Politicians say it’s the state’s obligation. Humanists declare the “village” should bring up children. Some Christians think it’s the church’s job, or the Christian school’s. Others believe it’s up to the parents to educate their children.
Who’s right? Who’s wrong?
According to the Bible, who is supposed to educate our children?
I believe that if we come to a biblical understanding about this question, we will:
- Extend grace towards those who make different choices.
- Shoulder our responsibility.
- Help others to educate their children.
- Have a renewed vision.
First, let’s read some Bible passages about childhood education:
- For I know him (Abraham), that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him (Genesis 18:19).
- And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up (Deuteronomy 6:5-7).
- Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD (Psalm 34:11).
- We will not hide them (God’s laws) from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children (Psalm 78:4-6).
- My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother (Proverbs 1:8).
- Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding (Proverbs 4:1).
- Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).
- Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:1-4. Similar passage: Colossians 3:6, 20).
There are many more passages about child rearing in the Bible, but after reading these, you understand that:
- The education of children is the responsibility of their parents.
- The most important subjects to be taught are: to love God and know His Word, especially what He expects of us—His commands.
- The father, as head of his home, is responsible for the children hearing about God.
- Both parents are involved in child rearing.
- The children are responsible to respect their parents, listen to them, and learn from them.
Parents, of course, have the responsibility before God to decide how to educate their children. Will they choose a Christian school, a private or charter school, public school, or homeschooling? Fathers and mothers have the obligation to figure out how they can best teach their children.
No one else has that obligation—not the state, not the school system, and not friends, church, or other family members. Parents are responsible for each child.
In turn, children are to listen and learn. The Lord will judge each child for his response to biblical teaching. Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment (Ecclesiastes 11:9). Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right (Proverbs 20:11).
How is your child learning God’s Word? Is the Bible taught at his school? Are your child’s teachers people who know and love the Lord and are godly examples? Are the other subjects (math, science, history, language, and literature) taught from a Christian worldview? When you are with your children, are you sharing God’s Word in a natural way?
Education is much more than books and pencils. Do your child’s TV, movie, books, video game, and other entertainment choices help him know God better? Is he exposed to clean, morally pure content?
What would you need to change to ensure that your children are brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?
After all, it’s your responsibility.