The Bible is God’s Word to us. It is our foundational starting point for all knowledge and wisdom. This amazing, inspired work has been given to us as an indescribable gift. Its principles provide guidelines for navigating every aspect of our lives. We are fools if we do not consult it. Applying Biblical principles to our everyday lives is not always easy or obvious. Such discernment comes through the consistent reading and study of Scripture. This is an ability we must strive to learn, but God is faithful to give wisdom to those who ask for it (James 1:5).
Three spheres of government are clearly outlined in Scripture. Each sphere has its own area of authority and responsibility. The principles of family government are found in the opening pages of Scripture. Genesis describes the ordination of marriage and family. Principles regarding family governance are found throughout the Old Testament as well as in the writings of the Apostle Paul.
Children fall under the direct authority of their parents as part of family government. As Israel Wayne says in his book Education: Does God Have An Opinion “…God established the civil government, but He carefully designated their limits and responsibilities. He never intended nor instructed the State to teach children. They are to punish evildoers and protect the citizens from harm. Education was given to parents, and Christian parents dare not neglect their responsibility.”
Serious issues arise when leaders in one sphere step in and claim authority in another sphere. For example, many legislators do not answer the question, “Whose children are they anyway?” according to the principles of Scripture. They have a different worldview and very different end goals. For example, programs establishing home visitations of infants are bringing civil government into the home, a place where they should not have authority. According to Romans 13, civil authority is to be mainly concerned with punishing wrongdoing. Contrary to this central purpose, some proposals would create a new program, funded by taxpayers, that enters private homes and tells people how to parent. This circumvents both family and church government. This program would initially be voluntary, but could be made mandatory at a future date just as previous attempts have sought to do.
In a similar manner of overreach, other legislation would require all foster parents to sign a document saying they embrace and affirm the gender identity of the kids they foster. This also is a gross over-reach of civil government into family life. Again we must ask–what is legislation like this moving towards? Liberals play the long game and they are very patient. Laws like this could move on to affect adoptions and possibly even custody arrangements for biological children.
There Is A Biblical Mandate For Parents To Train Up Their Children
Deuteronomy 6:7, Ephesians 6:4
Interestingly, the Bible doesn’t provide a list of exceptions to this command. In fact, Deuteronomy 6 spells out the opposite, making it clear that parents are to be the primary authority over their children at all times. Flowing from that is the principle that parents are to be the main influencer and guide regarding their child’s education. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 takes place right after the giving of the Law. God is telling Moses and the people how seriously to take this. “You shall teach these words diligently to your sons. You shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
These instructions to parents outline an all-encompassing lifestyle. The idea here is that you are giving instruction in the Law throughout all of daily life. You should be teaching God’s law to your children when you sit in your house. Everything we do while we sit in our house needs to be part of our instruction to our kids in the ways of God’s law. He goes on. “When you sit in your house and when you lie down and when you rise up.” There are a lot of “and’s” here! You have to interact with your children throughout the day in order to do this. Then He says “you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” No matter what you’re doing, you should be teaching these things to your kids. In our society, it might seem a little more challenging than it was back then. Back then, people did a lot more together as a family. But does God’s law change? No. Does God’s command to us change with the winds of culture? No, it does not.
While the context of the Deuteronomy passage is specifically addressing instruction in the Law, God is still telling us that no matter what we are doing and what we are teaching, His law must be central.
The Bible is clear that children have been entrusted to parents. Parents, not civil government, have authority over their children. With that authority comes responsibility. Parents are to nurture their children (Ephesians 6:4) and provide them with basic care (1 Timothy 5:8), which unquestionably includes education.
Parents are to teach their children, as Psalm 78:5 makes clear: He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children.
The Bible also addresses who should not be teaching our children. For example, they are not to be taught by their peers: Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Proverbs 13:20). They should also not be given to the influence of the government schools: A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher (Luke 6:40).
We Must Not Partner With The World In Training Up Our Children
The Bible teaches that making an alliance with the world will always lead to compromise. No partnership with the world will ever lead to an advancement of the Kingdom of God and His gospel. And ultimately, training up our children is all about the gospel. The gospel cannot be centrally proclaimed in our child’s education if we are partnered with the world in public education.
The modern homeschool movement encompasses people from all walks of life. Some liberal atheists homeschool their children, while some very devout Christians send their children to public school. Granted, there is no Bible verse that says, “Thou shalt homeschool thy child,” making private home education not so much a matter of specific command as it is a matter of principle. Verses such as 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 warn against making alliances with unbelievers. In such a crucial matter as raising our children, we dare not partner with the world.
If we abdicate our opportunity to present our child’s education through the lens of Scripture and the Gospel, the secular government schools will be more than happy to step in and train them up in the ways of secular humanism, transgender propaganda, socialism, and critical race theory (to name just a few).
This is not to say that we should flee from all contact with the world and isolate ourselves and our families. God tells us in John 17 that we are not of the world but we have been sent into the world. While we do live and work among and with others in the world we must not put ourselves into a position of submission at the cost of the gospel.
Always remember what really matters.
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
There Is No Such Thing As A Neutral Education
Cornelius Van Til explains that non-Christians have a very different view of the world and they are not concerned with bringing a child face to face with God. “What is of utmost importance to us in education, that which is absolutely indispensable to us, is left out entirely of a non-Christian education.” Non-Christian education is a godless education.
Christians believe that God is preeminent–central to everything. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:16,17). In contrast, non-believers place man in the center of everything. Government education (public schools, including charters) affirm this man-centered view. Education will either be Christ-centered or man-centered. There is no other option.
The Bible is God’s word to us. In it, three spheres of authority are outlined, clearly supporting the idea that parents have authority over their children. In addition, Deuteronomy describes an interactive lifestyle of parents giving instruction to their children. So while there is no specific command in the Bible to homeschool your children, the principles of Scripture support the idea that private home education is the best vehicle to fulfill the mandates of Scripture.