The Bible claims to be the Word of God, breathed out onto the pages of a book. It is alive and powerful for the transformation of lives. Within it is everything that is needed for life and godliness. At once it is a window into the incomprehensible mystery of the eternal God and a clear communication of God’s expectations and directions for humanity with all of humanity’s limitations. The Bible invites us to engage it with simplicity and godly sincerity and promises to change us by its power. It is the communication from God that forms the foundation for a meaningful life.
The purpose of the MA Biblical Studies program is to provide a practical, engaged and immersive educational pursuit for graduate-level students that enhances their ability to lead and teach from a solid biblical foundation. Its aim is to equip leaders with skills for a lifelong journey in the Word, while igniting in them a hunger that anchors them in that pursuit.
The vision that drives this program is to mobilize leaders who engage the Bible, interpret it well, apply it to the transformation of their own lives, and draw others along on that journey with them, so as to see the power of God in His Word bringing light and life into a darkened world.
Upon completion of the MA Biblical Studies program, students will engage and leverage the Word effectively within any professional ministry or lay leadership environment as demonstrated by the following competencies:
- Demonstrate understanding of a biblical hermeneutic approach that engages the Scriptures as the authoritative power for life and practice.
- Apply foundational exegetical skills to the examination of Scripture resulting in a clear understanding of what the text says, what it means, and its implications for life.
- Articulate the contextual message of the whole of Scripture and the relation of each part to the whole.
- Interpret a narrative text in context with its historical and cultural settings so as to enable dynamic and legitimate application in diverse cultural settings.
- Exegete a prescriptive text in its historical and cultural context in a manner that enables dynamic and legitimate understanding of its implications for today.
- Respond to questions and challenges that arise out of constantly changing cultures by applying a broad understanding of the Bible, synthesis of its various teachings, and principles of application.
- Communicate Scriptures formally or informally through preaching, teaching, discussion, or in writing, with a view to helping others hear, consider, and respond to its teachings and their implications.
Program Core Courses (18 credits)
The MA Biblical Studies program is built with a logical sequence of skill development designed to maximize the impact of the whole.
- BIB500 Interpretive Bible Study. Lays a foundation for how to approach the Scriptures as they are intended to be approached based on what the Bible says about itself.
- BIB510 Bible Study Exegetical Skills. Builds advanced skills for examining a text of Scripture in order to clearly understand its message and apply it as it is intended.
- BIB520 The Story of the Bible. Provides an overview of the whole of Scripture so that each part can be understood in the context of the whole.
- BIB530 Exposition of Narrative Scriptures. Much of the Bible is made up of stories. These stories have a point. It is important to look at each story for its intended purpose so as to experience the power behind it.
- BIB540 Exposition of Epistles. Prescriptive Scriptures are those most referenced in building theological conclusions and yet they are the texts most disagreed upon related to their implications. Interpretive skill for understanding these texts is critical.
- THE500 Doing Biblical Theology. Theologies abound and are developed in a variety of ways. The ability to bring questions to the Scriptures, then search those Scriptures for perspective without making it say what it does not, is a critical skill of one who would understand and apply the Bible.
Program Electives (12 credits)
The MA Biblical Studies program is designed with a flexible elective block that allows students to select from a range of available Bible and Theology courses that broaden the application of the concentration skills to a variety of ministry and leadership dynamics. The following is a sampling of suggested courses.
- BIB550 Communication of the Word. Engage the Body in transformation through effective communication of the Word.
- LDR509 Spiritual Disciplines for Ministry Leaders. A focus on the student’s own personal transformation, rooted in the Word.
- THE510 Developing a Biblical Worldview. A foundational skill set in “doing theology” in a way that effectively intersects with the practical and philosophical questions of life, community and culture.
- THE525 New Testament Church. God intends to transform individuals within the context of the life of the Body of Christ.
- THE538 An Interpretive Study of Biblical Discipleship. Focus on engaging others in the process of biblically-rooted transformation.