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Biblical Studies Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to the Biblical Studies and Christian Ministries department at Gordon College. Many of you reading this page will be first year students entering Gordon—and about to make your initial choices about what courses to take. Others will be exploring the possibility of declaring a major in Biblical Studies after a period of being labeled “Deciding.” Perhaps there are some brave souls thinking about double majoring – good for you!

Whatever the case, the information on this page (as well as the other segments of the site) is designed to serve as your guide and answer your initial questions. Your adviser will also be indispensable.

How are the two parts of the major (biblical studies and Christian ministries) related?

It is important to note that biblical studies and Christian ministries are two intimately related but also distinct majors. We share one departmental label (Biblical Studies and Christian Ministries--BCM) but each has its own concentrations and set of required courses. For the specific programs and requirements of Christian ministries, see that web page. Many students will chose to combine this into a double major.

Within biblical studies, it is possible to declare a concentration in Old Testament, New Testamentbiblical languages, and Jewish studies. These require specific course selection of upper level classes within the wider biblical studies paradigm. We are also pleased to offer a minor in theology.

Why should I major in biblical studies?

Your four years at Gordon present a unique opportunity. You can explore the liberal arts, to be sure, but you also have access to wonderful instruction in biblical studies and theology that you will never have in such abundance after you graduate--unless you pursue this as a career. Thus, take full advantage of it. The major is intentionally small enough that you can successfully combine it with another major.

Consider this as God’s gift to you and accept it with joy. It will help shape how you think about your identity as God’s child, your role in God’s Kingdom, and the importance of living in freedom under the authority of God’s Word. And it will prepare you to be faithful proclaimers of God’s truth in whatever position God choses to place you.

What classes do I take my first and second year?

If you are just arriving as a first year student at Gordon, you will be joining the whole student body as you all plunge into Old Testament and New Testament History, Literature and Theology (BCM 101 and 103). Have fun swimming! Normally, these two biblical studies courses are part of each student’s curriculum in the first year. This provides a very important connecting point for conversations among students across majors. Another class that contributes to this lively discussion is The Great Conversation, taken at some point during the first year (COR 107 or 108).

Your additional classes during your first two semesters will be determined as you and your adviser talk together about your additional interests and concerns. A number of students enroll in the Historical Perspectives course (HIS 121) and The Examined Life (philosophy course, PHI 118).

In addition, first year students are required to take either LaVida (an outdoor leadership camping trip run in the summer) or Discovery (an outdoor leadership-focused PE course during the semester) in their first year or in the summers immediate prior or following the first year. Please plan which of these options you will do.

In the second year, ideally each biblical studies major will enroll in BCM 220, Introduction to Biblical Studies, a class that introduces the student to the wide range of disciplines that interface with serious biblical study. In consultation with your adviser, you will plan the selection and sequence of the remainder of the required courses for the major.

Do I have to take Greek and Hebrew?

While the biblical studies major does not require Greek and/or Hebrew, these two languages do fulfill the one-year language requirement at Gordon College. Therefore, it is to your advantage to study them as part of your Gordon biblical studies program. Even beginning knowledge of the biblical languages opens up new understandings of the truths in Scripture.

What should I do when I get to campus in the fall?

Check the orientation schedule for the exact time and location of the meeting with biblical studies and Christian ministries faculty over lunch on the Monday before classes begin.

At this meeting, we first gather as a group for an information session about the department and our majors. You then meet individually with your faculty advisor to fine-tune your registration. At that meeting any problems with your pre-registration are sorted out and your registration is finalized.
It will be good to meet you that day, if not before! We’re very pleased you’re coming to Gordon and look forward very much to working with you during your college career!

Have more questions?

Dr. Sharon Ketcham
Department Chair

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