• MASTER OF ARTS IN APPLIED BIBLICAL STUDIES

    The Master of Arts in Applied Biblical Studies (M.A.A.B.S.) is a fully-online, 36-hour master's degree designed for those seeking to enhance their ability to interpret the Old and New Testaments and the world around them. The M.A.A.B.S. will help cultivate a holistic understanding of biblical interpretation that moves from the text of Scripture to the student’s context and back again. The M.A.A.B.S. will teach you how to interpret each of the major genres of the Old and New Testaments and to engage in creative, contextualized interpretation and application of God’s Word to your world. 

    The M.A.A.B.S. will challenge you to think critically and reflectively about the implications of biblical interpretation for life and ministry while encouraging you to develop a growing sense of your own personal spirituality and your role in serving Christ in today’s world. 

    Potential Career Options

    After graduating from the M.A.A.B.S. you would be prepared to serve in various capacities within the church. Some positions might include, but are not limited to, associate pastor, missions or outreach pastor, small group pastor, or children and youth pastor. Those working in para-church ministries or in a secular environment would also benefit from the M.A.A.B.S. in disciplines of biblical interpretation as well as through critical thinking skills and contextualized understanding   Though the degree is not intended to train students for ministry as a preaching or head pastor, those already serving in these positions who wish to pursue a master’s degree would also benefit greatly from this degree. 

    Purpose and Goals


    Program Purpose

    This degree is specifically designed for part-time students. While the M.A.A.B.S. is a graduate level degree, it is not intended as a basis for doctoral study.

    The M.A.A.B.S. was created for students who:

    • Have a call from God to pursue training for service in Christian ministry
    • Are looking for an opportunity for study and growth in their ability to interpret and apply God's Word
    • Desire to more effectively serve others while having an impact on their local church
    • Have and intellectual interest in Scripture and its connection to life and ministry
    • Wish to develop skills to better discern God's will

    Program Goals

    At the completion of the M.A.A.B.S. you will be able to:

    • Identify one's own pre-understandings and their linkage to personal identity and cultural context
    • Construct expository, contextualized and applied interpretations of situations, relationships, and biblical texts
    • Analyze major interpretive positions from and in conversation with the history of interpretation of the Old and New Testaments
    • Explain one's interpretations in relation to key elements within the history of biblical studies
    • Exercise judgment in the formulation of Christian practice collaborating critically with a variety of sources within diverse contexts
    • Articulate the linkage between one's interpretations or actions and one's dispositions and Christian habits

    Schedules


    The M.A.A.B.S. has been designed as a cohort program. Students entering the program will walk together through a predetermined sequence of courses. In addition to the courses listed below, students will participate in online formation groups that meet at various points throughout the program.

    The program may be completed in a little over two years taking one course at a time with continuous enrollment. The program also requires the completion of a student portfolio which includes the completion of a case study. Courses are delivered through Moody’s Online Learning Management System. 

    September 2016 Optimal Schedule
    January 2014 Optimal Schedule   January 2016 Optimal Schedule
    January 2015 Optimal Schedule  
    September 2015 Optimal Schedule    
         

     

     

     

     

    Course Descriptions


    Theological Foundations for Biblical Interpretation

    An exploration of theological and doctrinal concepts and their bearing on Christian interpretations of Scripture. Emphasis placed on evaluation of various theological perspectives and the bearing such perspectives have on biblical interpretation. Specific continuity and discontinuity positions, including dispensationalism, will be examined. The impact of one’s own theological perspectives on interpretation is also introduced.

    7 weeks, 3 credit hours 

    Prerequisite: None


    Christian Character and Biblical Interpretation I

    An exploration of techniques and philosophies related to the cultivation of Christian character with particular emphasis on the role of Christian character in biblical interpretation.  Emphasis placed on the development of disciplines that foster spiritual formation through reflection on self, society, and Scripture under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as well as on the manner in which one’s understanding of God’s character influences interpretation.  The spiritual formation component of the program portfolio is introduced. 

    2 weeks, 1 credit hour

    Prerequisite: Theological Foundations for Biblical Interpretation


    Method for Biblical Interpretation 

    An orientation to the principles, practice, and philosophy of biblical interpretation. Provides a broad overview of hermeneutics with an emphasis on the grammatical-historical hermeneutic, the hermeneutical spiral, the formation of themes from biblical texts, and the role of research in the interpretation of the Scriptures. Attention given to information literacy and research skills to enable lifelong learning. Basic methods of biblical interpretation are introduced. 

    7 weeks, 3 credit hours 

    Prerequisites: Christian Character in Biblical Interpretation I


    Interpreting the Pentateuch

    Examination and utilization of various interpretive methods employed in the study of the Pentateuch. Emphasis placed on the development of skills and techniques in the analysis of narrative and legal texts, the exposition of themes within the Pentateuch, the use of ancient and modern sources in the interpretation of the Pentateuch, and the contextualization of these interpretations within contemporary contexts. Contextualization of textually interpretive results to contemporary contexts achieved through case study method. 

    7 weeks, 3 credit hours 

    Prerequisites: Method for Biblical Interpretation 


    Interpreting Old Testament Historiography

    Examination and utilization of various interpretive methods employed in the study of Old Testament historiography. Emphasis placed on the development of skills and techniques in analysis of historiography, the exposition of theological themes from Old Testament historiography, the use of ancient and modern sources in the interpretation of historiography, and the relevance of the relation between history and historiography for interpretation. Study focused on one of the Old Testament historical books. Application of interpretive results to contemporary contexts achieved through case study method. 

    7 weeks, 3 credit hours 

    Prerequisites: Interpreting the Pentateuch


    Interpreting Old Testament Poetry and Wisdom Literature

    Examination and utilization of various interpretive methods employed in the study of Old Testament Poetry and Wisdom. Emphasis placed on the development of skills and techniques in the analysis of Old Testament poetic and wisdom texts. The relation between poetic and historiographical texts, as well as strategies for reading wisdom texts addressed. Application of interpretive results to contemporary contexts achieved through case study method. 

    7 weeks, 3 credit hours 

    Prerequisites: Interpreting Old Testament Historiography


    Interpreting Old Testament Prophetic Literature

    Examination and utilization of various interpretive methods employed in the study of Old Testament prophetic texts. Emphasis placed on the social context of the prophets and its bearing on the interpretation of specific prophetic texts. Study focused on one of the Old Testament prophetic books. Prophetic forms and the functions of prophecy addressed.  Application of interpretive results to contemporary context achieved through case study method. 

    7 weeks, 3 credit hours 

    Prerequisites: Interpreting Old Testament Poetry and Wisdom Literature


    Interpreting the Gospels

    Examination and utilization of various interpretive methods employed in the study of the Gospels and parables. Exploration of the social context of the gospels and its bearing on the interpretation of various gospel passages. Study focused on one of the synoptic gospels. Analysis of forms in the gospels and the use of parallel passages in interpretation addressed.  Application of interpretive results to contemporary contexts achieved through case study method. 

    7 weeks, 3 credit hours 

    Prerequisites: Interpreting Old Testament Prophetic Literature


    Interpreting Acts and the Epistles

    Examination and utilization of various interpretive methods employed in the study of Acts and the New Testament Epistles. Emphasis placed on the development of skills and techniques in analysis of narrative and epistolary texts, the exposition of themes within these texts, and the use of Acts in the interpretation of the epistles. Study focused on one of the New Testament Epistles along with the book of Acts. Application of interpretive results to contemporary contexts achieved through case study method. 

    7 weeks, 3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: Interpreting the Gospels


    Interpreting Apocalyptic Literature

    Examination of apocalyptic literature in the Old and New Testaments and in literature from the Second Temple period. Emphasis placed on the development of skills and techniques for the analysis and interpretation of apocalyptic literature. Interpretive aspects of the course focused primarily on the book of Revelation.  Application of interpretive results to contemporary contexts achieved through case study method.

    7 weeks, 3 credit hours 

    Prerequisites: Interpreting Acts and the Epistles


    Action Research and Biblical Interpretation

    Investigation of the principles and processes related to the field of action research.  Emphasis placed on the value of action research for the application of Scripture in everyday situations.  Students will complete and action research study as part of the course.  

    14 weeks, 3 credit hours 

    Prerequisites: Interpreting Apocalyptic Literature


    Christian Character and Biblical Interpretation II

    An exploration into how God has shaped the heart of the student and their Christian character.  Emphasis will be placed on the self-examination of God’s shaping of the student’s heart, the interaction with a mentor and the reflections on their personal spiritual formation through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the scriptures, their community and life experiences. The student will create a portfolio tracking their spiritual formation and shaping of God through the rest of the program.  

    5 weeks, 1 credit hour

    Prerequisite: Christian Character in Biblical Interpretation I


     Biblical Interpretation Capstone: Use of the Old Testament in the New Testament

    Integration of student action research with a Biblically interpretive project covering multiple Biblical genres.  Students will also reflect on their understanding of biblical interpretation at the completion of the program.  

     7 weeks, 4 credit hours. 

     (This course is the final course in the MAABS.)

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