Biblical Theology: Old Testament

Biblical Theology: Old Testament


The candidate must earn at least 24 credits in the program, twelve of which must be in Old Testament (OT) courses. Two of those twelve credits must be earned in the Hebrew and Northwest Semitic Languages sub-area, and four of those credits must be earned in the Exegetical sub-area. The other OT credits may be earned in other courses, on the archaeological trip to the Holy Land, via a thesis (up to three credits), or via guided research (up to six credits). Each credit is earned by 45 hours of active learning. 

Introduction to the Old Testament Focus Area STM Degree 

The foundation of the STM degree with a focus in OT consists of courses in the exegesis of biblical books representing three literary categories: narrative/historical prose, prophetic literature, and poetry. Students increase their appreciation for the diversity of OT literature and develop an interpretive approach appropriate to each form, while integrating these diverse texts into a coherent, Christotelic theology of the OT that will inform their preaching and teaching. The program acquaints students with the history of biblical interpretation and with resources for the serious study of the OT, and it builds a student’s ability to read (rather than simply decode) simple, connected prose in biblical Hebrew.  

Goals (Knowledge, Skills, Attitude) 

By the end of this program the student will have done the following:    

The text as Hebrew Bible 

Hebrew Language   

  • Demonstrated an ability to read orally and translate, at sight, prose selected at random from Genesis to 2 Kings, as well as selections of simple poetry.  
  • Named specific insights from linguistics, and from the study of Hebrew as it developed over the biblical period, that bear significantly on the exegesis of OT text.  

OT text and criticism  

  • Traced what is known about the history of the text from the moment of inspiration to the Masoretic Text as embodied in BHS (4th ed.). 
  • Evaluated critically the apparatus in BHS (4th ed.) with respect to a segment of text. 

The text as ancient Israelite literature

Archaeology and geography  

  • Located significant events of the Old Testament geographically. 
  • Distinguished between approaches to the relationship between archaeology and biblical studies.  

Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) context  

  • Located the text of the Old Testament in its ANE historical, literary, and cultural context. 
  • Identified what is unique about Israel and Israel’s God.  


  • Distinguished features of the major genres found in the OT (narrative, law, prophecy, psalm, wisdom). 
  • Explained the significance of genre for OT preachers and expositors.  

The text as sacred Scripture

History of interpretation  

  • Charted the ways in which a book of the OT has been read throughout history, with attention to “pre-critical,” historical-critical, and post-historical-critical approaches. 
  • Identified objectionable features of these readings where applicable.  


  • Clearly identified what promotes Christ with respect to every book of the OT under study.  


Hebrew and Northwest Semitic Languages sub-area—at least 2 credits.

Qualifying courses: 

  • OT5166 Hebrew Institute (2 cr)
  • OT5078 Biblical Hebrew as Communication (1 cr)
  • OT5000 Biblical Aramaic (1 cr)
  • OT5077 Linguistics for Exegetes (2 cr)

Exegetical sub-area—at least 4 credits, among which must be represented: 

Historical/narrative area: one exegesis course on a book (or portion thereof) in Hebrew from Genesis-2 Kings; or 1-2 Chronicles, Jonah, Ruth, Esther, or Daniel 

Prophets area: one exegesis course on one or more of the following books (or portion thereof) in Hebrew: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi 

Poetry area: Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, Song of Songs, Qoheleth  

Qualifying courses (currently): 

  • OT5008 OT Readings: The Plague Narratives (Exodus 5-11) (1.5 cr)
  • OT5108 Red Sea Crossing and Wilderness Wandering: Exodus 14-18 (1.5 cr)
  • OT5181 Elijah: The Chariots and the Horsemen of Israel (1 cr)
  • OT5281 Elisha: The Chariots and the Horsemen of Israel (1 cr)
  • OT5038 Exegesis of Ecclesiastes
  • OT5030 Exegesis of Job (2 cr)
  • OT5057 The Message of Haggai – Then and Now (1 cr)
  • OT5055 The Message of Habakkuk – Then and Now (1 cr)
  • OT5153 The Message of Micah – Then and Now (1.5 cr)
  • OT5132 The Psalms: Knowing Them Like the Back of My Hand (1 cr)
  • OT5039 Exegesis of Song of Songs (1.5 cr)
  • OT5044 Exegesis of Jeremiah (2 cr)
  • OT5149 The Book of Joel – God’s Word for a Time of Crisis (1.5 cr)

Issues in introduction, interpretation, and application sub-area—at least one course recommended:

Qualifying courses: 

  • OT5068 Archaeological Dig Khirbet ‘Auja el-Foqa (2 cr)
  • OT5091 Biblical Geography (1.5 cr)
  • OT5067 Jerusalem Through the Ages (1 cr)
  • OT5064 The Canon Question (1.5 cr)
  • WR5021 Preaching Christ from the Old Testament (1 cr)
  • OT5058 “Threads”: Connecting the O.T. and N.T. (1 cr)

Ways to Earn Credits (prioritized) 

  1. Summer Quarter Courses in even-numbered years
  2. Online Courses (Spring, Summer, Fall)
  3. Thesis 
  4. Winterim Courses in January
  5. Satellite Summer Quarter courses in odd-numbered years
  6. Trip to the Holy Land
  7. Guided research