May 21, 2024  
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog 
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Department of Bible

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George E. Goldman II, Professor and Academic Chair
Holly Allen, Professor
Leonard Allen, Professor
Mark C. Black, Professor
Terry Briley, Professor
Lee Camp, Professor
Phillip Camp, Associate Professor
Ken Durham, Batsell Barrett Chair of Preaching
David Fleer, Professor
John Mark Hicks, Professor
Steve Joiner, Professor
Earl D. Lavender, Professor
Rhonda Lowry, Assistant Professor
Tom Seals, Associate Professor
Steve S. Sherman, Missionary in Residence
Josh Strahan, Assistant Professor
Walter Surdacki, Associate Professor
Michael Williams, Associate Professor
John O. York, Professor

The Bible program at Lipscomb plays a vital role in the school’s Christian identity and mission. Some students at Lipscomb are preparing themselves for ministry in areas such as preaching or youth ministry. In keeping with the intention of the school’s founders, however, all students study the Bible as an integral part of their curriculum. The hope is that each graduate of Lipscomb University will go into the world to pursue a vocation, not simply a career. “Vocation” in this context implies a sense of Christian mission that can find expression in any legitimate pursuit, such as nursing, business or education.

The first three Bible courses a student takes at Lipscomb cover the entire Bible. The purpose of these courses is not only to provide a basic foundation of biblical knowledge, but also to encourage students to see the big picture of God’s mission in the world and to see themselves as part of that mission. The fourth course helps students face the challenges of living out that mission in today’s world. Beyond this point, students may choose among a variety of textual and topical courses, including courses that are integrated into their chosen discipline.

The Bible program works in conjunction with other dimensions of the Lipscomb experience to encourage the spiritual formation of our students. The study of the Bible must not be seen as an end in itself, but as the basis of living out one’s faith. Lipscomb provides a wide variety of opportunities for students to express their faith in worship and service. The goal is for all Lipscomb graduates to develop a biblical perspective and to nurture habits that they will take with them for the rest of their lives.

Distinctives of the Bible Department

Ministry today assumes a variety of forms. In addition to more traditional paths such as youth ministry, preaching or foreign missions, many desire to pursue domestic church planting, urban ministry or life in an intentional community. The core Theology and Ministry major at Lipscomb provides a foundation of knowledge, tools and skills that are critical for any type of ministry. The courses in the major focus on the following areas:

  1. Scripture - Students learn not only the content of the Bible, but also how to interpret, communicate and live out its message.
  2. Spiritual formation - Through the resources of Lipscomb’s newly established Institute for Christian Spirituality, students learn the habits and practices that deepen and sustain their relationship with God through the demands of ministry. They also learn how these habits and practices can help those to whom they minister experience God’s transformative power.
  3. Missional perspective - God’s people are called not only to enjoy God’s blessings, but also to participate with God as his agents of extending those blessings to others. The focus on this perspective begins with a student’s first Bible course at Lipscomb, calling attention to God’s mission in his creation and humanity’s privilege to play a vital role in that mission.
  4. Contextual ministry - This focus refers both to the world in which ministry takes place and the nature of preparation for ministry in that world. Based on a strong foundation of Scripture and an understanding of the church’s history of interaction with culture, students explore the wisest and most faithful ways to engage the contemporary world with the gospel. In the face of the rapidity and magnitude of change in today’s world, Lipscomb’s highly regarded Institute for Conflict Management provides invaluable resources to help students lead most effectively through especially challenging times.

The classroom plays a vital role in a minister’s education, especially with a faculty like Lipscomb’s that possesses extensive and varied personal experiences. In order to prepare to minister in the contemporary context, however, students need opportunities to learn through direct engagement with churches, service agencies and a community that reflects the diversity of today’s world. Lipscomb’s location in Nashville provides abundant opportunities for such engagement to play a significant role in its students’ education.

Vocational Ministry Major

This unique major is available to students who have declared a major in another academic discipline but want to be thoroughly prepared to participate in kingdom ministry. This major prepares the student to pursue any vocation as a platform for living out their lives in partnership with God in his work in the world. The final course in this major allows the student to research individually how that life of ministry might be lived out in the particular vocation the student chooses to pursue. Students who choose this major must have a declared major in another academic area. The student’s degree (B.A., B.S., etc.) and general education degree requirements will be determined by the student’s first major.

Interdisciplinary Major in Worship Ministry

One of the crucial aspects of the church’s life is its worship of God. Worship involves the interrelationship of scripture, song, prayer, communion at the table and their impact on the lives of the members of the body. It is a challenge to coordinate these varied aspects of worship in a way that is cohesive, pleasing to God and effective in touching the hearts and minds of the worshipers.

In light of this challenge, the College of Bible and Ministry and the Department of Music have joined together to develop an interdisciplinary major in worship ministry. The goal of this major is to prepare students with the knowledge and skills to assist congregations in meaningful, purposeful times of worship. This preparation includes biblical studies, as well as historical and theological aspects of worship, and the musical skills necessary to adapt songs for use in worship. In order to reach these goals, students who choose this major must complete the core Bible major plus the course Theology of Worship and a core of key courses in the Department of Music. This major has a built-in minor.


A variety of minors is offered by the Bible department. In addition to the built-in minors described below as concentrations, stand-alone minors are available in Bible, biblical languages, Greek, Hebrew and missions. A diversified minor, composed of 18 approved hours of additional 3000 and/or 4000 level courses outside the student’s major field of study is an added option. Students who choose a major outside the Bible department may find one of the department’s minors exciting and useful.

A student who takes only the core theology and ministry major, without a concentration, must also have a minor. Some Bible majors may find minors in other departments appropriate to their specific goals. Psychology, for example, is a popular choice. A minor in education would be helpful for Bible majors who have an interest in teaching Bible at a Christian school. This minor does not qualify the student for licensure as a teacher, but licensure is not typically a requirement for teaching Bible in a private school.

Program of Study Requirements


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