The Bible promotes education as the careful transmission of truth. Real education is the careful transmission of truth, and real truth has its ultimate source in God. God is the ultimate source of all truth. God communicates truth, first and foremost, through His written revelation to mankind, the Holy Bible. And, before teaching anything else, God’s Word teaches that God is the Creator (Genesis 1:1).
Also, God reveals truth through nature (Romans 1), conscience (Romans 2), and through providential history (Daniel 5). Yet, in all cases, the absolutely authoritative communication of truth to mankind is His written Word, the Bible (2 Timothy 3:15-17; Psalm 119). Ultimately, it is the infallible and inerrant Scriptures that instruct us, as fallen creatures, about how to interpret nature, our consciences, and the “living epistles” of providential history. It is God who must provide us with understandable truth, or else we remain in the dark.
SOBA, in conjunction with teaching biblical apologetics, seeks to clarify the logical relationships between general and special revelation, including a proper understanding of the nature and limitations of the sciences.
Empirical science (which includes experimental science) deals with the observable present, employing observation methods, sometimes using controlled experiments in laboratories. There the chemist, for example, designs his controlled experiments and is able to confirm his observations by repetition. He allows no tampering in his laboratory, for unless it is a closed system all results are invalidated. Likewise, the ecologist who records observations “in the wild” is practicing observation-based (“empirical”) science. God’s existence cannot be proven by empirical science alone, because empirical science is knowledge that is based on “sight.”
Forensic science (also called historical science, which includes origins science), on the other hand, is not at liberty to project the assumption of a closed system into the indefinite past. For example, the archaeologist who seeks to understand the origin of a circular pattern of stones in a field must entertain at least two possibilities in order for his investigation to have validity. Either the arrangement was random, or it was intentionally arranged by an external intelligence. His is an open system. The better the archaeologist understands the laws of physics, probability, etc., that operate in the ordinary, everyday world as revealed to him by experimental science, the better equipped he will be to spot the extraordinary in his historical science. Likewise, the trial judge, adjudicating without a jury, must reconstruct past events (including cause-and-effect sequences of events) based on empirical evidence available in the present, analyzed by the laws of logic (buttressed somewhat by an experience-based knowledge of human nature). Because forensic science includes the advantage of analytic logic, it can be (and is) used to prove the existence of God, so much so that the evidence that God is Creator is so powerful that the proof is logically irrefutable—to the point that the apostle Paul declares the atheist as being “without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
Real education doesn’t just evolve by accident. Real education—the careful transmission of truth—is the result of intelligent planning and purposeful action. Real education involves God, the teacher, the learner, and that which is learned (the lesson). To appreciate what real education is and how it works, these interactive components will be studied one at a time.
Ezra 7:10 provides a formula for real education. Unlike the secular approach to humanistically defining and pragmatically practicing education, consider the scriptural example of Ezra, a Hebrew teacher of God’s truth. “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments” (Ezra 7:10).
Several observations regarding the education process can be made from this simple verse, which inform the teaching process at SOBA: 1) the foundation for learning is “the law of the LORD,” i.e., the Holy Bible; 2) the teacher must first be a learner; 3) the teacher must diligently research the applicable truth to be taught; 4) the teacher should personalize the truth before trying to teach others; and 5) the teacher should teach the teachable so they are better equipped to respond to God’s call on their lives.
Thus, education involves a stewardship of truth (2 Timothy 2:2). While analyzing the human responsibility elements in education, it is critical to keep in mind the work of God as the ultimate source and revealer of truth, interacting with the work of man, who is entrusted with a stewardship (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 2 Timothy 2:2; Matthew 28:18-20) for the responsible usage of that revealed truth. Education is a valuable work, but it must be remembered that it is a stewardship—an endeavor triggering accountability to God (James 3:1) since, ultimately, it is His holy work (John 17:17).
The educational programs of the School of Biblical Apologetics follow the apostle Paul in recognizing that the evidence that God is our Creator is so powerful and irrefutable that to deny it is to do so “without excuse” (literally, “without an apologetic”).
Because teaching truth necessitates knowing truth, this program begins with a foundational course on recognizing what truth is and how we can communicate it to others. SOBA prepares teachers to teach truth by engaging students in meaningful learning exercises, based on a strong foundation of biblical/theological knowledge and skills for educating others in a manner that is consciously sensitive to apologetics issues.
The master teacher designs and provides biblical education and apologetics curricula and instruction that are audience-appropriate. Analyzing one’s audience is a learning experience itself, involving factors like age, spiritual maturity, level of interest and need, and prior training in home, church, and other Christian education settings. Good instruction, of course, is a lot more than memorizing or any other kind of mere “book learning.” Good instruction, to be well-balanced, incorporates a mix of the following:
By God’s grace, SOBA’s educational programs, whether online or otherwise, can provide these types of educational benefits to its students, who in turn (as stewards accountable to God) can faithfully transmit those educational benefits to others who have “ears to hear.”