Master of Divinity (Spiritual Formation)

Director: Gary Manning, Ph.D.

Mission

The mission of the Master of Divinity degree program is to equip servant leaders for making disciples worldwide by developing in them an accurate knowledge of the Word of God, the skills necessary to communicate the Gospel effectively, and character worthy of the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ for the leading of the church.

Spiritual Formation Specialization Mission

Provides preparation for ministries of spiritual formation, soul care, spiritual direction, and preaching to churches and parachurch organizations.

Program Description

The Master of Divinity curriculum at Talbot School of Theology is designed to foster the purpose for which the seminary was established — education for the propagation of the faith. This purpose entails an accurate knowledge of the Word of God — the source of faith and the effective means of its communication. The course of study is therefore designed around these two basic foci.

Believing firmly that God in love and grace has provided an answer for the needs of the world in Jesus Christ, and that this Jesus is the Christ of the Scriptures, Talbot emphasizes a knowledge of the content of the Word of God. In order that the Word may be known and expounded accurately and authoritatively, matters of biblical background, including the languages of the Old and New Testaments, are studied. Sound principles of literary interpretation are also explored as a basis for the interpretation of the Scriptures. On the basis of such interpretation there comes systematic study so as to organize various parts of the Word into theological categories.

Since the faith of today does not stand alone but is rooted in past centuries during which God has preserved and instructed His people, cognizance of this heritage is taken in a study of the history of the Church and its doctrine. Previous interaction between faith and the world provides a basis for understanding modern times.

It is the seminary's aim that this knowledge of the faith first grip the life of the student and then motivate the student to share it with the world. In accord with this latter aim instruction is given in vital areas of ministry and communication. From the preparation and delivery of sermons to individual involvement in counseling, the curriculum is designed to provide instruction that will facilitate propagation of the faith in the various fields of God's call. Opportunity is also given for the development of ministry skills as principles are applied in the context of ministry in the Church.

With recognition that the Great Commission commands the Church to go into the world to minister to all peoples, the cross-currents of modern thought are considered relevant to the preparation of God's minister. Throughout the course of instruction, interaction is provided with various perspectives for the purpose of inculcating their contributions and understanding their divergences. All the while they are measured by the pattern of the Word.

Talbot's program focuses on the entire person and is meant to contribute to personal spiritual formation as well as cognitive awareness and the development of ministry skills. The curriculum is structured to develop sustainable habits that can be continued in life and ministry after graduation. The various components of the curriculum are designed to complement one another and to reinforce basic principles to which students have been exposed in other parts of their seminary program. A goal of the program is to equip students to think biblically and to respond appropriately to the variety of challenges of life and ministry.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Master of Divinity, students will be able to:

  1. Identify the basic contents of all books of the Old and New Testaments and the broad historical and cultural background information relevant to the study of the Old and New Testaments (ULO 1).
  2. Exegete and apply a biblical text properly through application of historical-grammatical hermeneutics (ULO 3).
  3. Explain the major doctrines of Christianity, including their biblical basis, historical development, and contemporary relevance (ULO 1).
  4.  
    1. Explain the basic elements of Spiritual Theology, namely, the nature, process, and practices of spiritual growth (ULO 1).
    2. Demonstrate how knowledge of self integrates with knowledge of God in one's own life (ULO 2).
    3. Demonstrate relational skills that develop community (ULO 3).
    4. Articulate how the biblical teaching on vocation shapes one's own understanding of vocation and gainful employment (ULO 1, 2, 3).
  5. Prepare and present sermons demonstrating biblical accuracy, oral clarity and contemporary relevance (ULO 3).
  6. Students will demonstrate ministry skills in areas such as evangelism, administration, teaching, counseling, and worship (ULO 3).

Each Program Learning Outcome (PLO) listed above references at least one of the University Learning Outcomes (ULO 1, 2, 3), which may be found in the General Information section of this catalog.

Spiritual Formation Specialization Learning Outcomes

Provides preparation for ministries of spiritual formation, soul care, spiritual direction, and preaching to churches and parachurch organizations.

As a result of this program, the student will:

  1. Demonstrate competence in providing spiritual direction to others (ULO 2, 3).
  2. Demonstrate understanding of how to integrate spiritual formation into preaching (ULO 1, 3).

In the M.Div. Spiritual Formation specialization, students will develop the PLO having to do with spiritual formation (M.Div. PLO #4) to a higher level of mastery.

Admission Requirements

All applicants must hold the Bachelor of Arts degree, or its academic equivalent, with a 2.6 (on a 4.0 scale) grade point average. Those not meeting this latter requirement, if accepted, will be placed on probation. Graduates from approved unaccredited colleges, if accepted, will be granted provisional acceptance, though exceptions may be made when the grade point average is 3.0 or higher. Graduates from approved unaccredited colleges may be required to take additional liberal arts course work (not applicable toward the graduate degree) if their undergraduate program did not include these courses.

Specialization Requirements

Changes of specialization may be authorized under certain circumstances prior to the completion of 40 credits, but are discouraged after that point.

Advanced Standing

Applicants who have taken undergraduate courses in biblical or theological studies may request advanced standing based on collegiate work. See Talbot Admissions Requirements for details.

Graduation Requirements

  1. Satisfactorily complete 79 semester credits.
  2. Take the courses prescribed in the Master of Divinity curriculum.
  3. Complete the requirements in the specialization below, including co-curricular requirements.
  4. Students without previous courses in Old Testament Survey and New Testament Survey must take TTBE 519 and TTBE 520, which are not for credit unless taken in place of general elective credits.

  5. Complete the online introduction to theological research and writing by the end of the second semester.

  6. At least 50% of the total credits required for the degree program must be completed at this seminary, calculated prior to applying any advanced standing or transfer credit.
  7. The M.Div. program can be completed in three years (as outlined below). For those who need to extend the program, a four-year curriculum for the Master of Divinity in Pastoral and General Ministries specialization is available on the Office of the Registrar's website.
  8. Must have a 2.5 cumulative GPA with no grade below a "D-".
  9. Meet with Graduate Graduation Counselor in the Office of the Registrar one year prior to graduation to declare intent to graduate. (See Graduate Graduation Check description in the Admission, Enrollment and Graduation Requirements section.)

Biblical Languages Requirement

Two biblical languages are required: Greek and Hebrew. The first three classes of Greek (TTNT 501TTNT 502TTNT 503) are recommended to be completed prior to Hebrew since they are prerequisites to TTPT 609 Expository Preaching.

Greek

The courses listed below are required. A qualifying examination is available to all interested students. Those who pass the examination may enroll directly in TTNT 503.

TTNT 501Beginning Greek I3
TTNT 502Beginning Greek II3
TTNT 503Introduction to Exegesis3
TTNT 604Exegesis in the Gospels3
or TTNT 605 Exegesis in the Epistles

Hebrew

The courses listed below are required. A qualifying examination is available to interested students. Those who pass the examination may take TTOT 604 plus 3–4 credits of Hebrew electives instead of TTOT 603.

TTOT 603Elements of Hebrew I3
TTOT 604Elements of Hebrew II3
TTOT 703Introduction to Hebrew Exegesis3
TTOT 722Hebrew Exegesis2

Curriculum Requirements

Prerequisite Courses
Old Testament Survey
New Testament Survey
Program Courses
Students enrolling in the Spiritual Formation specialization will take the following program courses and co-curricular requirements. All TTSF courses must be taken in-residence.
TTSF 517Hermeneutics and the Word in Spiritual Formation3
or TTBE 517 Hermeneutics and Bible Study Methods
TTHT 505Patristic and Medieval Theology3
or TTHT 506 Reformation and Modern Theology
or TTHT 514 Historical Theology Survey
TTNT 501Beginning Greek I3
TTNT 502Beginning Greek II3
TTNT 503Introduction to Exegesis3
TTNT 604Exegesis in the Gospels3
or TTNT 605 Exegesis in the Epistles
TTOT 603Elements of Hebrew I3
TTOT 604Elements of Hebrew II3
TTOT 703Introduction to Hebrew Exegesis3
TTOT 722Hebrew Exegesis2
TTPT 609Expository Preaching3
TTTH 521Theology I: God, Scripture, Creation3
TTTH 522Theology II: Christ, Humanity, Sin, Salvation3
TTTH 623Theology III: Spirit, Church, Last Things3
Spiritual Formation Specialization Courses
TTPT 602Pastoral Ministry3
TTSF 521Introduction to Christian Spirituality and Prayer2
TTSF 524History and Theory of Christian Soul Care and Direction2
TTSF 531History and Traditions of Christian Spirituality (or TTSF elective course)2
TTSF 532Developmental Spirituality and Contemplative Prayer2
TTSF 543Personal Foundations of Spirituality and Retreat2
TTSF 544Personality Development and Psychopathology3
TTSF 577Soul Care Pre-practicum I and Professional Ethics2
TTSF 578Soul Care Pre-practicum II and Professional Referral3
TTSF 602Prayer and Formation in Expository Preaching 11
TTSF 645Christian Virtue and the Spiritual Disciplines2
TTSF 670Intensive Journey Inward and Retreat 22
TTSF 677Soul Care Practicum I2
or TTPT 791 Field Internship
TTSF 678Soul Care Practicum II2
or TTPT 792 Field Internship
Select two of the following:6
Introduction to World Missions
Apologetics
Evangelism and Follow-Up
Developing Strategic Church Ministries
The Church and Society
Elective Courses
TTSF elective courses2
Co-Curricular Requirements
Contact the Institute for Spiritual Formation (ISF) for a full description of these requirements. 3
Didactic Therapy
Faculty-Student Retreats
Personal Retreats
Student Progress Assessment
Personal Spiritual Direction (must be taken every term of enrollment)
Total Credits79