An Ascetic on Education

“Knowledge of created beings is one thing, and knowledge of the divine truth is another. The second surpasses the first just as the sun outshines the moon.”

– St. Mark the Ascetic (5th Century, Philokalia, Kindle Loc. 1935)

I read this little gem this morning. I couldn’t help but see the incredible application it has within Christian education, provided one small change:

Knowledge of created [things] is one thing, and knowledge of the divine truth is another. The second surpasses the first just as the sun outshines the moon.”


It’s probably easy to imagine the temporary and finite getting disproportionately more attention than the eternal and infinite. Christ-followers do this often (I know I do). And, in education, I believe it is even easier to get things out of balance when curriculum benchmarks need to be met, grades need to be properly weighted, athletes need training, and discipline needs administering. All these things are well and good.

They are like the moon. The moon’s light can be rather bright. On those clear evenings when the moon is full, you can do quite a bit outside with its’ light. When the sun rises, though, there’s no comparison. The greater light dominates. The same is true in Christian education.

The risen Son ought to consume the daily course of studies. If we are not careful, Christian education can turn into a public-style education with a Bible class included. If that’s the case, what’s the point? I know of an area high school that already does that, and it’s already paid for in your taxes! Christian schools ought to be markedly different, almost contrary to its’ public counterparts. Christian schools should merely rely on its’ Bible class as evidence for living under the warmth and light of the sun (Son).

Christian schools ought to live joyfully under the warm summer sun. The Son is risen. All of the world is illuminated by His light. The sun follows the true Son’s example and chases darkness away by its’ mere appearing.

Our difficult task is to wage war against the culture of modernism and its’ emphasis on mere intellectual information and show through our words and deeds, our whole way of living, that knowledge of divine truth far surpasses knowledge of created [things].

*Image from Wikipedia


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