Master of Arts (Bible and Theology)

39

Credit Hours

2-3

Years to Complete

  • Residential
  • Online
  • Hybrid

    The Master of Arts in Bible and Theology program is designed to help you make new connections as you explore the Bible, systematic theology, and church history in context. Deepen your academic knowledge of the Christian faith and enrich your understanding of the Bible.

    Overview

    Master of Arts in Bible and Theology Pursue God and His word. Build a foundation for a lifetime.

    The Master of Arts in Bible and Theology program enriches students’ spiritual lives, their understanding of the Christian faith, and their leadership potential. This degree program explores the Bible (in English), systematic theology, and church history—all while encouraging your spiritual growth and equipping you for your work in the world.

    Students and alumni of this program serve in a wide range of roles: teachers, business leaders, professionals, church workers, and many others.

    Format Options

    Either In-Residence, Online, or in Hybrid format

    Residential students complete their degree within two years of full-time study at the Grand Rapids campus of Calvin Seminary. As a residential student, you will be invited to attend weekly chapels, participate in club activities, and interact with peers on a daily basis. The three-year distance learning MA maintains the same level of excellence in education as our residential program. As a distance learning student, you will complete much of your work online and travel to campus twice a year for five-day intensives. Formation for ministry is a key aspect of the program, as both residential and distance learning students participate in learning cohorts and receive support through formation groups.

    Advanced Standing

    Get Ahead In Your Studies

    Have you already taken biblical or theology courses? Turn that knowledge into credit.

    You may be able to receive up to six hours of credit in the MA program through advanced standing testing for prior study or knowledge in Bible and Theology. Advanced standing means that you have demonstrated competence equivalent to completing one or more of the courses listed below.

    If granted, advanced standing reduces the number of credit hours needed to complete the degree and can open doors to more courses in your specialization. A student whose undergraduate major was in Biblical Studies, Religion, or Theology may be able to complete the degree in one year of full-time study. See the Academic Program Advisor for more details.

    The Program

    A Developmental Curriculum

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    “My MA in Bible and Theology has impacted my work as a high school Bible teacher in three key ways.

    First, it's equipped me to keep asking questions about how Christianity intersects with disciplines like science and philosophy and to encourage open inquiry among my students not out of fear, but as an act of faith.

    Second, it's increased my fascination with how our understanding the historical and cultural backgrounds of the Scripture writers can help us better appreciate God's grace redemptively moving throughout history.

    Third, and maybe most important, it's opened my eyes to appreciating more than ever before the riches of the Bible's literary devices and overall narrative structure, as a Story we all are invited to inhabit and play a part in today.”

    Ben Tameling, MA Bible and Theology '16

    Core Requirements20

    1 Biblical Interpretation for Ministry

    An introduction to basic principles for interpreting the Bible in the Reformed tradition. This course initiates the student in the fundamental task of a doing a responsible and relevant interpretation of the biblical text. Thus, the course aims to familiarize us with the indispensable abilities to hear attentively the Word of God and obey it.

    1 Digital Bible Tools for Teaching and Preaching

    This course introduces students to using digital tools for studying Scripture: exploring the text in its original languages, finding resources for deeper enrichment, and establishing a lifelong process for preparing to teach and preach.

    3 Bible Survey

    Prepares leaders in the church to be faithful and effective stewards of the Word by acquainting them with the basic content and principal theme of each book of the Bible; the historical, geographical, and cultural backgrounds to the Bible; its introductory hermeneutical principles; and its continuing relevance.

    3 Old Testament Elective Course

    3 New Testament Elective Course

    3 Systematic Theology I or II

    2 Theological Education as Formation for Ministry

    Introduces all parts of seminary life as interrelated and formative for ministry, and examines the process of spiritual formation by illustrating habits developed through theological education and how they are critical for ministry.

    Mentored Ministry Groups4

    4 Formation Group (MABT)

    Elective Options (choose 2)6

    3 Church History Elective

    3 Christian Engagement with World Religions

    Introduces the global engagement of the Christian faith with major world religions, worldviews, and forms of spirituality, framed by a biblical-Reformed theology and philosophy of religion that examines religious experience, tradition and practice in the light of general and scriptural revelation, and a commitment to the universal common humanity of God’s image bearers.

    3 Christian Theology in Reformed Confessions

    Introduces Reformed theology through a study of confessions, from the Reformation era (Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, Canons of Dort) and the more recent past (Contemporary Testimony, Belhar Confession), and through the basic elements of the Reformed worldview grounded in this confessional theology.

    2 Apologetics

    Presents a Reformed approach to the rational defense and presentation of the Christian faith and engages crucial issues in apologetics: the existence of God, the credibility of Scripture’s witness to Jesus Christ, the problem of evil, challenges based on the natural and social sciences, and religious pluralism.

    3 Ethics and the Christian Life

    Studies Christian personal and social morality vital for being an obedient church leader and developing faithful communities of disciples.

    3 Old Testament Elective Course

    3 New Testament Elective Course

    3 Theology Elective

    Additional Electives to equal 39 credits9

    Course Maps

    Flexible Formats

    • Sample Program Chart

      YearFallJ-TermSpring

      Year One

      Biblical Interpretation for Ministry (1)

      Biblical Interpretation for Ministry

      Course Code
      705
      Category
      Analysis Course
      Credit Hours
      1
      Description

      An introduction to basic principles for interpreting the Bible in the Reformed tradition. This course initiates the student in the fundamental task of a doing a responsible and relevant interpretation of the biblical text. Thus, the course aims to familiarize us with the indispensable abilities to hear attentively the Word of God and obey it.

      Bible Survey (3)

      Bible Survey

      Course Code
      716
      Category
      Analysis Course
      Credit Hours
      3
      Description

      Prepares leaders in the church to be faithful and effective stewards of the Word by acquainting them with the basic content and principal theme of each book of the Bible; the historical, geographical, and cultural backgrounds to the Bible; its introductory hermeneutical principles; and its continuing relevance.

      The Church in Historical Context I (3)

      The Church in Historical Context I

      Course Code
      304
      Category
      Analysis Course
      Credit Hours
      3
      Description

      Surveys the story of God’s people from 100 – 1247 A.D., conversing with ancient and medieval brothers and sisters in Christ by reading and responding to their testimonies, theology and practices.

      Digital Bible Tools for Teaching and Preaching (1)

      Digital Bible Tools for Teaching and Preaching

      Course Code
      715
      Category
      Credit Hours
      1
      Description

      This course introduces students to using digital tools for studying Scripture: exploring the text in its original languages, finding resources for deeper enrichment, and establishing a lifelong process for preparing to teach and preach.

      Formation Group (4)

      Formation Group

      Course Code
      Category
      Credit Hours
      4
      Description
      Electives

      Electives

      Course Code
      Category
      Credit Hours
      Description
      The Church in Historical Context II (3)

      The Church in Historical Context II

      Course Code
      305
      Category
      Analysis Course
      Credit Hours
      3
      Description

      Introduces the history of Christianity from the late Middle Ages to the present, with special attention to developments in North America. Focuses on how the church’s institutions, thought, and practice were shaped by and responded to their contexts in each of the eras and places under study.

      Christian Engagement with World Religions (3)

      Christian Engagement with World Religions

      Course Code
      718
      Category
      Integration Course
      Credit Hours
      3
      Description

      Introduces the global engagement of the Christian faith with major world religions, worldviews, and forms of spirituality, framed by a biblical-Reformed theology and philosophy of religion that examines religious experience, tradition and practice in the light of general and scriptural revelation, and a commitment to the universal common humanity of God’s image bearers.

      Ethics and the Christian Life (3)

      Ethics and the Christian Life

      Course Code
      451
      Category
      Integration Course
      Credit Hours
      3
      Description

      Studies Christian personal and social morality vital for being an obedient church leader and developing faithful communities of disciples.

      Formation Group (4)

      Formation Group

      Course Code
      Category
      Credit Hours
      4
      Description

      Year Two

      Electives

      Electives

      Course Code
      Category
      Credit Hours
      Description
      Formation Group (4)

      Formation Group

      Course Code
      Category
      Credit Hours
      4
      Description
      Electives

      Electives

      Course Code
      Category
      Credit Hours
      Description
      Apologetics (2)

      Apologetics

      Course Code
      450
      Category
      Integration Course
      Credit Hours
      2
      Description

      Presents a Reformed approach to the rational defense and presentation of the Christian faith and engages crucial issues in apologetics: the existence of God, the credibility of Scripture’s witness to Jesus Christ, the problem of evil, challenges based on the natural and social sciences, and religious pluralism.

      Electives

      Electives

      Course Code
      Category
      Credit Hours
      Description
      Formation Group (4)

      Formation Group

      Course Code
      Category
      Credit Hours
      4
      Description

      Finances

      Calvin Seminary Supports Students

      Calvin Seminary offers a wide range of scholarships and other financial assistance.

      In fact, in recent years, nearly $1.5 million in scholarship funds were awarded annually. For information on ways to make seminary more affordable, visit the Tuition and Aid webpage.

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      Stories

      Called to Serve

      Past graduates have applied their learning to a variety of ministry-based opportunities. Here are some of their stories:

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      Applying

      For the Program

      A significant number of our students have not formally studied religion and theology prior to attending seminary. Students come from a range of educational backgrounds, from the sciences to the arts and humanities. While many students apply to seminary directly from university, others are already actively serving in ministry or other careers. That said, a strong liberal arts background is ideal preparation for seminary. If you are currently attending college or university, consider taking at least one course each in English, literature, history, philosophy, natural science, social science, and speech. If possible, you are encouraged to take four semesters of Greek.