Thursday Book Club: Goals for Education

UncategorizedJared Kennedy1 Comment

Daniel J. Estes, Hear, My Son: Teaching & Learning in Proverbs 1-9, (Inter-Varsity Press, 1997), 174 pages. Estes' third chapter unpacks goals for education.  He gives four goals.  The goals for education "focus for the most part on the cultivation of the learner as a mature godly person, rather than upon the transmission of a discrete body of knowledge" (85).  The first three speak to the kind of person that biblical education seeks to equip and disciple.   These goals answer the questions: Who should you become?  What is your character?  The final goal speaks to the reward of becoming that kind of person.

  1. Commitment (Knowing God).  "A primary goal for education is that the learner may accept for himself the values that wisdom propounds so that his life is shaped according to Yahweh's desires" (85).  Commitment requires conversion and faith.  This is the first goal of a Christian education--that learners might know, fear, and trust in God.
  2. Character. Commitment leads to godly character, which "provides the learner with an internal compulsion to keep learning and growing in wisdom" (85).
  3. Competence in Skillful Living. Proverbs uses many words for wise living, but this is the most obvious point of the book.  The learner should be skillful in the way that he learns to live within God's world.  How often do we really teach for this kind of response?  How often do we connect the truths of the Bible to life in a way that equips our children and students to live in a way that is wise?
  4. Prosperity and Protection.  The  result of becoming a faithful, godly, and wise person is the prosperity and protection that wisdom affords.  The Lord's way of wisdom generally leads to well-being, success, stability, wealth, honor, protection, and satisfaction.  This does not mean that suffering is totally avoided.  Suffering is inevitable in a sinful world.  But one can follow God and generally expect good to follow rather than harm.  One can follow God and know that ultimately (even if this is only in heave) good will follow rather than harm. This is an important part of our teaching for kids.  Without making prosperity the point of the gospel, we should be clear that following God generally brings success.