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Online Certificate Programs in Biblical Languages

Apr 21, 2020

Overview of Online Biblical Languages Certificates

Graduate certificate programs in biblical languages enhance students' understanding of the original languages found in religious texts. The curriculum may cover multiple languages from both the Old and New Testaments or focus on one particular biblical language like Hebrew. To earn these certificates, students take a short series of classes in specific languages and methods of translating and interpreting the Bible.

Admissions requirements to biblical languages certificate programs vary; some schools require that applicants hold a bachelor's degree while other programs are designed to grant post-master's degree certificates. Prospective students may also need to submit letters of recommendation and responses to questions on their professional interests and goals as part of their application. In addition to deepening their own experience with scripture, these certificates help prepare students to share messages of Christian faith with others through careers in ministry or to pursue additional graduate studies in theology.

Requirements for Biblical Languages Certificates

Certificate programs in biblical languages often require between nine and 18 credit hours, and some programs can be completed in under a year. Fully online options are available, and some schools also offer on-campus programs in the discipline, allowing students to combine online coursework with some in-person classes as they complete certificate requirements. Online biblical languages certificate programs usually include classes on topics outlined below, and students may be able to apply the credits they earn in their certificate program toward another graduate degree.

Course Topics

Beginning Hebrew

As a key biblical language, Hebrew is typically a focus of certificate programs in this area. Introductory Hebrew courses cover grammatical concepts like the language's alphabet, verb use, syntax, and basic vocabulary. Students learn foundational tools needed for reading and interpreting Hebrew texts.

Readings: The Old Testament

Courses in the Old Testament allow students to apply their understanding of the Hebrew language to particular books of the Bible. These classes require that students translate passages and continue to build their knowledge of Hebrew vocabulary. Courses in the Old Testament often require that students interpret themes found in the texts, and the relevance of those themes to contemporary Christian life may also be discussed.

Introductory Greek

Biblical languages certificate programs also incorporate foundational courses in the Greek language that cover grammar, morphology, and vocabulary. These classes may incorporate translation and exegesis of parts of the New Testament written in Greek, or they may prepare students for advanced coursework in Greek.

Interpreting the New Testament

Online biblical languages certificate programs devote attention to the New Testament through classes examining the religious themes its books contain. Students practice interpreting the teachings, and these courses may also cover the cultural influences that impacted the New Testament. New Testament courses often give students additional opportunities to conduct translations from Greek.

Career Outlook for Biblical Language Certificate Holders

In addition to preparing students for further graduate study, earning an online certificate in biblical languages provides students with a credential for work in a variety of ministry-related positions. Ministers, pastors, and other members of the clergy conduct religious services and provide guidance for people within their faith community.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for clergy members was $53,920 as of May 2018. The field was expected to see an average job growth of six percent between 2018 and 2028, according to the BLS.

Students can earn a graduate-level certificate in biblical languages by completing approximately nine to 18 course credit hours, and fully online programs are available. These certificates prepare students for further graduate study or for work in ministerial roles and involve classes in Hebrew, Greek, and books of the Bible.

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