Biblical Studies

Delve into scripture with the Biblical Studies courses available

Biblical studies create a roadmap for reading the Old and New Testament, so that we understand the overarching story of the Bible and its key themes, and learn how to interpret Scripture in ways that acknowledge both the ancient contexts the Bible was written in, but also bridge the gap to our contemporary world and use God’s Word as a resource for living faithfully. 

Please note that not all courses are offered every year.

We recommend you view the Academic Calendar 2019 for full details of when each course is offered, pre-requisites, credits and any restrictions.

MB531 Introduction to the Old Testament

This course is an introduction to reading and interpreting the Old Testament. It provides an overview of the OT, its historical-cultural setting, literary features and overarching theological themes. It also explores how different types of literature in the OT are to be interpreted within their own ancient context and from a Christian perspective as well as how their theological message may be applied today. Students will get practice at basic exegetical skills using OT texts aiming to provide sound basis for further biblical study.

MB532 Introduction to the New Testament

This course is an introduction to reading and interpreting the New Testament. It explores the key genres of writing found in the Bible from Matthew to Revelation and then considers how to read each contextually and interpret them for today. The biblical skills required for interpretation and exegesis writing are also covered, aiming to provide a sound basis for further biblical study.

MB631 Prophets: A Canonical Reading

This course will introduce the prophetic books of the Old Testament, in their historical, socio-cultural and literary contexts in Ancient Israel and in the light of the Ancient Near East with the goal of understanding their theological message and their significance for the contemporary world.

 MB632 Pentateuch

This course explores the theological themes and meaning of the Pentateuch (from Genesis to Deuteronomy), which forms the foundation of Israel’s faith and conduct and is fundamental to understanding the Old Testament. In the course students will explore how the story of the beginnings (Gen 1-11) and the patriarchal narratives (Gen 12-50), the exodus, the giving of the Law and Israel’s wilderness wanderings (Exodus to Numbers), as well as Moses’ farewell sermons (Deuteronomy) help us to understand God’s character and plan for His people and the world. Students will see how the ancient Near Eastern world view can illumine understanding of these ancient texts, how we can benefit from ancient Israelite law and how the message of these books can still significantly shape our understanding as Christians.

 MB633 Worship and Wisdom

This course examines two areas of Old Testament literature: Psalms, which express in poetic form Israel’s response to God in prayer and worship and the so-called wisdom literature, which deals with the question of how God’s people can be wise in the day-to-day, sometimes mundane, reality of life (Proverbs) as well as in the great challenges of suffering (Job), where general observations about life do not seem to hold. Wisdom literature also encompasses Ecclesiastes, a book that addresses the existential question of meaning and meaninglessness in life and Song of Songs which, although love poetry, also stand in the wisdom tradition of reflecting on love, sex, relationships and God.

 MB635 Gospels: Luke

In this course, we will get beneath the surface of one of the four Gospels (Luke). Why was it written in that particular way? What are its distinctive emphases? What does it contribute to our understanding of Jesus and the church’s faith, and how does it speak to our own day? Skills will be developed in exegesis, analysis of texts, research and presentation, theological awareness and interpretive competencies will be cultivated.

 MB636 Gospels: John

This course gets beneath the surface of John’s Gospel. Why was it written in that particular way? What are its distinctive emphases? What does it contribute to our understanding of Jesus and the church’s faith, and how does it speak to our own day?

 MB637 Romans

As the Christian faith crossed ethnic and cultural boundaries there were practical implications to be worked out, concepts to be translated into new forms, problems to resolve. The Pauline Letters form an important part of the New Testament documenting the developing life and mission of the first Christian generations. This course studies Romans as a letter, probing background, function and ideas.

 MB638 Revelation and the Justice of God

This course explores the original meaning and significance of the book of Revelation with a special focus on  its message of God’s justice. In exegeting the text, this course considers the importance of genre, interpretative method, historical background, context, and theology for understanding Revelation’s message of hope and justice for those living in an unjust world. In conjunction with exegeting the text, this course will examine the reception history of Revelation and note its usage and impact by Christians living in the midst of trials.

 MB640 Acts: A Missional Reading

The Book of Acts is unique among the New Testament writings, connecting of story of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel to the continuing narrative of Jesus’ followers as they took their witness from the geographical centre of Jewish faith in Jerusalem across political, ethnic and cultural boundaries into the heart of the Roman Empire and its capital city. It is a book about mission produced in the context of early Christian mission.   In this course we read it in relation to the understanding and practice of mission today, utilising tools of biblical study and of missiological reflection as we engage both the text and our contemporary mission contexts.

 MB644 1 Corinthians

 Paul’s correspondence with the church in Corinth permits us to glimpse some of the realities and challenges of life in the early Christian communities in the Greco-Roman world. In this course, we shall explore the historical, social and religious context of 1 Corinthians, follow Paul’s response to theological issues, ethical questions, and practical problems that had arisen, and consider what this letter might say to the church today. Key learning areas for this course are leadership, Paul and women, sexual ethics, and charismatic gifts.

 MB648 Biblical Narrative (Old Testament)

The course explores OT narratives (stories) and how to interpret them. This is different from what we are used to in reading modern narratives (e.g. there is very little descriptive detail and often it is hard to know what the narrator thinks of the characters’ exploits). We will learn some of the specifics of how ancient narrators make their point through plot, characters, dialogue, etc. by reading a selection of OT texts.

 MB790 Research Essay (Bible & Theology)

 This course provides opportunity for advanced level students to undertake guided research. Enrolment must be approved by the Academic Director and will also require the support of a supervisor able and willing to supervise the research. (There is therefore no guarantee that a student will necessarily be given the opportunity to undertake a proposed research essay.)