Lesson 10

Education in Arts and Sciences

(Proverbs 1, Romans 1, 1 Timothy 6, Psalms 96)
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Introduction: After I turned 50, I took stock of my life, particularly my favorite activity.  Amazingly, my favorite activity was teaching my Bible class at church. I decided then to adjust my life to focus on teaching. After a few wrong turns on my part, God took charge and led me into a teaching job that was better than I had hoped or dreamed. My plan was to teach classes that would integrate faith with some aspect of the law. In my first meeting with the Dean of the Regent University School of Law, I explained what I had in mind. His response was immediate, “That is exactly what we do!”  Our study this week is about integration of faith and the “arts and sciences.” Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

  1.         True Education

  1.         Read Proverbs 1:2-4. Consider this list of subjects. Is faith integrated? (Yes! Instruction “in righteousness.”)

  1.         Read Proverbs 1:7. What is foundational to learning? What must be learned in order to have true education? (The “fear of the Lord.”  This text says that respecting God is the necessary first step to true education.)

  1.         How does modern education measure up? Let’s turn to that next.

  1.         Exposing the Suppressors

  1.         Read Romans 1:18. What is meant by “the truth?” (This is the truth about righteousness - the very thing that Solomon says is foundational to all knowledge.)

  1.         What should be the relationship between education and the truth? (Education is obtaining greater understanding. Understanding is learning the truth.)

  1.         These days I am very unhappy with the reports I hear about what is being taught in schools of higher education. Is this a new problem? (Romans tells us that it is a very old problem - unrighteous teachers suppress the truth.)

                                                                        

  1.         Read Romans 1:19. When I hear some of the illogical things that are taught, I wonder whether the teachers really believe this. What does this text suggest is the answer? (The verse says that the truth is “plain to them.” Thus, these false teachers knowingly teach un-Biblical ideas.)

  1.         No doubt some reading this will respond, “It is not so black and white. Some of those promoting evil are well-intentioned but confused.”  How do those of this opinion explain “plain to them?”

  1.         The original purpose of tenure for higher education was to protect the ability of the teacher to teach truth. What do you hear today about teachers who promote God’s truth? (They are shouted down, denied tenure, even fired with tenure.)

  1.         I’ve not researched most of these claims, but I hear enough of them to believe that they are generally true. When Romans 1:18 speaks about the suppression of truth through “unrighteousness” what do you think that would look like? (It looks like the use of force and unfairness - various kinds of coercion.)

  1.         Think about this for a minute. The idea behind freedom of speech is that everyone gets to state their opinion, no matter how wrong it may be, and then the listeners decide what is true. If suppressors don’t want the listeners to decide after hearing all points of view, what does that say about the point of view of the suppressors? (They know they are wrong. If they thought they were right, they would be confident that their correct viewpoint would prevail.)

  1.         Read Romans 1:20. What lesson about God is plain to every person in the world, no matter where they live or the language that they speak? (God’s “eternal power and divine nature” are “clearly perceived” in the “things that have been made.”)

  1.         Is there a lesson for us here about our approach to evangelism? (Much of my frustration in personal evangelism arose because of people who did not really want to understand the gospel. We need to focus our efforts on those who are searching for truth.)

  1.         Read Romans 1:21. Is the rejection of the evidence about God like most addictions, the rejection gets worse and worse? (This tells us that “foolish” hearts turn dark. They get worse.)

  1.         Read Romans 1:22-23. To what darkness does this foolishness lead? (Instead of looking around and concluding that there must be a Creator God for all the things we see, instead these foolish people make images and worship them.)

  1.         Can you think of anything that is more illogical than that?

  1.         Read Romans 1:24-27. To what does this illogical darkened thinking lead? (Homosexual behavior.)

  1.         The design of the male and female bodies makes it obvious that humans were not designed for homosexual sex. Since we learned that this darkness is progressive, what do you see as the next step in the rejection of how we are created? (The new frontier is to teach that we are not just two sexes, but there is a whole range of things we can be that have nothing to do with the way we were born.)

  1.         A member of my Bible class owns a construction company. He asked me whether I thought this darkened thinking would ultimately be extended to construction?  He pointed out that there are “male” and “female” fittings. This language is universal in construction. What do you think is the correct answer to his question?

  1.         Read Romans 1:28. We started with the ideal of integrating God’s word with arts and sciences. If we leave out God’s word, what is the result? (God “gives them up to a debased mind.”)

  1.         Let’s revisit a discussion we had earlier. When a person gets to the “debased mind” stage, is God’s truth still plain to them?

  1.         Read Romans 1:29-31. Do you see one or two of your sins described here?

  1.         If your answer is “yes,” does this mean that you are operating with a “debased mind?”

  1.         If you think about what we have just read, especially Romans 1:25-31, we seem to have a sequence of sins: idol worship, homosexuality, and then every kind of sin that is practiced by all Christians. Who has not lied, gossiped, boasted, or been foolish? Are idol worship and homosexuality “gateway sins” that lead to gossiping and being boastful? (This has long puzzled me. The Albert Barnes commentary sheds light on this. He says that the debased mind is filled with these sins. “[T]he things which he specifies were common or abounded among them.”)

  1.         Read Romans 1:32. What does this teach us about identifying with one or two (or a few) of the sins listed in Romans 1:29-31? (This supports Barnes’s idea that these sins describe the person. It is not one or two sins, rather these sins as a whole are “practiced” by them.)

  1.         Notice the last phrase of verse 32. What does that tell us about the “debased mind” that is not true for the Christian struggling with sin? (They approve of the practice of sin.)

  1.         Notice this kind of integration - the teacher promotes sin in teaching secular topics! Does that happen even in church?

  1.         Exposing Wrong Motives

  1.         Let’s consider another area in which education needs to be integrated with God’s advice. Read 1 Timothy 6:9-10. Who would not like to be rich?

  1.         Why does a desire to be rich create traps and temptations?

  1.         Notice verse 10 says that loving money “is a root of all kinds of evils.” It also talks about “craving” money. Are we describing poor or rich people here? (Notice it does not say that having money is a problem. While rich people could crave being richer, I think this is advice mostly directed to people who do not have money.)

  1.         Read 1 Timothy 6:11. Instead of craving money, what should we crave? (A virtuous life. Your goals in life can be to get rich, or to walk with God. Choose wisely!)

  1.         Read Psalms 96:9. Contrast this with those who argue in defense of sin, who promote sin. How is this different, as a practical matter? (God’s way of life is considered splendid - the “splendor of holiness.”  Instead of fighting God’s will, we tremble in excitement for His way of life.)

  1.         Friend, will you promote the integration of faith and learning? Consider how you might do this in your sphere of influence starting right now.

  1.         Next week: The Christian and Work.        

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Lessons on Education

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