Seeking Truth In the Classroom

As Christian educators, we have a high calling: to not only instruct our students in our subject matter, but also lead them to the foot of the Cross.
While I’m not an expert in Biblical integration, I am a Christ-follower who desires to infuse my teaching with His truth. We are all called to guide our students to think about learning through a “God lens” – that is, to realize that “all truth is God’s truth” and to critically examine subject matter in order to reach a new understanding of who God is

As an English teacher, the process of Biblical integration is admittedly easier for me than for teachers of other subjects. However, even the simplest Biblical integration requires some planning and an awareness of the Holy Spirit’s leading in the moment. Here are some thoughts on Biblical Integration from my own classroom.

“Big Ideas”

When analyzing literature, I often have my middle school students identify key themes, such as the value of family, the importance of honesty, or the epic battle between good and evil. When I first introduced the concept of “theme” this year, one student confidently stated, “I know one book that fits all of these themes, Miss Brown…  The Bible!” Of course, he was right! And it provided the perfect segue into discussing how literary themes reflect Biblical truths.

After reading fantasy literature, we explore fantasy elements in the Bible (talking animals, unusual creatures, objects with “powers”) and discuss how we know that the Bible is actually true, not fictional. When we study Maniac Magee, a novel that addresses segregation, we reflect on our standards for determining what is right and wrong. These lessons not only advance my students’ understanding of the texts, but also challenge them to consider how God’s truth meaningfully connects to all areas of life.

Regardless of the classes you teach, examine the big ideas presented in your curriculum: How do these point to overarching Biblical truths or attributes of God’s character? How will you guide students to seek truth while learning information?

Asking Questions

The goal of Biblical integration is not to force students to believe a certain thing, but rather to foster their pursuit of truth. We can ask probing questions and challenge students to consider other perspectives. Active discovery, rather than passive acquisition, is both best practice for teaching and absolutely essential to effective Biblical integration.

 

Sometimes students do the asking! When I taught sixth grade Bible last year, my students were often filled with many thought-provoking (but quite off-task!) questions. Instead of squelching their inquisitiveness, we compiled these questions on a class poster. A few months later, several other adults acted as “Bible coaches” to guide my students in the process of finding answers to their own questions. I soon noticed my own approach to Scripture shifting from fact finding to curious questioning. Seeking truth is a transformative process – as much for us as for our students!

What questions can you ask to spark discussion, rather than prescribing a single view? Consider how can you guide your students toward truth as they weigh different perspectives.

Final Thoughts

Biblical integration may seem like an overwhelming task, another requirement in a parade of professional expectations. Despite thoughtfully-selected Bible passages and well-worded questions, our lessons may not go as planned.

I would encourage all teachers to remember two things. First, we can’t control our students’ reactions. When they totally miss the point or blatantly reject Christ, we must continue to rely on the Lord for guidance and remain faithful to our calling – to pursue truth and lead our students in this pursuit.

Secondly, we can’t do this on our own! Integrating Biblical truth begins with a humble submission to Christ’s work in our own lives, regular study of His Word, and an ongoing reliance on His wisdom. May our eyes be open to opportunities – planned or not! – to direct our students to know God more.

Lord, reveal Yourself through the teaching and learning that we do every day.

Heather Brown
Middle School English Teacher
BFA


Photo Credits:  Classroom & Poster. Heather Brown; QuestionsSistak via Compfight cc