Question: How can you learn more about targeting Biblical perspective?
Answer: By exploring the following list of 12 questions:
- What happens in Christ-centered education?
- How can you help your students love Jesus and live for Him?
- What’s your mission?
- In Christian education, what’s success?
- What does “application of a Biblical perspective to course content” mean and not mean?
- What role do connections play in Christian education?
- What Biblical teaching connects to what students are studying?
- What 3 Biblical principles will you help your students understand?
- What Biblical principles do you want your students to understand and apply?
- What hinders you/your school from helping students increase application of a Biblical perspective?
- How can you increasingly target Biblical perspective?
- What 3 things can you do to help your students?
Question: How can you get started?
Answer: By taking the following self-assessment. Rate each item, using the following scale:
4: Strongly agree • 3: Agree • 2: Disagree • 1: Strongly disagree
___ I understand what happens in Christ-centered education.
___ My students love Jesus and live for Him.
___ I understand the mission of Christian education.
___ I understand what constitutes success in Christian education
___ I can clearly explain to a colleague what “application of a Biblical perspective to course content” means and doesn’t mean?
___ I can clearly explain to a colleague what role connections play in Christian education.
___ I have documented what Biblical teaching connects to what my students are studying.
___ I have documented the Biblical principles I want my students to understand and apply.
___ I am taking action to eliminate what hinders me from helping my students increase application of a Biblical perspective.
___ I am taking action to increasingly target Biblical perspective.
Now, ask yourself 4 questions about the data:
- How many 4s, 3s, 2s, and 1s do I have?
- What excites/concerns me about the data?
- Which items would it be helpful to learn more about?
- What will I do?
- What kind of people do you want your students to be?
- What do you want your students to understand about God and His creation?
- What’s your vision?
- What do you target?
- Specifically, what do you want your students to connect?
- What kinds of connections do you want to see your kids making?
- To help your students make connections, what essential questions do you ask?
- To help your students make connections, what student learning needs do you meet?
- To help your students make connections, what unit assessments do you give?
(1) What kind of people do you want your students to be?
Kim: I want them to love Jesus. I want them to be joyful, inquisitive, thoughtful people who always connect what they learn with their lives.
(2) What do you want your students to understand about God and His creation?
Kim: Through their study of English, I want my students to understand that God created a good world so that we could enjoy it and participate in developing its potential. I want my students to understand that in this fallen world, God calls us to join Him in working to restore peace and justice. Language helps us all understand God’s truth and communicate it to others.
(3) What’s your vision?
Kim: To see students delighting in the creative beauty of language, checking the things that strike them as true with the Bible, reading fiction to vicariously understand the neighbor they are to love, and using language effectively to understand themselves and serve others.
(4) What do you target?
Kim: I want my students to understand that God created the world good, that sin has affected all of creation, that we as Christians have been redeemed by Christ, and that we should participate in restoring God’s creation. So, I target my students connecting what they study and what the Bible teaches.
(5) Specifically, what do you want your students to connect?
Kim: In English 10, my students hone their thinking, writing, reading, and presentation skills as they grapple with world literature, for example, The Analects by Confucius, Cry, the Beloved Country by Paton, “To My Brother Miguel” by Vallejo, Night by Wiesel, and A Midsummer’s Night Dream by Shakespeare. I want them to connect this content with the 11 Biblical principles they learn, for example:
- Because people are made in the image of God (Gen. 1.27, 9.6; Jas. 3.9), we are creative (Gen. 2.19, 4.21-22; Exod. 35.30-36.1), communicative (Gen. 2.20-24, Exod. 4.10-12, Jer. 1.4-9) truth-seekers. —introductory unit
- Because the Bible tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves, we must seek the good of anyone it is within our power to help (Lev. 19.18, Matt. 22.39, Mark 12.31, Luke 10.27, Rom. 13.9, Gal. 5.14, Jas. 2.8). —Night unit
- Human search for belonging is ultimately fulfilled in God (Psa. 90.1; Phil. 3.20; Heb. 11.8-10, 13-16). —short story unit
- God calls us to join Him in His work of restoration (Mic. 6.8, Isa. 1.17, Jer. 22.16, Hos. 6.6 and note, Matt. 23.23). —Cry, the Beloved Country unit
Kim: Authentic connections—not object lessons. Real connections—not allegories. Here’s an example of what I mean, taken from an essay on Camus’s “The Guest”:
“In contrast to what Camus and Daru experienced, there is inherent meaning and moral guidelines in life given by God—a conclusion based on a Biblical principle. Truth, which is God’s teaching, is apparent everywhere…(New International Version, Romans 1.20). In fact, the truth of the only God is accessible…(Acts 17.20). We must learn what God’s truth is and apply it to our lives because as Daru understood, human wisdom is faulty…. Humans must establish God’s truth as their anchor and base their decisions on his truth, which may not yield the obviously ‘good’ consequences in this life, but are right because they are part of God’s perfect will.”
(7) To help your students make connections, what essential questions do you ask?
Kim: My students say that thinking about open-ended questions really helps them make connections. So in English 10, I ask my students 4 questions: Who am I? Who is my neighbor? What’s wrong with the world? What is the significance of words?
(8) To help your students make connections, what student learning needs do you meet?
Kim: My 51 students come from 13 different countries, and from a variety of Christian and non-Christian backgrounds. Some have little or no Bible background; some are accustomed to connecting the Bible only with church, youth group, and personal holiness. To help my students make connections with what they’re learning and to prepare them for the assessments, I help them value connecting what they study and what the Bible teaches, see that it’s possible to make connections, and know what quality connections look like.
(9) To help your students make connections, what unit assessments do you give?
Kim: I give assessments to see how well my students are connecting what they study and what the Bible teaches—and I give assessments to give my students practice making connections. I give a total of 9 Biblical perspective assessments. I assess content/Bible connections in 5 of 8 essays, 2 of 4 presentations, and 2 of 9 unit tests with 1 or more Biblical perspective questions. Here’s a sample unit test question (worth 12/100 points):
Describe the existentialism of the author we read who wrote both essays and short stories on the topic. Be sure to include the definition, the juxtaposition that makes humanity’s situation absurd, the 2 things the author says give meaning, and illustrate those 2 things from the story. What of truth (from a Biblical perspective) has the author seen, and what has he missed?
* Want to read additional reflections?
Simply stated, Biblical integration is taking a lesson objective and/or lesson outline, and teaching it from a Christian perspective. It is not just a lesson or objective devoid of God, his character, nature, or creation, nor is it solely about God, his character, nature or creation. It is a melding of the two. It is understanding the objective or lesson from the Christian point-of-view.
Note: Biblical integration is not something that just happens at the end of a lesson. Students should be encouraged to think Biblically all throughout the lesson. Remember, seeing something from God’s perspective is not a separate task, unless that is the lesson objective. For instance, students may compare and contrast how Christians understand a lesson in comparison with how a pantheist or naturalist might see it.
Sometimes when the integration happens last, students tune out, figuring it won’t be on the test or that the integration is just an add-on. The goal of good integration is for students to view a subject the way God does, and to see how this understanding impacts them personally as well as society at large.
- Study the Bible.
- Understand spiritual truths through object lessons.
- Study the world.
- Participate in devotions.
- Participate in chapel.
- Abide by Christ-centered school policies and classroom guidelines.
- Serve on campus.
- Serve off campus.
- Observe Christian staff modeling Christ-centered behaviors.
- Have opportunities to demonstrate Christian character.
Want another option for help your students love Jesus and live for Him? Have your students connect content/skills and Biblical teaching. For example, have your students connect grammar and the Biblical teaching that language is a gift of God. Or, have your students connect their study of light with Biblical teaching about God’s creative power.
Having your students connect Biblical teaching and content/skills helps your students:
- See that Christ is the center of everything—including what they study in class.
- See how the Bible applies to everything.
- Connect Sunday to Monday.
Biblical Integration IS NOT:
- Including a Bible verse at the top or bottom of a worksheet.
- Diagramming a Bible verse in grammar class.
- Reading one or all the Bible verses on horses after a horse unit.
- Using a science experiment as an analogy to the Christian life.
- Praying once or several times a day in class.
- Having class devotions.
- Casually referring to the greatness of God during a science lesson.
- The Biblical justification for obedience and working hard.
Prayer and devotions are necessary and integral parts of a Christian classroom, but alone, do not qualify as Biblical integration. Biblical integration is something that is planned and can and should be carried out throughout the academic day. Simply stated, here is what Biblical integration is:
Biblical Integration IS:
Seeing how the topic reveals the character or nature of
- Moral Order
Question: In the following 4 scenarios, what exciting things are happening and what’s not happening?
- Tanya, one of my students, shared the Gospel with a friend. Tanya took the truth that Jesus is the light of the world and ran with it. She understood a Biblical perspective of photons and used it in real life!
- It’s great teaching in a Christian school. Here, I can start my first-period math class with devotions. Just today, Taro led devotions. He read Psalm I. Then we sang “I Love to Tell the Story” and prayed. Daily devotions help my students focus on living for God, which results in them applying a Biblical perspective in the math project they’re working on—making a recommendation of the best way to pay for computer.
- My language arts students are demonstrating Christian character in terms of collaborating effectively—they’re functioning like the Body of Christ. That’s exciting, because it means they understand a Biblical perspective of the stories we’re studying, like Miss Nelson is Missing.
- My social studies students are raising money to stop human trafficking and to feed the hungry. That’s exciting. My students are really getting a Biblical perspective of what we’re studying in class—the American Revolutionary War.
And while good things are happening, please note what’s not happening—students are not making authentic connections between what they study and relevant Biblical principles:
- Tanya, instead of connecting photons and God’s creative power, shares an object lesson: Jesus is the light of the world.
- Math students, instead of connecting payment plans and principles of Biblical stewardship, are participating in the reading of Psalm 1 and the singing of “I Love to Tell the Story.”
- Language arts students, instead of connecting themes from Miss Nelson is Missing with Biblical principles regarding authority and respect, are demonstrating Christian character by collaborating effectively.
- Social studies students, instead of connecting the American Revolutionary War and Biblical principles regarding government and war, are doing service projects.
Again, these students are doing good things. These teachers are having their students do good things, things that help their students develop a Biblical worldview. Another way to help students develop a Biblical worldview is to have students find connections between what they study and Biblical principles. However, teachers might not do this, assuming that object lessons, devotions, collaboration, and service projects involve students in connecting what they study and what the Bible teaches.
Bottom line #1: Continue involving your students in object lessons, devotions, character development, and service projects, keeping in mind that these good things don’t necessarily involve students in connecting what they study and Biblical principles.
Bottom line #2: Have your students connect what they study and 1 or more Biblical principles. Today.
What’s your real definition of success? To determine your real definition, please respond to the following for a given unit of study:
_______: # of instructional minutes in which students applied a Biblical perspective to course content
___/___: # of assignments requiring students to apply a Biblical perspective to course content / total # of assignments
Define success: Based on your responses, your real definition of success is…
- Having students apply a Biblical perspective to
the course content they have learned.
- Having students learn course content.
- Increase the number lessons in which students
apply a Biblical perspective to course content.
- Increase the number of instructional minutes in
which students applied a Biblical perspective to
- Increase the number of assignments requiring students to apply a Biblical perspective to course content.