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Master of Arts: Biblical Studies
Larry E. Murphy, Ph.D., Coordinator
The Bible is central to the Christian faith and especially to the Christian faith of Protestants, including the Church of the Nazarene. The study of the Bible, as an essential feature of all serious study of the Christian faith, is a key part of the heritage of Olivet Nazarene University. The integrity and seriousness of the M.A. in Biblical Studies not only reflects that heritage but enhances it.
The M.A. program in Biblical Studies centers on three basic components: (1) critical studies in such areas as biblical history as well as the origin, authorship, and composition of the biblical texts in their cultural contexts; (2) skills essential to the study of the Bible and to its exegesis as an ancient text, including skills in Greek and/or Hebrew grammar; and (3) theological interpretation necessary to exegete the Bible for preaching and faith. The theological area also asks how the Bible has been interpreted in the post-biblical world, especially by the church but also by the larger culture. In addition, the curriculum begins with an introduction to research and ends with a thesis.
Area ministers who are already serving as pastors or in other forms of Christian service may wish this graduate degree in Biblical Studies to enhance their scholarly biblical understanding and thus to meet continuing education expectations as well as to upgrade their effectiveness as ministers and preachers. Persons wishing to integrate their spiritual life with rigorous biblical scholarship should find this degree significant. Students taking this degree for ministerial enhancement or spiritual growth should remember that by entering this master’s degree program in biblical studies, they are committing themselves to the academic dimension of biblical study. Students are encouraged to become serious and reflective life-long students of the Bible who grow spiritually, think clearly, and serve redemptively.
The M.A. in Biblical Studies requires students to develop their research skills and their competency in writing scholarly papers. The program includes both the Old and the New Testament, with the flexibility to emphasize (but not exclusively) one or the other.
BLIT 632 – Cultural/Historical Influences and Biblical Interpretation
THEO 606 – Introduction to Theological Research
THEO 693 – Contemporary Issues in Theology
BLIT electives – 21 hours, including a minimum of 6 hours each of Old Testament and New Testament and a minimum of 3 hours in biblical theology
THEO elective (3 hours)
BLIT 699 – Thesis
At least 2 BLIT or THEO courses (excluding THEO 606) require the use of either Hebrew or Greek in dealing with the biblical text. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required for graduation from the program, and no course counting toward graduation may carry a grade of less than a B-.
Many of the courses required to complete the Master’s program in Biblical Studies meet just once a week for a semester at Olivet’s campus, generally on Tuesday or Thursday (one course on Tuesday evening, a second course on Thursday evening, and a third course either on Tuesday or Thursday afternoon), but also, on occasion, on Monday evening. In some cases they will meet every other week during the semester, with required, computer-based work between the sessions. In still other cases, they will meet twice a week during the semester. These courses are typically seminar style, allowing for dynamic discussion and reflection within the course.