An Invitation to Study Biblical Languages and Translation at Southeastern

For those students interested in linguistics, Bible translation, biblical languages, semiotics, literary theory or a host of other related areas of study, Southeastern invites you to study biblical languages for the purpose of Bible translation. If you are interested in Bible translation, you will have the opportunity to study with the following faculty, as well as approximately 15 other faculty who teach in the biblical studies division.

Fred Williams (Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is Associate Professor of History and Languages in the College of Southeastern. Dr. Williams has published articles in Trinity Journal and Tyndale Bible Dictionary (Tyndale House). He teaches linguistics and Greek, Hebrew, French, and Latin to Southeastern students. What is more, he is able to teach many, many more languages.

Todd Borger (Ph.D., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; post-doctoral study, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is Assistant Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, a leader of the Bible Translation program (MABT) at Southeastern, and the author of “The Canaanite Conquest: A Paradigm for Christian Violence?” (Areopagus Journal, Winter 2010). Dr. Borger served in Asia for years before coming to teach at SEBTS.

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

Adrianne Miles (Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin) is Adjunctive Professor of Linguistics at Southeastern. She has published articles in Language Learning and Development and Language, and presented papers at numerous regional and national linguistic conferences. In addition to her Linguistics post she teaches English at Southeastern.

Southeastern offers the following degrees relevant to biblical languages, linguistics, and Bible translation:

The Master of Arts (Biblical Languages) (MABL), in conjunction with a Certificate in Translation, functions to prepare students to serve as translators and as field supervisors for Bible translation teams. The MABL consists of 48 credit hours in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic so that the student will be competent in translation in both Testaments. Admission to the MABL presupposes adequate training in biblical studies at the undergraduate level.

Southeastern also offers the Master of Arts (Bible Translation) which intends to prepare students to serve as Bible translators or directors of Bible translation teams, especially on the mission field. Hence, this 60-hour program combines the required biblical languages (21 hours) courses with courses in the principles of Bible translation (39 hours). Again, adequate training in biblical studies at the undergraduate level is presupposed for his program. See the SEBTS catalog for more info.

Each of Southeastern’s M.Div. programs include requirements in the biblical languages. The M.Div. with Advanced Biblical Studies is designed for those who want a higher level of training in biblical languages and exegesis. By way of at least 15 hours of additional language study on top of the M.Div. core, this program prepares aspiring pastors, missionaries, or those who wish to pursue an advanced degree and teach in a college or seminary setting.

We invite you to study with our Biblical Languages and Translation faculty in the M.A. or M.Div. programs of Southeastern. For more info visit our website ( or and check out the Admissions and Academics links.

A Theologically-Driven Missiology (Pt. 5: Spirit)

A Theologically-Driven Missiology (Pt. 5: Spirit)

Note: This series of posts deals with the relationship between doctrine and practice in general, and between theology and missiology in particular. It argues that sound theology should provide the starting point, trajectory, and parameters for missiological practice. It seeks a “theologically-driven” missiology both for the United States and international contexts.

Christians acknowledge that Father, Son, and Spirit live in eternal and unbroken communion with one another. The unified nature of their fellowship lies not only in their shared attributes and perfections but also in the unified nature of their mission. The Triune God’s mission is equally the Father’s, the Son’s, and the Spirit’s mission. Though the persons of the Trinity may play different roles, they nonetheless are working as One.

The Scriptures make clear that the Spirit plays an active role in our mission: It is He who empowers us for mission (Acts 1:8) and He who gives us the words to say in time of need (Mt 10:17-20). It is he who convicts souls (Jn 16:8-11) and He who grows the church both in number (Acts 2:14-41) and in maturity (Eph 4:7-13).

It is probably fair to say that, in Baptist circles, the Spirit often is talked about only sporadically, with hesitancy, and even with apology. What does such an infrequently-discussed and mysterious doctrine have to do with such a concrete and practical discipline as missiology?

The Spirit Reveals

Throughout the ages, Christians have recognized that God reveals Himself through His Word by His Spirit. Indeed, the human writers of Scripture wrote as they were moved by the Spirit (2 Pet 1:21) so that Paul could make clear that all Scripture is theopneustos, or “God-breathed,” and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Scripture is the very breath of God. This teaching has manifold and serious implications for our missiology.

For example, there are entire people groups, consisting of millions, who are unable to access Holy Scripture. This means that Christian workers must (1) make every effort to communicate the Scriptures to them even though they are not able to read the Scriptures on their own; (2) equip those same oral learners to share the gospel and build the church even while they are unable to read the Scriptures; (3) pray for and support those who work in Bible translation; (4) pray for Bible translation movements just as we pray for church planting movements; and (5) pray for, and work toward, the development of literacy in these people groups. Why should we withhold from them the very words of God, the workmanship of the Spirit of God?

This also means that we must pray, work, and even fight to have the Scriptures translated accurately. In Muslim areas, some Bible translators have sought to remove necessary Christian language, such as “son of God,” from translations in an attempt not to offend Muslims. However, to do so is to remove a central biblical teaching and to neuter the gospel itself.

The Spirit convicts, teaches and illumines

Further it is the Spirit who convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgment (Jn 16:8-11), who teaches all things (Jn 14:26) and who opens the eyes of our hearts that we might understand (I Cor 2:12; Eph 1:17-19). With this in mind, we must not rely exclusively on such things as communication models or people-group profiles. Rather, our mission in any context should be undergirded by prayer. We should pray that the Spirit will enable us to interpret the Scriptures rightly and that He will bring understanding and conviction to those who are our audience.

The Spirit empowers, gives gifts, and enables fruit

In addition to his agency in teaching, conviction, and illumination, the Spirit empowers us to proclaim the Word (1 Thess 1:5; 1 Pet 1:12), to pray effectively (Rom 8:26), and to have power over the forces of evil (Mt 12:28; Acts 13:9-11). He also gives gifts to each person (1 Cor 12:11) and enables believers to bear fruit (Gal 5:22-23). This truth suggests that church planting is probably best done in teams, as the multiple members of a team use their spiritual gifts together, and bear fruit together one with another. The result is that those who are watching will see more clearly what Christ intends for his church. Another implication is that a new convert can immediately be considered a “new worker,” a part of the team, as he is surely already gifted by the Spirit and capable of bearing fruit. Immediately he can give testimony to Christ and edify the believers.

The Spirit restrains

The Spirit works providentially, restraining evil (2 Thess 2:6-7). After the Fall, sin entered the world and with devastating consequences. Man’s relationships with God, with others, with the created order, and even with himself were broken. Sin fractured the world at all levels. It is only by the restraining power of the Spirit that the world is not an utter horror. This is a grace that God has given to the entire world, a common grace that allows us to act and interact in family, workplace, and community. It is a grace that allows use our relational, rational, and creative capacities, even though they are damaged by sin and are bent toward idolatry.

Reliance upon the Spirit

Our great encouragement is this: God the Holy Spirit is the one who reveals, teaches, convicts, illumines, empowers, gives gifts and fruits, restrains, and provides. We go in His power and leave the results in His hands. It is he who quickens the hearts of those to whom we preach. We need not try to coerce or to manipulate.

We go in conscious reliance upon the Spirit; our mission is empowered by the Spirit of the living God. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).