Program Requirements

Students completing a bachelor of arts (BA) degree in biblical and theological studies will explore what it means to lead a life of significance and service by learning about God, the Bible and its interpretive issues, and the various historic Christian and religious traditions. Students will develop abilities in biblical, historical, and theological interpretation; critical thinking; and the responsibility of knowledge and faith for shaping behavior.

Major Requirements (BA)

Course descriptions for all BTS courses are available at the bottom of this page.

Prerequisite course — Introduction to the Bible (4 sh)

36 semester hours (sh) of major courses:

  • Required core courses (24 sh) — BTS 2500, 2600, 2640, 2650, 2700, 4010
  • Elective courses (12 sh) from BTS 2110, 2120, 2130, 2210, 2260, 2310, 3250 with at least one course in Old Testament and one in New Testament


  • Up to four hours of coursework in the major may apply to the General Education requirement in Biblical and Theological Studies.
  • GE designates a course that fulfills all or part part of a General Education (G.E.) requirement; BTS 1850 is a prerequisite for every other BTS course.

Minor Requirements

20 semester hours (sh) (Five courses) above BTS 1850

  • Two biblical studies courses (8 sh)
  • Two theological studies courses (8 sh)
  • One elective (4 sh)


  • Up to four hours of coursework in the minor may apply to the Core Curriculum Requirement in Biblical and Theological Studies.

Course Descriptions

Click on the links below for course descriptions of all biblical and theological studies courses courses. For a complete list of all North Park's programs and course offerings, review the academic catalog.

BTS 1850 – Introduction to the Bible
An introductory survey of the history and theology of the biblical narrative as it informs Christian faith today. Particular emphasis on the theological unity of the Bible's message.

BTS 2110 – The Pentateuch
The focus of this course is the story of biblical Israel as depicted in the first five books of the Bible, or the Pentateuch. The course will follow closely the concern of the Pentateuch for faith, particularly in relation to the covenant at Mount Sinai and the revelation of the law. Biblical Emphasis-Old Testament.

BTS 2120 – Old Testament Prophets
A historical study of the Hebrew prophets within the economic, political, and social conditions of their time. The significance of the prophetic message for the Hebrew and Christian faiths. Biblical Emphasis-Old Testament.

BTS 2130 – Old Testament Poetry and Wisdom Literature
A survey of the third major division of the Hebrew canon of the Bible, the Writings or Kethubim. The Writings are a miscellaneous collection of books important in understanding the history, faith, and practice of ancient Israel and early Judaism. This in turn is important for understanding the New Testament and the early Church. This course examines the different books of the Writings in their final, canonical form, with attention given to the various theological motifs. Different literary genres present in the collection are studied. The canonical role of the Writings as a collection is also examined. Biblical Emphasis-Old Testament.

BTS 2210 – Jesus of Nazareth
The life and teachings of Jesus studied with reference to current research. Explores the quest for the historical Jesus, the historicity of the gospels, and the method and message of Jesus' teachings. Biblical Emphasis-New Testament.

BTS 2260 – Paul
A reconstruction of the life and letters of the Apostle Paul with reference to current research. Emphasis on Paul's theology of the church (ethics, mission, spirituality) and its practical importance for today. Biblical Emphasis-New Testament.

BTS 2310 – The Land of Israel in the Biblical and Post-Biblical Periods
A study of the Land of Israel in biblical and early post-biblical periods from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Roman Period (13th c. BCE through 4th c. CE). The course will focus on the history of the Holy Land emphasizing Israelite, early Jewish and Christian material presence through the use of historical and archaeological sources. The study will employ multi-media resources to enhance students' classroom experience of the Land. Biblical Emphasis-Old & New Testaments.

BTS 2500 – Introduction to Theology
A study of the major theological doctrines of the Christian faith, with emphasis on their integration into personal belief. Theological Emphasis.

BTS 2510 – Christian Ethics
A study of the moral implications of the Christian faith, with emphasis on their integration into personal belief. Theological Emphasis.

BTS 2520 – Christian Spirituality
An examination of the nature of Christian spirituality with emphasis on spiritual development and maturity. Relevant literature of a variety of approaches to spirituality will be introduced and evaluated. Theological Emphasis.

BTS 2530 – C.S. Lewis
A study of the life and thought of C.S. Lewis. Emphasis will be given to his religious ideas, his understanding of Christian doctrine, and his methods of commending the Christian faith by reason and imagination.

BTS 2600 – History of the Church
The origin and development of Christianity in the world. Traces the institutional and doctrinal developments within the church from the post-apostolic period to the modern era. Theological Emphasis.

BTS 2640 – The Western Theological Tradition
A survey of the great Christian thinkers of the West from beginnings to post-modernity. Focus will be placed on distinctly Western forms of Christian thought in the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions, with some attention to the Anabaptist and Evangelical Covenant communities, as well as to emerging feminist and underrepresented theologies.

BTS 2650 – The Eastern Theological Tradition
A survey of the great Christian thinkers of the Eastern (Orthodox) tradition from beginnings to the post-communist era. Focus will be placed on the development of classical Christian faith in the Church Fathers and Ecumencial Councils from the 2nd through 14th centuries, with some attention to contemporary Orthodox thought in the West, including its feminist voices.

BTS 2660 – Eastern Orthodox Christianities
An introduction to ancient Christian communities belonging to the cultural heritage of the Middle East, and their legacies in Russia and Eastern Europe. Emphasis will be placed on the unity and diversity of their theological views, liturgical cultures and missionary histories that have shaped their present identities. The course will include guest lecturers from these communities and excursions to local churches in the Chicago area.

BTS 2700 – World Religions
Study of the common features and distinctive motifs that characterize some of the main religious traditions Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and others. Emphasis on development of a methodology for reading and interpreting the world's scriptures. Discussion of the relation of Christian to non-Christian religions. Theological Emphasis.

BTS 2840 – African-American Church History and Religious Thought
Studies the religious thought of African-Americans employing as a frame of reference the Black Christian church from its beginning during slavery to its maturity in the present day. Includes the ideas of a variety of spiritual leaders such as Jupiter Hammon, David Walker, Marcus Garvey, Father Divine, John Perkins, James Cone, and E.V. Hill. Examines the influence of slavery, emancipation, migration, and White racism on the development of African-American religion. Cross-listed with AS 2840.

BTS 3150 – The Book of Psalms
This course examines the characteristics of Hebrew poetry in order to study the book of Psalms according to literary types. The Psalter in its final form is studied as a coherent whole in terms of its collection and arrangement, and its varied teachings on faith and practice. Selected individual Psalms are studied in detail through exegesis of the English Bible. Biblical Emphasis-Old Testament.

BTS 3240 – Luke and Acts
A literary and exegetical study of Luke and Acts, with special attention to historical setting, ecclesiastical purpose, and theology. Biblical Emphasis-New Testament

BTS 3250 – John
A theological and exegetical study of the texts of the Fourth Gospel and the Epistles of John. Special emphasis on the unique contribution of John to biblical theology (especially Christology, eschatology, and pneumatology). Biblical Emphasis-New Testament

BTS 3410 – Women, The Bible, and The Church
A study of the Old and New Testament texts that bear on the roles and status of women. This course reflects on a wide range of historical and theological perspectives relevant to the issues of women, the Bible, and the church. Biblical Emphasis-Old and New Testament.

BTS 3510 – Modern Theologians
Exploration of recent trends in the thinking of biblical and systematic theologians. Relevance of theology to modern issues. Theological Emphasis.

BTS 3550 – Philosophy of Religion
A seminar course on selected problems and topics in the area of philosophy of religion, e.g., the phenomenology of religious experience, the truth of religious belief, the existence and attributes of God. Theological Emphasis.

BTS 3660 – Spiritual Journey
This course, typically offered in the fall semester, is an introduction to foundational biblical themes and understandings of Christian spiritual formation with an emphasis on Christian faith as a journey. This course will seek to integrate the individual and communal elements of spiritual formation, and the personal and public character of the Christian life with an understanding of the student's personal formation journey. The intent of the course is practical, experiential, and formational. Included in the course will be both a teaching component and formation sessions facilitated by a formation leader. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Music in Worship students only.

BTS 3661 – Spiritual Practices
This course, typically offered in the spring semester, introduces students to a variety of classical and contemporary spiritual practices that are meant to invite the student into a deeper sense of God's presence in their interior lives and in the world around them. The biblical and historical contexts for spiritual practices will be explored and discussed in and out of class session. Spiritual practices will include, but are not limited to, biblical prayer, centering prayer, hospitality, praying and working for justice, self-examination and discernment. The intent of the course is practical, experiential, and formational. Included in the course will be both teaching component and formation group sessions facilitated by a formation leader. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Music in Worship students only.

BTS 3670 – Foundations of Christian Worship
This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field known as liturgical studies. The course explores the history of Christian worship, liturgical theology, the place of ritual in the life of faith, as well as the application of a praxis-theory-praxis model to the worship concerns of pastoral ministry.

BTS 3680 – Foundations of Worship Arts
This course will consider the use of the arts in worship using historical examples and liturgical theology paradigms. It will provide a background on each of the worship arts; music, drama, dance, visual arts, media, and architecture/environment. Each art form will be reviewed with suggestions for resources, opportunities to plan and use the different art forms and frameworks for working together in teams and supervising the worship arts. Criteria for theological, liturgical, and aesthetic assessment will be included. The relationship between pastors, worship leaders and worship arts coordinators and the pastoral aspects of leading worship arts teams will all be considered. The course also includes a significant worship team planning and worship leading components applied in the context of the seminary chapel.

BTS 3910 – Topics in Biblical and Theological Studies
An intensive investigation of a selected topic in biblical studies, theology, world religions, or philosophical theology. Extensive reading and research expected. Seminar format.

BTS 3920 – Advanced Topics in Biblical and Theological Studies
This is a topics course allowing the BTS department to grant credit for selected courses taken at North Park Theological Seminary.

BTS 4010 – Fourth-Year Seminar in Biblical and Theological Studies
Limited to fourth-year students majoring in biblical and theological studies, this seminar concentrates on critical reading, writing, and discussion skills. Topics of study will change annually but in each case will explore current research and writing in biblical and theological studies.

BTS 4910 – Independent Study in Biblical and Theological Studies
Intensive independent study of a topic chosen in consultation with an instructor in the Department of Biblical and Theological Studies. Student must have consent of instructor and division chairperson.

BTS 4930 – Directed Research
Students will work under the direction of a faculty mentor on a novel research project. Permission of the faculty mentor is required prior to enrollment in this course. This course may be repeated, though the department may limit the number of credit hours this course satisfies towards the major. Please see the departmental degree requirements for details.

BTS 4970 – Internship in Biblical and Theological Studies
Please refer to Internship section of the catalog for internship requirements and guidelines.

Program requirements