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Tim Johnson: The Bible is God’s textbook for life

Tim Johnson • Updated Aug 11, 2017 at 7:00 PM

Textbooks have changed during the decades. I remember carrying all my books in one arm; nowadays on the list of things children need to buy for school is a backpack to carry all their stuff. 

I have never understood why math books change much. One plus one is still two, five times five is still 25. Once a person can capture the addition and multiplication tables, there is nothing in basic math that is unconquerable. 

History books need more information added. I remember asking my grandson last year what they were doing in school, and he started talking about history class. It was encouraging to hear his excitement about Apollo 11 and the first moon landing. I did not read about Apollo 11 in my schoolbooks; I watched it live on television. 

There were classes added. When I was in elementary school, computers were only used by rocket scientists. The personal computer was several years after my high school graduation.

 In the early years of America, there was a textbook that never changed but was always correct – it was called the Bible. Noah Webster, the fellow that wrote the dictionary, is credited with saying, “The Bible was America’s basic textbook in all fields.” The Bible was often the only book a family had, and therefore, the children brought a Bible as their “reader.” The first textbooks were filled with Bible quotes to prove their points, pass on logic, common sense and a moral base to the next generation. America’s first college, Harvard, had in its original rules, “Every one shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day.” The founders of Harvard not only believed in using the Bible in education, but it was also essential to living life.

Does the Bible teach the core subjects taught in school? Let’s look.

• Math – In the first chapter of the Bible the word “divided” is used twice and the word “multiply” is used three times. Right out of the gate, the Bible gives practical examples of the mathematical principles of multiplication and division. For those of a more liberal mindset, the command to multiply in Genesis chapter one can easily lead to sex education as Adam and Eve were told to “be fruitful and multiply.”

There is math all over the Bible as the nation of Israel is counted, Christ and the feeding of the 5,000 and the parable of the hundred sheep, just to name a few.

• Reading – Learning to read using the Bible would not be difficult at all. Since we already mentioned Genesis one and because it is the first chapter we will use it as an example. There is only one word in the chapter’s 31 verses that contains more than three syllables. The word abundantly – which can also teach a mathematical principle – appears in verse 21. 

• Social Studies – The outline of American government is given in Isaiah 33:22, “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.” Before I go any further, I must say, it is God that will save us not the government, but in this one verse we do see the three branches of our government. We have a president, not a king, but this is the executive branch, we have a judge; of course, this is the judicial branch or the Supreme Court. Lastly, we have the lawgiver, which is the legislative branch consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Also along the subject of social studies is the purpose of government. One purpose of government is the punishment of evildoers (1 Peter 2:14). This principle establishes a judicial system consisting of a police force, a judiciary to guarantee, as much as humanly possible, a correct verdict in guilt or innocence. The same verse also speaks of government being “for the praise of them that do well.” This phrase establishes the ability of the citizenry to pursue happiness lawfully without government intrusion.

Also, in social studies class, the Old Testament teaches us whenever threats came from the armies of Israel’s neighbors the king raised an army to defend the nation. On the government’s shoulders is the responsibility to protect the people from a foreign foe, therefore, having a military.

• Science – Isaiah wrote in chapter 40 of his book, roughly 2,200 years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue, that the world is round, “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth...” (Isaiah 40:22).

The constellations Orion and Pleiades are mentioned by name more than once (Job 9:9; 38:31; Amos 5:8). Dinosaurs are called by the names Leviathan (Job 41:1; Psalms 74:14; 104:6; Isaiah 27:1) and Behemoth (Job 40:15). Behemoth, from his description in Job 40 is most likely a brontosaurus, while Leviathan is a sea creature.  

Well, that is enough school for today. Grab your Bible and “study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth,” 2 Timothy 2:15.

Preacher Tim Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Ind. Email him at preacherspoint@gmail.com and visit preacherjohnson.com.

 

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