Biblical Studies vs Theology: What is the Difference?
When it comes to Christian studies, there are a lot of terms to keep track of. It can be easy to confuse all the words you hear, especially when you don’t know exactly what they all mean.
When you see the words “biblical studies” and “theology,” you might think they are the same thing. After all, isn’t theology about studying the Bible? While biblical studies and theology have some similarities, there are ways you can distinguish them.
So, what is the difference?
Theology is the study of God while biblical studies is the study of the Bible itself. When you use the lens of biblical studies, you will study the Bible book by book. Theology takes a more topical approach. It divides the Bible into common themes or categories to better understand the overall message.
Although we are able to differentiate the two terms, according to Dr. Tiberius Rata, Associate Dean of the School of Ministry Studies at Grace, there is often an overlap that occurs.
“Whenever we study any book of the Bible, it is both a biblical and a theological study because in the process we learn about God, about humanity, and about God’s creation and rule over His creation,” says Rata.
Biblical Studies vs Theology: Which one does Grace use?
At Grace, we know the importance of studying Scripture through both lenses. We believe the question of biblical studies vs. theology should be reframed. The better question is “How we can effectively examine biblical studies and theology?” This duality is most clearly evidenced in our core curriculum. Exploring the Bible, a class that teaches on the fundamental lessons and stories of the Bible, fits under the biblical studies lens while the course Essential Doctrinal Themes, which examines Christian doctrines, falls under the theological studies lens.
The most important piece to studying God’s word is keeping the end goal in mind.
“As long as you read the Bible and trust that the Author of the Bible has revealed Himself in Scripture, and you read it for the purpose of falling deeper in love with Him, it does not matter if you do biblical or theological studies,” Rata says. “They are both a means to an end.”
Why might someone pursue a BA in Biblical Studies?
The BA in Biblical Studies at Grace will help you explore the ins and outs of God’s Word. You will harness your passion for ministry and use it to weigh questions and lead insightful discussions. As you learn how to apply Biblical concepts through real-life applications, you will be able to share the Bible with others.
Read more about how our biblical studies students are using their knowledge of God’s word and passion to serve him in ministry contexts and request more information about Grace to find out if a BA in biblical studies is for you.