An institution that provides instruction. The word “school” is derived from the Greek skho·leʹ, which means, basically, “leisure”; then, that for which leisure is employed—discussion, lecture, study, learning.
The Creator placed the responsibility upon parents to teach their offspring the true meaning of life, physical life as well as spiritual life. In ancient Israel, he also set aside the tribe of Levi to provide religious education.—See EDUCATION.
At a later time, places of advanced religious schooling developed among the Jews. For example, Saul (Paul) had studied at the feet of Gamaliel. The Jews challenged the qualifications of anyone claiming to instruct in God’s law if he had not studied at their schools.—Ac 22:3; Joh 7:15.
When he was in Ephesus, Paul gave talks in the synagogue for a period of three months, since synagogues were places of instruction. But when some strongly opposed the good news, Paul withdrew the disciples to the school auditorium of Tyrannus, where he gave talks daily for two years. No details are provided as to the purpose for which that school had been established, but Paul was evidently welcome to use the facilities, perhaps for a number of hours each day.—Ac 19:8-10, ftn.
Meeting places of the Christian congregation served as schools where the scrolls of the Hebrew Scriptures as well as the writings of the apostles and their associates could be considered. Few Christians could possess all the Hebrew scrolls or copies of all the Christian letters. The meetings provided an opportunity for thorough examination and discussion of these. (Col 4:16) Poor Christians who did not possess other writing material likely wrote down Bible texts for personal study and use on ostraca, that is, pieces of broken pottery. As they heard the Scriptures read or had access to the scrolls at the meeting, they could copy them in ink on the pottery fragments. At the same time schooling at home for the entire family continued as a vital part of Christian education. (Eph 6:4; 1Co 14:35) No separate arrangement for children, as with the modern-day “Sunday school,” was anywhere authorized or practiced by the Jews or by the Christian apostles.