The so-called ‘schools of the prophets’ were not institutions but rather groups of disciples who preserved the words of their masters. Education in the wider sense was important in Israel both for the national religion and for politics and commerce, and the OT itself often refers to writing (e.g. the chronicles that were used in the compilation of the books of Kings.) and the duty of reading the Law (Deut. 31: 12–13), all of which presumes a process of instruction. In the 2nd cent. BCE the evidence of Ecclus. [= Sir.] 51: 23 is that there was a school in Jerusalem. The Qumran community must have had a system of teaching and the rabbis who preserved the traditions after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE produced a massive body of literature. No doubt the synagogue network was a fundamental agent of Jewish education, which centred on the Torah. Rabbis were not paid for teaching.

Paul had been educated but he nowhere describes his schooling. There is a mention (Gal. 3: 24) of a schoolmaster or custodian; he is the slave who accompanied a boy to and from school and may even have done some home tutoring, and it could be that some of Paul's readers had experience of such guardians, for the early urban Christian communities came from all classes of society.