Are You an Intentional Teacher? Part III
Assistant Middle School Principal
Over the last two weeks we have been discussing the concept of the intentional Christian teacher. Last week we discussed the third aspect of the intentional Christian teacher, "the intentional Christian teacher will have knowledge of how his or her students learn." In the final portion of this particular series, the focus will shift from the knowledge of how the students learn, to "the intentional Christian teacher will fully integrate the Bible into each lesson." As previously discussed, we, as intentional Christian teachers, are set in a position of influence and represent the authority of God in the classroom. This is why it is so important that we integrate the Bible into each lesson that we teach.
The fifth aspect of the intentional Christian teacher covers the next two Greek words denoting the spiritual development of the person who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The first word, teknon, refers to the young person who is beginning to mature and develop in the things of the Lord. This word forms the root word from which we derive the English word technology. Thayer's Lexicon gives the following metaphorical definition of the Greek word teknon: 1) of anything who depends upon it, is possessed by a desire or affection for it, is addicted to it.” The most "techie" group in our current society is the teenage sector. If you need to know how to use a new device, just ask a teenager. While we, as adults, may approach technology with a little apprehension, they approach it as something new to learn and a tool to communicate with their friends. How many times have you seen students appearing to be "addicted" to technology? Does this describe anyone you know?
Jesus used this term in Matthew 7: 11 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" The apostle Paul used this particular Greek term in Ephesians 6:1, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." It can be noted from these verses that there is a relationship between the term children to the authority figure over them. In our classrooms, we are the authority figure. We have the responsibility to train that child according to scriptural mandate. A second metaphorical definition from Thayer’s Lexicon tells us, “pupils or disciples are called children of their teachers, because the latter by their instruction nourish the minds of their pupils and mould their characters.” This reinforces the importance of the biblical integration into our daily lesson plans.
These two examples reveal how the term, teknon, relates to the teenage years. For those of you that have teenagers, beginning at the age of 13, 14, 15, and culminating at age 16, there is a strong desire to have and to drive a car. We as parents know, however, that age does not always bring about the maturity to handle that situation. Before we turn over the keys, we need to be sure they are ready to handle the responsibility. As parents we make sure our child is ready; and as an intentional Christian teacher, we need to train, equip, discipline, and love those who are given to us to guide. By allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us in our classrooms we can reflect the love of God to the students and fulfill the mission of Victory Christian School, which is "to teach our students to live by the word of God; to be led by the Spirit of God; and to love others with the love of God."
The second and last term for this particular study is the Greek word huios. This term refers to those "who revere God as their Father, the pious worshippers of God, those who in character and life resemble God, those who are governed by the Spirit of God, repose the same calm and joyful trust in God which children do in their parents (Rom. 8:14, Gal. 3:26), and hereafter in the blessedness and glory of the life eternal will openly wear this dignity of the sons of God. Term used preeminently of Jesus Christ, as enjoying the supreme love of God, united to him in affectionate intimacy, privy to his saving councils, obedient to the Father's will in all his acts" (BlueLetter Bible). In essence, the term huios refers to a mature person in Christ. This is our goal. The Bible tells us that when we are fully mature we will look like Jesus. Paul wrote in Romans 8: 14, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God" and in Romans 8:19, "For the earnest expectation of creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God." We are to be the mature sons and daughters of God.
Our goal as intentional Christian teachers should be to help our students "ripen" to be able to produce the fruit of the spirit as found in Galatians 6: 22 and 23. Maturity is marked by not just knowledge, but gaining understanding and by the application of that understanding in displaying wisdom. As we have talked over the last 3 weeks, I hope you have seen there is a progression in the spiritual and natural lives of our students and, hopefully, we can see a similar progression in our spiritual lives as well.
It is interesting to note (at least to me) that in the Scriptures there is a progression in the number of times these different terms we discussed are used. The Greek word nepios is used 14 times in 10 verses. The Greek word paidion is used 51 times in 48 verses. The Greek word teknon is used 99 times and 91 verses. The Greek word huios is used 382 times in 348 verses. It appears from the number of times each word is used that we are not expected to stay in the infant stage, the toddler stage, or the teenage stage for an extended period of time. We are to live and operate in a "mature son or daughter" stage.
The intentional Christian teacher integrates the Bible into each lesson. This reflection of the Bible should show in daily lesson plans and be carried out with the same rigor as academic standards. Many times we have to teach our students how to filter information through scriptural "glasses” as they learn. It has been said, "Failing to plan is planning to fail." We need to intentionally teach what we know is right from the Bible. The Scripture many of us have heard as Christian educators is Colossians 2:8, "Beware lest anyone teach you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of man, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ."
We are given a somewhat difficult task to perform. We not only train the student, but also partner with the parent in doing what the Scripture mandates. The development of a Christian worldview is imperative for our students today. This is a totally different society from the one in which many of us grew up. The attack of secular humanism on our students, their families, and us comes from all fronts.
The intentional Christian teacher is in reality a minister of the gospel. We have to follow what Ezekiel 44:23 says in regard to instruction between holy and unholy and right and wrong. We have to hold the Bible as a standard for our students. We need to understand not all students have our knowledge about the Scripture. Our students are in a constant state of growth, as are we. We need to help them to the best of our ability to go from not being able to speak, to being able to speak a little bit, to being comfortable about who they are in Christ, and finally with what Paul wrote in II Corinthians 4:13, "And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believe and therefore I spoke, ‘we also believe therefore we speak."
We need to encourage our students to follow what Paul wrote in his letter in Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there's any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things."
I close with this reminder. You may be the only Bible your students will ever read. We need to remember as an intentional Christian teacher we are a “living curriculum” and as such we need to model the life of Christ to the best of our abilities. We need the grace of God in our lives to rule our thoughts and actions and not allow only rules and regulations to be passed on to the students. While we do need to hold students accountable for their actions, we also need to understand at which of the natural and spiritual levels our students are operating. The goal as an intentional Christian teacher is to bring the student into knowledge of who Jesus is and reveal to the student who he or she is in Christ. II Corinthians 5:7, "We walk by faith, not by sight." The goal of Victory Christian School is to raise up young men and women of God.