Wisdom's 7 Pillars

True Education



by Barbara Edtl Shelton



I have to admit the above title was not originally my idea. I got the idea from the Bible!  From Proverbs 9:1 to be exact: 




has built her house,

she has set up her 

  seven pillars."



I thought it would be fun to apply this idea to several areas of my life. There is no set list of pillars given anywhere; the "7 pillars" are just whatever you determine the basic foundation to be for any area of life that interests you, as you study the Word. A few ideas for specific areas of study are listed here...



Wisdom's 7 Pillars For...


An Orderly Home

True Education

Healthy Eating Habits

Intimacy with Jesus

Building a Strong Marriage

A Self-Disciplined Life

Harmonious Relationships

Physical Health

Spiritual Growth & Edification

A Healthy Mind

Training Your Children

Hospitality in the Home




Get the idea?! It springs from whatever God is doing in your or your child's life; whatever you're hungry to understand in more depth. You can start by looking in a concordance for verses pertaining to the area you decide you want to study; then you get to determine, from what you read and your own observations and experiences in life, what you see as being the "Wisdom's 7 Pillars" for that area! For instance, for "Wisdom's 7 Pillars for an Orderly Home Life," based on what I (we?) have read in Marilyn's materials, you might start with:


Wisdom's 7 Pillars

for an

Orderly Home Life


1) Provide a basic daily routine (not tight schedule) for yourself and your children.


2) Determine to work through all behavior problems NOW.


3) Develop in myself and my children an unselfish attitude of helping and serving.


4) Determine to have "a place for everything, and (then put)  everything in its place."


5) ___________________________________________


6) ___________________________________________


7) ___________________________________________




These are just off the top of my head, so I'll let you continue with 5, 6 and 7 if you're interested in doing so. (Please note; Marilyn did not come up with the above items; I just organized what I have read of her material in the above manner.) Your list doesn't necessarily have to be "all inclusive" – just what you feel are the most important aspects or principles to focus on; what God is saying to you for your family at this time. And you can get as in-depth as you want with it. If there are people that you see as being "accomplished" in an area you're wanting to grow in, consider "interviewing" them as to what they think a few of the "pillars" might be. But don't have them do it for you. This is just to learn from them.


Any of these studies will usually take a long time to accumulate, although if you really got serious, you could certainly do it in a short time. The point isn't speed or stretching it out, but rather getting it into your life.


There's nothing intricate about this sheet. (on page IV-71 in Form+U+la)  You could certainly have written it up yourself, but I just thought that you "graph intimidados" might enjoy the luxury of having it made up for you. No fuss (with rulers). No muss (from blotchy ink). If you have a computer and you know how to do basic tables (charts), you’ve got it made!


Under each topic you choose, the numbers 1 through 7 are written, (you probably figured that out) with a blank space beside each. When I come across a verse in the Word that would fit under one of my topics, I write it down here. Eventually you can come up with quite a valuable study. Please note that the purpose of this type of study is not to be "correct" or exhaustive. My seven pillars for relationship might have only two or three of the ones you come up with. Dr. Dobson or Gary Smalley might have an entirely different line-up. The only criteria you should have is that the elements be life-giving to you! So, parents, I hope you won't correct your student on this!


As the Holy Spirit leads, ideas will spring from a variety of sources. This type of study is the most enjoyable and profitable when it's something the Lord is doing in you! – or in your child. An older child could do it on their own with some input and direction from you; a younger child would need to do it with you. Don't do it just to amass a pile of studies, though it's always profitable to get the Word more deeply rooted in our hearts! "His word goes forth and does not return void." Let Him lead.  And now, here's how He led ME regarding one of the above topics I listed:  "True Education."


The choices we make regarding homeschooling, whether at the beginning or throughout it as well, are going to be based completely upon our view of education. We will choose materials, resources, and an approach that we think will help us fulfill or create that view. So it is vital that our view be correct, or we will waste a lot of time, money, and effort, not to mention create problems that will take a lot of God's redeeming power to correct.  


Part of that is understanding what it isn't. And I assure you that it isn't just "schooling them at home." Yes, many homeschoolers do this, but while they are following God's directive to homeschool their children, are they really following God's directions – His ways and methods – in so doing? Are they really accomplishing God's purposes?”  While that's certainly not for me to decide, my heart in continuing to minister to homeschoolers even though we ended our homeschooling experience with our youngest graduating from our homeschool two years ago, is to help parents focus on what God has for them during these years so that they will avoid burn-out, discouragement, those awful feelings of discouragement, “am I doing enough,” and even wanting to put them (back) into school!  God has soooo much more for us ~ if we will only listen to His voice over the many (loud) voices of the world!


Hearing His voice begins with seeking it.  To that end, I encourage each parent to open their heart and their eyes and pray the pray at the end of Psalm 139:


"Search me (and our homeschool), oh God, and

know my heart.  Point out anything in me (or in our

homeschool) that makes you sad, and lead me (our homeschool)

along the path of everlasting life."



Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines "education" as being:

"...the bringing up, as of a child; instruction; formation. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science ins important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties."

What is the main focus of this definition? Academics? I don't think so; academics are alluded to, but could hardly be considered the focus. No, character is the focus, including preparation for "future stations." But even this preparation has more to do with the heart of the person than with his head knowledge.


Now, ask yourself:  Is this our focus in our home?  In "word and in deed"?  Not just in lip service, or in the children "doing a curriculum" in which they fill in the blanks on any of these areas, but don't live it?

As I have studied "education" over my past 17 years of homeschooling, from a variety of perspectives including the thoughts of many authors, mentors, leaders, and friends that I highly respect, I have seen a very different picture of what education truly is than what is typically thought of in our culture today. I saw that there were actually several components that make up this larger picture. What you see below is nothing official, just what I came up with after looking at and compiling what were, to me, the most important aspects of education that I wanted to be part of my own, and my children's, true education. 

Let's take a look at...


Wisdom's Seven Pillars

of True Education: 



Knowledge of God and His will


Close (Intimate, Active) Relationship

with God


Developing Godly Family Relationships


Preparation for Specific Life Calling & Purpose

and for Roles in Life


Character Development


Equip With Tools to Learn for Life


Basic Foundation of Knowledge

to Function in Society




Which of the above are present in today's educational system?  Or perhaps it would be easier to answer this question:  Which one is the main focus?  I think it's pretty obvious that it's a "Basic Foundation of Knowledge to Function in Society."  It's certainly not to give a revelation of the "Knowledge of God and His will" – in fact, that is actually completely and effectively squelched, as is developing a "Closer Relationship with God."


How about "Preparation for Roles in Life?"  Very little focus is on this, other than an increasing promotion and tolerance of worldly and ungodly "lifestyle preferences" Even if there is a focus on this, it is incapable of being very specific for unique, individual students with twenty-five of them in the same class. 


What about "Preparation for Specific Life Calling/Purpose"?  The school system can't even touch that one because this has to do with God's purpose for the student's life.  


"Character Development"?  I don't know what you've seen of the typical high school environment, but it's about the last place godly values are present, let alone taught or caught. In fact what is caught and taught is often the exact opposite of what I want influencing and permeating the hearts of my children.  


"Equip With Tools to Learn for Life"?  Hardly – students are told what, not how to think. Few students graduating from high school know how – or have the desire – to learn beyond graduation. 


Click here to see a list of Scripture verses for each one of the above "pillars."


Lacking these six out of the seven "pillars," a student's "Basic Foundation of Knowledge to Function in Society" is going to be lacking because it is thus built on a faulty foundation.  It amounts to mere head knowledge.  And what does the Word say about this?  It "puffeth up."


"All the above" are the total picture that's needed if we are to function as God would have us function in society!  God's idea of education takes a person to the place where we are "lacking in nothing."  But what gets us to that place?  A scope-and-sequence-approved curriculum program for all subjects for all grades, K through 12?  Let's take a look at the three verses that culminate in those words "lacking in nothing":



"Count it all joy, my brethren,

when you meet various trials, for you know

that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 

And let steadfastness have its full effect,

that you may be perfect and complete,

lacking in nothing."



What does this have to do with "education"?  Absolutely everything!  The above three verses in James 1: 2, 3, and 4, are a perfect illustration of "God's School of Life."  What usually happens in the typical homeschool "when we meet various trials" is we avoid them, go around them, tell the kids to "knock it off and just get your schoolwork done!"  Right?  We are entirely missing the point, missing the opportunity – the invitation, actually – to disciple, and truly educate our children.  Whatever the Lord is bringing our way, whatever trials we meet, that is what is truly needed at that moment.  


There is much more to the actual application of the above idea of course, and you will find much more in Marilyn Howshall's writings, which are a big part of what I recommend for a "season of re-education and renewing of the mind."






Again, to get to a collection of scripture verses that illustrate

more of what each one means, click on the heart:






I got these graphics from:






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  © Copyright 1999 by Barb Shelton / Permission granted to reproduce for

self, friends, or in non-profit, free newsletters providing full credit is given according to instructions on this page. For other purposes please request

permission in writing from the author at BEShelton@aol.com or:


Barb Shelton / 182 No. Columbia Hts. Rd. / Longview, WA 98632







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