If you have ever wondered whether it is necessary to teach math from a biblical worldview, you are not alone. Math seems like a neutral subject, driven by numbers, facts, and logic. But the very orderliness of math reveals a rational and orderly God. Biblical integration in math should do more than make reference to the Bible. Rather than merely trying to find math in the Bible, you want to help your students realize that God is at the foundation of all of life, including math. Teaching math or any subject from a biblical worldview means that your curriculum must start with the underlying assumption that the Bible is true and that it informs every area of life.
A Christian math curriculum assumes that mathematical and physical laws work because God created them to work. When you teach math from a Christian perspective, your student should come away with insight in how mathematical design shows God’s masterful work.
How does homeschooling from a biblical worldview apply to math?
Although math seems like a safe subject that everyone can agree on, there is great value in teaching it from a biblical worldview. Was math invented or was it discovered by mankind? Because we believe that God created the entire universe and all that it contains, the logical answer is that math was discovered. Man discovered the principles and constants that govern the world and recorded them for further study. God created the world with order and physical laws that are always true. Mathematical and physical constants, like the force of gravity on earth or the value of pi, never change. Humans have decided on the symbols to represent these constants, but God designed them.
In a biblical worldview, the Bible informs every subject, including math. We see beauty and order in the created world. We also recognize that our responsibility to manage resources wisely is a command from God. The practical applications of math are more meaningful in the context of the biblical worldview. We teach math in a progression from concrete to abstract, acknowledging the way God created our brains.
Math from a Biblical Worldview vs Biblical Integration in Math: Is there a difference?
There is a difference between teaching from a biblical worldview and integrating the Bible into your teaching. The level of integration of your curriculum may fall somewhere along a spectrum from no biblical integration to building every subject on a foundation of the Bible. Referencing math concepts found in the Bible is the most basic form of biblical integration, but it falls short of using the truth of the Bible as a foundation for the entire subject.
Why should my kids learn math from a biblical worldview?
Could your children excel in math without a biblical worldview? Yes. But they may not fully appreciate math and its place in God’s creation. In the early years, a child might not understand why math works the way it does. That is an abstract concept he is not developmentally ready for. But as you revisit mathematical concepts in later years, you have the opportunity to show how creation points to a Creator. Consider the golden ratio. The ratio between consecutive numbers in the Fibonacci sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8…) approaches the golden ratio.
Each number in the sequence is the sum of the previous two numbers. This ratio is noticeable throughout God’s creative design if you know where to look for it. Examples include flower petals and seed arrangements, facial proportions, and numerous spiral patterns, like shells and galaxies. From a biblical worldview perspective, these commonalities are an obvious result of the Creator-God of the Bible.
Benefits of Teaching Math from a Biblical Worldview
Bring glory to God
We want to teach math and use math to bring glory to God, which is the purpose of all of His creation. Math, like any skill, could be used in an evil way. By teaching that every subject has its foundation in biblical truth, we remind our children to use their knowledge wisely. Knowledge can lead to boasting if we are not grounded in the purpose for which we were created.
Confirm the existence of objective truth.
Post-modernists would argue that truth is relative. They speak of what is “true for me.” But mathematical laws are true and work for everyone, regardless of culture or chronology. Math also gives us a shared language with people from other cultures. This shared language and objectivity may lead to opportunities to share the objective truth of the Bible.
Reveal God’s character and nature.
When we approach math from a biblical worldview with our mathematical studies rooted and focused on Scripture, we can learn more about God and His power. Mathematical laws are unchanging because God is unchanging and because He upholds “all things by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3). Many miracles in the Bible show how only God has power and authority over mathematical and physical laws. You and I cannot feed more than 5000 people with five loaves and two fish, but Jesus did!
We can rely on God’s faithfulness, as He says in Jeremiah 33:25-26 “If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; then will I cast away the seed of Jacob and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on the.” This passage looks forward to the promised Messiah and guarantees that God will not reject Him.
Enable good stewardship.
Resource stewardship is the first commission in the Bible, and math enables us to do it wisely. We also have commands to love our neighbors and make disciples. Real-world applications of math can enable us to do both. Learn fractions while baking cookies for a neighbor or shut-in. Solve many different kinds of problems in a God-honoring way. Use technological advances to further the gospel.
How Do I Homeschool Math from a Biblical Worldview?
Find a curriculum that builds math on a foundation of Biblical truth.
It will be harder to add biblical truths to a curriculum that has none. Reject human standards of truth and “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). If your curriculum helps you learn math from a biblical worldview, you will be well established.
Use real-world applications.
Students need to learn how math is useful in the everyday Christian life. Not every child is destined to be a mathematician, but each one will need math for her life’s work. Use this class time to cultivate good stewardship of resources in your children. Show children how to use math for good and not evil.
Explore math in God’s creation.
Find a part of nature that your children are curious about, and explore related mathematical concepts in a developmentally appropriate way. For very young children, that might mean discovering that 1 + 2 = 3 whether you are using rocks or leaves or bugs to add. Middle and high school students can appreciate the golden ratio found throughout God’s creation.
Explore math in the Bible.
Deuteronomy 4:2 says, “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.” We should not add or subtract from God’s Word, but instead obey it completely. 2 Corinthians 9:10 says, “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”
We see multiplication throughout nature, especially in reproduction. In the account of Gideon defeating the Midianites, Judges 7:16 says, “And he divided the 300 men into three companies and put trumpets in to the hands of all of them and empty jars, with torches inside the jars.” Later in verse 19, “So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp.” The 300 men that Gideon took to defeat Midian were divided into three equal companies of 100 men.
Ask questions to develop critical thinking skills.
Will this property or formula always work? How does math help my reasoning skills? Where do I see this pattern in nature? Is math discovered or invented? Did a constant like pi exist before humans discovered it? How does this discovery fit in a historical context with scientific advancements? Good questions drive a great education.
How does BJU Press approach homeschooling math from a biblical worldview?
Video lessons and homeschool curriculum materials from BJU Press start with a biblical worldview in presenting every subject, including math. A strong foundation in a biblical worldview prepares students to give God glory in this life. Critical thinking skill development is a key value of the BJU Press curriculum. Not only do lessons present a biblical worldview, but they also use current educational best practices to help students learn and grow in mathematical understanding.
• • • • •Valerie is a wife and a mother to a very busy preschooler. In her free time she enjoys reading all kinds of books. She earned a B.S. in Biology from Bob Jones University, minoring in Mathematics, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from Ohio State University. Valerie has 15 years of experience working in research laboratories and has coauthored 8 original research articles. She has also taught several classes and laboratories at the high school and college levels. She currently works as a Data Analyst and a freelance writer.