Book Review: Building Biblical Worldview



“A teacher will not be able to find deep love and fascination to share with students unless he or she is a student of God’s Word.” Joe Neff, Building Biblical Worldview



If you truly desire to engage the battle for the heart and mind of your child…whether as a parent or as a teacher…I’d strongly encourage you to pick up a copy of Building Biblical Worldview by Joe Neff, longtime Christian school leader and more importantly…Christian thinker and shaper of education.  Several months ago Joe sent me this book as a gift to share what he is up to with Rooted Schools, a new venture he has started after retiring and recognizing that he still has a lot to give to Christian education.

This book is full of great reminders of whence our help comes from as we are investing in the lives of the kids that God has entrusted to us.  This is a valuable resource for families that are looking for confirmation of their choice to commit to Christian education as well as for those families that may just now be learning what Christian education is all about.  Joe writes from the perspective of a Christian educator who loves the Lord and gets a lot of joy out of seeing teachers and parents on fire for the Lord.  That love of the Lord is contagious and piques the curiosity of our kids in a way that sets them on a lifelong pursuit of Jesus Christ.  I can think of no greater gift that we could give a child than to partner the home, the church, and the school in a way that is all pointing that child towards Jesus!

I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…

  • I am haunted by words from Frank Gaebelein, words from a lecture at Dallas Theological Seminary in 1952 that later became The Pattern of God’s Truth: “When it comes to the application of the noble principles upon which it is built, Christian education in American has much to learn. We have had a great deal to say about God-centered, Christ-oriented, Bible-based education. But in actual practice we are not doing nearly enough of it….That is not to say, of course, that we are not to any extent practicing Christian education. That is too extreme a judgment. Nevertheless, in respect to a thorough-going integration of Christ and the Bible with the whole institution, with all departments of study, with all kinds of student activities, with all phases of administration, there remains much land to be taken.”
  • A teacher who loves well, God’s way, is the solution to creating powerful biblical worldview. When love is real in the life of a teacher, students learn about God and subject, and about life from God’s perspective with joy and depth. Only one thing is strong enough for this to work all of the time.  Love, God’s way.
  • If we aim low, we will get it.
  • A teacher will not be able to find deep love and fascination to share with students unless he or she is a student of God’s Word.
  • It is the joy of personal discovery of truth and application to life that gives the teacher the ability to teach with a powerful biblical worldview. There is no way to teach a biblical worldview without firsthand knowledge and joy of the Bible.
  • “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
  • “Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:14 and 15).
  • If we call it biblical worldview, it is always with the understanding that all of Scripture points to Jesus and is only understood rightly if the Gospel of Christ is central. Jesus is the focus and the content of our study and lives, and rightfully our presentation of the biblical worldview of any subject.
  • The great biblical worldview teacher knows and uses God’s Word. The Book is open, always standing by as the sword in God’s outfitting of the soldier. And, as “breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
  • We want students to love truth and to know how to find it, in every subject and every relationship. We want them to fall in love with truth, even as Jesus was full of grace and truth, that each student could become more like Him. All truth, rightly perceived and understood, draws us to God and helps us increasingly know His sovereignty, His power, His mercy. Truth opens our eyes to Him and its pursuit is a worthy one.
  • A teacher who is doing a great job with biblical worldview will naturally draw students to God.
  • The power of a subject understood from and through God’s eyes is endless, much as He is. Every subject, pursed rightly, draws a student to God.
  • Done well, great biblical worldview grabs students, holds them, and plants seeds deep inside because the teacher is excited to share God through a deep understanding and joy of God’s Word and the subject at hand. A teacher’s passionate pursuit of learning about subject, life, and God gives students a picture of the joy of learning.
  • Colossians 1: “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And, he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
  • Learning to start with questions helps create life-long learners who seek truth, especially from God’s Word.
  • In On Rhetoric, Aristotle says that persuasion by a speaker depends on three things. Ethos, the character and integrity of the speaker. Logos, the knowledge and truth of the speaker. And, pathos, the passion and love for the audience, the listener.
  • Expressing love in passion attracts students and draws students deeper.
  • As one of my wise professors, Howard Hendricks, said, “You cannot impart what you do not possess.”
  • We are only worthwhile to students if God is the first love of our lives.
  • Deuteronomy 32:46: “Take to your heart all the words which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law. For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life. And by this you will prolong your days in the land, which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.”
  • Loving God, putting His words on your heart, and then talking and living a life with God and through God to students. That is pure biblical worldview. That becomes great biblical worldview in class when combined with a love for students and a love for subject.
  • I love this Facebook post by one of my teachers. “It is back to school time. I can no longer avoid the ending of sweet July. The first way I prepare to teach teenagers has nothing to do with the English curriculum or standards. First, I prepare my heart.”
  • Any good teacher can teach your subject, but only a teacher in love with God and students can impact lives for eternity in a good way. Love for students is why we do all we can to live God before them and with them, to make sure that our subject is learned in light of eternal truth for God’s glory. Love compels us to the richest and truest truth we can give them and hopes they are inspired to use the truths of our subject and of God in their lives.
  • “Memory construction—and therefore learning—includes emotional data. In fact, emotion drives and enables learning. It focuses a student’s attention, allows her to find meaning, and feeds motivation” (Kevin Washburn, The Architecture of Learning, 2010, Clerestory Press, pages 41 and 42).
  • A student who knows he or she is loved is a changed person, if not now, later. There is way too much conditional love in our world, based on performance and standards. Love the way God loves makes a difference.
  • “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
  • Colossians 1:16 and 17: “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions of rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
  • You cannot impart what you don’t possess. How do you get a joy and excitement without spending inordinate amounts of time?
  • Does Scripture have something to say about how we do what we do? 

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