Thursday Book Club: Values for Education

UncategorizedJared KennedyComment

Daniel J. Estes, Hear, My Son: Teaching & Learning in Proverbs 1-9, (Inter-Varsity Press, 1997), 174 pages. Estes' second chapter unpacks values for education.  He gives four values:

1.  Wisdom is skillful living within God's ordered world.  Ultimately this is found not merely in doing what appears to be wise but in fearing God and shunning evil (Proverbs 9:10).  When we teach, we must teach for response, because the Scriptures value more than mere knowledge.  Knowing is not enough.  It must be put into practice.

2. Teachability is the humble willingness to accept instruction both from God and human teachers.  As Estes states, "Rejection of instruction is a degenerative condition that leads to scoffing and folly" (46).  Proverbs presents three kind of unteachable people.  The simple love their simple ways, because they don't possess the knowledge necessary to make wise decisions.  Mockers despise wisdom because they take pleasure in tearing down what they don't accept.  Fools have settled into a fixed pattern of antagonism against the Lord's way of wisdom.

3. Righteousness. The righteous man conforms to God's wise standards.  "Wisdom declares in Proverbs 8:13 that to fear Yahweh is to hate evil in all of its forms.  Because Yahweh is righteous, reverence for him necessarily entails both embracing what is righteous and rejecting what is unrighteous" (50-51).

4.  Life is substantial, meaningful existence within God's world.  On the one hand, this can be seen as a value for education in Proverbs.  On the other hand, it can be seen as the reward which comes to those who esteem the first three values.   Life in the Lord must be valued above all other counterfeits.

This is why, as Christians, we must value Jesus in our education.  He is our wisdom, righteousness, and life.  And only he can make us humble and teachable.