Biblical and Theological Studies

Biblical and theological studies explore the ultimate issues of life, dealing with three essential concerns: 1) our faith relationship to God; 2) our desire to discover meaning based on that faith relationship; and 3) our effort to live a life that glorifies and enjoys God forever. For this to happen, we need to take the study of the Bible and theology seriously, and thus scholarly examination is appropriate.

The biblical and theological studies department grounds you in the academic study of the Christian faith tradition for the purpose of promoting and nurturing reflective Christian life, service, and mission in the world.

  • By grounding you we intend to guide you to base your life and service on the authority of the Christian scriptures and through theological reflection on the Christian faith from a Reformed, evangelical and ecumenical perspective.

  • By promoting and nurturing reflection we intend to train you to critically engage the best in the academic study of religion in the areas of biblical studies, theology, church history and missions.

  • By Christian life and service we mean to train and equip you to serve God’s people, the church and the world by cultivating deeper growth in personal spirituality, which is expressed in the inseparable combination of proclaiming and living the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In order to meet these goals, the biblical and theological studies department offers several program options:

  1. The biblical and theological studies major includes courses in Bible, theology, church history and other practical areas related to service, such as missions. It is designed for students who plan to pursue advanced degrees in seminary or graduate school.

  2. The biblical and theological studies minor is an excellent option for students majoring in other disciplines. It enables you to deepen your understanding of the Christian faith and to integrate your faith into your field of study.

  3. Biblical and theological studies courses constitute a central component of several other academic programs including the Christian education and ministry major, the mission service career concentration and the youth ministry and adolescent studies minor.

  4. Students interested in exploring a variety of disciplines in the humanities yet concentrating in biblical and theological studies can complete a humanities major with biblical and theological studies as their primary discipline.

Biblical and theological studies department homepage

Major requirements

BTS 328WI - Biblical Interpretation and Theology
An examination of the past and present methods and proposals for Biblical Interpretation and Biblical Theology. The course will analyze and critique various models for hermeneutics and theological interpretation and also assist students in constructing exegetical methods that are biblically based, theologically informed and culturally relevant. In this Writing Intensive course for Religion and CE/YM majors, students will develop research and writing skills that will benefit them in a variety of vocational paths within the field of religion. Prerequisite: BTS150. (4 credits) (Writing intensive)
BTS 472SR - Bible, Theology and Vocation: Exploring Texts and Contexts
This disciplinary capstone course fulfills both the NWCore Senior Seminar (SR) requirement and a requirement for Religion and CE/YM majors. Building on the basic FYS questions (Who am I? Who are my neighbors? How will we live in the world?), this course will explore the intersection of biblical theology with one's vocation in light of scripture and Christian theological reflection. Students will complete weekly writing assignments, participate in seminar leadership through presiding and lecturing, and complete a major final paper in which they reflect on their college curricular and co-curricular experiences, engage biblical and theological texts in light of a variety of ancient and modern cultural contexts, and reflect on their faith development and sense of vocation. Prerequisites: BTS150, BTS250 and senior class standing. The course is open to students of other majors.
Choose at least one course:
BTS 317 - Topics in Old Testament Studies
A study of a single book or larger section of the Old Testament or a current area of critical inquiry concerning the Old Testament. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the Pentateuch, the Historical Writings, the Prophets, and the Poetic and Wisdom books. Note: May be taken more than once provided a different topic is studied. Prerequisites: BTS150 and sophomore class standing. (2 credits)
BTS 322 - Topics in New Testament Studies
A study of a single book or larger section of the New Testament or a current area of critical inquiry concerning the New Testament. Possible topics include the Synoptic Gospels, the Book of Acts, the Johannine Literature, the Epistolary Literature, and the Apocalypse. (2 credits) Note: May be taken more than once provided a different topic is studied. Prerequisite: BTS150 and sophomore class standing.
Choose at least one course:
BTS 280 - History of Christianity
A survey of the development of Christianity from the apostolic period to the contemporary world. Themes examined will include the separation of Church and Synagogue, Christianity in the Roman Empire, ecumenical councils, missionary expansion of the church in Europe and Asia, monasticism, the church in the High Middle Ages, the Protestant and Catholic Reformations, Confessionalism and the Wars of Religion, Puritanism, Pietism, The Enlightenment, Christianity and European Colonialism, Revivalism, Modernism and Evangelicalism, modern missionary expansion, the ecumenical movement, and Christianity as a global religion. (4 credits)
BTS 384 - Topics in the History of Christianity
A historical study of a religious group, theological movement or important leader in the history of the Christian church. Note: This course may be repeated for credit provided a different topic is studied. (2 credits, offered on demand or discretion of department, consult department)
Choose at least one course:
BTS 294 - Introduction to Christian Missions
No course description available.
BTS 295 - Intercultural Communication
Christian ministry and mission is essentially an ongoing process of interacting effectively with others in ways appropriate to one?s message and global/local contexts. By providing a progressively integrated understanding of intercultural issues, this course will enable students to apply principles of communication through their particular vocation or ministry so that they connect theory with models and practice to appropriately communicate the Gospel message across cultures and micro-cultures. (2 credits)
BTS 392 - Topics in Missiology
A topical and selective study of major missional themes, including justice and development, permitting students to read and reflect intensively upon the nature and challenge of Christian mission. Topics may vary from year to year. Sample topics might include Reconciliation, The Finality of Christ in a Pluralistic World, Interfaith Dialogue, Contextualization, Postmodern Apologetics. A missional service learning component is required, consisting of at least 20 hours of student engagement in meeting an identified missional community need. Note: This course may be repeated for credit provided a different topic is studied. Prerequisite: BTS290 or permission of instructor. (4 credits, alternate years, consult department)
Choose at least one course:
BTS 260 - Christian Ethics
A biblically based, theologically and historically informed study of both personal and social moral issues from a Christian perspective. (2 credits, offered at the discretion of the department, consult department)
BTS 290 - Christian Witness and Community Development
A general overview of the biblical-theological foundations and historical context of whole Christian mission, with special emphasis upon modern cross-cultural mission theories, international and community development, and the theory and practice of restorative justice. Prerequisite: BTS 250 or permission of instructor. (4 credits)
BTS 310 - Christian Spirituality
A study of the meaning, purpose and practices of Christian spirituality as this has been understood in the Christian tradition. The course emphasizes the practice of spiritual disciplines and the relevance of spirituality in our contemporary world. Prerequisite: BTS250. (2 credits)
BTS 345 - Theology of Worship
The purpose of this course is to thoughtfully examine the biblical, theological, and historical foundations of Christian worship, as well as the contemporary issues facing pastors and worship leaders in the 21st century. An important part of this discussion will be the exploration of worship skills and practices through reflection and participation, as well as the creation of liturgies for a variety of worship services. Prerequisite: BTS250. (4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
Choose at least one course:
BTS 370 - Calvin and Calvinism
A study of John Calvin's INSTITUTES OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION, as well as a survey of other varieties of Reformed theology, including later Calvinism. Prerequisite: BTS250. (4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
BTS 375 - Topics in Theology
A study of one or more standard areas of theology, (such as the doctrines of Revelation, God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, Humanity, Salvation, the Church, and Last Things) from a classical as well as a contemporary perspective. Note: The course may be repeated for credit provided a different topic is studied. Prerequisites: BTS150 and BTS250. (4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
Choose at least one course:
BTS 382 - Religion in America
Focusing on the Christian tradition, this course will examine the individual, institutions, movements and faith traditions which have shaped and contributed to the American religious experience. To understand both the variety of and unity within the pluralist religious landscape, the course will seek to evaluate the interrelationship between religion and the broader social, cultural and political aspects of the American experience. (4 credits)
BTS 385 - Topics in Religion
A study of an interdisciplinary area of religion, not sufficiently covered by other courses, in response to student or faculty interests. Note: This course may be repeated for credit provided a different topic is studied. Prerequisite: BTS250 or permission of instructor. (2-4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
BTS 390CC - World Religions
The major religions of the world are examined in the light of the Christian faith. This course emphasizes the interaction of religion and culture with a view to cross-cultural understanding. In-depth research into a specific topic related to world religions is required. (4 credits) (NWCore option under Cross-Cultural Engagement)
Electives: 6-10 credits
Take any combination of additional REL, HEB, or GRE courses; excluding BTS150 and BTS250. Only ten credits of HEB and GRE can be taken toward the major.

Total credits required: 36