A Biblical Call to Christian Education in the Home
By Dr. Steve Mullen, director of Theological Education
Today’s society wants to play the blame game. Many people blame their behavior on how they were taught at home. Christian education in the home is no different. The Old Testament is clear to a biblical mandate that Christian education must begin and continue in the home.
Parents are instructed to teach God’s law. In Deuteronomy, Moses is trying to prepare the Israelites for the Promised Land. His biblical mandate is for parents to be active in Christian education. The best way to form and keep a nation of people devoted to God is to begin education in the home.
Parents need more than head knowledge about the Bible. Children and youth are yearning for biblical examples of what the Bible teaches about being living sacrifices for God. Christian education is more caught than being taught.
Effective teaching in the home happens all of the time. Having God’s commandments written upon our hearts means that we have made life changes that reflect the glory of God. Moses is asking us to use our hearts in teaching our children and youth. We must have passion for Jesus Christ.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on 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 and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:4-7
The Word of God must permeate the total atmosphere of the home. Moses challenges us to impress God’s commands to our children, to do it at any and all opportunities. To impress His commandments while we sit, walk, lie down and get up.
The Church should help families in this biblical mandate. The first institution formed in Scripture was the family. Hebrew fathers saw the instruction of their children as their number one task. This mandate is for both parents to be involved in Christian education.
Churches should teach parents how they can witness to their own children. The church has to be active in Christian discipleship. Churches cannot take the place of what has been biblically mandated toward parents. Unique family situations cause some road blocks within this biblical mandate. The church must help single parent families, blended families and other family units in teaching Christian education to their children.
Educating families on the different developmental stages of their children and youth will prepare them for different teaching opportunities. With the leadership and guidance of the Holy Spirit, there are many teachable moments that occur each day. Remember, we are commanded to teach all of the time.
Family devotions can be a time of teaching in the home. A family that reads and discusses Scripture is well equipped to handle any situation they may find themselves in. Some of the best prayers are the ones that are offered by children. Allowing children and youth to communicate with God is vital in their Christian journey. The home is a great place to practice some of the spiritual disciplines we are commanded to teach.