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The Importance of

Teaching Phonics Biblically


Earl & Diane Rodd

In the Beginning was the Word... (John 1:1)

Because English is a phonetic language, reading is best taught using phonics. A number of phonics methods are in use in schools and among home educators. Before considering which phonics program or method to use, we must first consider God's purpose for language and communication and the Biblical method of education. This pamphlet starts with these basic considerations and then applies the Biblical method to teaching phonics. The Biblical method is contrasted with secular humanistic methods.

The Importance of

Teaching Phonics Biblically

In the Beginning was the Word... (John 1:1)

Families Honoring Christ

"But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart
and a good conscience and a sincere faith."

Earl & Diane Rodd
6044 Pine Creek St. N.W. North Canton, OH 44720

Phone: (330) 305-9318

1st edition - May 1994

2nd edition - January 1998

Permission is granted to copy this article for personal sharing
but not for sale or other commercial purposes.

FHC is an Ohio based ministry providing information, encouragement
and fellowship to Christian families, natural and spiritual.

Unless otherwise noted, All Scripture quotations are from the

New American Standard Bible, Copyright 1988,

The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

See fhc.rodd.us for further information including online versions of this and other booklets. Additional copies of this booklet may be ordered from FHC by writing to the above address. A full listing of other books and booklets on related topics is also available from FHC at fhc.rodd.us.

The Importance of

Teaching Phonics Biblically


Understanding man's origin and design

God spoke the universe, man and all that we can see, hear, touch, taste, smell and perceive into existence by words. He said, "Let there be..." and there was. Genesis chapters 1 & 2 say all of creation was very good.

God did something unique with the human race by making man in His image. Thus man is a spirit with a soul which can perceive, think, formulate and put those intangible realms of thoughts, feelings, and emotions into words in order to externally communicate through audible and visible ways what is internal and can not be seen or perceived by another. This ability to communicate is one of the ways we are made in God's image, and it is a major logical and personal reality that disproves the false teaching of evolution. Every human being knows that he can communicate with others on this present earth who speak a similar language, but his pet dog will never be able to have a dinner conversation over a cup of tea. Nor can an ape ever produce a musical symphony that another ape can reproduce from written music; nor can a dolphin write an autobiography that another dolphin can read. Men and animals are not just different species within the animal kingdom. Man is made in the image of God and that makes him unique especially in the communication of thoughts and ideas and in the limited power of his will. God has given man an ability to choose and decide within the boundaries God has sovereignly ordained. Animals were not given a free will.

Genesis 2:20 is the first biblical reference of man's use of language. Adam's first responsibility or job in the garden was to use language to name all the animals. Adam didn't create the animals with his words because man is not the SOVEREIGN CREATOR. Man is a created being who functions within the boundaries God has predetermined, but the naming of the animals of God's creation shows the superior thinking abilities and intelligence man was given by God when God placed man in dominion authority over the animal kingdom. Adam did not draw pictures to name the animals. He used language or sounds to convey the thought or idea of the animal he was describing. Adam, made in the likeness of God, used speech as the method of taking dominion or rulership over the animals. When the last Adam, Jesus Christ, appeared, He is described this way by John:

John 1:1
1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Jesus, who was the exact representation of the Father, came as the Living and the spoken Word. He did not come as a picture.

The quicker a human being learns to speak clearly and communicate effectively, the quicker God gets the glory because the effects of the fall and sin are being reversed. We have an enemy who never wants man to function as God created and designed because man functioning as God intended brings glory to God. It is said of Jesus, "He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him" (Acts 10:38). Jesus' ultimate mission and accomplishment is to restore the ability of man to communicate personally or individually with his Creator and Father. Sin blocks that communication in the spirit. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Jesus enables man to overcome the sin barrier and communicate and fellowship with God. This is the essence of the gospel. Those who have been redeemed should be able to overcome the enemy's devices so we can effectively communicate the gospel to others.

God is a spirit and because man was made in the image of God, he too is a spirit. When man fell from perfect spiritual communication and fellowship with God and lost his harmony with the rest of creation, we see language as the tool that was used to tempt man to disobey God. Eve didn't seem to be surprised that a serpent was talking with her. We don't know if animals were able to communicate with Adam and Eve during their stay in the garden of Eden because the Bible doesn't give us that information. We do know that Eve in her innocence of evil accepted the communication which proceeded from the snake. Even if animals did communicate with the first human couple, that still doesn't make them of the same kind or species because the animals were not suitable for Adam as a helpmate. A human being is a spirit with a soul (mind, will, and emotions), in a body. An animal has a soul and a body. A plant has a body.

Mankind and animals are not the same and are never to be viewed as such. This is the reason that literature that portrays animals with human characteristics can cause confusion. Animals do not talk, dress, or behave as humans do. Language was used to deceive Eve, and this method of deception has not changed. The perversion of ideas and concepts is communicated through language, and then man chooses to use his mind or body to rebel against God rather than to bring glory to God. Thus language is extremely important in seeking and establishing God's kingdom in our lives and homes. Words of doubt and unbelief originating from satan are major enemies of mankind. Belief (faith) in God and His Word is the major weapon against this deceptive attack.

Because there was only one language perpetuated by Noah and his family, the sole survivors of the universal flood, man had the ability to conceive, communicate and enact his will on the earth apart from God's will. After the flood language was touched by God so that its sinful power over mankind was lessened (Genesis chapter 11).

Genesis 11:6
6. And the \Lord\ said, "Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them.
7. "Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech."
8. So the \Lord\ scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city.
9. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the \Lord\ confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the \Lord\ scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.

There is a very basic spiritual principle revealed in this passage of Scripture. Wherever there is unity of purpose and unity of language to communicate that purpose, that unity will result in reality. Whether there is unity for evil or for good, unity produces reality. Thus God often uses confusion to thwart evil purposes of human beings who refuse to surrender to His lordship.

When we look at the inconsistency of teaching language skills in the education bureaucracy of humanists, we should not be surprised. God used confusion early in man's history and continues to allow confusion to rule in the area of language instruction so that man's sinful will has a check on the earth. Because this is so, Christian home educators must be very careful to avoid worldly methods of teaching language skills. Only God's methods bring restoration and healing to man's inability to communicate effectively.

Secular Humanistic Phonics

Because the TV industry now controls the educational process of this country, most phonics programs use a Sesame Street mentality and format to teach a person to read. Secular humanistic phonics insults the intellect of a student because it assumes the person can only learn if he is having fun, is enjoying the entertainment of the lessons, and is laughing, singing, smiling, dancing, jumping through out the whole lesson. There is nothing wrong with those activities, but incorporating then into phonics is not necessary and can be a useless waste of time. The distraction of these activities often pulls the intellect of the student away from the actual skill the lesson is supposed to be teaching. The student loves the fun and excitement at the expense of learning how the phonograms and rules of English actually work. Understanding the phonetic rules of English is necessary for spelling, reading comprehension and fluency of oral reading. When the task of spelling or reading is finally expected, the student meets with undue frustration if humanistic methods of teaching phonics have been used.

A secular humanistic phonics program (even though published by Christians) has to be fun. It relies on games not rules; silly songs rather than words; uses puzzles rather than sentences to teach spelling, rules etc. It relies on myths, fiction, and/or lies rather than the truth which is the Bible and God's perspective. It will use animals parading as human beings to teach the concepts because this is portrayed as fun and exciting to the student.

A secular humanistic phonics program has to be entertaining. It appeals to the eye first rather than the ear. The use of color is not constructive because it distracts the eye to the color rather than to the concept being taught. It dulls the student's intellect by programming him to prefer brightly colored images rather than black ink printed on white paper which is the form most Bibles, books, newspapers and magazines employ. This unconsciously teaches a student to prefer TV or glossy picture magazines to printed matter. The student learns to prefer snappy, short pictures and sentences (sound bites) rather than depth of content and logical thinking skills which printed words should convey.

If learning requires diligence and perseverance; if learning requires hard work and consistency; if learning requires mastery of spelling and vocabulary skills before reading is attempted the learning experience will not insult the student's spirit or intelligence. A phonics program which requires character development as well as phonics skills will be teaching two basic human skills simultaneously which help clarify communication rather than confuse it. When diligence, perseverance, consistency, accuracy, truth, etc. are taught and experienced, the godly qualities of submission and humility have a chance to be learned as well as the mastery of the English language. This approach to phonics has the reward of the work ethic built into it from the very beginning of a student's experience with a "formal" school subject. However, a student who has unlimited access to TV early in life may find it hard to give his attention to phonics. We believe some of what is called Attention Deficit Disorder may be directly related to too much visual stimuli from TV viewing at too young an age. We stopped watching TV in 1977. (See Endangered Minds, Dr. Jane Healy, Simon & Schuster, 1991.)

Learning by Example

The Bible has much to say about how human beings learn successfully, but this booklet will only discuss a few.

Joshua 1:8
8. "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

The Bible cannot be relegated to one subject out of many. The Bible must not only be the foundation upon which all other subjects are then laid, but it must also occupy the central place of all learning. Only the Lord can show us how to learn and what to learn successfully.

Matthew 11:28
28. "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
29. "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and \you shall find rest for your souls.\
30. "For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."

Matthew 4:4
4. But He answered and said, "It is written, '\Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.\'"

John 6:63
63. "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
64. "But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.

The Biblical Method of Education and for teaching language skills (phonics, vocabulary, spelling, printing, reading, composition) always begins with hearing first. The child in the womb hears and recognizes his mother's voice long before he enters the world of noise. If the parents communicate well with each other, the child in the womb will also recognize his father's voice as well. A newborn is able to hear the voices of his family, the sounds emitting from a TV, radio, or stereo, and various sounds of complex society and the sounds of the animal kingdom (birds, dogs, cats, etc.) before he learns to focus and see clearly. Thus the words of the parents become extremely crucial in the development of a child. Words of truth rather than lies need to be sought, cultivated, and maintained consistently in the lives of both parents.

Proverbs 1:7
7. The fear of the \Lord\ is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
8. Hear, my son, your father's instruction, And do not forsake your mother's teaching;
9. Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head, And ornaments about your neck.

The book of Proverbs reveals to parents the foundational importance of their words within their family. Chapter four of Proverbs is an excellent example.

Proverbs 4:1
1. Hear, {O} sons, the instruction of a father, And give attention that you may gain understanding,
2. For I give you sound teaching; Do not abandon my instruction.
3. When I was a son to my father, Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother,
4. Then he taught me and said to me, "Let your heart hold fast my words; Keep my commandments and live;
5. Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
6. "Do not forsake her, and she will guard you; Love her, and she will watch over you.
7. "The beginning of wisdom {is:} Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding.
8. "Prize her, and she will exalt you; She will honor you if you embrace her.
9. "She will place on your head a garland of grace; She will present you with a crown of beauty."
10. Hear, my son, and accept my sayings, And the years of your life will be many.
11. I have directed you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in upright paths.
12. When you walk, your steps will not be impeded; And if you run, you will not stumble.
13. Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life.
14. Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not proceed in the way of evil men.
15. Avoid it, do not pass by it; Turn away from it and pass on.
16. For they cannot sleep unless they do evil; And they are robbed of sleep unless they make {someone} stumble.
17. For they eat the bread of wickedness, And drink the wine of violence.
18. But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.
19. The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know over what they stumble.
20. My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings.
21. Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart.
22. For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their whole body.
23. Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it {flow} the springs of life.
24. Put away from you a deceitful mouth, And put devious lips far from you.
25. Let your eyes look directly ahead, And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.
26. Watch the path of your feet, And all your ways will be established.
27. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; Turn your foot from evil.

This chapter from Proverbs not only stipulates clearly and concisely the father's responsibility to impart godly wisdom through the use of words, but it also shows the importance of avoiding the words and behavior of those who do not submit to God. Thus this passage is a good one to use as a criteria for what is spoken to a child in a conversation, what is read to a child, or what the child hears and sees on TV, videos or movies.

The teaching responsibility of the mother is taught in Proverbs as well.

Proverbs 6:20
20. My son, observe the commandment of your father, And do not forsake the teaching of your mother;
21. Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck.
22. When you walk about, they will guide you; When you sleep, they will watch over you; And when you awake, they will talk to you.
23. For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life,
24. To keep you from the evil woman, From the smooth tongue of the adulteress.
25. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, Nor let her catch you with her eyelids.
26. For on account of a harlot {one is reduced} to a loaf of bread, And an adulteress hunts for the precious life.

A parent is to obey our Heavenly Father's words and imitate Jesus' example; a child is to obey His parents' words and follow their godly example which should lead him to obedience to Christ.

A love of the world (spiritual adultery) rather than a love for our Heavenly Creator, Redeemer and Father is rampant in our society. The parents blame the teachers; the teachers blame the parents. Whether a parent wishes to hear God's truth or not doesn't change the truth of God's word. A child who has not been taught Biblical wisdom by his father and mother will not have the words of faith and wisdom that are necessary to overcome the deceits of the world. When a child is away from his parents for 6-7 hours a day, the voices of other people crowd out the voice of his Christian parents and the godly wisdom they wish to impart. Children who are educated at home who have access to TV, radios, videos, computer networks etc. are very susceptible to the voices and visual images of the ungodly. The word of God given to us through the Holy Spirit makes it very clear that parents are responsible to teach their own children to discern and choose the way of wisdom and avoid the way of foolishness. Only the Bible can provide wisdom in its purity, simplicity, and holiness. Nothing in the literature of man whether Christian or non-Christian can impart the wisdom of God as the Bible is able to do. Thus a Biblical approach to phonics and language instruction must use the Bible as its primary source of information and method of teaching to impart God's wisdom.

Delegated authorities are not given God's wisdom or His anointing to accomplish the parental responsibilities designated by God. God's will is very clear: parents are responsible to use their voice to train their own children. Thus a phonics program that relies too heavily upon the voices of strangers to teach (sounds, songs, rules), the schedule of strangers (grade level, mastery level, calendar), and/or the vocabulary of strangers (spelling lists, basal readers) is just like a delegated authority. It is the voice and words of the parents, and not that of a stranger, that is first used in teaching language skills to the child. Most children learn to talk by imitating their parents. It is the choice of parents to decide vocabulary, calendar or mastery goals, and literature. Those parents who chose to imbibe the spirit of the world will suffer the consequences of their own unbelief and disobedience. Those who sow these language skills according to the Holy Spirit as revealed in God's word will reap the benefit of the fruit and blessings God's word promises.

The Biblical Method of Education of learning by example is found in Luke 6:40.

Luke 6:40
40. "A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.

The simplicity of Christ's wisdom is astounding. Every ill of our present cultural crisis can be traced to this one verse. We human beings learn by example. If we have godly examples to imitate, we learn the ways of godliness. If we have wicked examples to imitate, we learn the ways of wickedness. We must ask ourselves whom have we allowed to be our teachers.

When local governments (1860's) and state governments (1900's) enforced compulsory attendance laws, the opportunity for children to be surrounded by the godly example of their parents was stolen from the family. Public school teachers were chosen, trained and heralded as experts in training children. This deceptive lie has ruined nation after nation as education outside parental influence has been propagated and failed in its blatant opposition to the revealed word of God. Strangers become examples to children. These strangers can never have the wisdom of God or His anointing because the whole process that God has revealed in His word is being forsaken. God doesn't bless disobedience to His word.

It has taken almost 100 years to see the beginnings of truth counteract this error. The home schooling movement of the 1980's championed the right of parents to be teachers of their own children because the Bible commanded it. However, the compulsory attendance laws still hinder home educating parents from doing this in absolute Biblical freedom (See FHC Compulsory Education booklet for further understanding).

Home educating parents who insist upon using secular humanistic methods of language instruction with their children may be ignorant of Christ's wisdom as quoted in Luke 6:40. The language instruction that is used is "the teacher." It doesn't matter how the parent follows it, if it is not Biblically based in its methodology as well as its content, the student will be trained in secular humanism rather than godly Biblical wisdom. Jesus taught us that human beings learn by example. If the example is godly, the opportunity for godly fruit to be imparted, nourished and nurtured abounds. If the example is rooted in secular humanism, the opportunity for evil fruit to grow to maturity also abounds. Those who ignore the wisdom of Jesus concerning educational methods will suffer the consequences. We reap what we sow unless we repent.

The following references verify Jesus' teaching concerning the importance of being a godly example.

Jesus as Example

John 13:13
13. "You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for {so} I am.
14. "If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.
15. "For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.

I Peter 2:21
21. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
22. \who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth\;

Old Testament as Example

Bad Examples

I Corinthians 10:6
6. Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved.

Jude 1:7
7. Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example, in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.

Hebrews 3:19
19. And {so} we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:11
11. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through {following} the same example of disobedience.

II Peter 2:6
6. and {if} He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing {them} to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly thereafter;

Good Examples

Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Ruth, Samuel, David, Abigail, Haggi, Zechariah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc.

I Corinthians 10:11
11. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
12. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

Examples from the Epistles


Philippians 3:17
17. Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.

I Thessalonians 1:6
6. You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit,
7. so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.

II Thessalonians 3:6
6. Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep aloof from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.
7. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you,
8. nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we {kept} working night and day so that we might not be a burden to any of you;
9. not because we do not have the right {to this,} but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, that you might follow our example.

These scriptures reveal the absolute necessity of parents being a godly example to their children. They also indirectly teach that those with unruly lives (Entertainers - TV, radio, movies, videos, sports stars, cartoons, puppets etc.) are not acceptable models to place before ourselves or our children for emulation. This means they need to be eliminated from the home as role models and teachers.

I Timothy 1:16
16. And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

According to Paul a godly parent is to be an example of patience.

In the following scripture references to "speech" or language skills is actually mentioned.

I Timothy 4:12
12. Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but {rather} in speech, conduct, love, faith {and} purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.

Titus 2:6
6. Likewise urge the young men to be sensible;
7. in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, {with} purity in doctrine, dignified,
8. sound {in} speech which is beyond reproach, in order that the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.

Again it is necessary to point out that even some Christian videos, radio programs, novels, cassette tapes, etc. may not fit the Biblical standard that God requires of godly examples which is speech beyond reproach. The spirit of the world has invaded much of Christendom. We need to ask the Lord that our love for Him and our humble need of Him would place us in a position so that discernment would operate in our lives. We need this grace and spiritual wisdom so we will not be ensnared by the foolishness of worldly entertainment as a way to impart truth to our families. Jesus said truth is imparted by abiding in His word not by imbibing the entertainment mentality that permeates the world and has infiltrated into Christendom.

John 8:31
31. Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, {then} you are truly disciples of Mine;
32. and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. "


Through the example of godly parents, God desires a child to freely obey.

I Peter 5:1
1. Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as {your} fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,
2. shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to {the will of} God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;
3. nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.


Parents are to be examples of patience, endurance, and long suffering.

James 5:10
10. As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
11. Behold, we count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and {is} merciful.

Jesus also taught His disciples a basic principle about listening and doing in Luke 6:46-49. He said,

Luke 6:46
46. "And why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?
47. "Everyone who comes to Me, and hears My words, and acts upon them, I will show you whom he is like:
48. he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation upon the rock; and when a flood rose, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.
49. "But the one who has heard, and has not acted {accordingly,} is like a man who built a house upon the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great."

This is confirmed in Hebrews 5:8-9.

Hebrews 5:8
8. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.
9. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,

Just seeing a godly example is not sufficient to impart a godly lifestyle which includes mastery in language skills. The words and lifestyle of a godly example must also become a part of the student. This occurs by obedience. Obedience can be interpreted in educational methodology as practice or repetition. Many secular phonics systems are afraid of straightforward repetition and practice because they assume a student has to be entertained to learn. So the repetition is masked in songs, jingles, puzzles, games, etc. The Biblical Method of Education doesn't insult a student's intelligence by such an assumption or practices, but at the same time a truly Biblical approach to teaching language skills will not be boring because God is not boring. Discovering truth about God and about ourselves needs to be presented in the foundational learning stages of phonics, vocabulary and spelling to keep the student's interest in godly attributes challenged.

We have chosen to look into the scriptures using the word "practice" rather than the word "obey" to demonstrate the relationship between the necessity of presenting the godly example and repeating or practicing until the student has mastered the expected behavior. Most secular educators would agree that a student has to practice scales and his music piece on the piano before he could perform in front of an audience. However, in the foolishness of our modern educational theories such practice and repetition is forbidden in the teaching of language skills. This foolish theory has filtered also into the way in which math is presented. Learning by example and repetition, whether it be phonograms or times tables, is now seen as evil rather than good. What God calls good, we must call good. What He calls evils, we must declare as evil.

Hebrews 5:14
14. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

This verse from Hebrews makes it clear that senses have to be practiced and trained to discern good or evil. If this scripture is read in terms of teaching phonics according to Biblical standards, "good" can be seen as pronouncing sounds and words clearly and correctly and printing phonograms, words and sentences with a legibility (truthfulness) that aids communication. Someone else can easily read what has been written.

A student's senses have to be trained to understand that correct spelling is the same as telling the truth. Incorrect spelling needs to be seen as a lie or as evil. Incorrect pronunciation and slovenly speech habits need correction continually and are declared unacceptable because they aren't revealing the truth. The understanding and correct use of punctuation, vocabulary, and grammar also needs to be explained as a standard or quality that represents the truth about our language. To do anything less is the practice of evil.

James 4:17
17. Therefore, to one who knows {the} right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.

It may seem drastic when the Biblical standard is introduced into teaching phonics, but the teaching of absolute truth in terms of Biblical phonics reinforces the concept that the Bible is the standard and measure of all of life. Evil can be seen as speaking or writing incorrectly. The incorrectness can be in the actual formation of letters or in the intent maintained by the choice of vocabulary in what is being presented. The Old Testament verifies this principle by linking speaking, hearing and practicing together.

Isaiah 32:6
6. For a fool speaks nonsense, And his heart inclines toward wickedness, To practice ungodliness and to speak error against the \Lord\, To keep the hungry person unsatisfied And to withhold drink from the thirsty.

Ezekiel 33:32
32. "And behold, you are to them like a sensual song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not practice them.

As a student is trained to think and act according to Biblical methods of education, the following verses have the opportunity to be obeyed and experienced in the formation of a good habit.

Colossians 3:23
23. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men;
24. knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
25. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.

The consequence of incorrectly pronouncing a phonogram or a word is the practice of repeating it until it is pronounced correctly. The consequence of incorrectly printing a phonogram or a word is the practice of repeating it until it is formed correctly. The consequence of using punctuation or grammar incorrectly is the consequence of correcting the error.

I Thessalonians 4:10
10. for indeed you do practice it [love] toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more,

Striving for excellence must always be the goal when practice, diligence, perseverance, and consistency seem difficult and tedious. The student needs to learn that it takes more time to do something over (repetition) than it does to do it right the first time.

Paul clearly understood the principles of the Biblical Method of Education of listening and doing which can be applied to phonics. In one verse he mentions his method of teaching by example and includes training the senses - hearing, seeing, practicing, learning, and receiving.

Philippians 4:9
9. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.

The Biblical Method of Education of learning to listen and then doing can be laid as a foundation at the early age of 2-3. A small child can be taught to listen and hear the correct pronunciation of a word he is trying to say and he can be taught to do (pronounce correctly) every word of his own speaking vocabulary - if the PT(Parent/Teacher) is willing to learn the correct pronunciation himself, and diligently and consistently train the child to listen and speak correctly.

Teaching Correct Pronunciation

Many children today are being labeled incorrectly as having "speech problems" or learning disabilities. FHC believes there is usually nothing wrong with the child, but there may be something drastically incorrect in how the child is learning by example.

Jesus prayed

John 17:17
17. "Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.

The biblical example that parents must continually portray to their children is a love of the truth. Whenever parents tolerate anything that violates the truth of scripture, the example we set for our children will someday bear evil fruit. Jesus explained a very important Biblical Method of Education when he said,

Mark 4:23
23. "If any man has ears to hear, let him hear."
24. And He was saying to them, "Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it shall be measured to you; and more shall be given you besides.
25. "For whoever has, to him shall {more} be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him."

God has equipped human beings with ears so we may hear and by hearing, we also learn. However, hearing correctly is a skill that needs to be "caught" and "taught". In modern western culture the ability to listen has been lost. In the midst of myriads of voices and sounds, confusion is reigning. The visual arts and the "god" of entertainment have replaced the ability of most Westerners to listen attentively and learn by "hearing" only. What we once had as a culture, we have lost. The art of listening to stories told by grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles is no longer considered a valid method of education. The wisdom of years of experience is being lost, forgotten, or ignored as TV, movies, videos, and computers replace the truth and reality of personal experience with fables, fantasy, fiction, and folly. The standard of measure of the western culture is the entertainment industry not the spoken Word of God. However, the Biblical Method of Education is clearly stated in Deuteronomy 6:1-w5. It says,

Deuteronomy 6:1
1. "Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded {me} to teach you, that you might do {them} in the land where you are going over to possess it,
2. so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged.
3. "O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do {it}, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, {in} a land flowing with milk and honey.
4. "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!
5. "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
6. "And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart;
7. and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
8. "And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
9. "And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
10. "Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build,
11. and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you shall eat and be satisfied,
12. then watch yourself, lest you forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
13. "You shall fear {only} the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him, and swear by His name.
14. "You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you,
15. for the Lord your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the Lord your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth.
16. "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested {Him} at Massah.
17. "You should diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and His testimonies and His statutes which He has commanded you.
18. "And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may be well with you and that you may go in and possess the good land which the Lord swore to {give} your fathers,
19. by driving out all your enemies from before you, as the Lord has spoken.
20. "When your son asks you in time to come, saying, 'What {do} the testimonies and the statutes and the judgments {mean} which the Lord our God commanded you?'
21. then you shall say to your son, 'We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt; and the Lord brought us from Egypt with a mighty hand.
22. 'Moreover, the Lord showed great and distressing signs and wonders before our eyes against Egypt, Pharaoh and all his household;
23. and He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to our fathers.'
24. "So the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always and for our survival, as {it is} today.
25. "And it will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the Lord our God, just as He commanded us.

God expects one generation to communicate with the other. Questions are to be asked and answered. There must be time to share personal testimony of the Lord's work in a life. However, the passage also reveals to us the Biblical Method of Learning. As Jesus also taught, God has created human beings to learn by hearing. When this skill is lost and is not "taught" and "caught" in each generation, the education of humanity suffers decline. Proverbs 4:1-3 tells sons to listen, but it also tells fathers to teach.

Proverbs 4:1
1. Hear, {O} sons, the instruction of a father, And give attention that you may gain understanding,
2. For I give you sound teaching; Do not abandon my instruction.

Proverbs 6:20-23 states that teaching one's own child is also a God-given responsibility of mothers.

Proverbs 6:20
20. My son, observe the commandment of your father, And do not forsake the teaching of your mother;
21. Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck.
22. When you walk about, they will guide you; When you sleep, they will watch over you; And when you awake, they will talk to you.
23. For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life,

These two scriptures make it very clear that a child is to be taught by both parents, and the method of teaching is verbal. Too much written work before a child has adequate skills can cause unnecessary frustration. Children in a school environment have no alternative; they have to put all their learning and discovery onto paper. However, a homeschooled child should have the joy and excitement of being instructed verbally by both of his parents. The parents have to decide what subjects are best taught by each parent. Many homeschooling families are too matriarchal. The mother is doing it all and though it may produce academic success because tutorial learning is always superior to classroom instruction, the generational success may not succeed beyond one generation because the fathers were not involved in any part of the child's education process. Many homeschooling families relegate the family devotions to the father, but that is not enough to fulfill the commands we find in Deuteronomy or Proverbs. There is much to be discussed and understood concerning our culture and a biblical lifestyle. Most academic subjects lend themselves very easily into discussions, questions and answers that can impart Biblical wisdom.

Biblical Method

The core of the Biblical Method of Education is found in Deuteronomy 6:1-25. When outlined and applied to language instruction it states simply:

  1. Hear
  2. Think/See
  3. Speak
  4. Write
The same Biblical Method of Education when applied to learning after skills in vocabulary and spelling and reading have been learned is:
  1. Read/Research God's Word - to identify the truth, God's perspective about a subject.
  2. "Revelation - to hear, accept, believe, and obey God's perspective.
  3. Reason - to identify how God's perspective can be applied to the subject in today's world.
  4. Relate - to mold student's character, talents, interest, etc. to yield to God's plan concerning a subject; to promote stewardship of all God has given to man.
  5. Record - to assimilate or solidify the truth learned in an acceptable form (written or spoken) so it can be shared with others.

When the Biblical Method of Education is used specifically to teach Biblical Intensive Phonics on a very foundational level, it is explained like this:

  1. to hear the spoken sounds (phonograms) of the English language.
  2. to pronounce the spoken sounds of the English language correctly, clearly and distinctly.
  3. to recognize the printed letter symbols that correspond to the sounds of the English language.
  4. to print the combined sounds heard in spoken English words.
  5. to read and understand those English words when seen printed on paper in sentences.

The English language has 70 phonograms comprised of 26 single letters, and 44 fixed combination of two, three and four letters to say the 45 basic sounds used in speaking and writing it. There are only 45 sounds, but there are various ways to spell those sounds, and thus we end up with 70 phonograms.

Human language is learned through sense knowledge - the use of three of the five senses.

  1. Sound - Hearing, speaking.
  2. Sight - Seeing.
  3. Touch - Printing.
God's Truth about Language

SOUND - Hearing, speaking. A child learns by imitating the sounds he hears and the examples he sees. Every parent knows that his child began making sounds when he was born! The initial sounds may vary from child to child, but an infant/baby will at some time sound out every known sound in every language that God judged man to speak. (Genesis 11:7) A child reared in a bi-lingual home easily understands the spoken languages and quickly learns to switch from speaking one to the other without confusing vocabulary or syntax. However, a child reared in a home with only one spoken language learns to mimic only the sounds he continually hears repeated by his parents, siblings, etc. The extra sounds he is capable of making simply disappear with disuse.

It is the way of wisdom to incorporate this God-designed method of spoken language into a system which teaches the printed letter symbols (phonograms) that accompany that language. If one knows what to listen for, the phonograms b,d,v,o,a,etc. are easily recognizable. An infant's first word in an English speaking home is usually "dada" much to his mother's (and feminists) disappointment. However, God is our Father, and this Biblical truth is verified in an infant's first attempt to put the consonants and vowels together to form a word that has meaning to him. The Bible says,

Galations 4:4
4. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
5. in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
6. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"

The Need for Excellent Speech

A toddler by age two has a hearing/understanding vocabulary of 500+ words and may be able to verbalize those words himself. However, those words often are not a perfect pronunciation. "Dink" for "drink"; "soo" for "shoe"; "wawa" for "water"; are common mispronunciations. This is the time for parents, siblings etc. to overtly refuse to reinforce the baby talk and always pronounce every word distinctly and clearly. It may be cute as a toddler to mispronounce words, but it is not funny when the mistake goes uncorrected until ages 6-7. A child who says "muver" for "mother", "dis" for "this" at this age will be labeled "speech impaired." Thus around age 2-3 we recommend correctly and systematically pronouncing the sounds of the consonants and vowels. It doesn't have to be a game or be a set course of study, but we do recommend the correct pronunciation of the phonograms from the very beginning of a child's life as a good way to avoid speech problems. I Timothy 4:12 says,

I Timothy 4:12
12. Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but {rather} in speech, conduct, love, faith {and} purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.

A parent/teacher must know how to exactly pronounce the letters himself so that the student can mimic the correct place to put his tongue, form his lips, etc.

SIGHT - Hearing, speaking, seeing.

When the student is 3-4 years old, the printed phonograms can be introduced to the child so that the eye begins to associate the printed symbol with the sounds the child has been hearing and learning to pronounce correctly.

TOUCH- Hearing, speaking, seeing, printing. When the student is ready for printing, he learns to form with a pencil on paper the sounds he has learned to say and recognize on flash cards.


When a student moves into vocabulary, spelling and reading, the Holy Spirit has the opportunity to begin training the spirit of the student. If the correct words, ideas and concepts are being used as "pure" examples from the Bible, the student is continually confronted with truth that may necessitate a change in his nature (repentance). If the wrong words, ideas or concepts are presented to the student, the spirit of the student is still trained. It is, however, being trained for evil rather than for good.

Romans 12:1
1. I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, {which is} your spiritual service of worship.
2. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
3. For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

There is only one way to begin training a child in the truth of this Biblical command just quoted. When a student learns to print words, he is ready to begin training in having his mind renewed by proving what the will of God is. When the words that are used during this foundational stage are from the Bible rather than from the world, the student is not being conformed to the world.


Thoughts, ideas and concepts come from within first. According to Jesus everything that proceeds out of the mouth of a human being has its root somewhere in the heart or in the internal realm of the person.

Matthew 15:18
18. "But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.
19. "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.

Mark 7:21
21. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries,
22. deeds of coveting {and} wickedness, {as well as} deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride {and} foolishness.

Proverbs 22:15
15. Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.

I Corinthians 4:21
21. What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod or with love and a spirit of gentleness?

Proverbs 29:15
15. The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.

II Timothy 3:16
16. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
17. that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Hebrews 4:12
12. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

This progression of scripture reveals it is the word of God that is the rod of correction that will deal adequately with the evil thoughts that are within the heart. That is why Jesus came as the Living Word. Neither Jesus nor Paul used whips or words to coerce a person into obedience. They both used words anointed by the Holy Spirit in a demonstration of power to bring conviction of sin and repentance. We are to do the same, and do to so, we must be able to teach language skills as God ordained. EMOTIONS

Feelings and perceptions arise from thoughts, ideas and concepts. These emotions can be expressed either in words or body language, and when we allow our emotions to be expressed. they can be visibly or audibly perceived by others.

God has sovereignly ordained language as the method by which human beings can communicate their inner thoughts, ideas, concepts, emotional perceptions and feelings to another human being. This sharing of the inner self cannot be efficient or effective unless the person can pronounce clearly and distinctly, choose words that convey accurately his inner processes, spell those words correctly, and put those words into sentences that help the reader follows the writer's thought processes so they are thinking on the same wave length. When a person learns to do this in a logical progression from one simple task to another, exactly as Deuteronomy 6 teaches, he is also able to read what he himself writes and also read the words that others have written.

When a person is sharing his inner self through spoken and written words, the person is obeying God's Method of Education. However, when a person delves into mental telepathy to communicate with another person on this earth, he has moved from godly, legitimate communication to ungodly, demonic deception. God's plan for imparting inner thought processes from one human being to another is clearly defined in Deuteronomy 6. It utilizes sense knowledge in spoken and written language. As human beings we must stay within the Divinely ordained limits that God has placed upon us. His plan for human beings in the next age may use telepathy, but human beings will have a different kind of body in that age. When the devil tricks people into seeking those things which are outside the present revealed knowledge of God (the Bible), they are practicing occultism; they are dabbling with danger in the demonic realm.


When a student has learned to print, spell, and read words from the Bible that are taught in the order of frequency and with simple explanations of the character of God and man, he is also ready to read what has been dictated to him by his P/T and to compose and print his own sentences (See FHC Bible Word List).


Paragraphs, letters, reports, essays, articles, etc. are easily introduced as the student practices his skills and matures in vocabulary and thinking skills.

We are very grateful for the pioneering work Ramalda Spalding accomplished in presenting THE WRITING ROAD TO READING. We have continued to recommend her book as a source book for the following reasons:

  1. She was the first (circa 1950) to compile an intensive, systematic, logical way to understand, use and teach the English language based on scientific evidence of how the brain processes our language.
  2. Of the phonics programs we have examined, her approach is the closest to the Biblical Method of Education that we have discovered. We believe the Biblical Method of Education found in Deuteronomy 6 is God's design concerning the transfer of knowledge between human beings. We are always thankful when science proves the Word and Will of God, but Christian home educators must not look to science first.
  3. Other phonics programs are tainted with secular humanistic education methods.
  4. Other phonics programs seem to be a reworking of her original ideas and omit important steps, reorder sequential learning, and change things for copyright reasons not always for improvement.
  5. She refused to limit the learner to basal readers. She refused the look-say modern educational theory of her generation.
We do not recommend her reading list or approach to literature. We encourage parents to keep all language instruction based in the Bible (Joshua 1:8; Matthew 4:4; John 6:63; John 17:17) for the following reasons:

What the Word of God in the

New Testament Says about Itself

  1. God's word is way to true success - Joshua 1:8
  2. God's word is more important than food - Matthew 4:4
  3. God's word is spirit and life - John 5:24; John 6:63; John 6:68; John 8:51,52
  4. God's word sanctifies in truth - John 17:17
  5. God's word brings persecutions - Matthew 13:21; John 15:20
  6. God's word must be heard and understood in a honest, good heart that holds it fast - Matthew 13:23; Luke 8:15
  7. God's word can be invalidated by the traditions of men - Matthew 15:6; Mark 7:13
  8. God's word is eternal - Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33; I Peter 1:25
  9. God's word can be choked by worry, deceitfulness of riches and desire for others things - Matthew 13:22; Mark 4:19
  10. God's word is His seed - Luke 8:11
  11. God's word is the source of freedom - John 8:31.32
  12. God's word is the source of judgment - John 12:48
  13. God's word cleanses - John 15:3
  14. God's word leads to answered prayer - John 15:7
  15. God's word leads to belief in Jesus - John 17:20
  16. God's word leads to water baptism - Acts 2:41
  17. God's word can be neglected - Acts 6:2
  18. God's word spreads - Acts 6:7; Acts 13:49
  19. God's word leads to discipleship - Acts 6:7
  20. God's word grows and prevails - Acts 19:20
  21. God's word resides in the mouth and in the heart - Romans 10:8
  22. God's word is wise teaching and admonition - Colossians 3:16
  23. II Timothy 3:16
    1. God's word is inspired by God
    2. God's word is profitable
    3. God's word teaches
    4. God's word reproves
    5. God's word corrects
    6. God's word trains in righteousness
  24. God's word adequately equips for every good deed
  25. God's word can be dishonored - Titus 2:5
  26. Hebrews 4:12
    1. God's word is alive
    2. God's word is active
    3. God's word is sharper than a sword with two edges
    4. God's word pierces and divides between the soul and the spirit
    5. God's word judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart
  27. God's word performs an internal work - II Thessalonians 2:13;
  28. God's word comforts and strengthens the heart - II Thessalonians 2:17
  29. God's word is good - Hebrews 6:5
  30. God's word began time and the creation of our universe - II Peter 3:5
  31. God's word keeps the heavens and earth until the day of judgment - II Peter 3:7

What the Word of God in the

New Testament Says about Words

  1. One word can cast out a demon - Matthew 8:16
  2. Judgment will be based upon the words we have spoken - Matthew 12:36,37; Luke 19:20
  3. Words and deeds must match - II Corinthians 10:11
  4. Unwholesome words are not acceptable - Ephesians 4:29
  5. God's words are to be spoken with confidence - Acts 4:29
  6. God's words are to be spoken with boldness - Acts 4:31
  7. God's words are to be spoken without fear - Philippians 1:14
  8. God's words are to be held fast and not forsaken - Phillipians 2:16
  9. God's word sanctifies our food - I Timothy 4:5
  10. Empty words deceive - Ephesians 5:6
  11. Arguments over words lead to ruin - II Timothy 2:14
  12. II Timothy 4:2
    1. God's word is to be preached
    2. God's word is to reprove
    3. God's word is to rebuke
    4. God's word is to exhort
    5. God's word is to instruct
    6. God's word is to be spoken with patience
  13. False words of greed exploit - II Peter 2:13


Hearing God's word brings reward when we obey God's word

  1. Relationship with Jesus - Luke 8:21
  2. Relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit - John 14:23
  3. Blessed - Luke 11:28

Colossians 4:5
5. Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.
6. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, {as it were,} with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.

This verse is the essence of a Christian language curriculum. Whether the student is 2 or 102 the godly goal of human communication is to be graceful, clear and purposeful. Godly communication is to reverse the effects of the fall. Spoken and written communication should have one main purpose - to bring glory to our Creation and Redeemer. If God should so will it, we also hope that our expertise in language may be used by the Holy Spirit to bring conviction concerning sin (unbelief), righteousness (Jesus' position with the Father, and judgment(of the ruler of this world). See John 16:8-11).

Philippians 1:9.
9. And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment,
10. so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;
11. having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which {comes} through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Biblical Intensive Phonics Seminar

This seminar can be taught from 9am - 4pm in a one day session, or at a leisurely pace in a two-day session or in one-on-one instruction. The seminar which goes through the manual is designed to demonstrate to parents how to keep the Bible central from age 2-102. We also have a pamphlet entitled Training Kings which explains the goal of this Biblical approach for language instruction when the student is ready to learn punctuation, correct grammar, syntax etc.

Copyright by Earl & Diane Rodd