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 youwe 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.

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.

Biblical and theological studies department homepage

Note for religion minor:Take any combination of REL courses (excluding REL110 and REL262) to equal 24 credits. Up to 8 credits of GRE and HEB may be taken.

Minor requirements

Choose 24 credits
BTS 260 - Christian Ethics
A biblically based, theologically and historically informed study of bothpersonal and social moral issues from a Christian perspective. (2 credits,offered at the discretion of the department, consult department)
BTS 280 - History of Christianity
A survey of the development of Christianity from the apostolic period to thecontemporary world. Themes examined will include the separation of Churchand Synagogue, Christianity in the Roman Empire, ecumenical councils,missionary expansion of the church in Europe and Asia, monasticism, thechurch in the High Middle Ages, the Protestant and Catholic Reformations,Confessionalism and the Wars of Religion, Puritanism, Pietism, TheEnlightenment, Christianity and European Colonialism, Revivalism, Modernismand Evangelicalism, modern missionary expansion, the ecumenical movement,and Christianity as a global religion. (4 credits)
BTS 290 - Christian Witness and Community Development
This course is an examination of Christian witness as verbal proclamation(evangelism), reasoned defense (apologetics), as a distinctive lifestyle andas social action (justice). Students will explore the meaning of the gospel,in the context of a biblical theology of God's holistic plan of redemption,and various models of evangelism, apologetics and justice, especially themodel of Christian community development. (4 credits) Prerequisite: BTS250or permission of instructor.
BTS 294 - Introduction to Christian Missions
A general overview of the biblical foundations and historical evolution ofChristian mission, with special emphasis upon the modern development ofmission theory and practice. (2 credits) Prerequisite: BTS250.
BTS 295 - Intercultural Communication
Christian ministry and mission is essentially an ongoing process ofinteracting effectively with others in ways appropriate to one?s message andglobal/local contexts. By providing a progressively integrated understandingof intercultural issues, this course will enable students to applyprinciples of communication through their particular vocation or ministry sothat they connect theory with models and practice to appropriatelycommunicate the Gospel message across cultures and micro-cultures. (2credits)
BTS 310 - Christian Spirituality
A study of the meaning, purpose and practices of Christian spirituality asthis has been understood in the Christian tradition. The course emphasizesthe practice of spiritual disciplines and the relevance of spirituality inour contemporary world. Prerequisite: BTS250. (2 credits)
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 currentarea of critical inquiry concerning the New Testament. Possible topicsinclude the Synoptic Gospels, the Book of Acts, the Johannine Literature,the Epistolary Literature, and the Apocalypse. (2 credits) Note: May betaken more than once provided a different topic is studied. Prerequisite:BTS150 and sophomore class standing.
BTS 328WI - Biblical Interpretation and Theology
An examination of the past and present methods and proposals for BiblicalInterpretation and Biblical Theology. The course will analyze and critiquevarious models for hermeneutics and theological interpretation and alsoassist students in constructing exegetical methods that are biblicallybased, theologically informed and culturally relevant. In this WritingIntensive course for Religion and CE/YM majors, students will developresearch and writing skills that will benefit them in a variety ofvocational paths within the field of religion.Prerequisite: BTS150. (4 credits) (Writing intensive)
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 thecontemporary issues facing pastors and worship leaders in the 21st century.An important part of this discussion will be the exploration of worshipskills and practices through reflection and participation, as well as thecreation of liturgies for a variety of worship services. Prerequisite: BTS250. (4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
BTS 370 - Calvin and Calvinism
A study of John Calvin's INSTITUTES OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION, as well as asurvey 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 ofRevelation, 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 isstudied. Prerequisites: BTS150 and BTS250. (4 credits; alternate years, consultdepartment)
BTS 382 - Religion in America
Focusing on the Christian tradition, this course will examine theindividual, institutions, movements and faith traditions which have shapedand contributed to the American religious experience. To understand both thevariety of and unity within the pluralist religious landscape, the coursewill seek to evaluate the interrelationship between religion and the broadersocial, cultural and political aspects of the American experience. (4credits)
BTS 384 - Topics in the History of Christianity
A historical study of a religious group, theological movement or importantleader in the history of the Christian church. Note: This course may be repeated for credit provided a different topic isstudied. (2 credits, offered on demand or discretion of department, consultdepartment)
BTS 385 - Topics in Religion
A study of an interdisciplinary area of religion, not sufficiently coveredby other courses, in response to student or faculty interests. Note: This course may be repeated for credit provided a different topic isstudied. Prerequisite: BTS250 or permission of instructor. (2-4 credits; alternateyears, consult department)
BTS 390CC - World Religions
The major religions of the world are examined in the light of the Christianfaith. This course emphasizes the interaction of religion and culture with aview to cross-cultural understanding. In-depth research into a specifictopic related to world religions is required. (4 credits) (NWCore optionunder Cross-Cultural Engagement)
BTS 392 - Topics in Missiology
A topical and selective study of major missiological themes, permitting students to read and reflect intensively upon the nature and challenge of Christian mission. Topics will vary from year to year. Sample topics might include Religious Conversion, The Finality of Christ in a Pluralistic World, Interfaith Dialogue, Contextualization, Women in Mission Yesterday and Today. Note: This course may be repeated for credit provided a different topic isstudied. Prerequisite: BTS294 or permission of instructor. (4 credits, alternateyears, consult department)
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 opento students of other majors.
GRE 101 - Elementary Biblical Greek and Culture
This course will focus on learning the basics of koine Greek grammar and vocabulary as well as the cultural backgrounds of the New Testament writings. Readings and translation will focus on the Gospel and Letters of John. The New Testament writings will be examined in light of their social-historical and literary settings within Hellenistic Judaism and the broader Greco-Roman world.(4 credits, alternate years, consult department)
GRE 102LA - Elementary Biblical Greek and Culture
(4 credits, alternate years, consult department)(IGE option under Language and Culture) This course (a continuation of Greek 101) will focus on learning the basics of koine Greek grammar and vocabulary as well as the cultural backgrounds of the New Testament writings. Readings and translation will focus on the Gospel and Letters of John. The New Testament writings will be examined in light of their social-historical and literary settings within Hellenistic Judaism and the broader Greco-Roman world. Prerequisite: GRE101.
GRE 201 - Intermediate Biblical Greek and Culture
This course is designed to facilitate the acquisition and retention of Greekgrammatical, exegetical, and interpretive skills through the reading ofancient Greek texts. Primary focus will be on the Gospel of Mark and itscontext. (1 credit; alternate years, consult department) Prerequisite:GRE102LA.
GRE 202 - Intermediate Biblical Greek and Culture
This course is designed to facilitate the acquisition and retention of Greekgrammatical, exegetical, and interpretive skills through the reading ofancient Greek texts. Primary focus will be on the Letters of Paul andselections from other Greco-Roman authors. Students will also be introducedto the sub-discipline of Textual Criticism. (1 credit; alternate years,consult department) Prerequisite: GRE201
HEB 101 - Elementary Biblical Hebrew and Culture
This course will focus on learning the basics of biblical Hebrew (vocabulary and grammar) and the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the Old Testament. Readings from the different types of literature in the Hebrew Bible will be incorporated into the course work. The Old Testament writings will be studied against the historical and social backgrounds of the ancient Near East.(4 credits, alternate years, consult department)
HEB 102LA - Elementary Biblical Hebrew and Culture
(4 credits; alternate years, consult department)(IGE option under Languageand Culture) This course will build on the foundation laid in Hebrew 101 by equippingstudents to grasp the basics of biblical Hebrew grammar in light of itscultural and linguistic background. Readings from the different types ofliterature in the Hebrew Bible will be incorporated into the coursework asstudents develop confidence in speaking Hebrew and interpreting thesewritings. As a course that satisfies the IGE Language and Culturerequirement, students will also explore what it means to read biblicalHebrew with sensitivity toward scholarship, culture, and faith. Prerequisite: HEB101.

Total credits required: 24

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