Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students


Teachers and Teaching

True education means more than taking a certain course of study. It is broad. It includes the harmonious development of all the physical powers and the mental faculties. It teaches the love and fear of God, and is a preparation for the faithful discharge of life's duties. CT 64.1

There is an education which is essentially worldly. Its aim is success in the world, the gratification of selfish ambition. To secure this education many students spend time and money in crowding their minds with unnecessary knowledge. The world accounts them learned; but God is not in their thoughts. They eat of the tree of worldly knowledge, which nourishes and strengthens pride. In their hearts they become disobedient and estranged from God; and their entrusted gifts are placed on the enemy's side. Much of the education at the present time is of this character. The world may regard it as highly desirable; but it increases the peril of the student. CT 64.2

There is another kind of education that is very different. Its fundamental principle, as stated by the greatest Teacher the world has ever known, is, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.” Matthew 6:33. Its aim is not selfish; its purpose is to honor God and to serve Him in the world. Both the studies pursued and the industrial training sought have this object in view. The word of God is studied; a vital connection with God is maintained, and the better feelings and traits of character are brought into exercise. This kind of education produces results as lasting as eternity. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10), and better than all knowledge is an understanding of His word. CT 64.3

What shall be the character of the education given in our schools? Shall it be according to the wisdom of this world, or according to the wisdom which is from above? ... Teachers are to do more for their students than to impart a knowledge of books. Their position as guide and instructor of the youth is most responsible, for to them is given the work of molding mind and character. Those who undertake this work should possess well-balanced, symmetrical characters. They should be refined in manner, neat in dress, careful in all their habits; and they should have that true Christian courtesy that wins confidence and respect. The teacher should be himself what he wishes his students to become. CT 65.1

Teachers are to watch over their students as the shepherd watches over the flock entrusted to his charge. They should care for souls as they that must give an account. CT 65.2

The teacher may understand many things in regard to the physical universe; he may know about the structure of animal life, the discoveries of natural science, the inventions of mechanical art; but he cannot be called educated, he is not fitted for his work as an instructor of the youth, unless he has in his own soul a knowledge of God and of Christ. He cannot be a true educator until he is himself a learner in the school of Christ, receiving an education from the divine Instructor. CT 65.3