Biblical Theology and Studies Colleges

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Major in Biblical Studies

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

            Matthew 28:18-20 “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”

Just before his ascension into heaven, Jesus gave this mandate to every Christian, regardless of time or culture. While it is a command that can be carried out in any vocation or career, some feel a special calling into full-time Christian ministry in order to focus dedicated time and effort to the task of making disciples. A degree in Biblical Studies helps prepare men and women for a lifetime of service and leadership within the church, around the world, or wherever God may lead. Though it is often seen as a narrow and specific degree, targeting only those in pursuit of church work, it may be surprising to learn that a large percentage of individuals obtaining this degree end up in a variety of non-church careers or go on for further education. If you desire to develop a strong, Christian worldview and to understand the Bible and God’s work in the world, then this degree could be a great foundation, regardless of the future God has in mind for you.

Having said that, a large number of students who set out on the Biblical Studies path can already articulate a clear sense of “calling” on their lives. They often carry a deep sense of urgency for bringing the Gospel of Jesus to a hurting world, and greatly desire to make a difference in the lives of others. Some personal traits and skills that may reinforce your choice of a Biblical Studies major include things like:

  • An enjoyment of reading and studying the Bible
  • The ability to think deeply about God and his nature
  • Experience with essay writing (as you will do a lot of that in this major!)
  • The ability to think critically and solve problems
  • Enjoyment of debate and analysis, particularly regarding deep ethical and philosophical questions
  • A desire to learn more about yourself so that, as one professor put it, you not only master the Bible, but let the Bible master you

If you feel you are up for the challenge of this demanding degree, then consider some of the classes you might expect to take:

  • Systematic Theology
  • Philosophy
  • Old Testament Studies/New Testament Studies
  • Bible Study Methods (Hermeneutics)
  • Preaching (Homiletics)
  • Christian Ministry/Leadership
  • Church History

Often, a degree in Biblical Studies does lead to a career in traditional ministry; pastor, missionary, evangelist, youth minister or Christian educator are some of the most common choices, but having this degree may open other doors, as well. Some graduates land in fields like Christian publishing, politics, Christian counseling, hospital or military chaplain, or work in a charity, non-profit, relief organization or NGO (non-government organization) just to name a few. If you’re excited to think honestly about faith within a Christian context where you’ll be guided to deeper spiritual understanding and the ability to reach others with life-changing good news, then perhaps a degree in Biblical Studies is what God would lay upon your heart.

A Future in Ministry

By Thom Seagren

There are a variety of opportunities within ministry-related careers. For those who believe they would like to serve the Lord through full-time ministry, one of the most important questions to ask is…where is my call to ministry coming from?  Is your interest in ministry from a desire to help others, or is it a “call” from the Lord? While Christians are called to serve in every profession we undertake, I believe full-time ministry may be best considered a response to a God-given call.

Whether you are considering a career as a children’s pastor, music/worship leader, senior pastor, youth minister, or Bible teacher/professor, may I suggest that your focus should be on service to Christ rather than on service to others. While at times, people can be wonderful to serve, individuals are imperfect and can be “challenging” to work with, to say the least. If your interest in service through ministry as your full-time career has risen from God’s call on your life, this will likely be your passion. In the popular study, “Experiencing God”, the authors touch on this notion of “service” being to Christ first. With service to Christ as the focus of ministry, it removes our personal views of the one being served. Personalities, differences of opinion, or whether or not someone seems “lovable” to you are no longer an issue when what we are doing is actually service to Christ. Seeing Christ rather than the one we are “serving” can dramatically shift our view and improve our ability to minister.

A career of service through ministry will likely be challenging, rewarding and constantly changing. If God is leading you into a life of ministry, it can be one of the most exciting professions you can imagine.

Pastoral Ministry

A person considering a career in pastoral ministry should possess characteristics that include integrity, empathy, patience, generosity, and hospitality – but most importantly a “call” from the Lord.

Serving as a pastor can be dramatically different from one church to another. What makes pastoral ministry so varied are such factors as the church’s location (urban, suburban, rural), the size of the church, the “make-up” of the church body, denomination, and the part of the country (culture) where the church is located, just to name a few. For example, you will likely need a very different skill set to minister effectively to a congregation of 100 in rural Minnesota, than a church of 1,000 in Southern California. You will need a different set of gifts to plant a church, than to be a senior pastor with a mature congregation of 250 members. Your own relationship with Christ should be the foundation for ministry, on which you can place the building blocks of your study of theology, psychology, business, speech, etc.

Having a deep understanding, love, and appreciation for scripture and biblical principles is critical to effective pastoral ministry. How are your personal prayer life and your time in the Word? The honest answer to this question will likely be a strong indicator of your qualifications and call to ministry.

Ministry is a rewarding and challenging profession, and if God has called you into a life of ministry there is no better place to be.