I think you would agree that the acquisition of knowledge is a key element of all educational efforts, especially when it comes to schooling. If this were not the case, then we would not be putting so much emphasis on things like standardized test scores, college entrance exams, etc. However, the question that begs to be answered is, “What knowledge is important when it comes to educating the next generation?”
I recently read an article by Industry Tap that explained how Buckminster Fuller created the “Knowledge Doubling Curve” in the 1980s. The article stated, “Until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today things are not as simple as different types of knowledge have different rates of growth. . . . But on average human knowledge is doubling every 13 months. And that rate will increase exponentially. IBM theorizes it could someday become every 12 hours.”
The problem that this explosion of knowledge produces is something we don’t take into consideration very often. With so much knowledge out there to try and grasp, what knowledge is important and what is not? One blogger wrote that “we are lost in the overabundance of information.” Most people end up deciding what knowledge is important to know by what interests them or what is best for them.
Dr. Jeff Myers addressed this problem of information overload in his book, Handoff. Jeff wrote,
With shopping and surfing available 24 hours a day young adults believe they can have whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want, and with whomever they want to have it. Young people spend between 27 and 33 hours per week using communication technology. They are overwhelmed with information. Information overload is destroying their capacity for discernment. They are finding it increasingly more difficult to determine what is really important.
As we think about the drive to “know” stuff, consider these passages of Scripture.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee. Hosea 4:6 (KJV)
Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge. Isaiah 5:13 (KJV)
Here we find God stating that His people were destroyed and taken captive because they lacked knowledge. In fact, God states that since His people had rejected knowledge, He would reject them! I believe that today’s church (Christians) are facing the same consequences as did the nation of Israel in the OT. Christians today are being destroyed and they have been taken captive by a secular society to such a degree that caused David Kinnaman to explain that today’s Christians are living in a Babylonian culture.
When I first read the two verses above, I asked myself a couple of questions. Is God saying that the Israelites did not know anything? At first glance, it appears that this is what God is saying. However, we know that the nation of Israel was not an illiterate group of people. They had copies of the Law and they were geniuses when it came to building houses and temples and they were able to design and construct elaborate water systems etc. So, what knowledge did the Israelites not know that caused them to be destroyed and brought into captivity? What knowledge did they reject that caused God to reject them? We must understand the answer to these questions if we are going to understand what knowledge is most important to teach future generations.
We can find the answer to these questions by looking at the context of these verses. In Hosea 4:1 we find that God has a charge against His people.
Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. Hosea 4:1 (KJV)
The problem God had with His people was not that they didn’t know anything. The problem was that they didn’t know the right thing! There was no knowledge of God in the land. We must understand that God was not referring to the general society when He talked about “the land.” Of course, there was no knowledge of God in the general population where the nation of Israel lived. God was referring to His people when He said “in the land.” It must also be pointed out that it was very probable that most of the Israelites knew quite a bit about God. There is a big difference between knowing God and knowing about God. The word “know” is the same word that is used when the Bible states that Adam knew his wife and they had a son. Knowing God comes from an intimate relationship with God.
The thing that God said about His people in Hosea’s day is the same that I believe He would say about His people in today’s church. Christians know a lot about God but it is not clear that they are very strong in their knowledge of God. There is a need for Christians to have the right focus on the knowledge that we want our children and grandchildren to know as we educate them.
If you have read my book, Kingdom Education, you know that I have identified 10 biblical principles of education. These principles have been the foundation of my teaching when it comes to addressing the issue of education biblically. However, I am constantly studying the Scriptures and asking God to show me additional truths that will help me better understand education from His perspective. The reason I am sharing all of this with you is because God has revealed to me some additional biblical principles that are to guide us in how we are to educate our children.
I believe there is another biblical principle that we must follow if we are going to educate our children the way God wants us to. Principle #11 reads like this.
The education of children and youth must have as its primary focus the increase in the knowledge of God.
The following Scripture references should be studied to understand this very important principle.
Colossians 1:9-10; 2:2-3; John 17:3; Romans 1:20; Psalm 19:1-6; Ephesians 1:16-19; 4:13; Philippians 1:9; 3:8-10, 13-14; 2 Peter 3:18; Proverbs 1:7; 2:4-5; Hosea 4:1; 6:6; Isaiah 5:13; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Exodus 20:3-4
What are your thoughts when it comes to the various questions I raise in this blog and this additional biblical principle of education? I would love to know what you are thinking about the knowledge our children need to grasp. Next week, Lord willing, I will be unpacking this principle so we can all understand it completely.