Why study theology?
The word 'theology' literally means the study of God.
Studying theology offers the opportunity to study God, his character, his actions and his revelation. Such study raises 'big questions' about God himself, the nature of reality, right and wrong and our identity as human beings. Studying theology provides students with time and space (although it will seem all too brief!) to begin to think through important issues in a structured way, to consider differing views and to come to a personal conclusion, knowing both what you believe and why you do so.
Why study theology at Belfast Bible College?
In Belfast Bible College we study theology with a genuine desire to discover the truth and see the impact of that discovery feed through into our lives so that the study of theology works its way through into increased love for God, an increased desire to serve him and an increased understanding of what that means in the world we live in and for us as individuals.
In this context questions about God’s character or ethical issues are not abstract issues but issues which impact on us as individuals and effect how we live. Through the time in class, on placement, in college chapel services and in informal contexts with staff and other students there are opportunities to explore these issues and learn from others in a supportive environment.
Who studies theology at Belfast Bible College?
The student body at Belfast Bible College is diverse in age, gender, nationality and denomination.
Such a diverse student body encourages learning because students learn from each other. The experience of being part of a Christian Community which includes others with different views is itself a learning experience and much of the learning in college takes places outside the formal contexts. Learning in the college isn’t restricted to the students but is also true for the staff who also gain by the interaction with the students and their experiences. Those teaching are also learning and are committed learning with the students and each other because learning is a life-long activity.
What can I study?
Studying at Belfast Bible College will enable you to explore a number of different areas within Theological Studies.
Biblical Studies: courses on the Bible are foundational to our studies at Belfast Bible College. There will be the opportunity to acquire the skills needed to study the Bible, understand it accurately and apply it to contemporary situations. Looking at the Biblical text in its original context gives an awareness of how the message of the text would have been understood by the first hearers and how culture and translation can impact our understanding of the Biblical text. As well as developing skills to help in understanding the Bible there is the opportunity to study specific Biblical books in detail and to study the languages in which the Bible was originally written.
Systematic Theology Studies: there are a variety of courses on offer in this area which provide students with the opportunity to think through their beliefs on a number of key areas of doctrine. Students are encouraged to consider a range of views on different issues, including those different from their own, to gain an understanding of different viewpoints and a better understanding of their own views. The interdenominational and international nature of the college provides a context for some interesting discussions and debates.
Historical Studies: courses in this area offer students to chance to discover events, personalities and thinking in the past. As is often said, ‘those who cannot learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.’ The opportunity to examine past successes and failures can help in understanding both the present situation and help in avoiding the mistakes of the past.
Mission Studies: a variety of courses in this area explore the biblical basis for mission, historical practices and development, considerations in current mission contexts and other major faiths in the world today. Students have the opportunity to work in a placement in their own culture or cross-culturally and learn both from their experience and reflecting on it.
Practical Studies: courses in this area offer students the opportunity to study general principles of ministry as well as to explore particular areas such as pastoral care or youth ministry in more detail. There is a focus on the practical outworking of the subjects as well as an examination of the theoretical issues, contemporary debates and biblical teaching. Different viewpoints are examined and students are encouraged to gain an appreciation of a range of views as well as formulating their own understanding.
What happens after studying at Belfast Bible College?
Students from Belfast Bible College have gone into a number of roles.
When the college was founded the focus was cross-cultural missionary work. Since then the careers undertaken by students from Belfast Bible College has diversified. While there would still be former students involved in cross-cultural missionary work there would also be students involved in ministry in their own culture, in education and in the charity sector.