The Bible was written in a different time and a different culture. If you are a Christian, you still look to Scripture to know how to live your life in the will of God. The principles of the Bible are still applicable, and it is the Living Word of God, so we know that we can apply it to our lives no matter how different life may look today. That means studying and interpreting what the Bible has to say about a variety of different topics, such as homeschooling.
Part of discerning what the Bible says about homeschooling, or even school in general, is knowing the context of the culture and what day-to-day life would have looked like when the Bible was written.
Looking Back at Bible Times
So, what was life like during Bible times? How were children taught, and what kinds of things did they learn?
Home-centered: During Bible times, much of life revolved around the home. School for most would have consisted of what their parents taught them, what they might have learned at the temple, and any trades they might have picked up. We know Jesus himself was taught carpentry by his father.
Family-focused: People got married, had families, and taught them the traditions of religion and everyday life that had been passed down from generation to generation. Children were seen as a blessing, and hospitality was a way of life.
Searching Scripture for Answers
When you take the time period into consideration, it becomes easier to understand what we are reading in the Bible. Let’s look to Scripture for answers about homeschooling. Here are some passages that give us a clearer picture of God’s direction for parents when it comes to decisions about schooling.
Building Houses and Gardening
Isaiah 65:21 “And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.”
Amos 9:14 “And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.”
Jeremiah 29:5-7 “Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.”
1 Thessalonians 4:11 “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.”
In these verses, we see God directing people to have families and teach their children about building, gardening, and living simple, family-centered lives. In the books of Isaiah, Amos, and Jeremiah, Israel was in captivity, but that didn’t mean that the world stopped turning.
Passing Down Beliefs From Generation to Generation
Deuteronomy 6:7 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”
Deuteronomy 4:9 “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;”
Deuteronomy 11:19 “And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
Psalm 78:5-8 “For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.”
God repeats multiple times in the Bible the importance of passing our beliefs down to our children. It is important not only that they know what we believe and practice but also why.
Church Life, Hospitality, and Village Mindset
Luke 2:41-52 “Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”
Acts 2:41-47 “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
The first passage here shows how the Jewish temple was a place of teaching and learning during Jesus’ time. We read that during the festival of the Passover, Mary and Joseph had a miscommunication on where Jesus was, causing them to go back and find him at the temple. This passage also mentions Jesus growing in wisdom.
The second passage shows us the importance of having a church family. The early church in Acts ate together, fellowshipped together, shared their possessions, and most importantly, worshiped God together. There would have been children in the church body learning as the adults led by example.
Motherhood and a Woman’s Role
Proverbs 31 “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”
Titus 2:4-5 “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
The role of a wife and mother is debated in Christian circles, but here we read that no matter what a Godly mother does during her day-to-day life, she is working hard and teaching whoever is around her.
Matthew 18:6-19 “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
1 Corinthians 15:33 “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”
John 17:15 “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”
Whether you homeschool your children or send them to a private or public school, one thing is for certain. Children are to be protected, and those who bring them to harm or introduce them to evil will be judged by God himself.
Training One’s Own Children
Proverbs 22 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Ephesian 6:1-4 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Proverbs 1:8 “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:”
Proverbs 6:20-35 “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:”
These verses stress the importance of parents training their kids to obey. It cautions children to listen and honor their parents because it will help them later in life.
Teaching and Learning
Matthew 28:20 “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
2 Timothy 3:14-17 “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
God, again, reminds us that the Bible is worth studying and learning from.
Biblical Knowledge + Wisdom
Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Proverbs 24:3-4 “Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”
Proverbs 2:1-6 “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”
In these passages, we can see that Biblical knowledge is highly valued. It might not always be easy, but wisdom and the fear of the Lord are absolutely worth it.
So, Does the Bible Say We Have to Homeschool?
As you can see, the Bible doesn’t have much to say about homeschooling specifically. School looked different altogether in those days. God does, however, put plenty of information in the Bible on parenting and training up a child. If you are looking to this post to decide whether or not to homeschool, then hopefully studying these passages, praying, and discussing it with your family will help you come to a decision that you can all be at peace with.
If you do decide to homeschool, just know that you are not alone and that Prairie Roots Homeschool is here to support you in your endeavors.
What Do You Think?
Did this post help you decipher what the Bible has to say about homeschooling? How did you interpret the scriptures? Did any of the passages mentioned lead you to choose homeschooling for your family? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to share this post with other Christian families.