Is Education Evil? 6

In 1973 when I became a believer in Jesus, advanced Biblical education was viewed with a sneer. The Holy Spirit was moving freely, and going to seminary was referred to as a doorway to quenching. It seems that forty years has not changed much of that view.  chem-prof

Seminaries are still referred to as cemeteries and those who have pursued advanced degrees are considered tainted and somehow nearly spiritually dead. I understand where some of the views originate, and there are seminaries that seem to produce more agnostics and atheists rather than strong believers. However, is that an indictment against higher education or is it the theology being taught?

I have multiple advanced degrees and my faith has not been ruined. In fact, it has been strengthened. Being blessed to read widely, write extensively and to sit under some of the greatest instructors in God’s Kingdom, has not hurt me. Nor do I believe has the Spirit been quenched.

For those who remain skeptical, let me challenge some of the prejudice against education by considering the authors of the Scripture. What would our Bible look like today if it was written by uneducated men? We know a great many of the authors that God used, and even the ones who are unknown, could probably read and write, though contrary to the norm of their day. Those who dictated their words due to not being able to read or write used trained, educated men to write them down and not fellow illiterates.

Here’s a quick rundown on some of the men God used in Scripture to give us His Holy Word. Think about how many books each one wrote and imagine what the Bible would be like without these educated authors:

  • Moses – He was educated in the school of Egypt and trained as a royal student.
  • Ezra – a first rate scribe, trained in the Law of God
  • Solomon – gifted by God with wisdom and wrote books to be studied
  • Daniel – Chosen because of his education by a foreign king to receive even more education
  • Many (though not all) of the prophets were highly educated
  • Luke – a physician
  • Paul – a highly educated Pharisee

While we are not to glory in our flesh or become arrogant over our minds, God uses trained ones. Yes, God can and does use those who are not trained academically, but does that mean we should avoid education?

Some of the greatest minds in Church history were highly educated.

  • Augustine
  • Luther
  • Calvin
  • Newton
  • Schaeffer
  • C. S. Lewis

Paul told his spiritual son Timothy to study to show himself approved (2 Timothy 2:15) so he could rightly handle God’s Word. Why is harmful for those of us that desire to learn to do so? Not everyone needs to become a scholar, but we should be thankful that some have done so.

Throughout the pages of Scripture you will encounter well educated, gifted men and women. These diligent people preserved the Bible, built beautiful items for God’s temple, wrote, preached, served, and made a difference in their world. Their studies and training did not hinder them, but opened broader doors of service for them.

Studying and advanced education will not hurt us as long as we remain true to God’s holy Word. If we reject the Bible as our standard of truth then the issue is not too much education but ignorance. God has given us His Word to train us, renew our minds, and to reveal His will and purposes for us. If we reject the Bible, we are unwise and all the education in the world will not help us.

God’s Word has been preserved and translated into every language by some of the best educated people who ever lived on earth. Where would our English (or any other language) Bibles be if not for educated people? Being smart, trained, educated and gifted is not wrong. The people that God has gifted are a blessing not someone to mock and make fun of due to their education. Would you go to an uneducated doctor for your heath issues? Aren’t you glad that he or she studied advanced topics and became skilled?

The issue is not seminary, but becoming the best trained tool we can for use by the Master. I am grateful for education. I am thankful for wise instructors who love the Lord. God has gifted many people with a strong intellect and I am very thankful that we can learn from them. Solomon asked for wisdom and God was pleased. I pray we would not choose ignorance because of a false prejudice.

About Jeff Klick

Husband, father, grandfather, pastor and author that loves his Lord, wife, family and the Word of God. Please let me know how I may help you in your journey.

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6 thoughts on “Is Education Evil?

  • Karen Benscoter

    I do wholeheartedly agree. Everyone is to study to show themselves approved. However, those who do not have degrees, have been used mightily of God in very intelligent ways. I find that it is extremely important to discern about any intelligence gathering. I am personally glad for your education and faithfulness, Jeff. I like to “pick your brain” as part of my intelligence gathering.

    • jeff Post author

      Thanks Karen for your gracious comments. I don’t really see the topic as an either or, but and both. God uses everyone that submits to His calling…my experience has been that for some reason some folks are just uncomfortable with those that have chosen to pursue further education. Degrees are not even truly reflective of knowledge for there are many us that just like to read and write papers and therefore accumulate degrees. True knowledge is gained by knowing Christ and becoming fluent in God’s Word, and that is life giving.

  • Scott

    I agree with you Jeff on study, but we have 24 hours in a day. Work takes up 40+ ; family; house upkeep; church if added to these is many hours of study, then there is little time to truly learn what is being studied by putting it into practice. James 1:22 says if we learn and are not doing what we learned we are deluded. Much of Christianity is knowledge based. And I fear they are deluded.

    Knowledge is important but is not the most important. We don’t know a person as a Christian because they can say the correct teachings. We know them by the love they have for others. John 13:34,35 Christianity needs to be shown more than taught.

    Do you address John 5:39,40 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.”

    Eternal life is not just salvation. It is lived after salvation by the power of the Holy Spirit. Does becoming the best trained tool come from book learning or OJT.

    • jeff Post author

      Thanks Scott for the comments. OJT and having our minds renewed in the Word of God are both tools God uses to change us. We gain eternal life through Christ’s work on the Cross, but most of us still live out our days here on earth. While we are on earth, I whole heartedly agree with you – we are to walk in love one towards another thus showing the reality of our salvation. My primary point of writing this blog was to bring out the fact that being educated is not wrong. In fact, we should be grateful to the educated folks down through history that have used their skills for the furthering of the Gospel. If we fail to abide in Christ, to have our minds renewed in the Word of God, we can gain all the education possible and still lead a wasted life.