Biblical and Religious Studies Courses

Completing the Biblical and Religious Studies major requires 15 hours of core courses, along with another 15 hours of electives.

For a full list of concentrations and corresponding course requirements, download our complete catalog.

Download the Academic Catalog

NOTE: Courses marked with a GC meet the Core Curriculum Bible content requirement.

RS 106 Elementary Hebrew I/4
An introduction to Classical Hebrew, emphasizing vocabulary, grammar, and syntax. (Same as FL 106) Offered on demand. Cannot be used toward IAE credit.

RS 108 Elementary Greek I /4
An introduction to New Testament Greek emphasizing vocabulary, grammar and syntax. (Same as FL 108) Offered on demand. Cannot be used toward IAE credit.

RS 110-G The Bible, Community and Culture/3
An introduction to biblical Christian faith employing a variety of study methods. God’s strategy of abundant life, human community, relationship with God, and salvation are central themes. Freshmen on academic probation are not eligible during their first semester. Fall and spring semesters.

RS 202-GC Life and Teachings of Jesus/3
A study of the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The centrality of Jesus for contemporary discipleship will be emphasized, and the Sermon on the Mount will receive special attention. Prerequisite: RS 110-G. Fall semester, even-numbered years; interterm, odd-numbered years.

RS 203-GC Prophets and Kings/3
An introduction to Old Testament history, with focus on the period represented by the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. The study will evaluate recent research on the history and archaeology of Israel. Prerequisite: RS 110-G. Spring semester, odd-numbered years.

RS 204-GC The Gospel of John/3
A careful study of the Fourth Gospel. An accent is placed on a narrative analysis of the Gospel, with concern for its historical context and contemporary significance. The Christological emphasis of the Gospel will receive special attention. Prerequisite: RS 110-G. Interterm, even-numbered years.

RS 210-G The Church and Its Mission/3
An introduction to the nature of the church and to Christian ministry. The course includes biblical study, models of the church and of ministry, the life of the ministering person, and various practical ministry issues. Fall semester, even-numbered years.

RS 212-GC Life and Teachings of Paul/3
A study of the apostle Paul and his ministry, with particular emphasis on the book of Romans. Themes such as the faithfulness of God, the power of sin, righteousness, and the law will be studied. Prerequisite: RS 110-G. Fall semester, odd-numbered years.

RS 213-GC Poets and Sages/3
The first part of the course is a study of the Psalms, with concern for contemporary worship and for an understanding of God. The second part is a study of Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes. The distinctive contribution of wisdom to the teachings of Scripture will be investigated. Prerequisite: RS 110-G. Spring semester, even-numbered years.

RS 217-G Life and Writings of C.S. Lewis/3
An introduction to the writings of C. S. Lewis and to aspects of his life. The focus will include his fictional/imaginative works, theological/philosophical writings, and others as time permits. The heart of the course will be reading the material and discussing it together in class. Spring semester, odd-numbered years.

RS 223/323-GC Topics in Old Testament Literature/3
Selected topics of interest in Old Testament studies. Possible examples include war and peace, the Dead Sea Scrolls, law and covenant, apocalyptic literature, and Old Testament theology. Prerequisites: RS 110-G (for RS 223) and any 200-level Bible content course (for RS 323).

RS 224/324-GC Topics in New Testament Literature/3
Selected topics of interest in New Testament studies. Possible examples include the Jesus of history and Christ of faith, the Sermon on the Mount, Pauline theology, Johannine literature, and Christian apocalyptic literature (including the Book of Revelation). Prerequisites: RS 110-G (for RS 224) and any 200-level Bible content course (for RS 324).

RS 239-G Fringe Religions: Occult and Cultic Movements/3
A brief survey will be made of the major aspects of the occult and cults. Emphasis will be placed on the historical development and present status of witchcraft, Satanism, divination, spiritualism, parapsychology, and the prominent cultic groups. (Same as HI 239).

RS 245 Youth Ministries I/3
A study of the philosophy and methodology of youth ministry in the light of adolescent development and the larger mission of the church. Prerequisite: RS 210-G or consent of instructor. Fall semester, odd-numbered years.

RS 250-G/450-G Topical Religious Seminars/3-4
Topics offered in the past have included ethical issues in the medical profession, women in religion and society, post-biblical Judaism, and spiritual warfare.

RS 260-G Spiritual Formation/3
An introduction to the classic personal and corporate disciplines of the spiritual life, examined biblically, historically, and experientially. The course also addresses mentoring/discipling and cell groups within the church. Spring semester, odd-numbered years.

RS 264 Ministry Discernment Seminar 1: Identity & Calling/.5
Provides a setting for processing and integration of personal, spiritual, academic, and ministry development. Focuses on the identity and calling of the ministering person, particularly in relationship with the congregation. First in a sequence of four semesters. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. Fall semester.

RS 265 Ministry Discernment Seminar 2: Strengths & Needs/.5
The course provides a setting for assessing strengths and needs in order to develop a realistic self-understanding. From that assessment comes a plan for personal growth. Second in a sequence of four semesters. Prerequisite: RS 264. Spring semester.

RS 290-G/390-G History of Christianity/4
A survey of the major events, institutions, ideas, movements, theological systems, missionary activities, and people that have made Christianity what it is today. The time span of the course is from the first century until the present. (Same as HI 290-G/390-G).

RS 301-GC The Pentateuch/3
A study of the first five books of the Old Testament, with concern for problems of interpretation and for contemporary relevance. The course will identify various forms of literature found in these texts, with an evaluation of proposed sources. Prerequisite: Any 200-level Bible content course. Fall semester, odd-numbered years.

RS 313-G Mennonite History/3
The origin, development, teachings, emphases and lifestyles of persons of Anabaptist-Mennonite persuasion will be studied from a historical, theological, and sociological perspective. (Same as HI 313).

RS 317-GC Lovers, Rebels and Heroes/3
A study of love, war, vengeance, and reconciliation in the Old Testament. Students will be introduced to principles of biblical ethics and theology. They will test the thesis that the Old Testament – in its poetry, law, prophecy, wisdom, and narratives – presents several perspectives on these issues that are in some tension with each other. The relevance of these materials for contemporary discipleship will be explored. Prerequisite: Any 200-level Bible content course. Fall semester, even-numbered years.

RS 318-G American Religious History/4
A survey of religions in America from their European roots to the present day. Emphasis will be placed on the major movements, denominations, sects, theological trends, and forces of change within American religions. (Same as HI 318).

RS 320-GC Prison Epistles/3
The intention of this course is to thoughtfully engage Paul’s four prison epistles (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon), with concern for both the original context (exegesis) and relevant application to contemporary life. Though all four letters will be studied, an extended consideration will be given to Philippians. The course will include special emphases on the importance of understanding Paul in light of the letter’s occasion and the careful use of syntactical and grammatical analysis of Paul’s language. Several important theological concepts addressed in these letters will also be discussed in light of the full Pauline corpus. Prerequisite: Any 200-level Bible content course. Spring semester, even-numbered years.

RS 322-GC Revelation and Apocalyptic Literature/3
This course seeks to help the student become familiar with the specific genre of biblical apocalyptic literature, especially the book of Revelation as its prime canonical representative. The main focus will be an exegesis of Revelation that takes into account the literary, historical, and theological context of the book. The course will also place an emphasis on the hermeneutical methods used to interpret apocalyptic literature. Other apocalyptic texts will also be read in order to better understand the roots, the standard images and language, and the worldview of apocalyptic communities. Attention will also be given to the implications the book has for eschatology. Prerequisite: Any 200-level Bible content course. Spring semester, odd-numbered years.

RS 330-G Religions of the World/3
A study of several major world religions including Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Other religions may also be addressed. Fall semester, odd-numbered years.

RS 343-G Discipleship and Evangelism/3
A study of the church’s mandate to go and make disciples. In addition to biblical study, the course includes models of mission and outreach both within and outside the native culture, and the relationship between verbal witness and social concern. Interterm, odd-numbered years.

RS 345 Youth Ministries II/3
A further study of and training in ministry to youth. Special attention will be given to models of worship and the role of music in ministry. Prerequisite: RS 245 or consent of instructor. Spring semester, even-numbered years.

RS 348-G Christian Missiology/3
Historical, philosophical, biblical, and methodological aspects of the relationships of Christians to non-Christians and fellow Christians in various parts of the world will be studied. Specific “case studies” will be pursued, focusing on evangelizing, church planting, fraternal relationships, interchurch ventures, and development assistance programs. Spring semester, odd-numbered years.

RS 352-G Conflict and Reconciliation/3
A study of biblical and contemporary thought on conflict and its resolution. Old Testament study will provide the background for an investigation of Jesus as model, and the Church’s responsibility in conflict and mediation. The course will focus on personal, congregational, community, and international settings. Interterm, even-numbered years.

RS 353 Communication in the Church/3
A biblical, theoretical, and practical study of preaching and other forms of Christian communication. Contemporary issues and proposals are studied, and skills developed toward clear and creative presentations of the Christian faith. The course includes instruction and practice in conducting a variety of congregational services. Prerequisite: CO 131-G or consent of instructor. Spring semester, even-numbered years.

RS 361 The Reformation Era/4
European cultural, religious, intellectual, social, and political history from 1350 to 1600. Emphasis on the Italian Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation. (Same as HI 361).

RS 364 Ministry Discernment Seminar 3: Growth & Gifts/.5
The course places increased emphasis on a mentored relationship as the student continues to process spiritual growth and ministry gifts, with particular focus on relational systems. Third in a sequence of four semesters. Prerequisite: RS 265. Fall semester.

RS 367 Music in Christian Worship/3
Reading and discussion regarding biblical definitions, directives, and the nature of Christian worship. Includes the study and formation of various worship practices, ranging from traditional Protestant to contemporary and blended forms of corporate worship. Exposure to the repertoire and resources of music for Christian worship and methods of organizing and leading corporate worship in a variety of formats. (Same as MU 367) Spring semester, even-numbered years.

RS 400-G Christian Faith in Contemporary Culture/3
This course addresses the basic elements of Christian faith within the context of modern thought, technology, and pluralism. Attention will be given to the place of the Bible, history, and theology as well as to representative literature from contemporary society. Prerequisites: senior standing or consent of instructor; additional requirement for spring semester only: graduation enrollment. Fall and Spring semesters.

RS 440 Field Work/1-8
A supervised field experience of Christian ministry. Possible involvements include youth ministry, counseling, Christian education of adults and children, preaching, and worship leading. Fall and Spring semesters.

RS 442 Youth Ministry Practicum/1-6
Supervised orientation to youth ministry. Forty hours of experience per unit is required. Fall and Spring semesters.

RS 443 Christian Leadership Practicum/1-6
Supervised orientation to ministry in a church setting. Forty hours of experience per unit is required. Fall and Spring semesters.

RS 444 Mission Practicum/1-6
Supervised orientation to ministry in a mission or church setting. Forty hours of experience per unit is required. Fall and Spring semesters.

RS 464 Ministry Discernment Seminar 4: Portfolio & Context/.5
The course requires a detailed assessment of readiness for ministry and finalizing a ministry portfolio. Special attention is given to the process of candidating for a ministry position. Along with RS 400-G, Christian Faith in Contemporary Culture, serves as the capstone for the Christian Ministry major. Fourth in a sequence of four semesters. Prerequisite: RS 364. Spring semester.

RS 470 Biblical and Religious Studies Senior Seminar/2
A senior-level capstone course for the Biblical and Religious Studies major that invites the student into intentional reflection and preparation for anticipated educational ministry, and/or professional contexts. Students will research and present a thesis project. Prerequisite or concurrent: RS 400-G Christian Faith in Contemporary Culture. Spring semester.