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The Use of the Bible in Home Education Michael Goheen Burnaby, B.C. Three Roles of Bible in Home Education Worldview context Devotional book Academic subject

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The Use of the Bible in Home Education

Michael Goheen

Burnaby, B.C.


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Three Roles of Bible in Home Education

  • Worldview context

  • Devotional book

  • Academic subject


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Worldview: The basic religious beliefs embedded in a shared story, which integrate and shape the whole of our individual and communal lives.


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A worldview will . . . story, which integrate and shape the whole of our individual and communal lives.

  • Shape every part of family life including education

  • Provide the bigger context for the educational task

  • Shape purpose of education, curriculum, pedagogy, disciplines, etc.


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The Bible . . . story, which integrate and shape the whole of our individual and communal lives.

. . . must shape every subject.


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“The place of the Bible in our task of studying the creation is not to give answers, but to guide us in our search for answers, to be the light by whose illumination we find answers in the creation itself.”

-Stuart Fowler


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Two Dangers creation is not to give answers, but to guide us in our search for answers, to be the light by whose illumination we find answers in the creation itself.”

  • Dualism: Scriptural authority is reduced to “spiritual” or theological or religious or moral issues

  • Biblicism: Seeks data for sciences in Scripture


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Authority of Scripture for Academic Disciplines creation is not to give answers, but to guide us in our search for answers, to be the light by whose illumination we find answers in the creation itself.”

  • Shapes worldview

  • Gives relevant themes and norms


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Themes and norms that give more specific direction creation is not to give answers, but to guide us in our search for answers, to be the light by whose illumination we find answers in the creation itself.”

  • Natural sciences: world as cosmos; ordering word of God

  • Political sciences: sovereignty of God; God-given authority of government; justice; liberty; peace

  • Sociology: norms for family, marriage


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Themes and norms (cont’d) creation is not to give answers, but to guide us in our search for answers, to be the light by whose illumination we find answers in the creation itself.”

  • Psychology: humankind as image of God fundamental unity of humankind as religious being

  • History: kingdom of God; human origin, purpose, destiny; cultural mandate; antithesis

  • Economics: justice, stewardship ownership, work


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Bible as Devotional Book creation is not to give answers, but to guide us in our search for answers, to be the light by whose illumination we find answers in the creation itself.”

  • Pressure of immediate gratification

  • Empowered for task


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  • Spiritual battle in educational task creation is not to give answers, but to guide us in our search for answers, to be the light by whose illumination we find answers in the creation itself.”

  • Power of sin

    Sin: a “seductive power”, a “damning power”, an “active dynamic and destructive force”

    “Sin is a power that seeks to rule and ruin everyone and everything.” (Berkouwer)

  • Power of the gospel

    Rom.1.16; 1 Cor.1.18


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Bible as Devotional Book creation is not to give answers, but to guide us in our search for answers, to be the light by whose illumination we find answers in the creation itself.”

  • Pressure of immediate gratification

  • Empowered for task

  • Need to refocus confessional eyesight


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Role of chapel or devotions creation is not to give answers, but to guide us in our search for answers, to be the light by whose illumination we find answers in the creation itself.”(or family worship?)

To provide an opportunity for the educational community to gather together as an academic body to refocus their confessional vision in worship of Jesus Christ and his kingdom as the goal, source, and standard of their academic work.


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The primary purpose of chapel is to nourish the faith life and refocus the confessional vision of the educational community. The kingdom of God is the ultimate horizon and context in which we carry out our academic work. We do not automatically pursue that kingdom in our work; it is vision that needs to be nourished.


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The context of this worship is an academic community. That determines will determine the worship experience of the educational community. Chapel worship is to deepen our common commitment to carry out our academic calling in the light of the gospel.


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“Such listening together to God’s Word, singing, praying, and unitedly confessing [our] faith should take on an academic form as a liturgy for learning. These convocations should not be regarded as spiritual “mountain-top” retreats from the mundane realities of the classroom, but as a communal rallying-point, summoning students and teachers together to renewed dedication to the eye-opening experience for returning to readin’, writing’, ’rithmetic with renewed vision. It is a time for putting on the spectacles of Scripture anew so that in its light we may see more clearly in every branch of learning.” (Gordon Spykman)


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The Bible as Academic Subject: Two Misunderstandings praying, and unitedly confessing [our] faith should take on an academic form as a liturgy for learning. These convocations should not be regarded as spiritual “mountain-top” retreats from the mundane realities of the classroom, but as a communal rallying-point, summoning students and teachers together to renewed dedication to the eye-opening experience for returning to readin’, writing’, ’rithmetic with renewed vision. It is a time for putting on the spectacles of Scripture anew so that in its light we may see more clearly in every branch of learning.” (Gordon Spykman)

  • Biblical studies is automatically Christian

  • Bible is easier to teach than other subjects


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Bible as Academic Subject praying, and unitedly confessing [our] faith should take on an academic form as a liturgy for learning. These convocations should not be regarded as spiritual “mountain-top” retreats from the mundane realities of the classroom, but as a communal rallying-point, summoning students and teachers together to renewed dedication to the eye-opening experience for returning to readin’, writing’, ’rithmetic with renewed vision. It is a time for putting on the spectacles of Scripture anew so that in its light we may see more clearly in every branch of learning.” (Gordon Spykman)

  • Theological reflection: What is the Bible?

  • Hermeneutical reflection: How do we interpret the Bible?

  • Pedagogical reflection: How do we teach the Bible?


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Theological Reflection: What is the Bible? praying, and unitedly confessing [our] faith should take on an academic form as a liturgy for learning. These convocations should not be regarded as spiritual “mountain-top” retreats from the mundane realities of the classroom, but as a communal rallying-point, summoning students and teachers together to renewed dedication to the eye-opening experience for returning to readin’, writing’, ’rithmetic with renewed vision. It is a time for putting on the spectacles of Scripture anew so that in its light we may see more clearly in every branch of learning.” (Gordon Spykman)

  • Divinely authoritative message in human words

  • Redemptive intent


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The Bible is the Word of God, praying, and unitedly confessing [our] faith should take on an academic form as a liturgy for learning. These convocations should not be regarded as spiritual “mountain-top” retreats from the mundane realities of the classroom, but as a communal rallying-point, summoning students and teachers together to renewed dedication to the eye-opening experience for returning to readin’, writing’, ’rithmetic with renewed vision. It is a time for putting on the spectacles of Scripture anew so that in its light we may see more clearly in every branch of learning.” (Gordon Spykman)

record and tool of his redeeming work.

It is the Word of Truth,

fully reliable in leading us

to know God and have life

in Jesus Christ

(Our World Belongs to God)


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Theological Reflection: What is the Bible? calls for response: revelation and invitation

  • Divinely authoritative message in human words

  • Redemptive intent

  • Christological key


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Hermeneutical Reflection: How Do We Interpret the Bible? calls for response: revelation and invitation

  • Theological context

  • Literary context

  • Historical context


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Skeleton of the Bible: Historical Books calls for response: revelation and invitation

  • Tell one story of God’s redemptive acts in history


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“ . . . the Bible provides us with an overarching narrative in which all other narratives of the world are nested. The Bible is the story of God. The story of the world is first and foremost the story of God’s activity in creating, sustaining, and redeeming the world to fulfill God’s purposes for it” (Gerkin).


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Bible as One Story narrative in which all other narratives of the world are nested. The Bible is the story of God. The story of the world is first and foremost the story of God’s activity in creating, sustaining, and redeeming the world to fulfill God’s purposes for it” (Gerkin).

Act One: God Establishes His Kingdom: Creation

Act Two: Rebellion in the Kingdom: Fall

Act Three: The King Chooses Israel: Redemption Initiated

Scene One: A People for the King

Scene Two: A Land for the People

Interlude: A Kingdom Story Waiting for an Ending: The Intertestamental Period

Act Four: The Coming of the King: Redemption Accomplished

Act Five: Spreading the News of the King: The Church’s Mission

Scene One: From Jerusalem to Rome

Scene Two: To the Ends of the Earth

Act Six: The Return of the King: Redemption Completed


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Danger! narrative in which all other narratives of the world are nested. The Bible is the story of God. The story of the world is first and foremost the story of God’s activity in creating, sustaining, and redeeming the world to fulfill God’s purposes for it” (Gerkin).

  • Breaking up the Bible into little bits—moral, sermon, theological, historical-critical, devotional

  • “If we allow the Bible to become fragmented, it is in danger of being absorbed into whatever other story is shaping our culture, and it will thus cease to shape our lives as it should. Idolatry has twisted the dominant cultural story of the secular Western world. If as believers we allow this story (rather than the Bible) to become the foundation of our thought and action, then our lives will manifest no the truths of Scripture, but the lies of an idolatrous culture. Hence, the unity of Scripture is no minor matter: a fragmented Bible may actually produce theologically orthodox, morally upright, warmly pious idol worshippers! (Drama of Scripture, 12)


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Skeleton of the Bible: Historical Books narrative in which all other narratives of the world are nested. The Bible is the story of God. The story of the world is first and foremost the story of God’s activity in creating, sustaining, and redeeming the world to fulfill God’s purposes for it” (Gerkin).

  • Tell one story of God’s redemptive acts in history

  • Ultimate context for other books

    ‘ . . . the Bible is essentially narrative in form. . . . It contains, indeed, much else: prayer, poetry, legislation, ethical teaching, and so on. But essentially it is a story.’ (Newbigin)


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Story of God’s Mission narrative in which all other narratives of the world are nested. The Bible is the story of God. The story of the world is first and foremost the story of God’s activity in creating, sustaining, and redeeming the world to fulfill God’s purposes for it” (Gerkin).

“The Bible renders to us the story of God’s mission through God’s people in their engagement with God’s world for the sake of the whole of God’s creation.” (Chris Wright)


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Story of mission narrative in which all other narratives of the world are nested. The Bible is the story of God. The story of the world is first and foremost the story of God’s activity in creating, sustaining, and redeeming the world to fulfill God’s purposes for it” (Gerkin).

  • God’s mission: Long term purpose to restore the whole creation and all of human life

  • Israel’s mission: Embody God’s original creational purposes for the sake of the world

  • Jesus mission: Reveal and accomplish God’s final redemptive purpose for the creation

  • Church’s mission: Continue Jesus’ mission to make known the kingdom of God to the ends of the earth in life, word and deed


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Redemptive-History Narrated from Four Standpoints narrative in which all other narratives of the world are nested. The Bible is the story of God. The story of the world is first and foremost the story of God’s activity in creating, sustaining, and redeeming the world to fulfill God’s purposes for it” (Gerkin).

  • Mosaic (Genesis-Numbers)

  • Exilic (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings)

  • Post-exilic (Ezra-Nehemiah, Chronicles)

  • Post-resurrection (New Testament)


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Authors: narrative in which all other narratives of the world are nested. The Bible is the story of God. The story of the world is first and foremost the story of God’s activity in creating, sustaining, and redeeming the world to fulfill God’s purposes for it” (Gerkin).

  • Select (e.g., Jericho and Ai)

  • Arrange (e.g., David and Saul)

  • Interpret (e.g., Why can’t Israel take the land?)

  • Emphasize (e.g., Omri and Ahab)


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Literary Context narrative in which all other narratives of the world are nested. The Bible is the story of God. The story of the world is first and foremost the story of God’s activity in creating, sustaining, and redeeming the world to fulfill God’s purposes for it” (Gerkin).

  • Literary structure

  • Literary genre


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Understanding genre . . . narrative in which all other narratives of the world are nested. The Bible is the story of God. The story of the world is first and foremost the story of God’s activity in creating, sustaining, and redeeming the world to fulfill God’s purposes for it” (Gerkin).

. . . will provide a reading strategy


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Historical Context narrative in which all other narratives of the world are nested. The Bible is the story of God. The story of the world is first and foremost the story of God’s activity in creating, sustaining, and redeeming the world to fulfill God’s purposes for it” (Gerkin).

  • What is the intent of the author?

  • How would the original audience understand the text?

  • What is the historical-cultural context?

  • How is my historical-cultural context shaping my interpretation?


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Pedagogical Reflection narrative in which all other narratives of the world are nested. The Bible is the story of God. The story of the world is first and foremost the story of God’s activity in creating, sustaining, and redeeming the world to fulfill God’s purposes for it” (Gerkin).

  • What can children handle at what age?

  • Story telling

  • Visual enforcement


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Percentage of Content We Remember narrative in which all other narratives of the world are nested. The Bible is the story of God. The story of the world is first and foremost the story of God’s activity in creating, sustaining, and redeeming the world to fulfill God’s purposes for it” (Gerkin).


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