Pilgrim’s Progress, written in the 1600’s by John Bunyan, is regarded as one of the most significant writings of fiction in English literature. It captures the imagination of the reader, as it tells the tale of a desperate man called Christian who starts a journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. Having gone some distance, he is directed by the gatekeeper, Goodwill, to travel the road to the House of the Interpreter, who will show him excellent things that will help him on his journey. The Interpreter gets his servant to light a candle, for it is symbolic of the Spirit’s work of illumination.

Hanging on the wall is a picture of a man with a Bible which is meant to teach Christian whom to trust during his journey. Christian will meet many people on his way to the Celestial City, but only those who follow the Bible are trustworthy guides. The Interpreter takes him from room to room, showing the new pilgrim pictures and dioramas that depict truth about the nature of the journey. The Interpreter asks Christian if he’s considered everything he’s seen and encourages him to keep all these things in his mind to spur him on his way.

Due to the loss of an overarching metanarrative which provides a lens to understand and interpret life, many young people are experiencing a loss of meaning and purpose and a collapse of hope. In our hyper-individualistic society, they are like individuals bobbing up and down in their own dinghy on turbulent waters. Many students who are entering our schools don’t acknowledge basic Christian beliefs or are struggling to connect their faith to issues in their personal lives or beyond in the wider world.

We can encourage them, like Pilgrim, to set out on the journey of their life. Author Mark Twain once commented that the two most important days in a person’s life are the day they were born and the day they discover the reason why. I like to think of teachers as interpreters who unfold God’s sacred story to their students, for it is here that together we can explore what it means to be a genuine human being.

God’s script, which we invite our students to live in, reveals to us individually and communally, what it is to build and what it is to destroy. The Bible invites the reader into a relationship with the Author of this grand drama that spans time and eternity. He is the loving Creator of the cosmos who cares intimately about His creation and desires to see all creatures flourish. This is the Redeemer who delivered His chosen people Israel from slavery and who entered history supremely in the person of Jesus whose Gospel work liberates creation from the bondage of sin and death. Our groaning world is emerging into new life as God’s people are sent out to be agents of recreation, to embody and proclaim the presence of God’s Kingdom rule. The ancient hope that the glory of God will fill the whole earth is coming true. The Author of this unfinished drama invites us into a future, where our lives and those of our students can make a difference. The Bible invites us to wrestle trustingly with God and the text of Scripture as we seek to discern the Author’s will and carry the plot of the story forward.

Guided by a vision of the new creation, teachers model a life of reforming discipleship. Learning is to occur in a school where teachers and students grapple with the reality of what God has created. Rather than the teacher providing the perspectives for students, the teacher is in the role of an unfolder of truth, designing the teaching and learning to encourage students to think critically and construct meaning in their context under the authority of the Scriptural text.

For example, both research and experience say that one of the most significant factors shaping the identity and relationships of young people is digital technology. It is part of the air they breathe and the very fabric of their everyday lives. The world’s story of technology can be seen in the advertising for mobile phones that implies you’ve got the whole world in your hand. Many years ago, they sang ‘He’s got the whole world in His Hands.’

When a created thing becomes an idol, it shapes our understanding of ourselves, others and makes it our slave. The challenge for us is to unmask the idolatry that seeks to empower our students to be masters of their own destiny and disengage from the real world. How then does a community whose meaning, identity and purpose is shaped by our Gospel-story critique this alternate story? How can we assist our students to reimagine a world where technology is used wisely to bless others?

As students learn about technology and use it to learn, they are to grow as good stewards who use technology to engage in the real world and be creative culture-makers who live in the light of a certain hope. How do we interpret this world to them?

As teachers we have the privilege to lead our students on their journey through school to form them as people with strong minds who think God’s thoughts after Him, with tender hearts orientated to their Creator and lives that express the sacrificial love of Jesus. May God’s Word be the lens for all we do, as we fulfil our role as interpreters.

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything.”[1]


Grace and Peace
The TEC Team



[1] Clive Staples Lewis, Is Theology Poetry? In The Weight of Glory, (New York: MacMillian & Co, 1949), 92.