The Triangle of Education. A Proposed Theory Applicable to a New People in a New World through the Gospel of Jesus

Academic Paper, 2019

22 Pages, Grade: 92.56


Topic: The Triangle of Education: A Proposed Theory Applicable to A New People in a New world through the Gospel of Jesus.

A paper presented in Jos ECWA Theological Seminary (JETS) during the Graduate fellowship colloquium. By Pastor Eric S. Mbuh, MA, in Theology. (Leadership and Administration) June 26, 2019

Abstract: The Creator and designer of education had made it to work as a whole. The different philosophies He gave man was to help control the different multifaceted sectors of education in general, and more specifically the transformation of an individual in the society. Although learning is often seen as the main focal point, the education process consists of three equally important pillars that form the triangle of effective education that fits within the intersection of the spheres of the community of inquiry framework. The basic pillars expand to formal, informal and Non Formal. This study is a short explanation of how these three pillars form a basic framework for effective theological training. This is a qualitative study, using a philosophical and analytical research design and illuminate evaluation as research method. This is a proposed theory for effective higher education in Theology and any higher institutions. The triangle of education is formed by formal, informal and non formal. These are the models God is using to transform every area of the society and humans as well

I. Introduction

Education holds a place of great importance in the Old Testament, in Jewish history, in Jesus’ teachings and the theology of the New Testament. It continued to hold a place of great importance throughout Christian history and is therefore still relevant and important for the Christian in the 21st century. The trend that many parents have, is to separate the home school education from the public and the community interaction with their children as independent entities. Many do not want to “indoctrinate” their children, they are introducing them to matters of faith, but do not really teach them anything about God so that when they are older the children can make up their own minds.

From biblical times, many individuals have functioned as religious educators.

Most of them were trained either as clergy or as educators, but, until the twentieth century, few were prepared as religious educators. Studies have been done on the life and work of many of these individuals who made a contribution to the philosophy of education and on the ideals and values that motivated their philosophical educational initiatives. Scholars have also investigated the history of education from the biblical period to modern times.

In the Bible, God provided a system to facilitate the transmission of the covenant relationship with His people to future generations. This system was founded on three institutions: the home, the temple/church, and the school (Deut 4:9, 10; Exodus 25:8, 9; 2 Kings 2:3, 5, 7; 1 Tim 3:1-5; Acts 2:42-46).

Old and New Testament writers used God’s word, spoken and written, as the main source for religious instruction. A number of scholars have acknowledged the importance of the home, the church, and the school as primary agencies for the communication of God’s plan of redemption. Many of these scholars have also accepted the scriptures as divine revelation.1 But few have viewed these elements as an integrated whole; as a biblical model that encompasses the past, present, and future strategies of God’s redemptive activity; or as an educational plan that incorporates the teaching ministry of the church within the gospel commission so that it becomes possible to say “to educate is to redeem.”2

II. Background of the study

While scholarly interest in the Old Testaments has long centered on diachronic source criticism as well as the more recent synchronic criticism.3 Theological and educational framework and approaches of the OT, and particularly the Book of Deuteronomy, has largely been relegated to the background. Research on the book of Deuteronomy is widespread how-ever most works emphasize source and form critical approaches. Hence, David J. A. Clines calls for a “more holistic approach to the Pentateuch beyond questions about its (presumed) sources, and enquires about the meaning of the text that now exists.”4

A) Statement of the Problem

A general review of research does not focus specifically on the educational models or approaches in Deuteronomy, the purpose and meaning in God, the one who is the master designer behind every form of education and philosophical thinking. Turaki calls it a “general search for ultimate reality as rooted in God” Rather many philosophical theories have focus on a general search realism, idealism, metaphysics, existentialism, constructivsm, re constructivsm. All these philosophies deal with epistemological analysis but do not seek to find the reason behind their knowledge. Thus the focus of this paper. This study is selective in nature, briefly focusing on the injunction to train and educate in Deut 6. The purpose of which will bring out the triangle of education in the Old Testament and the book of Deuteronomy in particular.

B) Significance of the Study

The focus of this research is primarily to study Deut 6:4-7 by bringing together the relationship between the text and its injunction to train and educate the young people. This study will give a better understanding of the passage in terms of the commands of God in the book of Deuteronomy to unleash the power of biblical stories for personal and social transformation; and how it relates to each other in the education of the youth today. In so doing, this study seeks to fill the gap in the recent dichotomy of secular and theological. It will seek to bring out the reason, purpose, aims of God in designing the educational system. Thus proposing a theory that will guide the three forms of education; formal, informal and non formal.

C) Definitions of terms

i. Philosophy

Philosophy deals with the most basic issues faced by human beings. The content of philosophy is better seen as asking questions rather than providing answers. It can even be said that philosophy is the study of questions. Van Cleve Morris has noted that the crux of the matter is asking the“right” questions. By “right” he meant questions that are meaningful and relevant- the kind of questions people really want answered and that will make a difference in how they live and work. Philosophical content has been organized around three fundamental categories:

ii. Metaphysics: The study of questions concerning the nature of reality or existence . What is reality?Does God exist, and if so, can we prove it? The problem of evil Are human actions free, or are they determined by some forces outside of our control? Do minds/souls exist, or are humans’ simply complex physical objects?
iii. Epistemology -The study of the nature of knowledge and how these are attained and evaluated.
iv. The meaning and purpose as rooted in God: this is the focus of this paper, the ultimate meaning of education as rooted in God.

v. Triangle

A plane figure with three straight sides and three angles, an equilateral triangle is a triangle in which all three sides are equal. an equilateral triangle is also equiangular; that is, all three internal angles are also congruent to each other and are each 60°. It is also a regular polygon, so it is also referred to as a regular triangle. Applying this to education, all forms of education have equal way of training. God using them in his Divine nature to fulfil the purpose of creation.

vi. Education

Many have come out with different definitions of education. But before we define educations, it is good to ask this question: Is it different from schooling? In this piece Mark K Smith explores the meaning of education and suggests it is a process of inviting truth and possibility. It can be defined as the wise, hopeful and respectful cultivation of learning undertaken in the belief that all should have the chance to share in life.

When talking about education people often confuse it with schooling. Many think of places like schools or colleges when seeing or hearing the word. They might also look to particular jobs like teacher or tutor. The problem with this is that while looking to help people learn, the way a lot of schools and teachers operate is not necessarily something we can properly call education. They have chosen or fallen or been pushed into ‘schooling’ – trying to drill learning into people according to some plan often drawn up by others. Paulo Freire (1973) famously called this banking – making deposits of knowledge.5 Such ‘schooling’ quickly descends into treating learners like objects, things to be acted upon rather than people to be related to.

Education, as we understand it here, is a process of inviting truth and possibility, of encouraging and giving time to discovery. It is, as John Dewey (1916) put it, a social process – ‘a process of living and not a preparation for future living’. In this view educators look to act with people rather on them.6 Their task is to educe (related to the Greek notion of educere), to bring out or develop potential. Such education is:

a) Deliberate and hopeful. It is learning we set out to make happen in the belief that people can ‘be more’;
b) Informed, respectful and wise. A process of inviting truth and possibility.
c) Grounded in a desire that at all may flourish and share in life. It is a cooperative and inclusive activity that looks to help people to live their lives as well as they can.

Vii. Theory

The dictionary defines a theory as a “supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained”.American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, defines theory as “a set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.”7

D. The general aims of every education

Every religion has admitted that education takes place at home, private, and at school. Many of such religious bodies have tried to explain the different philosophies of education but have failed to explained who is behind such philosophical design. These will take us to some of the different aims of education by Islam, African Traditional religion and formal aims of education itself.

i. The aims of Islamic education


1 J. M. Price, L. L. Carpenter, and J. H. Chapman, eds.,2 Introduction to Religious Education (New York: Macmillan Company, 1932), 259; and Randolph Crump Miller, (The Theory of Christian Education Practice: How Theology Affects Christian Education (Birmingham, AL: Religious Education Press, 1980), 155, 156.)

2 To educate is to redeem” is the cornerstone of the conceptual framework of the3 Andrews University School of Education. The ideas are encapsulated in Ellen G. White, Education (Boise, ID: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1952), 30. Ellen Gould White was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and a prolific writer on various topics, including religion, family, education, and health.

3 Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1-15, Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 1 (Waco, TX: Word, 1987), xxxiv; Bruce T. Dahlberg, “Genesis,” Mercer Commentary on the Bi-ble, ed. Watson E. Mills and Richard F. Wilson (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1995), 87. See also W. Lee Humphreys, The Character of God in the Book of Genesis: A Narrative Appraisal (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 2001); idem, Joseph and His Family: A Literary Study (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1988.

4 David J. A. Clines, The Themes of the Pentateuch, 2nd ed., Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 10 (Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Academic, 1997), 142.

5 Freire, P., Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Harmondsworth:Penguin. 1972

6 Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and Education. New York: Collier Books. (Collier edition first published 1963). In this book Dewey seeks to move beyond dualities such as progressive / traditional – and to outline a philosophy of experience and its relation to education.

7 American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, © 2016

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The Triangle of Education. A Proposed Theory Applicable to a New People in a New World through the Gospel of Jesus
Christian Philosophy of Education
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triangle, education, proposed, theory, applicable, people, world, gospel, jesus
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Master in Theology (Administration and Leadership), Masters in Theology (Edu) Eric S. Mbuh (Author), 2019, The Triangle of Education. A Proposed Theory Applicable to a New People in a New World through the Gospel of Jesus, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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