By Julie Cole
Biblical language programs don't always inspire courageous discipleship. Briercrest is hoping its new Master of Arts in Biblical Languages and Exegesis (MABLE) program can do just that.
"The Protestant Reformation came out of rediscovering the Bible!" program coordinator Eric Ortlund said. "Martin Luther once said if he had never gone back to Hebrew and Greek, the Reformation would never have happened."
This careful study of Scripture also impacts the lives of students.
"Getting intimate and familiar with (the original biblical languages) will get you intimate with this amazing, astoundingly gracious, kind, tender-hearted God," Ortlund said. "When students' hearts have been broken by the dying love of Jesus for them – that's what empowers courageous discipleship and incredible sacrifice."
Marty Culy, associate professor of New Testament and Greek, agrees.
"From my perspective, the best preparation for any ministry is to know God really, really well and to know His Word really, really well. Certainly when it comes to knowing God's Word really, really well, the MABLE program is going to give students more tools for ongoing learning than any of our other programs in that area."
"I'm really excited," Ortlund, said. ""It will produce well-rounded students who are comfortable with the whole Bible – who don't just stick with the parts they really know."
The MABLE program joins the ranks of a small handful of other Masters programs in North America that require its students to study both Hebrew and Greek.
"There aren't many schools doing this kind of program," Culy said. "It's a Masters that focuses on biblical exegesis of both Testaments."
Applicants for the MABLE program must have completed four semesters of one biblical language. They may take the language courses while enrolled in the MABLE program but they will not count as credits toward the degree.
Ortlund knows the type of student who would be drawn to the MABLE program.
"The ideal student would be one who has a facility for languages with the desire to linger over words – that sort of personality and someone who wants to be a capable teacher."
"Other degrees might be more broad, overview type degrees introducing them to issues," Culy explained. "This one is really teaching the students to be solid researchers and giving them the tools that they need to do that."
Students will get a chance to use these tools in teaching and serving others.
"There's a long experiential integration at the end (of the program) where students will most likely teach, or help a professor, or teach in a church," Ortlund said "So it's the best of both worlds."