An Invitation to Study Old Testament at Southeastern

One of the greatest 20th century triumphs of The Bible Obfuscation Department has been the sometime relegation of the Old Testament to the sidelines in biblical studies, theology, and preaching. The problem with such relegation is that the only “Scriptures” that Jesus, the apostles, and the New Testament authors had were the Old Testament scriptures, which they which they referred to as being divinely inspired, authoritative, and sufficient (see 2 Tim 3:16). Moreover, Jesus referenced the Law, Prophets, and Writings (i.e. Old Testament) as ultimately fulfilled in him (Luke 24:44). Therefore, if we wish to know about creation (Gen 1-2; Pss 8; 24; 100), the problem with humanity (Gen 3; cf Judges 21:25), the unfolding solution for that problem (Gen 12; 15; 17; 22; Ex 19-Deut 30; 2 Sam 7; Pss 78; 105; 106), the character of God who brings this all about (Ex 34:6-7), and the proper relationship with that God (Gen 15; Hab 2:4) in order to live a blessed life (Pss 1-2; Prov. 1:7), we ought to know the Old Testament and that in Hebrew. Knowing the Old Testament enables one to know the New Testament to know Jesus Christ in order to know and love the God who creates and redeems his people.

For this reason, Southeastern has worked to build an Old Testament faculty that will prepare our students to preach the gospel both faithfully and meaningfully. By faithfully, we mean that one will be prepared to expound the Christian Scriptures (in their entirety) accurately. By meaningfully, we mean that one will be prepared to communicate it in such a way that the audience understands it in the way the biblical author intended and with an application that fits the particular social and cultural contexts of the hearers.

In this installment, we provide a brief highlight the Old Testament faculty at Southeastern, followed by an invitation to study the Old Testament at the undergrad, grad, and post-grad levels.

Todd Borger (Ph.D., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Assistant Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew. Dr. Borger served in Asia for years before coming to teach at SEBTS.

Bob Cole (Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles) is Associate Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages and author of Psalms 1 and 2: Gateway to the Psalter (Sheffield Phoenix, forthcoming) and The Shape and Message of Book III (Pss 73-89) (Sheffield Academic Press). Dr. Cole enjoys playing intramural soccer with SEBTS students, and sports a robust and enviable moustache.

Shawn Madden (Ph.D., University of Texas at Arlington) is Associate Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, Director of Library Services and author of Kings: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text (Baylor Press, forthcoming). Before coming to SEBTS, Dr. Madden served in the United States Marine Corps.

Chip McDaniel (Th.D., Dallas Theological Seminary) is Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew and author of several Greek and Hebrew interlinears for Logos Bible Software and “Mission in the Old Testament” in Mission in the NT: An Evangelical Approach (Orbis Books). Dr. McDaniel has been known to grow his beard to epic proportions, especially during the winter months.

Tracy McKenzie (Ph.D., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies and author of Idolatry in the Pentateuch (Wipf and Stock). Dr. McKenzie is presently working on a second Ph.D. in Germany.

Allan Moseley (Th.D., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary; Post-Doctoral Study, Duke University Divinity School) is Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew and author of Thinking Against the Grain: Developing a Biblical Worldview in a Culture of Myths (Kregel). Dr. Moseley is the pastor of Christ Baptist in Raleigh and is known as a top-shelf expository preacher.

Mark Rooker (Ph.D., Brandeis University; Additional studies: Hebrew University, Jerusalem) is Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, author of The Ten Commandments: Ethics for the Twenty-First Century (B&H); Leviticus, NAC Commentary (B&H); Biblical Hebrew in Transition: The Language of the Book of Ezekiel (Sheffield); and co-author with Eugene Merrill, Michael Grisanti of The World and The Word: Introducing the Old Testament (B&H). Dr. Rooker is from Texas, played QB in his football days, and brings to the table a deceptively keen sense of humor.

Heath A. Thomas (Ph.D., Old Testament, University of Gloucestershire) is Assistant Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew and author of Poetry & Theology in Lamentations: The Aesthetics of an Open Text (Sheffield Phoenix Press, manuscript accepted); ‘Until He Looks Down and Sees’: The Message and Meaning of the Book of Lamentations (Grove). Dr. Thomas bears an uncanny resemblance to Patrick Jane, the lead star of the TV series The Mentalist.

Southeastern offers several degrees with a focus on the Old Testament. The Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies with a minor in Biblical Studies introduces undergraduate students to the knowledge and skills central to the work of pastors, particularly in the area of Old and New Testament competency. The Master or Arts (Biblical Languages) prepares students to serve as translators and as field supervisors for Bible translation teams. The Master of Arts (Old Testament) provides serious students with an opportunity for advanced study beyond the Master of Divinity or baccalaureate degrees.

The M.Div. with Pastoral Ministry prepares students for pastoral ministry in the local church with and is grounded in study of the Old and New Testament. The M.Div. with Christian Ministry offers the same strong core education while giving one freedom to pursue elective courses in the area of Old Testament and Hebrew. The M.Div. with Advanced Biblical Studies offers the greatest opportunity for focus in Old Testament and Hebrew exegesis, preparing one for a pastoral or teaching ministry. The Th.M. in Biblical Studies equips post-M.Div. students who want to enhance their theological training, either for preparation for doctoral study or as an advanced degree for service in the church. Students can take the thesis or non-thesis tracks under the supervision of a professor in the area of Old Testament. Finally, the Ph.D. in Biblical Studies with a concentration in Old Testament prepares students to teach Old Testament, Hebrew, and other courses to college or seminary students, and to write about the interpretation and theology of the Old Testament.

We invite you to come study with our preaching faculty in the B. A., M.A., M.Div., Th.M., or Ph.D. programs of Southeastern. For more info visit our website (http://www.sebts.edu/) and check out the Admissions and Academics links.

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  2Comments

  1. Lauren Beck   •  

    I love all of the offerings that SEBTS has. I was really excited at the prospect of the M.A. O.T. when it was first announced to me last semester. The real problem I have had is that because I have a B.A. in Classical Languages I came to SEBTS already in my Greek elective. Doing the M.A.O.T. would mean not being able to take more Greek. It is a little difficult when both my husband and I are both in seminary. Two students in the same family doing a M.Div. is not really practical but that is one of my only options if I want to take the electives I want in the languages but also be able to take courses in the Women’s studies department and the O.T. department. I find the real problem I have is that SEBTS has so many wonderful faculty members it makes it difficult to choose if God isn’t specifically calling you to a “missions” or preaching degree. At least as a woman.

  2. Heath Thomas   •  

    Lauren,thank you for your comment. ANd Bruce, thanks for the post. Lauren, as far as not being able to “do more Greek” in the MA OT degree, that is actually not entirely accurate. You will be able to apply your already present Greek skills in Septuagint and Textual Criticism. In fact, that would expand what you already know and then stretch you to what you do not presently understand about the relationship between Hebrew and Greek translations, and even the Old Latin translation of the Septuagint prior to Jerome’s Vulgate. So a working knowledge of Greek and expanding that knowledge is an essential component to the core class structure of the MA OT. Just some food for thought.

    If GOd has not called you to an missions or preaching degree, our prayer on the OT faculty is that you may consider one of our other degrees at SEBTS or specifically prayerfully consider the MA OT degree. Whatever you choose, we know that all will be used to glorify the Lord CHrist and fulfil the Great Commission. Let us know if we can help you in your decision.

    Blessings,
    Heath THomas

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