What is the philosophy of true education?

At its core, education is the process of transferring knowledge, understanding, and wisdom from one individual to another. John Milton Gregory, in his book The Seven Laws of Teaching, said, "Teaching is arousing and using the pupil's mind to grasp the desired thought or to master the desired art. Learning is thinking into one's own understanding a new idea or truth or working into habit a new art or skill."

The Teacher

In order for this to take place, it requires a person willing to and capable of teaching another. "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:12-14). Just because you know more than a student, it doesn't make you a good teacher. A good teacher needs practical experience at applying their knowledge to real-life problems. A teacher must also be willing to accept the responsibility for what they teach. After all, their teaching will influence the behavior of their students. "My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment" (James 3:1). A teacher is accountable to God for his own life and for how they lead others in life.

The Student

Presenting information is useless if there someone willing to learn. "So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does" (James 1:19-25). A good student is quick to listen, slow to speak his own thoughts until he has given them due consideration, and is of the proper frame of mind to learn. Like the teacher, a student must put what he has learned into practice because only through use does the information become a part of the person.

The Lesson

In order for information to be transferred it must be presented in a manor that is understandable and pleasurable to the student.

"Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one" (Colossians 4:6).

"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers" (Ephesians 4:29).

"The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools spouts folly" (Proverbs 15:2).

"The wise in heart will be called prudent, and sweetness of the lips increases learning. Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it. But the correction of fools is folly. The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips. Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones." (Proverbs 16:21-24).

The Subject

Not everything is worth learning. Most people don't need to know how to steal from another, how to use drugs, or to commit some other crime. Those who enforce the law might need this knowledge in order to recognize and prevent crimes, but most people will not benefit from the knowledge. There is always the danger that knowing the sinful side of life too intimately might tempt a person into committing sin.

"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers" (Ephesians 4:29).

"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head -- Christ -- from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love" (Ephesians 4:11-16).

"If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen" (I Peter 4:11).

Recommended reading:

The Seven Laws of Teaching by John Milton Gregory

March 15, 2005