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Integrated Curriculum

Northeastern Seminary's approach to biblical, theological, and historical studies in the master's programs reflect a centuries-old integrated, holistic approach to ministry preparation while the doctor of ministry program combines scripture, spirituality, and leadership in an interwoven curriculum.

At the heart of both the M.Div. and M.A. degree programs is the Core curriculum, which proceeds in a coherent sequenced manner with four larger courses using a common methodology (BHT/BIB 511-514NE). All students begin their seminary experience with the Core. These four courses involve the student in the traditional studies of biblical theology, church history, and systematic theology in an integrated, holistic, and non-sectarian approach to theological study.

Each course covers a distinct era in the development of Christianity and investigates that timeframe through five lenses:

  • The Church's historical and cultural context
  • The Church's interpretation and use of Scripture
  • Theological issues and contributions
  • Church life and ministry
  • Application of the above to ministry to contemporary culture

Along with this biblical, historical, and theological journey across 2000 years of church history, the student practices the classic spiritual disciplines employed by Christians down through the centuries to nurture and maintain a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

Click to expand for course descriptions

BHT 511NE The Biblical Worldview: Story, Theology, Ethics

The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments embody a distinctive worldview or vision of life that communicates God’s intentions for humanity and the cosmos, stretching from creation to eschaton. This worldview is interwoven into the warp and woof of Scripture, but is especially communicated through the overarching story told in its pages, which provides the non-negotiable framework that should guide the church in living out its mission. This course explores the unity of the biblical worldview and helps students engage in theological reflection on key moments of its narrative unfolding, with implications for Christian living in the contemporary world. Our theological reflections will intentionally interact with counter-tendencies in the church and society that present challenges to embodying this worldview. This course will also explore how a solid grasp of the foundational biblical vision of reality helps equip church leaders to become better interpreters of Scripture, a skill central to the pastoral vocation.

Credits: 6.5

BHT 512NE The Formative Era: From Synagogue to Cathedral – growth and change in the Early and Medieval Church

This course mines the rich resources of the patristic and medieval eras of the Church’s history. During the patristic era, the Church—working with the resources of the biblical era—clearly defined Christian doctrine in subjects such as: the nature of God and the Trinity, Jesus Christ, creation, human nature, and salvation (cf. Apostles’ Creed); the basic Christian pattern of living; and the structure of the church, worship, the ordained ministry, membership and church discipline. The medieval era saw additional developments in ecclesiastical policy and restatements of doctrine after recovery of Aristotle’s works.

This course mines the rich resources of the patristic and medieval eras of the Church's history. During the patristic era, the Church—working with the resources of the biblical era—clearly defined Christian doctrine in subjects such as: the nature of God and the Trinity, Jesus Christ, creation, human nature, and salvation (cf. Apostles' Creed); the basic Christian pattern of living; and the structure of the church, worship, the ordained ministry, membership and church discipline. The medieval era saw additional developments in ecclesiastical policy and restatements of doctrine after recovery of Aristotle's works.
[Prerequisite: successful completion of BHT/PSF 511NE and BIB 511NE]
[Corequisite: must be taken with PSF 512NE]

Credits: 6.5 

BHT 513NE The Protestant Era: Reformation and Revival in the Church

This course studies the Church in the tumultuous 16th—18th centuries, which led up to the modern era. During the Protestant Reformation and Great Awakening, the Christian Church experienced massive upheavals as it wrestled with the doctrine of salvation. Many new denominations and movements emerged as the contestants joined battle and reached differing views on such issues as: the way in which people become Christians; the manner in which Christians are to live; and the nature of the true Church in polity, the sacraments, public worship, and the ordained ministry and mission.

Credits: 6.5

BHT 514NE The Modern and Postmodern Era: The Church in an Age of Science, Technology, and Secularization

This course surveys the history and theology of Christianity in the 19th and 20th centuries. Specific attention is given to the prominent theologians, theological movements, and the ecclesiastical developments of the modern and postmodern eras. This course exposes the student to contemporary theories of biblical interpretation, the impact of social location on theology, and problems of religious pluralism and secularization.

Credits: 6.5

BIB 511NE Biblical Exegesis I

This course introduces students to responsible interpretation (or “exegesis”) of the Bible (both Old and New Testaments), thus laying the foundation for BIB 512NE, BIB 513NE, and BIB 514NE. The course focuses on the hands-on, practical skills in reading the biblical text carefully in its literary and historical/cultural context, to understand its message for today. Students will be introduced to the process of exegesis, applying each step in the process to two significant biblical passages (one Old Testament and one New Testament). Significant attention will also be paid to researching and writing an exegesis paper as a basis for teaching and preaching in the church.

Credits: 2

BIB 512NE Biblical Exegesis II

Building on BIB 511NE, this course provides students with further opportunities to grow in responsible interpretation (or “exegesis”) of the Bible (both Old and New Testaments). It focuses on hands-on, practical skills in reading the biblical text carefully in its literary and historical/cultural context, to understand its message for today. Focus will be placed on a variety of biblical texts as case studies in exegesis, many of which will be chosen for their relevance to BHT 512NE. Significant attention will also be paid to the process of researching and writing an exegesis paper as a basis for teaching and preaching in the church.

Credits: 2

BIB 513NE Biblical Exegesis III

Building on BIB 511NE and BIB 512NE, this course provides students with further opportunities to grow in responsible interpretation (or “exegesis”) of the Bible (both Old and New Testament). It focuses on hands-on, practical skills in reading the biblical text carefully in its literary and historical/cultural context, to understand its message for today. Focus will be placed on a variety of biblical texts as case studies in exegesis, many of which will be chosen for their relevance to BHT 513NE. Significant attention will also be paid to the process of researching and writing an exegesis paper as a basis for teaching and preaching in the church.

Credits: 2

BIB 514NE Biblical Exegesis IV

Building on BIB 511NE, BIB 512NE, and BIB 513NE, this course provides students with further opportunities to grow in responsible interpretation (or “exegesis”) of the Bible (both Old and New Testament). It focuses on hands-on, practical skills in reading the biblical text carefully in its literary and historical/cultural context, to understand its message for today. Focus will be placed on a variety of biblical texts as case studies in exegesis, many of which will be chosen for their relevance to BHT 514NE. Significant attention will also be paid to the process of researching and writing an exegesis paper as a basis for teaching and preaching in the church.

Credits: 2

PSF 511NE, 512NE, 513NE, 514NE Introduction to Personal and Spiritual Formation

Interwoven throughout the period of the Core curriculum, these courses are designed to provide a theological, historical, and practical introduction to the resources and disciplines of formative Christian spirituality. In addition to exposure to classical materials through integrated readings in the Core curriculum, students will participate outside of class in a faith-sharing practicum, chapel programs, seminary retreats, and an individual formative assessment process.

Credits: 0.5 for each course (2 credits total)

Spiritual Formation

Coincidental with academic study are formational disciplines that provide space and opportunity for both care of the soul and assimilation of theological understanding into the life of the heart. Weekly and periodic rhythms of retreat, readings, worship, and faith-sharing practices are simultaneous with academic instruction and mutually reference the other toward a balanced preparation for ministry. Detailed explanation of spiritual formation here.   

Theological Field Education

When the seminary experience of developing professional understanding and competence in ministry is informed by theological understanding and spiritual formation the skills and practices have a soid grounding in authenticity and depth.

The mechanics of being mentored by a capable supervisor and having the opportunity for multiple, customized placements are enriched by attention to spiritual growth and peer reflection groups that integrate knowing, doing and being. More on field education here.