The Principle Approach is an effort to restore to American Christians three vital concepts: the knowledge of our Christian history; an understanding of our role in the spread of Christianity; and the ability to live according to the biblical principles upon which our country was founded. The Principle Approach is a way of living life, not just a way of educating children.

Those who developed the Principle Approach rediscovered 7 biblical principles upon which our country was founded and by which many of the founding fathers and their contemporaries lived. These principles are as follows:

  • Individuality (God has created distinct differences in people, nations, etc.)
  • Self Government (Government starts in the heart of man)
  • Christian Character
  • "Conscience is the Most Sacred of Property"
  • The Christian Form of Government
  • How the Seed of Local Self Government is Planted
  • The Christian Principle of American Political Union

These principles govern all areas of life: politics, business, leisure, dress, etc. In education, each subject is studied in light of how one or more of these principles apply.

Four emphases are unique to this educational approach. First, there is a recognition of God's Hand (Providence) in history, particularly in American history. Second, there is the understanding that God has ordained three governmental institutions; the home, the church, and civil government, through which He unfolds His purposes and by which He represents Christ on the earth. Third, each person learns to think "governmentally", that is, becomes able to determine who or what is creating, preserving, guiding, nurturing, controlling, restraining, directing, or regulating each experience, whether in one's personal life, in society, in education, or in politics. The Principle Approach emphasizes personal responsibility for extending the government of God into all spheres of life. Fourth, the student assumes responsibility for teaching himself and applying discovered knowledge to his own life.

The Principle Approach may be applied to the study of any subject with the use of notebooks to record "the 4 Rs". The "4 Rs" are:

  • Researching God's Word to identify the basic principles that govern a subject and to determine its biblical source and purpose
  • Reasoning from the researched biblical truths/principles and concluding from Scripture the biblical significance and governmental importance of a subject
  • Relating the truths and principles discovered to the student's character (personal application of what was discovered through research and reason)
  • Recording the individual application of the biblical principles to the subject and the student


  • Students learn to think "governmentally"
  • Students become self-learners
  • Students learn to apply biblical principles to the whole of life
  • Students create their own "textbooks" recording what they learned


  • May present a too principled view of life and of history
  • Focuses mainly on a narrow portion of history
  • Requires a great deal of teacher training and preparation
  • Prepared curricula available only in selected subjects
  • Extremely literal approach to Scripture and history

Used by permission Elijah Company

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