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The Purpose of Teaching and Learning

The intimate knowledge of God was the primary objective for education in Bible times. This meant that each person would also come to know of his or her shared history with all of God’s people, and understand God’s claims, requirements, and blessings on each life. It should be emphasized that this “knowing” was not merely intended for the sake of gaining knowledge. The Lord spoke through the prophet Jeremiah that to do justice and righteousness, and to be concerned for the cause of the poor is to intimately know the Lord (Jer. 22:16). Thus, to know God included knowing His heart and becoming equipped to faithfully walk in His ways. Paul also described the intended result of instruction as the knowledge of God—knowledge that is evidenced by love from a pure heart (Eph. 4:11-13; 1 Tim. 1:5).

Education leads to change

Educational research has defined learning as a process that leads to change. Learning involves change in knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors. This change unfolds over time and has a lasting impact on how learners think and act. It is God who created in men and women with the capacity to learn. Therefore He constantly emphasizes in the Scriptures the importance of what is learned. We are encouraged to constantly rehearse God’s words, to meditate on them to the exclusion of other influences (Ps. 1:1–3), and to continually abide in the teaching we have received (John 15:1–11).

Choose to study God’s Word

We choose the things that we give our attention to, what we study and learn from. There are many influencers continually competing for our attention; but there is one God and Father of all, Who in His great love has redeemed us to Himself and has made a way for us to know Him. He gives instruction (His Word) and the Holy Spirit so that we can mature into a life that is pleasing to Him—a life that is fruitful and constructive in its expression in the world. Ultimately, as the Father sent Christ into the world, we are also sent as living epistles (God’s instruction) to be known and read by all men (2 Cor. 3:2-3).

The Purpose of Teaching and Learning is an excerpt from the book by Christopher J Reeves, An Introduction to Education in Bible Times (Bedford, TX: Burkhart Books, 2019), 196-198.

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