Master of Arts (Biblical Studies)

Degree Overview

Vocational Calling

To prepare students for research degrees in biblical studies for the purpose of teaching, research, or writing in various fields of biblical studies. Students may opt for a broad-based degree in Biblical Languages or for a concentration in Old Testament and Hebrew, New Testament and Greek, or Biblical Backgrounds.

Prerequisites

Equivalent of 3 hours each of Introductory Greek Grammar, Introductory Hebrew Grammar, Exploring the Old Testament, Exploring the New Testament, and Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics

Program Outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate their understanding and ability to interpret and communicate accurately biblical, theological, and historical truth.

  2. Students will demonstrate spiritual, moral, and ethical maturity through their studies and relational experiences in the program.

  3. Students will demonstrate improved skills in research and writing in Biblical Studies.

For further information, please contact:

  • Dr. Archie England (Curriculum Coordinator and Old Testament Advisor)

  • Dr. Craig Price (New Testament Advisor)

Program Requirements

Basic Ministerial Competency Component (35-36 hours)

Biblical Studies Competency (14 hours)

course

hours

Encountering the Biblical World

2

Intermediate Greek Grammar for NT Exegesis 

3

Greek Exegesis 

3

Intermediate Hebrew Grammar for OT Exegesis 

3

Hebrew Exegesis 

3

Theological and Historical Studies Competency (16 hours)

course

hours

History of Christianity: Early-Medieval 

3

History of Christianity: Reformation-Modern

2

Baptist Heritage

2

Systematic Theology 1 

3

Systematic Theology 2 

3

NOBTS, SBC, and Cooperative Program

*

One course from the following: 
Philosophy of Religion,
Christian Ethics
Contemporary Philosophical Hermeneutics

3

Ministry Studies Competency (5-6 hours)

course

hours

Supervised Ministry 1: Personal Evangelism Practicum (M)

2

Introduction to Spiritual Formation (M)

1

Ministry Studies elective

2-3

(Choose one of the following)

Church Leadership and Administration (M)

2

Pastoral Ministry
OR
Christian Ministry

3

Proclaiming the Bible
OR
Teaching the Bible

3

Interpersonal Relationship Skills

2

Worship Leadership

3

Biblical Studies Concentration (9 hours)

Concentration (9 hours)
An area of concentration should be declared no later than the beginning of third semester of course work in order to fulfill the requirements for the concentration and write a satisfactory thesis. Students may choose a concentration in one of the following areas:

New Testament and Greek 9 hours

course

hours

Greek Exegesis

6

Hebrew Exegesis 

3

Old Testament and Hebrew 9 hours

course

hours

Hebrew Exegesis

6

Greek Exegesis 

3

Biblical Languages 9 hours

course

hours

Hebrew Exegesis 

3

Greek Exegesis 

3

Biblical Aramaic 

3

Biblical Interpretation** 9 hours

course

hours

Choose any 3 of the following courses:

History of the Bible

3

Biblical Aramaic

3

Greek Exegesis

3

Hebrew Exegesis

3

Theology of the Old Testament

3

Old Testament Eschatology

3

Backgrounds for New Testament Study

3

The Social Setting of the New Testament

3

The Historical Jesus

3

New Testament Theology

3

Textual Criticism of the New Testament

3

Studies in New Testament Manuscripts

3

Advanced Greek Grammar

3

Readings in Hellenistic Greek

3

Advanced Hermeneutics

3

Any Biblical Backgrounds Courses

3

**Students taking the Biblical Interpretation concentration will meet the prerequisites for entry into the Biblical Interpretation major of the PhD program in the Division of Biblical Studies, but they will need to take 3 semester hours each of Greek and Hebrew Exegesis courses if they intend to make application to the Old Testament or New Testament majors in the PhD program in the Division of Biblical Studies.

Electives Component (4-6 hours)

Free Electives (4-6 hours)
These two courses may be taken from within the Division of Biblical Studies or outside the division.

Summative Evaluation Component (3-4 hours)

Course

hours

Students may choose one of the options:

Complete a PhD seminar for masters credit, submitting the writing assignments as fulfillment for evaluation

4

Complete the Theological Writing and Research course

3

Seek Approval from the Biblical Studies Division for undertaking a Thesis

4

Total Required: 51-55 hours

(M) Indicates course is also available in a mentoring format.

*All graduate students must take this course during orientation in their first semester; however, students will not receive a credit hour or be charged for the course.

PhD Eligibility

Students who complete all the degree requirements of the MA (Biblical Studies) are eligible to apply to the PhD at NOBTS in the majors of Biblical Interpretation, Old Testament, or New Testament. Students who choose to major in other disciplines may be required to take other prerequisite courses as required in those majors.

Admission Requirements and Process

Admission to the Master of Arts (Biblical Studies) requires the following:

  1. Applicants must fulfill all the normal admission requirements for NOBTS, including the admission form, transcript, church endorsement, statement of call, medical clearance, TOEFL for international students, etc.

  2. Applicants must have earned a baccalaureate degree, normally with at least a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale, from an institution accredited by a regional accreditation agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or holding membership in the Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada, or the educational equivalent.

  3. Applicants must have completed a total of at least 24 transcript credit hours with a grade of “B” or above in biblical studies, theology, historical studies, philosophy, and ethics. These courses should include Introduction to Old and New Testaments, Biblical Hermeneutics, and Introductory Greek and Hebrew.

  4. The Division of Biblical Studies, in consultation with the Registrar, will evaluate the transcript of the applicant. Students should evidence the interests, aptitudes, and personal qualities necessary for the particular application of this degree. Students with weak undergraduate preparation in a discipline may be required to take introductory courses or, in some cases, remedial work to insure minimum competency in that discipline. Students with strong undergraduate preparation in a discipline may be eligible for advanced standing and may therefore take advanced electives in that discipline rather than the introductory courses in that discipline. After the transcript evaluation and the approval of the Division of Biblical Studies, a faculty advisor will be assigned who will assist in the design of a plan of study tailored to meet the needs of the student.

Prerequisite Studies

Prerequisite to entry into Intermediate Greek and Hebrew courses are elementary Greek and Hebrew, and Biblical Hermeneutics at the collegiate level; thus, the student with such prerequisites would be able to go directly into advanced Greek and Hebrew exegesis courses. Applicants who cannot earn credit in elementary and intermediate Greek and Hebrew through the Accelerated MDiv Program must earn these credits prior to entry into the MA (Biblical Studies) program. Students who complete the MA (Biblical Studies) program will have earned the 12 hours each in Greek and Hebrew required for application to the PhD program in the area of Old Testament or New Testament.

Academic Requirements

The 52-55 hour course requirement of the Master of Arts (Biblical Studies) degree (as delineated above) is intended to introduce students to a broad range of theological disciplines necessary for further studies in biblical studies. A thesis is required. Students in the MA (Biblical Studies) must maintain at least a B average in the program. Those who do not maintain a 3.0 GPA will go on probation status after the first semester and will be dismissed after the second consecutive semester below a 3.0 average.

Thesis Guidelines

An acceptable research thesis of 75-100 pages in Turabian style must be written in the student’s area of concentration.

Thesis Proposal

  1. Upon the completion of 30 semester hours of the degree program, the student will contact the Division Chair to discuss the Thesis Proposal process. The student should develop a preliminary topic for the Thesis, and the Division Chair will guide the student in determining the appropriate faculty member to work with that student as the Thesis Advisor. The Thesis Advisor will facilitate the student’s development of the Thesis Proposal and oversee the Thesis process to completion. Sample proposals will be provided to the student for reference material to assist the student in preparing a quality Thesis Proposal.

  2. During the last semester of coursework (after completion of at least 45 hours), but no later than one semester following completion of coursework, the student shall present the Thesis Proposal for approval (1 hard copy and 1 pdf ) to the Thesis Advisor. The Thesis Proposal must be approved by February 1 for May graduation or September 1 for December graduation.

  3. The Thesis Advisor will approve the Thesis Proposal in consultation with the Division faculty and provide guidance to the student during the writing of the Thesis.

    • Upon approval of the Thesis Proposal, the Thesis Advisor must contact the Registrar’s Office to approve enrollment into the Thesis component.

    • The student will then enroll in the Thesis component. In order to maintain current enrollment in the program, the student must enroll in the Thesis component no later than the semester after the completion of coursework, with or without submission or approval of a Thesis Proposal.

  4. Upon enrollment into the Thesis component, a Thesis reader will be appointed by the Division Chair to assist the Thesis Advisor in evaluating the Thesis.

Thesis Approval

  1. The student should submit the following to the Office of Associate Dean of Graduate Studies no later than April 1 for May graduation and November 1 for December graduation:

    • Two plain-paper copies of the Thesis

    • An electronic copy (pdf ) of the Thesis

    • A completed Thesis Fee and Order Form (The student must have on deposit in the Business Office sufficient funds to cover the indicated costs before the Thesis Fee and Order Form can be submitted.)

    • Graduation application

  2. The Office of Associate Dean of Graduate Studies will send the copies of the Thesis to the Thesis Advisor, who will send one copy to the Thesis Reader. The Thesis Advisor will work with the student to generate a final approved Thesis.

  3. Upon final approval of the revised Thesis, the Thesis Advisor will submit the following documents to the Office of Associate Dean of Graduate Studies no later than May 1 for May graduation and December 1 for December graduation:

    • Four final copies of the Thesis (plus any additional copies the student may have ordered on the Thesis Fee and Order Form) on 20-lb., white, 100% cotton paper. Students receive one bound copy from the 4 copies they are required to submit.

    • A completed ProQuest/UMI Dissertation/Master’s Thesis Submission Form

    • A plain paper copy of the Thesis title page and abstract for submission with the UMI form

    • Thesis Advisor Checklist

    • Thesis Review Report

    • Report of M.A. Thesis Evaluation form

  4. Should a student not meet either the Thesis Proposal or Thesis Approval deadlines, the student will register the following semester for a program continuance course and will register in that course each subsequent semester until the Thesis is submitted for graduation. The student will pay the necessary continuance fees (see Graduate Catalog for current fees). Students that do not complete their Thesis during the semester in which they are enrolled in the Thesis component will receive an “E” (extension) for that semester. The Thesis Advisor must send approval to the Registrar’s Office in order for the student to be registered for the thesis component the following semester.

  5. MA students may not walk in graduation exercises without submission of the final four copies of the thesis.

NOTE: Further guidance on the Thesis process may be obtained from the Division Chair’s Office in conjunction with the Office of Associate Dean of Graduate Studies.