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The Standard for Education

When it comes to education everyone has their own opinion. It seems like the suggestions on how to educate children never stop and rarely does the majority agree on what should be done in the school system.  Principals and teachers, depending upon the size of school they work at, can have anywhere from 100 to 1000 sets of parents giving their input on how teachers should teach, schools should function and what curriculum should be used.

The situation is no different in today’s modern world than it was in ancient times. We have records describing the Greek and Roman parents’ complaints about their educational system as did the adults of other ancient civilizations.

Concern about education is not a new or modern problem but in all of the complaints, all of the articles, all of the data researched I have not yet found one person who advocated God’s standard for educating students. That is a grave concern as the Bible does say a lot about what God wants for the education of children.

In a brief investigation of the biblical passages, it was found that over 361 verses talked about teachers, teaching, education and how it should be conducted. What follows is a look at what God has to say about educating students. There is no particular order to the points listed nor value of importance placed upon them; that is left up to God to impress upon the reader’s heart and mind.

1. Who is the main teacher?

Both the Old and New Testaments speak on where the main responsibility for teaching the youth lies. In Eph. 6:4 we read: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” and in Proverbs 22:6 we have the following words: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Both passages give clear indication that the initial education of the child belongs to the parents. They are the ones who need to set the correct direction for their children to go in so that in later years, they will not fall prey to those secular teachers who do not believe in God and who do try to ruin the faith of their religious students.

Parents need to teach their children the correct ways and prepare them on how to deal with such unbelieving authorities they encounter as they travel through the educational system. They cannot leave such important instruction to someone else. This means that the parents must make sure they are grounded in the correct information and if they are not, they need to rectify the problem.

This doesn’t mean that the parents cannot hire tutors or send their children off to school. It does mean that they give their children a solid foundation upon which to stand and it means removing lies and other falsehoods from their lives.

2. The hierarchy of education.

In today’s world, many students are given higher positions in the hierarchy than they should be. Schools and parents place the students on some a level akin to idol worship and the identity of the students is skewed because of this distorted placement. Schools often do not teach much any more as the demands of the parents is to have their offspring entertained like an audience instead of educating them like the blank pages they really are.

Students begin to think that they are above their teachers and that they do not have to respect or listen to them. Teachers become something that is endured as the unlearned student thinks ignorance is better than knowing something.

The Bible tells us in Luke 6:40 that ‘The student is not above the teacher…’ which tells everyone the position of the students in the overall scheme of things. There is a reason why children are called students—they need to learn much. They can’t learn if the position of the teacher is usurped and made inferior to the very people they are to instruct. Teaching cannot take place in such a situation.

Parents need to bring this reality home to their children before they send them off to be educated . The children need to realize that they are being sent to school not to be entertained or babysat but to learn from their teachers the correct information that will help them later in life; though that teaching is not supposed to undermine the foundation given the students by their parents.

Proper placement of the students in the hierarchy of education, helps them find their identification, where they fit in life and helps to cut down on problems in the classroom. Teachers cannot teach without the aid and co-operation of the parents.

3. The Importance of Teaching/Teachers

Over the centuries the status of teachers has both risen and fell. In some cultures teaching and teachers have been given high respect because they sacrifice whatever they might gain to take a low salary to teach the next generation or two. In other cultures, teaching and teachers have been demoted to the point of being derided, ridiculed and embarrassed for choosing to do the occupation other nations hold in high regard.

What does God say about teaching and teachers? In 1 Cor. 12:28 we read God’s opinion of the profession: ‘And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues’

Notice that God placed teaching and teachers as number 3 in His kingdom, which tells us that He holds the profession in high regard and gives it great importance. Parents should do no less than God. Does this mean that teachers, school authorities, and ministries of education are given blind faith or authoritarian power to teach what they want, when they want and how they want?

Of course not! Parents should not give total control of the educational system or its content to others. What the positioning by God means is that those who decide to be educators should be humbled that they get to partake in such an important occupation and they should seek to give the students the truth, the best curriculum, the best information and do it honestly following the rules of God found in other verses concerning administration, discipline, treatment of others.

They should not allow for false teaching to enter into their schools nor should they seek to make unbelievers of their students. Jesus gave a stern and very harsh warning about doing that very act. He said that it would be better if they committed suicide than to turn the faithful into unbelievers.

The importance of the profession of teaching should be taught the students by their parents for children will go as their parents teach them and respect for others, especially education begins at home. Parents cannot impress upon their little ones enough about God’s view of teaching and teachers. This does not mean that parents do not prepare their children on how to respond when taught by those who do not believe God.

4. What should be taught?

The answer to this question is found in 1 Timothy 1:3 & 6:3-4. These verses give good direction to the educational authorities of what is expected of them when constructing their curriculum.: “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer” and “These are the things you are to teach and insist on. 3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions”

Then Titus 6:8 and 2 Peter 2:1 add these words: “Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” And “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.”

The curriculum should be sound and godly which also includes giving the students the truth. Doesn’t matter if a theory is declared to be scientific, if it is not the truth then it should not be in the classroom. This standard found in those passages applies for all subjects. One is teaching unlearned children and teens thus great care should be made to ensure that the knowl3edge they get is true, and can be applied in a honest manner.

The importance of teaching n the kingdom of God demands such strict and lofty standards when it comes to curriculum

5. Ignorance is not honor.

Sadly, some people have a dim view of education and feel that the less one knows the better one is. That is far from the truth and there have been far too many christian people who have embarrassed themselves, their beliefs, their church, and Christ by not knowing what they are talking about.

We read about Moses’ education in the book of Acts and in those words no room is left for ignorance. In chapter 7 verse 22 we have these words: ‘Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action’

As you can see, God wants His people to be educated for being ignorant makes one vulnerable to the wiles of evil and one’s faith is in danger.  Also, the uneducated are more easily controlled by those in authority and God does into want His people controlled by evil or people whose agenda is different than His.

Knowing something is prized, is an honor and it allows God, who has chosen to work through people, to help His people a lot better.  The lack of knowledge hinders God’s work and purpose in this life and believers need to put away those distractions that interfere with their education and wastes their time.

If one does not have the time to learn a lot of different subjects then at least they need to learn how to do correct research for when the time comes and they are stumped, they then know how to find the correct answer and keep the body of Christ strong and impressive. Being ignorant only raises stumbling blocks to Christ and turns a lot of unbelievers off from the faith because of the low view they have of those in the church.

The Old Testament backs up the Book of acts as in 1 Chronicles 25:7 we read—‘Along with their relatives—all of them trained and skilled in music for the LORD—they numbered’. This verse supports the idea that God wants His people trained and skilled in whatever subjects they pursue. It is not limited to music, but if one loves math, then they need to do math well and correctly, for the body of Christ needs believing, educated teachers to receive the truth.

This is a task that cannot be left to the unbeliever for they have no interest in helping the followers of Christ or keeping the Kingdom of God strong. They do not care for the truth but Jesus does thus the believer should as well.

6.Proper discipline is education

Hebrews 12:11 tells us: ‘No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.’

Discipline is a part of education. It instructs the student on what is right and wrong behavior, attitudes and so on. Without proper discipline, the school can devolve into anarchy as students do not learn the correct lessons and society’s co-operative spirit is endangered.

This means that the school authorities, with parents, must figure out what is the correct type of discipline. Such determination does not ignore those verses which talk about discipline being fair, just and has mercy attached to them. Nor does it mean that corporal punishment is omitted from the list of disciplinary tools available.

That form of punishment needs to have proper guidelines so the teacher knows that they have gone too far in their act of punishment and they should contain just and fair punishments when the teacher does over-step the boundaries.

All discipline should be done according to God’s ways for it is not instituted to harden the bad behavior in the student’s lives but to bring them back to the correct way of living and treating others. The Bible is full of verses that speak on this issue and they are not over-ruled by majority vote, popular opinion or fads

In conclusion, for education to work the civilization must be in tune with God and His standards for those alone are the correct methods to use.  There are many different human ideas and opinions on how to educate but since they are human none are greater than the next person’s idea or opinion.

They all fail because they originate in fallible, corruptible, deceived people and only God’s way is above all of that. By following God’s ways parents then teach their children that they do the same thing as they require which removes hypocrisy and from the parents’ lives and confusion, doubt, skepticism, anger etc,. from their children’s minds and lives.

Education is important as in the long run, it helps the church make an impact upon the unbelieving world and that is very important in God’s eyes.

Making Science and the Bible Compatible


For centuries now there has been a battle between those who advocate science and those who side with the Bible.  The former group usually wants the dominate position to be occupied by science, since the Bible is not really a scientific textbook.  But the Bible’s purpose is not to wax eloquent on all things scientific, that would make the book far too thick and boring to read, and that lack of scientific purpose does not disqualify it from the dominant role nor does it make it inferior to the field of science.


The latter group wants the Bible to be in the dominant role and if the people who support that position are not misguided it should be in the superior position. The problem with this side of the argument is that many people are misguided when it comes to scriptural comments on scientific matters. But the former group does have the same issue as most of their adherents know little of what the Bible is saying because they lack the guidance of the Holy Spirit.


There are passages of scriptures that without that divine aid, people mis-understand and then apply the mis-understood passages to undermine the claims of the other group.  There are many examples available of this and Galileo & the Roman Catholic Church is but one, as are the passages in the Bible that talk about the 4 corners of the earth.


How does one then achieve the objective of bring the Bible and science together and make them compatible? For starters, one has to look at the composition of the two to get a better picture of the problem before seeing what needs to be done to align the field of science with what the Bible says.


For composition of the Bible we see that it is a holy and divine book written by God who is an all powerful, all knowing, eternal Being. It reveals things that only the Author would have first hand knowledge of leaving humans with the choice of using faith or not when reading its pages.


For science, we see that it is a secular human construction designed to look for natural answers, using very limited methods and tools operated by men and women whose knowledge comes from the results of those limitations and mitigating factors which influence the very items they study.


Right off the bat we see that compatibility is impossible. On the one hand we have a perfect book written by the only eye-witness of all events and on the other we have ideas written by unbelieving humans who are looking in the wrong places for their answers. As the Bible tells us there is no fellowship between righteousness and unrighteousness. A change has to be made.


Now, of course, those who advocate that science is greater than the Bible would demand that the Bible change to fit their elitist viewpoint. I say elitist simply because not everyone can be a scientist and have no avenue to contribute to the theories being created by those who do work in the field. The secular scientists say that their experiments, their tools, their supposed evidence trumps faith and what they call ‘magic’. They feel that their work is tried and true and designed to filter out error.


They point to their peer review process as a fail-safe check against fraud in the scientific world. Sadly, that supposed system is often abused, manipulated and unable to detect when fraud does occur. The secularist also point to how the Bible was written and who wrote it; often insulting it by calling the Biblical authors as uneducated sheep herders and plagerists. The false charge of plagerism is never supported by real evidence just innuendo and assumption and the sheep herder insult only demonstrates how little the secularist knows about the Biblical authors.


The writers were varied, one was educated in the court of the Egyptian Pharaoh, another was a military man, two were kings, some fishermen, one was educated in the rabbi system and on it goes. Moses and David did tend to sheep but Moses was already educated in the best system available in Egypt and David rose to be a king, so the insult does not work.


The latter group, if they are truly christian, would demand that science needs to change because it is not immune to the sin and corruption that entered the world at Adam’s sin and that its investigation is too limited as it leaves out vital data needed to make the correct determination of the issues.


Secular science is run by fallible humans prone to error as well as unbelief. Rarely do we hear of the failed predictions and the failed experiments that undermine their claims about their favored theories. They would also charge that secular science uses both faith and magic to make their theories work.


So which work has to change? Well for the believer, it is secular science that has to be renovated and brought under God’s direction using God’s ways and God’s ideas. A corrupted field of study cannot possibly measure up to a perfect book written by a perfect author. We know this because not one scientific or archaeological discovery has overturned one thing the Bible has said or proved it wrong.


To make science and the Bible compatible one or the other has to give. If we look at the ramifications of the necessary change we can see the impact upon the world. If secular science changes, then the work is under the guidance of God and the world gets the truth instead of the lies it has produced for centuries.


Changing secular science to a biblical way does not harm the moral, or governmental status of civilization.  It does not change the daily life of the people and it looks to bring benefits to society instead of the destructive materials it produces at present.


But if one changes the Bible to the level of secular science then we have a major problem. Morality would be in jeopardy as the ultimate standard would be reduced to human subjectivity; as would law and order. No longer is there a perfect standard to base one’s laws upon opening a window for anarchy to raise its ugly head. Laws will also fall under the subjectivity category and depend upon who was in power at the time.


Right and Wrong would disappear, for the same reasons as the previous two examples. Thus the ramifications of changing the Bible to a human book and reduced to a human level would be traumatic and severe, affecting civilization in a very drastic and violent manner. The very idea that there is a more powerful Being in the universe who does watch over His creation is a big deterrent to those who follow after evil.


Removal of that deterrent only grants permission for those who practice evil to be more open about it and more daring. No one would be safe.  This is why the desire to bring science and the Bible together must be thought through very carefully. The believer cannot follow the counsel of the ungodly thus they must ignore any temptation or call to change the word of God. Of course the secular world wants the Bible to change, they want to be the supreme authority in this world. Secular science already thinks it is above morality and right or wrong as many of their peers hold aloft the principle, ‘all science is good science’ and that is just not correct.


Secular science needs to be brought back under a strict right and wrong, moral umbrella keeping those who work in the field in check. Society demands such protection and cannot be made into guinea pigs to satisfy the curiosity of those who think they are above everyone else.


Another reasons why secular science is the field that has to change come from secular science itself. Secular scientists have no hope of verifying the majority of things they claim. Yes they can verify aspects of life like how plants work, how the reproduction system works, how crops are grown but they have no hope in verifying their origin or how they came into existence.


Most theories are just that, unprovable hypothesis which have no real data to back them up. Theoretical physics is just that—theoretical. Take the Big Bang theory for one example. There is no hope of secular scientist to prove their idea correct. They cannot go back in time to gather the physical evidence they need to show they are correct.


It is also non-repeatable evident rendering their theory non-scientific by secular science’s standard for being scientific. The dishonesty in the field of secular science renders it unqualified to be any form of final or supreme authority and provides great evidence for why it must be the field that changes if one wants to make the Bible and it agree.


More evidence against the superiority of science over the Bible comes in the origin of life. Secular science also has no hope in discovering evidence to support their ideas of how life came into existence. There is no hope for them to discover the original conditions that started it all. There is no hope of them producing the claimed original life form, or the correct chronology of the claimed process that life form went through to spawn the millions of species that once existed or exist now.


The field of secular science demands evidence from believers to prove their faith in the Biblical record, yet it fails to produce one shred of real evidence to support their outlandish claims. Usually the secular scientist compares apples with oranges to make its point and that just doesn’t cut it.


If they can’t produce what they demand of others then they have no argument and show how weak their position is. No matter how you look at it, secular science is not the ideal standard for all things in life to meet. It fails on all accounts to be supreme over all. It just doesn’t have what it takes to compel believers to change God’s word and make it compatible with science.


On the other hand, the Bible does have what it takes to demand that secular science changes to meet its requirements. It is not wrong, it does not require impossible evidence and we see the results of the Biblical record in action every day. There is no need for special tools or experiments because humans live it out each day on every level.


The Bible protects humanity by providing a non-subjective moral code, justice and mercy, among other higher ideals and that is something secular science just cannot do.  Science has its place but it has to be subject to the Bible, there is no other place for it to occupy. Secular science is the fallible inferior field not the Bible or its words but sadly, too many people won’t accept that conclusion because they like darkness rather than light and will continue to fight for their lower, more dangerous field to be supreme over all.


For science to be compatible with the Bible, it has to do what all humans have to do when seeking salvation. It has to repent of its sins, remove the pride, the arrogance, the corruption, the ulterior motives, etc., and let Jesus cleanse it.


There is no other way, no other option to solve this problem.

Viewing Ancient Writing and Education

I recently read a paper written by Dr. Rollston, titled Scribal Education in Ancient Israel: The Old Hebrew Epigraphic Evidence, and I am not picking on him at all but his article just happened to have some of the best points to use to present a counter opinion.

I disagree with the idea that education in the ancient world was only for the elite and feel that depending on the attitude of the ancient nation education was much broader and more inclusive than some scholars allow. For this presentation, I am going to quote a blurb from Dr. Rollston’s paper and address the issues raised in them. This is not an attack on him at all but questioning his conclusions and providing an alternative position to consider.


1. “For example, regarding the fact that there is no reference to ‘schools’ in the Hebrew Bible, Golka has stated that ‘the best explanation for the fact that no schools are mentioned is still that there were none.’”

This is an argument that atheists often use when creationists say that evolution wasn’t mentioned in the Bible. They say that planes and trains aren’t mentioned nor computers yet they all exist today.

The same idea can apply to the above point. Just because something is not mentioned doesn’t mean it did not exist at that time. Ecc 1:9 tells us: ‘What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun’

What that means is that education and schooling, even in a public system like today’s nations have, is not a modern invention but has been done before and done again and again.  Schools do not have to be mentioned in the Hebrew Bible to have been an educational option for the ancient world, including the Hebrews.

Then, the Bible speaks often on teaching, teachers, learning, training thus it speaks volumes on the subject. The word ‘school’ may not have been used but the important parts of education are. How the ancients educated their children, whether public, private academies or even homeschooling, was up to them but the Bible provided important guidelines on how to carry out that process.

2. “Some attention as well is given to the rapid pace ay which some scholars have assumed that an ancient alphabetic writing system could be learned…The writing systems developed and employed in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt were complex non-alphabetic systems.”

It is easy to assume but if one looks at today’s students, it isn’t difficult for many people to learn a system of writing very quickly. South Korea loves to study English and its kindergarten pupils pick up the English alphabet and can write, according to their abilities, quite easily. The same goes for the learners of the Korean language. It doesn’t take long to master their alphabet and learn to write their characters.

The problem with the latter half of the point above is that the author of that article forgets that when learning one’s native tongue and writing system the information is available all the time and correction is not limited to the classroom. Relatives, friends, and even enemies play a role in helping one learn one’s own language

The bushmen of Africa have a language which is done by the clicking of their tongues, {Khoisan} and its people have no trouble learning how to do it. Dr. Rollston, here, makes the very mistake he claimed those scholars quoted above made. He assumes that native people are incapable of learning their own language without enduring long periods of schooling.

In the modern scholar’s mind it may be difficult but they are coming at the language when the ancient tongue is no longer spoken by natives and there is no one left alive to correct any of the mistakes or point out the nuances.  The people born into those civilizations have innumerable speakers and were taught all the nuances while they were growing up.

There is a big difference in perspectives here and one should not impose their learning situation onto the ancients.

3. “Lemaire (1981) has argued that there were numerous schools throughout much of Israel and Judah in the Iron Age…Lemaire’s decision to propose such a pervasive system of education was an Achilles heel, because the evidence could not carry the load he saddled with it.”

Dr. Rollston has been around archaeology and scholars enough to know that the lack of evidence does not prove something did not exist. We all know that archaeology only provides the modern world with minute fragments of what took place in the past and much of that is left up to the archaeologist’s speculative powers.

We also have the problem with mis-identification of buildings and their purpose. Too often the archaeologist decides to label a building a temple when in reality, that probably is far from the truth. We do not really know which structures were temples, in most cases, and which were not. Most ancient structures are not accompanied with undamaged, complete manuscripts detailing the buildings use.

K.A. Kitchen, in his book The Bible In its World, details how much is lost at a site, how much is uncovered and how little is printed material. We cannot state with any confidence that a public school system did not exist in some ancient civilizations. We cannot state that a home schooling idea did not exist nor can we say that schooling was only for the elite few.  What undermines that latter idea is that there are just too many employment/governmental positions requiring literacy to be filled by the elite alone.

They just did not have the manpower to do it. Plus, some of those trained in schools were needed to replace aging or dying teachers, reducing the literate workforce even further, creating a need for more citizens to be educated.

4. “…the morphology of the letters…Finally it should also be noted that some Old Hebrew inscriptions can be dated to the ninth century…”

Everyone knows that most languages change over time. Old English is vastly different from its modern counterpart. But the problem with this idea is that people do not let the older versions die out and use them for special occasions. This fact alone destroys a lot of the dating ideas floating about.  We can guess when an inscription was written and we can be close but we can never be sure because we do not know the intent behind what was written.

Dating an inscription is too subjective because we also do not know who ordered the writing, who wrote it and many other factors that seemed to be ignored in Dr. Rollston’s paper. There are just too many mitigating factors that come into play and assumption plays a large role in the modern scholars’ attempts to decipher the words.

One such factor is that the inscription may have been found amongst, let’s say, 8th century BC artifacts but that doesn’t mean the inscription was written in the 8th century. It is a possibility but it is also possible that the inscription was a family heirloom written much earlier than the supposed dating or it was moved to that location for preservation sake. There are many reasons why an inscription is found where it is and very few have to do with the actual time period.

5. “For the Old Hebrew script there is basic uniformity…The script of Old Hebrew seals is normally a formal cursive script (rather than a semi-formal cursive script)…The fact of the matter is that no trained palaeogapher would suggest that there was some sort of uniformity without development or variation during the course of some two centuries”

The problem with this so-called uniformity is that it ignores use of scripts for ceremonial or special occasions. I have multiple from schools on 3 different continents and each diploma uses Old English. Two are completely in Old English though that style was never used other official or unofficial paperwork throughout my tenure at those institutions and one is in partial Old English.

Another degree is in modern English but both printed and cursive style of printing. I have also looked at other degrees from other institutions and they do the exact same thing. What this means is that uniformity does not indicate general usage of a particular script. It does mean that a certain style is reserved for commemorating achievement or other honors; while other styles of writing are used for other purposes.

Of course those ancient seals would use a formal script as most likely their purpose was for official work and not for everyday communication. The same idea goes for the supposed development of a language. One thing I noticed in this paper was that the fact that different people write differently was completely omitted.

To say that different letter lengths indicate a change in a language is naïve as people do not write exactly the same way in the same time period. Everyone has their style of handwriting. Some women put hearts over their ‘I’s’, while others put flowers or dots, yet they are writing in the same time period and even attended the same school and had the same teachers teaching them how to write.

The evidence really does not support a developmental theory, simply because we know so little about the origin of languages or writing. In the article Who began writing? Many Theories Few Answers, John Noble Wilford wrote: “In exchanging interpretations and new information, the scholars acknowledged that they still had no fully satisfying answers to the most important questions of exactly how and why writing was developed”

So we really do not know which style was the original and which were affected by the personality of the inscriber. Many scholars throw out the word, ‘proto’ but that is a mis-used term as we do not really know what the original language looked like and how they developed to their ancient forms.

We are simply getting fragmentary samples written by different people with different personalities who wrote as they wanted. The artifacts do not come with labels describing the needed information to draw a development conclusion. We can assume and speculate but what if the scholars have the inscriptions backwards and put them in the wrong order?

How would we spot the error?  How can we verify beyond a shadow of a doubt so that we can use that conclusion to categorize subsequent finds? How can we be sure? We can’t because too many factors play a role in the written language.

6. “ For Old Hebrew, there is no evidence for the use of internal matres lectionis during the lion share of the eighth century…”

Possible but what about spelling errors, fads or other ideas that influence writing. In todays English world many people shorten a word down to one syllable. Do we call that a development or just bad English?

How can we know that the samples we dig up are infallible and no mistakes are contained within? Or that no fad or special creativity influenced the written style for a period of time? In studying the past, I have noticed that too many ideal assumptions are placed upon the written word and the concept of mistakes or creativity are ignored or not grasped. Remember, nothing is new under the sun and the changes to modern language for whatever reason probably took place in the ancient world as well.

We cannot assume that everyone wrote exactly the same like little mindless robots. The changes I mentioned are they development of a language or just creativity trying to gain attention for some business or entertainment? It is difficult to say with the ancient world because we lack so much information and researchers are left to their own devices and bias.

7. “My own suspicion is that scribal education in Israel could have occurred…(but always with trained scribal personnel at the helm)…”

This reminds me of the arguments of some scholars who state that literacy was only among the scribes and elite but that is like saying that today’s literate people were taught only in Bible Schools and only Christians could read and write.

Of course, I do not argue that scribal schools did not exist but their existence does not mean that other schools for non-elite people did not exist. Those who oppose that idea ignore the wishes of parents (especially mothers) who want their children to have more than they did; it ignores the fact that an illiterate nation cannot survive or be dominant in the world. Even the world’s worst dictators sent their people’s children to school, even if it were for nefarious reasons. We cannot assume that every nation had a public school system but we cannot assume, either, that they did not.

Finally, in regards to this elite scribal education system one must ask the question: If the elite only were educated why would they write on cheap pottery?  They were the elite and the elite had money thus they had access to the finest writing materials of the time and would have no use for writing on common clay items.

It would seem that pottery would be the domain of the commoner who did not have access or the money to better writing materials. They would be more inclined to write as they pleased changing the language as they saw fit whereas the elite’s handwriting would be very sophisticated and neat using proper letters with proper grammar because they would have been educated by the best teachers who exacted perfection.

It just doesn’t make sense to eliminate education and literacy from the common folk and limit it to a small group of people, the evidence just isn’t there to support that thinking.

Ancient Literacy

1. Setting the Scene:

This is a topic that have scholars under-estimating the educational level of the ancient world. Dr. Craig Evans in his most recent book, Jesus and His world pg.66, states:

“Surely such great quantities of written material argue for widespread not limited literacy? You might think so, but that is not the conclusion historians have reached. Most agree that literacy rates were somewhere between 5 and 10 per cent...”

Dr. Evans does not disagree with those figures but I do. The reason I do is that the amount of written material that has been uncovered over the years. Plus, there are just some logical reasons why the literacy rate could not be that low.

Over the next few pages I will be quoting extensively from Dr. Evans book simply because he has gathered together a large amount of information lacking in many other archaeological works.  The quotes will be noted by page numbers only and any other work will be noted fully.

To set the scenario we need to discuss two things. First, the amount of people who were alive in the ancient world needs to be taken into consideration. According to Juliette Lapidos in her article 25,000 inhabitants, 2,500 years ago, talks about the major problem with knowing how many people were inhabiting the ancient world:

“No matter the methodology, population estimates always involve broad assumptions. Even evidence drawn from an ancient census can be unreliable. Some omitted women, slaves, and children, and we only have access to incomplete records of others. As a result, figures issued by different research teams often vary wildly. Estimations for ancient Alexandria, for example, range from less than 100,000 to almost 1 million” (Lapidos:2008)

In other words we do not know exactly how large the ancient population was. Given the 5-10% scholars literacy conclusion we end up with about 5,000-50,000 people on the low scale and up to 10,000-100,000 on the upper end who would be considered literate just for Alexandria.

These figures raise some important questions that we will get to later.  The second thing we must consider is how many people actually were authors and how many books or other works did they write? I don’t usually use Wikipedia for reference work but for this purpose their list of prolific authors provides a good example to work from in for the comparison.

On their list is about 20-25 authors who spent most of their lives writing, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_prolific_writers, and they included those who wrote non-book material (scripts, novella etc.) These are the exceptional ones and if one totaled up their works the figure reaches approximately 22,000 pieces of written material.

Far below the 34.5 million books and other printed material gathered at the Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov/about/facts.html). Who wrote these other works? They certainly could not have been produced by prolific authors alone nor could those type of authors produce that much material over the 200 years the Library has been collecting them. It is just impossible, which means that normal folk had to be literate and contribute to the collection over time.

This is just one country, who can count all the books held by the rest of the countries of the world? Clearly modern people who would fall into the historians’ conclusion of the 95-90% illiterate conclusion had to contribute written material to allow the Library to gain such an impressive collection.

When we look at the amount of material left by 1 ancient city, we cannot come to the conclusion that the modern day historians are correct in their assessment of a 5-10% literacy rate for the ancient world.

2. The Ancient Reality:

Now we turn to Dr. Evans book and the information he has published:

“Writing in the third century CE a Roman official orders a number of mayors in the Hermopolite district in Egypt to post copies of his letter ‘in the metropolis an din well known places…so that no one may be unaware of my pronouncements’ (P.Oxy. 2705).” (pg. 63)

-Here we have the understanding that people could read. There would be no point in posting the letter if the literate people were gathered in one location and part of the elite.

“In every city from late antiquity we find dozens of , if not hundreds of public inscriptions…These inscriptions are dedications, lists of names, imperial decrees, statements or reminders of law, quotations of famous men and even pedestrian things, such as directions. Many gravestones and tombs are inscribed with more than the name of the deceased; some have lengthy, even poetic obituaries; others have threats and curses against grave robbers.” (pg.64)

-The ancient world is full of evidence for literacy and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

“To the inscriptions we must add the enormous numbers of documents from late antiquity that have been found. One thinks especially of the finds at Oxyrhynchus ranging from 300 BCE to  500 CE. Close to half a million documents, mostly made of papyrus were recovered from the dry sands just outside the city limits…In places the heaps of papyri recovered ran as much as 9 meters deep…In rough terms this could mean that the half-million documents recovered represent only about one third of those thrown into the dump. One wonders how many millions of other documents circulated in Oxyrhynchus that were never thrown into this dump-and Oxyrhynchus was but one city.” (pg. 65)

-9 meters equals approx. 30ft or roughly a 3-4 story apartment modern apartment building. That is a deep pile and though the width is not given, we can conclude it was not just a one meter pile. Even if you multiplied wiki’s list by 10 you would not get close to the amount of written material produced in one city in the ancient world over a 1,000 year period.

On Rhodes we have a piece of a catalogue and it tells us that some ancient authors only wrote or had 1 book in the library thus not all ancient authors were prolific writers which tells us that many people wrote for whatever reason. (Casson:2001:59)

“Presumably other cities in the Mediterranean world were every bit as literate as Oxyrhynchus. One thinks of Alexandria (Egypt) and Ephesus (Asia Minor) with their impressive libraries. The former in its heyday…boasted almost half a million volumes…A nearby temple held another 36,000 books. The Celsus library at Ephesus had some 12,000.” (pg.65)

-Lionel Casson wrote a book on ancient libraries entitled Libraries in the Ancient World, though not a large volume it does give the reader the impression that literacy was well above the modern scholar’s conclusions.

“What about Corinth, Athens, Rhodes and –by the first century CE- Rome? Recall too, that Marcus Antonius apparently gave Cleopatra…some 200,000 books. Pliny the Elder claims that in preparing to write his Natural History he read 2,000 books.” (pg. 65)

-It would stand to reason that those cities would collect books to be used for communication, entertainment, research and so on. One cannot think that all the ancients did was sleep, work, pray and eat during their lifetimes.

“The same thing is observed at Vindolanda, the site of a Roman fort and settlement just south of Hadrian’s wall in Northumberland, England, where writing tablets were found in 1973…Some 500 tablets… have been discovered” (pg. 68)

“For our concerns, the biggest find was the excavation of the so-called Villa of Papri in Herculaneum. The Villa is halfway up the slope of Mount Vesuvius and was discovered in 1750…workers recovered some 1,100 scrolls, a few tablets and broken pieces of both.” (pg. 69-70)

-Here we see that private libraries existed. Hard to say if these people were part of the elite but we know now that private parties collected and probably read books.

From the work of Dr. Evans we can see that large caches of works have been uncovered. These do not include the more famous discoveries like the Amarna letters and other great ancient literary finds. Nothing we have found supports the idea that the ancient world was illiterate. Of course, this does not mean that everyone was educated or literate. Some were not. Even in a modern country like America which prides itself on educating its youth, many still are not literate.

3. The Questions:

Given the evidence discovered by modern archaeologists then looking at the conclusion made by modern historians and scholars the two just do not correspond. This realization brings us to the first question—why did they write so much material?

There are two basic reasons why people write, one they want to communicate whether it is quoting, recording, or acknowledging a departed loved one, they are communicating a message to future readers. Two, they want to make a living. As modern publishing houses can attest the people who write are far more in number than those who get published.

Since archaeology is a very limited field, one must wonder how much written material we have lost to erosion and other destructive forces? It is not wise to draw conclusions based upon the amount of evidence we do recover for it only tells part of the story.

The second question is—Who were they writing to?  If 90-95% of the population were illiterate, why waste time writing information down? It would be lost on the intended audience and a very wasted effort. Not to mention a waste of time and resources.

If only the elite knew how to read and write, why would they need to produce so much written material? Their small number would not require such a large use of writing or resources nor would it demand that inscriptions be placed upon tombs or other personal property of the common folk.

Since authors write to make a living, what good is writing if so few people would buy their works? A mass market would mean more income but if no one could read then there would be no point in writing, the income just wouldn’t be there to sustain an author for very long.

The amount of written remains contradict the conclusions of the scholars and historians. There is just no logical reason for the ancient world to spend so much of their time producing material if the projects were ignored and left to rot. Writers would be discouraged and stop writing. Even governments would not see the need to spend valuable tax dollars on producing records if no one would be able to read them. They would return to an oral system of communication.

4. Conclusion:

Literacy does not depend upon production of written materials. Not everyone writes but yet they have that ability and the ability to read as well.  As evidenced by the modern world, some people went to school, were educated yet all they produce(d) throughout their lives were a few personal letters and a weekly shopping list.

This is the injustice inflicted upon the ancient world. Modern scholars and historians stand in judgment over a people long dead while using a limited amount of materials and a warped sense of human behavior and what literacy really is.

It is unrealistic to expect the majority of the ancient world to sit down and write long tomes or epic poems. The ancients may have been too busy, have no interest in writing novels or poems or other works and on it goes. There are a variety of reasons why written material is limited, and we only have to look to the modern age to see them.

2000 years from now, I can see future archaeologists calling the western world illiterate because the amount of written material left behind was as sparse as the ancient world’s remains. Yet people in the western world spent 12 years in school becoming literate. Archaeological remains do not tell the whole story and it is not wise to draw conclusions about the past when the evidence or reality are just not there to support them.

Given what Dr. Evans has published in his book, I cannot agree with those who conclude that the ancient world was 5-10% literate. It just doesn’t make sense and when you add in population size, there is no way such wealth of material would be produced by so few people. It doesn’t work mathematically or logically.

The need to keep a society or civilization functioning demands that more of its people be literate than just the elite. Slaves do not even come into the argument simply because so few of them would have the chance to learn how to read and write. Such accomplishment relies too much upon a benevolent nature of their owner and so few had that towards their slaves.

The evidence that we have seen from Dr. Evan’s book also demands that more than a few were educated or the production of written materials does not make any sense at all.  The pro-illiteracy group seem to want to create an ancient world that is to their liking and not the reality.

Too Many Cooks

It seems everyone has an opinion about how to educate students and everybody wants their opinion to be heard. They all want their views adopted by the federal government as the chief way to educate children. The list is long as politicians, school administrators, principals, teachers, parents even psychologists and psychiatrists all fight to be heard on how education should take place.

For Korea the list is longer as they have to contend with unqualified native English teachers who constantly whine and complain about the way the Korean educational system operates.  Most of the people in these groups really do not know how to run a school let alone a complete educational system but that doesn’t stop them from putting their ‘two cents’ in.

It is a difficult job trying to educate students as the principals, teachers and education ministers must juggle thousands of differing opinions just from parents alone. Not to mention the large unsolicited advice that comes from professional groups and those hired to teach one subject.

But there is one voice most people ignore even those His rules of morality and laws of right and wrong provide the ideal atmosphere all parents and school employees desire. Plus it provides guidance on how to discipline as well as provide a direction in which the curriculum should go in; so that the students receive the best education, the best treatment and can reach their full potential.

Here are some examples of guidance this voice brings: 1. ‘…not to teach false doctrine…’ This means school officials and teachers do not lie to the students. This means that evolution would be removed from the science classroom as it is a lie.

2. ‘…the teaching of the wise is the fountain of life…’ This tells us that teachers, principals and education officials should be wise people, providing the right answer not the popular or easy one just to avoid problems.

3. ‘…to teach you the elementary truths…’ These words of wisdom provide the direction for the curriculum—its content should be true no matter what the subject.

4. ‘…teach us to number our days right…’ In other words, so we know how to live correctly and not waste the time we have.

These words, of course, come from the Bible and ever since a group of people have been successful in removing God’s word from the classroom, education has gone downhill. In fact, since that removal about the only program that has been successful in the west is dumbing the student down. Their educational levels have dropped. In fact, America this year recorded the lowest SAT score since the early 70’s

The secular world has failed its students. Not only in making the public school environment less conducive for study but in amount of knowledge that the students have acquired. There is a reason for this and it is found in an old western saying in North America. It goes like this: ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth.’

Once the best standard was removed, the educational systems have been inundated with too many cooks all championing a different way to educate the students. No system can survive or even thrive when philosophies change, curriculums change, goals change every couple of years. It just won’t work.

The reason that one voice is not listened to is because it comes from God. People just do not want God involved anymore. That is why so many adhere to the evolutionary theory. It isn’t from God. But as we see from the example of the conditions of education removing God doesn’t work.  I haven’t counted but there looks to be over 200 verses in the Bible on studying, education, teaching, teachers and teaching.

With that large amount of content addressing just one subject you get the idea that teaching young people is very important to God. It is as Jesus warned that it was better to commit suicide than to cause a child to not believe in Him. God also made teachers #3 in His kingdom, which tells us how important that profession is to Him.

We need to bring God back into education to achieve the desired goals.


 Many, many years ago when I was in undergrad school, my classmates and I would often talk about how the real learning would begin once we graduated and obtained our pieces of paper.  We knew that in university we were being taught ideals more than anything else. These ideals did not match up with reality as people are different when used as study groups versus real life situations.

The same idea applies to those with education degrees or teacher’s diplomas. Most are taught ideals and their brief foray into the real world of education as student teachers doesn’t always impact them like it should.

The question of who is or isn’t qualified has gone on since the ancient world gave way to the Middle Ages and that to modern civilization. It will probably continue till the world ends. The idea of qualifications is very subjective. Much like how an educational system should run, the issue of who is qualified is diverse and it depends upon whom is doing the speaking.

Many people advocate that all teachers should have a certain piece of paper before entering the classroom. Some think you need two or three. The problem is that all these pieces of paper do is show that the holder completed the required amount of courses to receive it. They are no guarantee that the person holding them can teach or if they can, that they will teach well.

These pieces of paper are not exclusive. By that I mean that they do not determine the teaching ability of all people. Those who do not hold such a piece of paper can be gifted teachers without ever setting foot in an educational classroom. Learning to teach is not limited to the approved course in a university or certificate program. There are people with the gift to teach and they should not be ostracized or excluded from the classroom.

Does this mean that those who went to university and obtained those pieces of paper wasted their time? Of course not, it means that those who hold them are not greater than those who do not and vice versa thus they should not demand that all people follow the path that they took. Not everyone is gifted to be a teacher and not everyone can learn to be one either. Teaching is not for everyone and it is not a fallback profession.

The real test for being qualified for the classroom is experience. The only way you know if you are qualified to teach is to get in there and teach. You also have to be honest with yourself and give it an honest chance. A few classes isn’t enough to make a determination of one’s abilities. Nor are a few unruly students a determination of one’s classroom management.

Like everything else, good classroom management comes with experience and learning from one’s mistakes. Making mistakes is not fun but they will happen. How a person handles those situations helps them decide if they are a teacher or not. 

There are many people who come to Korea or other Asian countries thinking their pieces of paper qualify them to teach Asian students. Many find out the hard way that that idea is not so.  Along with experience, adaptability plays a role in being qualified for the classroom. If you cannot adapt from the ideals or western ways you have been taught, then you will never make it.

The East is not like the West and the first year here will tell you that and if you can’t make changes then teaching in the East is not for you. Although that does not mean that teaching in the West is out as well. You may find that you are to be a teacher in a Western country but experience taught you that not a piece of paper.

Teaching is not easy and those who think it is need to reassess their motivations for wanting to be in the classroom. The classroom is not part of a game. It is a profession and should be treated as such. The right mentality will help those trying to decide if they are qualified or not.

Systems, Methodologies & Textbooks

The system is broken. It is a familiar cry as people point to unreached goals and failing grades as the reason for blaming the system.  The problem is, for those pointing the finger, is that there is only one system that can be used. Teachers teach and students learn.  It is the same way in every country around the world and it has been this way since the beginning of time.

The system can’t be changed and if you try it then you are simply putting the cart before the horse. The system is not what is broken. What is broken are those who try to manage it according to their own ideas, goals and desires. The purpose of education is replaced by political or personal gain.

It isn’t that there isn’t enough money to pay for the educational needs. As an example the American military budget hits this year in the 600 billion dollar range. Even if you only subtracted 15 billion, that would be enough to cover the financial problems burdening the educational system of America and still not hurt the defense of that country.

There are other influences, on a lesser scale, that contribute to the weakening of the system and it all has to do with the adults in charge of, employed by or provide services to the educational system. The system works if it is allowed to work.

As for methodology, everyone in the world is looking for that perfect method that will bring the perfect results.  There isn’t one (that has been created by humans). If one has been a teacher for any length of time, they would know that all students do not learn the exact same way. There is no set way for a person to learn.

Like everything else, methodology is subjective and what works for one teacher may not work for another. Thus a teacher needs to find the methodology that best fits them and their personality. Plus they need to be open-minded or flexible enough to alter their style and methods to fit the needs of their students.  They should not let others force them into methods unfamiliar or do not work.

The world is inundated with cutely named programs like Head Start, No Child Left Behind or what is being implemented now, S.T.E.A.M. but these only offer the illusion that something is being done in education. The current crisis is evidence that cute programs do not work and only seek to mollify the parents into thinking something is being done to educate their children.

In sports, when teams start to lose the coach usually goes ‘back to the basics’ to get the job done. He doesn’t usually switch to a new, cute strategy because the players can’t handle it. The same goes for education. Methodology should ‘get back to the basics’ first and teach students what they need to know whereby providing them with a good foundation to build their learning upon.

Then there are the textbooks. These works are not exhaustive nor contain as much information as one would like. They can’t because topics are just too broad for a textbook to do it justice.  Parents and teachers should realize that a textbook is merely a jumping off spot, a place to get started when learning about different subjects.

There is no law or force stopping a parent from buying other books to enhance their child’s education. Parents should be encouraged to aid their children in learning and in helping with independent study because a teacher cannot be with a student 24 hours 7 days a week.

If the teacher is good, then they will provide the student with the correct tools to use in their own time as a student’s progress can only be done if the student knows how to study and learn on their own. Their hands can’t be held every step of the way.

One final word, Korea should focus on educating their children and not copying from western nations. Those nations have failed their students and Korea should not follow like a lemming. They should take the better path.


There is an old saying about teachers, ‘those that can- do; those that can’t- teach.’  This statement is misleading because those that do need to be taught first. There is a lot to teach young children and teens before they set out to achieve their life goals. Whether one self-teaches or goes to a classroom, teaching is always done.

A lot of responsibility is placed upon a teacher as they are given a very special job but it is unfair to expect the impossible from them.  In today’s world, politicians, education ministers, and other officials place a lot of the student’s failures on the teachers’ shoulders. That is just not fair.

You can be the best teacher in the world, have the best curriculum and methodology but if the student doesn’t want to learn there is nothing a teacher can do. They are, in most cases, given a burden they should not have to bear. The success of a student) is achieved by 90% participation of the student and 10% by the teacher

In other words if politicians, parents, and education ministers are angry at the failure of the students to achieve the goals set for them, they should not direct that anger solely at the teachers. Students need to be responsible for their own performance and it is not right to pass that responsibility onto those charged with the task of teaching.

The Bible tells us to be fair, to be merciful and to be just and that instruction does not exclude teachers. They need to be treated with fairness, with mercy and especially justice but if school officials can’t then they only have themselves to blame for the educational crisis in their institutions

Certain type of evaluations are unfair and unjust as they are so easily manipulated. If a strict but good teacher is not liked then the students/parents filling the evaluation out, can gather enough support to force that teacher out of a job and that is not right.

Sadly there is no perfect way to evaluate a teacher, for a principal can railroad a good one while protecting a bad one simply because of personal feelings towards each. Thus honesty must be a charter member of the evaluator’s character and that is not always found.

To be fair and to see the reality, teachers cannot open a student’s mind and shovel the needed knowledge directly into their brains. They must rely on the willingness of the student to study the material and do the assignments. In many cases teachers are helpless as parents and school officials back the student instead of them

A little understanding needs to be applied to this issue. If educators want to retain good teachers then the problems in education need to be credited to those who are guilty of the offenses. There really is not one group that is solely responsible for the problems seen in student results.

Education officials play a role in it as they continue to change programs and rules nearly every year, in hopes of looking like they are doing something.  Politicians contribute either via financial restraint or other interference to garner votes for the next election.

Next we have parents who fail to impress upon their children the need for study and hard work. Discipline also needs to be reinforced at home when the student is punished at school and when school officials are correct in their administering punishment

Finally, the student has to take their share of the blame as their young minds are easily distracted by other more interesting hobbies, for example computer and video games, television, movies and so on. They need to learn that their success depends upon their doing the work

The Bible also talks about ‘sparing the rod and spoiling the child’ but this does not mean that the student needs to be beaten. Instead they need to learn that they have to pay for their failure to do their part in their education. Failing to impress this upon the student spoils them and makes the teachers’ jobs far more difficult than it should be.

Teachers should not be the scapegoat, it is a group failure.

Rights & Punishment

Everyone is talking about ‘rights’ these days, especially student rights.  Some education officials think that students deserve more freedom in their school lives and that schools should not be perceived as draconian.  Yet there is a problem with granting too many rights to students, actually there are several problems.

One of the first problems is the disruptive nature that arises when students are given too much freedom.  Petty jealousies give way to minor disagreements which give way to major fights as some students do not like how others use their new found freedom.

Another problem is the idea that the school officials are putting the inmates in charge of the asylum.  School and teachers’ rules have no meaning any more as students get to do as they please. This is actually a major issue as school and teacher authority should not be lose its power or control over the school and the student body.

At no time should student rights exceed or over-rule school and teachers’ rights. There is a reason for why they are called students. They are in class to learn and to learn that there is an authority with more rights than they is one very important lesson if society is to function correctly.

The student needs to learn that there are repercussions for their wrong behavior and that with freedom and rights come responsibilities. Total freedom is not freedom but anarchy and the student needs to learn that granting rights to one person to act as they please means that the other person gets the same rights and can act as they want.

Rights are a two way street and they are limited to ensure the safety of the whole community not just one small group. The Bible doesn’t talk about ‘rights’. It doesn’t have to as it talks about how people are to behave towards others. ‘Doing unto others…’ covers a very broad area of life and it doesn’t exclude education. ‘Loving your neighbor as yourself’ also does not exclude education but clearly lays out for the sincere how they should act in any setting.

Punishment or discipline is a very touchy issue these days as many want to remove corporal punishment from the schools. That is basically forcing one’s ideology upon those who do not accept that way of thinking and that is wrong. No one is forcing opponents to use corporal punishment in their work as a teacher. They are free to use alternative methods if they so choose.

The opponents of corporal punishment do not have the ‘right’ to force their ways on those who disagree with their beliefs. The Bible does talk about discipline and punishment and it lays out the rules for how it should be carried out.

In a general sense, punishment is to be used to ‘bring about repentance’ so that the offender sees the error of his or her ways and change. It also gives specifics as well. Punishment should be fair and just. The process to reach a decision on what type of punishment should be administered includes forgiveness, compassion, mercy, wisdom and understanding.

Those characteristics are needed to make sure the discipline given is the right course of action and solves the problem not harden the heart. If the offender realizes that they are being punished unfairly or unjustly then they may decide that it doesn’t matter what they do, they will never see proper discipline and another person is lost to the wrong side of the law.

The Bible doesn’t rule out corporal punishment but it also doesn’t exclude it from the above guidelines. One item that is not included in that process is emotion. Emotion is not a tool for justice as it distorts what took place, the reason why it took place and the type of reaction that is needed to respond to the offense committed.

The Bible will not use the exact words one wants to read, but it does speak volumes about how things should be done. It provides the guidelines to produce the environment all people want for their schools. Sadly, people reject it because it has to do with God.