–9. After affirming
the essential theology of the Hebrew community (vv. 5–6), Moses then identifies the means by
which the community will transfer its faith to the next generation (vv. 7–9). Many of Judah’s
national spiritual revivals were predicated on the teaching of God’s Word. Jehoshaphat (eighth
century BC) sent court officials, Levites, and priests “to teach in the cities of Judah. . . . And
they taught in Judah, having the Book of the Law of the LORD with them. They went about
through all the cities of Judah and taught among the people” (2 Chron. 17:7, 9). Centuries later
the catalyst of Josiah’s sixth-century-BC revival was the people’s “hearing all the words of the
Book of the Covenant that had been found in the house of the LORD. And the king stood in his
place and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD and to keep his
commandments and his testimonies and his statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to
perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book,” to which they were faithful
all the days of his life (2 Chron. 34:30–31).
In the New Testament, Jesus’s Great Commission isn’t just about evangelism (“Go”); it’s

also about making disciples (“teaching them”; Matt. 28:19–20). Christian education—the
ministry of teaching—not only responds to the mandate of Jesus to teach, the command of the
Great Commission, but also sustains the rationale that it is vital for the faith formation of the
believer. This is true for not only the individual but the group as well. Luke summarizes the
earliest Christian community as having “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and
fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42, emphasis added). Christian
education facilitates the formation not only of personal faith but also of a faithful community of
believers.

The Bible Itself Is Formative in Our Students’ Lives When We
Practice Christian Education

While the Bible is not the only source of spiritual nurture, it is indeed given to us as a
formative element in our walk with Christ. The lyric to a simple child’s song, “Jesus loves me,
this I know, for the Bible tells me so,” sums up the matter. Without the Bible, we could not
know who Jesus is, properly experience his love, or do what he wants us to do. We can
proclaim WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?), but we can really do this only once we know
WDJD (What Did Jesus Do?). Biblically speaking, learning and teaching are inseparable.
Nothing bears this out more than the fact that in Hebrew lamad means “to teach” and is in the
active voice, while “to learn” is in the passive voice. The concept of teaching/learning is
indivisible—two sides of the same coin.

Maddix, Mark A., and James Riley Jr. Estep. Practicing Christian Education : An Introduction for Ministry, Baker Academic, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/amridge/detail.action?docID=5248599.
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Scripture’s formative influence on our lives is not only for the mind but for the whole
person. When instructing Timothy about dealing with the false teachers in Ephesus in 2 Timothy
3:14–17, Paul urges him to be different from them: “But as for you . . .” (v. 14). But how? He
tells Timothy to think differently from them, to be “acquainted with the sacred writings, which
are able to make you wise for salvation” (v. 15). Paul then affirms the divine authority of
Scripture (“All Scripture is breathed out by God” [v. 16a]) and the practical nature of
Scripture for life transformation (“profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for
training in righteousness” [v. 16b]). Why is this crucial? “That the man of God may be
complete, equipped for every good work” (v. 17). The Bible is foundational to practicing
Christian education because it is formative for our minds, our lives, and our vocation.
Remember the impossibility posed by John Stackhouse? “Christians are somehow expected to
think and feel and live in a distinctive way, as followers of Jesus, without being provided the
basic vocabulary, grammar, and concepts of the Christian religion.”1

The Bible Even Tells Us How It Is to Be Used in Practicing
Christian Education

Lecture? Object lessons? Storytelling? Streaming video? No single teaching method is
prescribed or described as the sole method of instruction in the Bible. Scripture presents a
continuum of teaching/learning methods designed to meet the needs of the individual and the
situation. This spectrum extends from the more teacher-centered, fixed content for
indoctrination to the more student-centered, process-oriented method of instruction, such as
Job or Ecclesiastes.2 In fact, perhaps the only restriction about how the Bible is to be taught
isn’t methodological, but is the instruction found in 2 Timothy 2:15: “Do your best to present
yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling
the word of truth” (emphasis added). The integrity of the content is always to be affirmed,
regardless of our chosen teaching method.
The diversity of teaching methods is evident throughout the Old Testament, such as in the

teaching methods of the prophets.3 It is definitely demonstrated in the book of Proverbs alone,
wherein the vocabulary for teaching/learning ranges from the more passive, teacher-centered
learning methods (listening, obedience, observance, assimilation) to the more active, student-
centered approaches (understanding, mastery, searching, pondering).4 This same continuum is
in the New Testament as well. The vocabulary used in it to describe learning reflects methods
ranging from the more teacher-centered, content-oriented approaches (e.g., “instruction,” Eph.
6:4; “instructed,” Acts 18:25; “instruction,” 1 Cor. 10:11) to those that seek the deeper levels
of learning beyond the mastery of content (e.g., “understand,” Eph. 5:17). Perhaps the most
distinct portrait of the variety of teaching methods employed in the New Testament is in Luke
24. Jesus’s encounter with disciples on Emmaus Road includes discussion (v. 14), probative
questions (v. 17), challenging ideas (vv. 25–27), modeling learning objectives (vv. 30–31),
and direct instruction (vv. 33–35).

Maddix, Mark A., and James Riley Jr. Estep. Practicing Christian Education : An Introduction for Ministry, Baker Academic, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/amridge/detail.action?docID=5248599.
Created from amridge on 2022-02-22 04:06:35.

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The Bible Identifies Who Is Supposed to Be Practicing
Christian Education

Teachers have always existed within the community of faith, taking a diversity of forms, titles,
and roles among God’s people in both the Old and New Testaments. Perhaps the only teachers
common to both testaments are God (Isa. 3:8; Job 36:22; Exod. 35:34; Titus 2:11–12; 2 Cor.
6:1; 1 Tim. 2:3–4) and the faith community. God instructs primarily through his acts of grace
and revelation, teaching through word and deed. While often unacknowledged, the faith
community itself also serves as a teacher. For example, in the Old Testament, the festivals,
placement of worship sights, and activities of public assemblies all had educational
implications (Deut. 4:14; 6:1; 26:1–19; 31:39; Josh. 8:30–35; 2 Kings 2:3; 4:38; 5:22;
2 Chron. 17:7–19). In the New Testament, participation in the church reinforced the formation
of faith through exposure and involvement in the community (Acts 2:42–47). Additionally, the
place and function of the teacher is valued as a gift from God (Rom. 12:3–8; 1 Cor. 12:27–31;
Eph. 4:7–13, 29–32; 5:15–20; 1 Pet. 4:10–11).
However, within the people of God some individuals have been committed to the teaching

ministry. In the Old Testament, the family had primarily educational responsibilities for its
children (Exod. 12:26–27; 20:4–12; Deut. 4:9–10; 6:6–7; 11:19–20; 29:9; Ps. 78:3–6; Prov.
1:8; 6:20) and was even intergenerational (Deut. 4:9–10; 11:19–20; Exod. 12:26–27; Ps.
78:3–6). Early in Israel’s history the prophets arose (Jer. 8:8; 9:13; 16:11; Mic. 6:8; Isa. 8:3–
16; 42:21–24; Zech. 7:12; Hos. 1:3–9)—starting with Moses, who was the exemplar for all
future prophets (Exod. 18:20; 24:12; Deut. 4:14; 6:1; 31:19)—as well as the priests (Deut. 22;
Pss. 27:31; 40:8; Hag. 2:11; Mal. 2:6–9; 3:11). Other groups assumed instructional roles in
Israel, such as the sages (Judg. 14:12–14; 2 Sam. 13:1–22; Prov. 3:3–11; 10:8; 12:15; 13:14;
14:2; 28:4–9) and, later in Israel and Judah’s history, the scribes (Neh. 8; Jer. 8:8; Ezra 7:10–
11).
In the New Testament, in addition to God and the faith community, the apostles became the

initial teachers. As Jesus’s former students, they assumed the task of teaching through
instructing, preaching, and writing. Acts depicts the apostles as completing Jesus’s mission
(Acts 1:1) by making disciples for Christ (Acts 14:21). Doctrine assumes a crucial role in the
church through the apostles’ instruction (Acts 2:42; 5:28; 13:2; 17:19). As the church
expanded, both numerically and geographically, pastors and teachers were selected for newly
planted congregations. Teaching is a vital facet of leadership in the church. The ability to teach
is an essential quality of leadership (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:9). Paul further affirmed that the
church should let “the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially
those who labor in preaching and teaching” (1 Tim. 5:17). However, the Bible does more than
just tell us that teachers teach. Practicing Christian education requires us to know the kind of
person who can teach the people of God.
Perhaps the most stellar example of a teacher within the community of faith is Ezra. He was

in exile in Babylon, one of many Jews who found themselves in Babylon following the
destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC. However, he was given the daunting task of restoring the
faith of God’s people upon their return to Judah around 428 BC. Scripture states, “For Ezra
had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in

Maddix, Mark A., and James Riley Jr. Estep. Practicing Christian Education : An Introduction for Ministry, Baker Academic, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/amridge/detail.action?docID=5248599.
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Israel” (Ezra 7:10). This verse provides a glimpse into the kind of person suited to be a
teacher in God’s Kingdom. First, Ezra was a devotee: he “had set his heart.” We can make the
application here that teachers have a heart condition, a motivated conviction that is not
determined by externals. They are reliant on God, love students, and serve in the church.
Second, Ezra was a student of God’s Word: “to study the Law of the LORD.” In Ezra 7 he is

described several times as a scribe who was learned in the Scriptures, so much so that his
learning even commanded the Persian king Artaxerxes’s respect (7:6, 11, 21). A Christian
teacher must be one who knows God’s Word as well as one who is capable of “rightly
handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15c). Good teachers start out as good students.
But, third, Ezra was also a disciple: “and to do it.” It is not enough to know the Word.

Teachers must apply it to their own lives—practice it—before they stand before others and
teach it. In regard to practicing our faith, the book of James states, “But be doers of the word,
and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (1:22). The experience of discipleship is crucial
for teachers, since without it they may be accused of hypocrisy; and yet with it they can readily
identify with the struggles of faithfully living for Christ and provide practical advice from their
own walk.
Finally, Ezra was a teacher: “to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” Teachers have to

teach, and Ezra taught the people. Nehemiah 8 gives an ample description of Ezra as a teacher,
as one who publically read and expounded from the Book of the Law, “from early morning
until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And
the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law” (Neh. 8:3). Education isn’t an
impersonal activity; it requires teachers.

The Bible Describes the Occasions When We Are to Practice
Christian Education

Christian education doesn’t take place just in a classroom, on Sunday morning, scheduled so as
not to interfere with the worship service. This notion, while common, is too restrictive and
obstructs the potential for instruction in the church. Previously we discussed the teachers in the
Bible and the wide span of educational venues in which they taught, guided, trained, and
discipled believers; so it should be clear that Christian education can occur anywhere, from a
dungeon to a palace, and anytime, whether in the afternoon at an Ephesian school borrowed by
the apostle Paul (Acts 19:9), in conversation on a road to a nearby city (Luke 24), or through
everyday life encounters in the home (Deut. 6:6–9). Scripture does not impose when or where
education can or cannot take place; but it does implore us to teach others, to pass along our
faith when given any opportunity.
The people of God introduced new means of education, adapted the practices of other

cultures, and even removed obsolete means as deemed necessary. The Hebrews, as a people,
grew from being a family to an ethnic group, a tribal nation, a monarchy, and eventually an
exilic people group with some returning to reclaim their nation. These changes shaped the way
in which they educated; the institutions of education had to adapt to the people’s changing
needs. For example, the rise of the monarchy was a catalyst for the formation of royal court

Maddix, Mark A., and James Riley Jr. Estep. Practicing Christian Education : An Introduction for Ministry, Baker Academic, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/amridge/detail.action?docID=5248599.
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education, scribal schools, and the production of Wisdom literature. However, with the
collapse of the monarchy, the first two of these went away, with only Wisdom literature
remaining. The exile and return of the sixth to fifth centuries BC served as yet another catalyst
for the birth of an educational venue unmentioned in the Old Testament yet frequently
encountered in the New Testament—the synagogue. When you major in Christian education
you’re not majoring in Sunday school, or small groups, or weekly Bible studies; the Bible
affirms a wide array of educational opportunities presented for God’s people.

Conclusion

Why are we even concerned with biblical foundations for Christian education? Ultimately, the
response to this question lies in the very affirmation of Scripture as the revealed and inspired
Word of God (1 Cor. 2:10–13; Rom. 3:1–3; 2 Tim. 3:15–17; 1 Pet. 1:10–12, 21; 2 Pet. 1:20–
21; 3:2, 15–16). As believers in Jesus Christ, we make the same affirmations Jesus made
regarding Scripture (Matt. 5:18; 22:29; Mark 7:8–9; 12:24; John 17:17), affirming its
trustworthiness and truthfulness. The Bible is the cornerstone of our own faith and the faith of
the church, the primary textbook for all of us.

Reflection Questions

1. How would you describe your own use of the Bible, personally and in ministry?
2. In your spiritual walk, how has the Bible been a catalyst for your formation as a

Christian?
3. Given the biblical foundations, how have you perhaps limited or minimized your

understanding of Christian education?
4. How would you summarize this entire chapter in one paragraph?
5. Given the description of Ezra as a devotee, student, disciple, and teacher, how would

you rate yourself in these facets of your ministry? What could you do to improve on
them?

Suggestions for Further Reading
Crenshaw, J. A. Education in Ancient Israel. New York: Doubleday, 1998.
Estep, James Riley, Jr. “Biblical Foundations for Christian Education.” In Evangelical Dictionary of Christian Education,
edited by Michael J. Anthony, 82–85. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001.

———. “Biblical Principles for a Theology for Christian Education.” In A Theology for Christian Education, edited by
James Riley Estep Jr., Gregg R. Allison, and Michael Anthony, 44–72. Nashville: B&H, 2008.

Maddix, Mark A., and James Riley Jr. Estep. Practicing Christian Education : An Introduction for Ministry, Baker Academic, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/amridge/detail.action?docID=5248599.
Created from amridge on 2022-02-22 04:06:35.

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———. “Philosophers, Scribes, Rhetors . . . and Paul? The Educational Background of the New Testament.” Christian
Education Journal 2, no. 1 (2005): 30–47.

Zuck, Roy B. Teaching as Jesus Taught. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995.
———. Teaching as Paul Taught. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998.

Maddix, Mark A., and James Riley Jr. Estep. Practicing Christian Education : An Introduction for Ministry, Baker Academic, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central,
http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/amridge/detail.action?docID=5248599.
Created from amridge on 2022-02-22 04:06:35.

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