Lee University Catalog 2013-2014 
    Sep 25, 2020  
Lee University Catalog 2013-2014 [Archived Catalog]

Biblical Studies (BIBST.MA)

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Terry L. Cross, Dean
School of Religion

Rickie D. Moore, Chairperson
Department of Theology

Skip Jenkins, Director
Graduate Programs in Biblical and Theological Studies

Purpose and Philosophy

The School of Religion at Lee University offers a program of advanced studies in the academic disciplines of Bible and Theology. These degrees will provide students with post-baccalaureate study for the purpose of preparing for further graduate work or for other vocational interests. Through its Master of Arts degrees in Biblical Studies and Theological Studies, Lee University provides a quality graduate program for Christian scholars in the designated disciplines. Committed to life and learning from an Evangelical/Pentecostal perspective and within the context of the Church of God, its sponsoring denomination, Lee University welcomes to the program all students from the Christian community who qualify for admission and subscribe to its stated goals and objectives.

Academic rather than professional in nature, the Master of Arts degree constitutes an option to professional degrees for the student seeking advanced study in the disciplines, preparing for work in the educational ministry of the church, and/or anticipating the research doctorate. This program is designed for the collegial engagement of peers whose concerns are constructive conversation and productive scholarship and whose goal is disciplinary competence.

Predicated upon the conviction that rigorous academic inquiry both ennobles and enables the participants, Lee University intends that the community of scholars engaging the Master of Arts in Biblical Studies and the Master of Arts in Theological Studies curriculum be more serviceable to the kingdom of God in the world.

Within the United States, most degrees designated as M.A. in Bible or Theology are offered by seminaries. Such programs accept applicants from various disciplines of undergraduate studies and therefore are usually two years in length (48 hours-64 hours). The program offered by Lee University is distinctive in that it will be offered in either a 36 or 48 hour program. The 36 hour program is for applicants whose undergraduate degrees are in the related areas of religious, biblical, theological or pastoral studies. Therefore, the usual first year of general introductory studies in religion is not required, and the program begins with upper level graduate courses. The 48 hour program admits students whose undergraduate work is in an area other than religious, biblical, theological or pastoral studies.


The School of Religion offers the M.A. in Biblical Studies and the M.A. in Theological Studies with several goals in mind. We aim:

  1. To foster the continued development of research and writing skills in the area of biblical and theological studies.
  2. To contribute to the body of biblical and theological knowledge and literature.
  3. To assist the student in developing a personal hermeneutical and exegetical position to be used in acquiring a comprehensive understanding of Old and New Testament content.
  4. To develop an understanding of the philosophical foundations for theological reflection.
  5. To prepare the student for the teaching enterprise, whether in the educational ministry of the church or in the context of the academy at large.
  6. To prepare the student to engage in more advanced degrees, including doctoral studies.
  7. To integrate faith and learning in such a way as to develop the individual in mind and spirit in order to enhance their own spiritual development and also that of the body of Christ.

Student Goals

Upon completion of the program, M.A. students in Biblical Studies and Theological Studies should have the skills and ability to:

  1. Analyze biblical and theological writings at a level commensurate with other graduate students in religion programs.
  2. Produce written work which portrays a knowledge of primary and secondary literature in the discipline.
  3. Compare and contrast the various hermeneutical options for biblical exegesis.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the philosophical foundations for biblical and theological reflection.
  5. Provide evidence of analytical and critical skills which are prerequisite to further graduate studies in bible or theology.
  6. Demonstrate rudimentary capacity for a specified language for biblical or theological research (primarily Greek, Hebrew, German, or Latin).

Student Outcome Goals for the M.A. in Biblical Studies

Upon completion of the program, students in the M.A. in Biblical Studies Program should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the continuity and the tension between the Old and New Testaments.
  2. Give an overview of the history of the New Testament canon from its formation to its present status in various faith traditions.
  3. Develop an understanding of epistemological questions related to religious commitment.
  4. Exegete biblical texts, utilizing sound hermeneutical principles.
  5. Interact with various models of revelation from a Pentecostal-evangelical perspective.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to do valid research which contributes to the knowledge-base in the discipline of biblical studies.


There are two programs in the M.A. in Biblical Studies/Theological Studies. These programs are determined by the prior coursework of the applicant. Since this M.A. degree is an advanced study within the disciplines of Biblical Studies or Theological Studies, a certain amount of preparation and aptitude is required in this program. Both programs require the same 36 hours, but those without adequate preparation will be admitted under the condition of taking up to 12 more hours to complete this degree.

  1. An applicant must submit a completed Lee University Application to Graduate Studies form (leeuniversity.edu/uploadedFiles/GradApp.pdf).
  2. An applicant should have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. With regard to the United States, this means regional accreditation or that of the ABHE (The Association for Biblical Higher Education). With regard to undergraduate degrees from other countries, each applicant will be considered on his/her own merits. However, it is expected that at least three years of college level work has been gained and that some form of accreditation is granted to the applicant’s school within his/her country. Those with an appropriate degree and background will be accepted into the 36 hour program. If the candidate has not completed the first year of Greek, they will be required to begin Greek either before entering the program or during the first year. For example, students may begin Greek in the summer semester before fall matriculation, or they must complete it before the end of the first year in the program.
  3. Beyond the mandatory year of Greek, each student will be required to take six additional hours of language. For the M.A. in Biblical Studies, the language requirement consists of Intermediate 2nd year Greek or Biblical Hebrew.
  4. If an applicant has an undergraduate degree in an area other than biblical/theological studies, they may apply for the 48 hour program. Each applicant’s background and coursework (especially in the area of humanities, philosophy, and religion) will be evaluated by the Director of Graduate Programs in Bible and Theology. Applicants accepted into the 48 hour program will be required to take 48 hours of coursework, that is, the regular 36 hour program plus 12 hours of studies as assigned by the Director in order to rectify deficiencies in undergraduate preparation. Whatever courses may be recommended to prepare the student for graduate work within these disciplines will be taken at the beginning of the student’s course of study, and may be taken concurrently with certain other courses within the program.
  5. The amount of hours to rectify academic deficiencies may not exceed 12 hours.
  6. Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts of credit earned at all institutions of higher education.
  7. Graduate Record Exam (GRE Institutional Code: 1401) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT Institutional Code: 2540) scores are required. Scores must be sent to the office of Graduate Studies in Religion and must be no more than five years old.
  8. Minimum GPA of 3.0 in undergraduate studies is preferred.
  9. Two letters of reference from professors familiar with your work and one personal reference from someone familiar with your character.
  10. An essay or research paper that offers evidence of the applicant’s writing abilities and research capabilities. The paper should be between 7-20 pages in length.
  11. Although the M.A. in Biblical Studies is not a seminary degree that would require pastoral training or emphasis, it should be noted that it is connected to the life and ministry of local churches and the church universal. Therefore, the program strongly encourages involvement of its students in the body of Christ, especially in the areas of teaching (which is this program’s emphasis).
  12. An interview, either by phone or in person, with the Director of Graduate Programs in Bible and Theology or a designated faculty member of the program.
  13. MMR Immunization Verification (if born after January 1, 1957). The Certificate of Immunization form (leeuniversity.edu/uploadedFiles/Content/health-clinic/ImmunizationForms.pdf) must be completed and signed by a licensed health care provider and returned to the Lee University Health Clinic prior to registration.
  14. Proof of Chicken Pox Immunity (Required for all full-time students born after 1979).

International Students

The university is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students on an F-1 visa. International applicants are expected to apply well in advance of their projected beginning date. All academic records and other credentials must be accompanied by an official English translation. If transfer credit from an institution outside the United States is desired, an evaluation from World Education Services (WES) must be submitted. [Refer to the “Transfer Credit” section under Graduate Academic Policies for additional information.]

In addition to general admissions requirements, international students must supply the following:

  1. TOEFL Scores: All applicants who will be attending the university on a student visa and who are not graduates of an American college or university must supply proof of a minimum score of 55 (iBT) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Information on this test can be attained by writing to TOEFL Educational Testing Service; Princeton, New Jersey 08540; U.S.A. (or go to www.toefl.org). All test scores should be sent directly from the testing agency to Lee University (Lee University Code: 1401).  
  2. Financial Statement: An applicant on an F-1 student visa must supply, on the form provided by the university, sufficient evidence of financial support for the applicant and all members of his/her family who will accompany the applicant to Lee. This requires that the applicant certify that his/her intent is to attend full time and that no employment will be required.

All of the above credentials must be received and approved before a SEVIS Form I-20 can be issued to the applicant.

Completion Requirements

  1. 36 Credit Hours/48 Credit Hours 
  2. Area Exam/Three-hour thesis

    Area Exam:  The Area Exam will cover two topical questions from the student’s major concentration and one topical question from the student’s minor concentration. The process is as follows:

i. The student is responsible to choose his/her Area Exam Committee, consisting of three different professors who will oversee the three topical questions, in consultation with the Director of the MABTS program. This must be done BEFORE the student signs up for the Area Exam course.

ii. Out of these three professors, the student must choose one professor to be the chair of the Area Exam Committee. This professor will be the liaison between the student, the other examiners, and the Director of the MABTS program. This must be done BEFORE the student signs up for the Area Exam course.

iii. The student will receive a bibliography of readings from each professor. The questions that they will answer will be derived from these bibliographies. The bibliographies cannot exceed 2000 pages of reading per examiner. These bibliographies must be received BEFORE the student signs up for the Area Exam course.

iv. A date is agreed upon for the written portion of the Area Exam. This date is established by the Chair of the Area Exam Committee. Faculty must be given a 30 day “heads up” when the written exam is to take place. This “heads up” must be given through the student’s Exam Director, and it cannot be later than 15 days before final exam week. The exams MUST take place during the academic year; that is, from the opening session of Faculty Seminar in the Fall to the Final Exam week in the Spring. There will be no summer Area Exams. The student will write the exam for two days; two questions on one day and the final question on the second. The student can choose whichever two to be done on day one, but they MUST do two on the first day. The student is given 2 hours to finish each question, with a lunch break between the questions on the first day. On the second day, the student will answer his/her final question, and is given 2 hours to finish. A computer is supplied for the writing of the student’s answer.

v. The Area Exam Committee will read and evaluate the written portion of the exam, and then determine whether the student may proceed to the oral portion of the Area Exam process. The Area Exam Committee chair will send a copy of all three of the student’s answers to each examiner so that the examiners will be prepped to evaluate the student total written work in the oral portion of the exam. All three examiners on the Area Exam Committee MUST pass the student to the oral portion. If one or more of the examiners cannot do this, then the student may be given the opportunity to retake the question(s) that s/he failed; but this retake must occur the next semester.

vi. The oral exam must be scheduled no later than 10 days after the written portion is completed. The Chair of the Area Exam Committee may also provide the student with suggestions on the topics that they need to shore up for the oral.

vii. The oral portion of the Area Exam is the final component. It usually runs 90 minutes, with each of the three professors having 20-25 minutes to explore the student’s answers and knowledge of the subject matter. While the bulk of each 20-25 minute time period will be granted to the professor who wrote the question, each examiner should be given an opportunity to ask the student about his/her answers on each question.

viii. The Area Exam Committee decides whether the student passes with distinction, passes satisfactorily, or fails. This determination will be made upon completion of the oral portion of the exam. The student will be asked to leave the room; then the Area Exam Committee chair will moderate a consensus discussion among the committee members. The members will decide whether each part of the oral defense was satisfactory; then, they will determine whether the student can be passed overall. While a student must redo what s/he fails, it is up to the discretion of the committee if someone will have to redo the oral only or write an entire question again. After all three examiners pass the student to the oral portion, only two of the three must consent to the passing of the student.

ix. After the committee makes its determination, the student should be invited back into the examination room and told of the committee’s decision. The chair of the committee will submit to the director of the MABTS program a brief report regarding the committee’s consensus discussion and its final decision. The evaluation of the student’s Area Exam should be awarded a letter grade by the committee, and that letter grade will be forwarded to the MABTS director—along with the report– so that the grade may be inputted into the student’s academic record.

x. If a student fails, s/he cannot proceed to graduation. The student may be offered a second attempt at the Area Exam in order to complete the program.

Thesis:  A student who wants to write a thesis must submit a proposal to the MABTS Committee. No student is guaranteed to be given permission to write a thesis; it is left to the discretion of the MABTS Committee whether the student or the topic is fit for the thesis-writing option. The process is as follows:

i. In consultation with the Director of the MABTS program, the student must select a primary reader for the thesis from the faculty of the MABTS program BEFORE s/he enrolls in the thesis writing course.

ii. In conversation with the chosen reader, the student will prepare a formal thesis proposal to be submitted to the MABTS Committee for its consideration. The Fall date for proposal submission must be before/on Nov 15 and the Spring date for submission is before/on March 15.

iii. This proposal must contain: first, a succinct thesis statement; secondly, a précis stating the problem the thesis will tackle; thirdly, an outline detailing the structure of the thesis’ argumentation; fourthly, a beginning bibliography that must have 35 pertinent primary and secondary sources for a biblical thesis.

iv. After the faculty reader has agreed to the proposal, s/he will present the formal thesis proposal to the MABTS Committee, who will approve the proposal as is, approve with required emendation, or disapprove. If the proposal is disapproved, the student will be required to take the Area Exams. The proposal must be approved by the MABTS committee before the student can enroll in the thesis writing course.

v. The student will write his/her thesis under the direction of the faculty reader, and will submit the thesis directly to that reader, who will evaluate the thesis and determine its passability.

vi. After the thesis has been passed by the faculty reader (it will be assigned a grade by that reader), the student will complete any remaining edits/corrections and submit the manuscript to the director of the MABTS Program for binding and cataloguing in the Pentecostal Research Center. The fees for this process will be the responsibility of the student.

     3.  After all coursework for the M.A. in Biblical Studies degree is completed with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, students will be allowed one semester to complete their thesis or comprehensive area exams. If the thesis or exams are not completed during that semester, students will enroll in GRAD-591 and will be charged a graduate supervision fee equivalent to 1-hour of graduate student tuition for each fall and/or spring semester in which a continuation is required (Enrollment in this course will not be required over a summer semester unless collaborative work between the supervising professor and student is planned).

     4.  Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 throughout the program. A student whose GPA drops below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation and could be removed from the program altogether. No student will be allowed to graduate from the program with less than a 3.0 cumulative GPA.

     5.  The degree must be completed within four years of its inception. Exceptions to this will be evaluated by the M.A. Committee and the Director of Graduate Programs in Bible and Theology. 

Non-degree Seeking and Special Students

Students may register for non-degree or special status without being formally admitted into candidacy in the M.A. program. Such students may take a total of nine credit hours from courses offered in the program.

Transfer Credit

A student may transfer up to six hours credit from an approved graduate institution or seminary. The courses must have been in the areas of Bible and/or theology and must be approved by the Director of Graduate Programs in Bible and Theology. To remain in compliance with university graduate program standards, any grades considered for transfer must be a ”B” or better. In addition, transfer students need to be interviewed by the director before admittance into the program.

Conference Travel

Students wishing to secure funding for conference travel must complete an application and have it submitted 60 days prior to the conference.

M.A. Committee for the Graduate Programs in Bible and Theology

Under the supervision of the Department of Theology and the Dean of the School of Religion, the M.A. Committee for the Graduate Programs in Bible and Theology oversees the entire course of study for the M.A. in Biblical Studies and the M.A. in Theological Studies. The committee considers all needed changes and makes recommendations to the Department of Theology and the Graduate Council; it serves as the Admissions Committee and reviews candidacy.

For more information:

Contact Lee University School of Religion Office of Graduate Programs @ 423.303.5104/SOR 150-F or email gradstudies_religion@leeuniversity.edu 

36 Hour Program Requirements

M.A. Core - Total Hours: 9

Major and Minor Concentration: Biblical or Theological - Total Hours: 18

Area Exam or Thesis - Total Hours: 3

Total Hours in Program: 36

48 Hour Program Requirements

Applicants for the 48 hour program must take four additional courses. The two Greek classes listed below are required for entry into the program (as explained above). Courses with biblical, theological or historical emphasis will be suggested to the 48 hour candidates by the director of the program in order to meet the 4 extra course requirement of the 48 hour program.

Total Hours in Program: 48

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