Below are a few useful terms and definitions for people interested in Religious Studies.
1. Biblical Languages
The bible is the bestselling book of all time and has been translated into many languages throughout history. Biblical languages are the original languages that the bible was written in. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament was written in Greek. The study of biblical languages looks deep into the meaning and theological significance of each word. The meaning from one language to another language can be very different, so explanation and analysis of the original biblical text has been done in many parts of the world. Studying the original biblical languages bring a well-rounded knowledge and greater insight of biblical text.
2. Biblical Studies
Biblical Studies is the study of the Bible according to Christian theology. Students in this field will gain in-depth focus on the history, meaning and relevance of the bible and how it applies to life today. The literature of both the Old Testament and New Testament are examined and interpreted. Knowledge on the background of the bible and the original language used will be taught in this program. Depending on the program, students may choose to study Greek and Hebrew while earning this degree. With a Biblical studies degree, a person can have a career as a chaplain, missionary or consular. Teaching at Christian schools, churches and attending seminary are all options with a biblical studies degree.
3. Certificate in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship
This certificate program is designed to be complementary to a degree program or as a means to grow as a spiritual disciple. A certificate in spiritual formation and discipleship aims to lead people into a deeper and more beneficial spiritual life. This program helps develop leaders and be confident in bringing Christian knowledge and teachings to others. Students in this program gather to read, discuss and examine biblical texts. Depending on the school where the program is taken, students can earn credit towards a degree or take the certification without pursuing academic credit. A certification in spiritual formation and discipleship takes much less time than a normal degree.
Chaplains are clergy members who originally worked for a specific church, religious organization or denomination. Today, chaplains serve the secular areas as well as religious associations. As they work in nonreligious institutions they can provide guidance and even spiritual counseling for those who request it. They provide a safe and comfortable ear to listen to and consul others on issues they may be having. Chaplains can be employed by a number of organizations, such as the government, corporations and sports teams. Though chaplains are similar to pastors as they lead people spiritually, a chaplain does not require the same education and provides assistance to a variety of faiths and usually attend to recently traumatized patients.
5. Christian Ministries
A degree in Christian Ministries focuses on missions, Christian theology, and leading a church. There are many occupation options available with a degree in Christian ministries. A few of the possible jobs with this degree include counseling, chaplaincy, ministers and education. With this degree students should be able to successfully communicate and explain the Bible. The goal of this degree is to develop well-rounded, open minded and Christ centered students. A Christian ministries program should teach students to communicate the Bible and Christian beliefs to diverse populations around the world. A degree in Christian ministries should help prepare individuals for a faith based career, graduate school and seminary.
6. Divinity School
Divinity school is a religious program designed to prepare students for a career in ministry. Colleges and universities offer this schooling as part of seminary schooling, or as its own graduate professional program. A degree in divinity usually takes anywhere from two to seven years, depending on the program. . Programs usually require internships, where students will work with churches and other ministries.
7. Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.)
This master’s program takes an in-depth approach to Christian theology, history and research. A master of theological studies is not meant to develop pastors, but has a greater focus on academic teachings and theological thinking. A portfolio of work throughout the program is kept as records for a student’s understanding and research of Christian documents. A master’s thesis is typically required for completion of a M.T.S. and serves as a means to prepare students for religious education. Schools may offer alternatives to writing a thesis, such as project work, additional courses or working on a research paper with a professor.
In a religious context, a missionary is someone sent on a mission to share information or preach to others about their beliefs. Missionaries may travel to foreign places to preach the gospel or whatever beliefs they have. Missionary work can be done anywhere, even in the town you live in. It includes serving other and sharing the history of your doctrine or faith and why you believe what you do. Missionaries may travel in groups or go on individual missions. The main goal is to share their religion to others and offer them a chance to join them in that practice.
9. Parachurch Organizations
Parachurch organizations are churches without a specific denomination; instead they embrace their own Christian parameters within a single parachurch. This allows them to have a variety of denominations be part of their organization. All parachurches have a common goal of serving Christ, but this is done in a way that is not confined to an autonomous branch. A parachuch organization participates in evangelism, social good and should support the community as well as neighboring churches. However, there has been some controversy with parachurches when they do not aim to lead people to a church and support the goals of other denominations.
10. Urban Ministries
The meaning of urban ministries depends on the culture and area you are talking about. Most urban ministries refer to the inner-city area. It also includes the people that live in the city as well as poor and diverse populations. These ministries can include numerous churches and nonprofit organizations seeking to help the community and less fortunate. Ministries may go into the city to evangelize and attend to the needy. Food banks, fundraising and service work are a few ways urban ministries provide for their communities. This type of ministry is open to serving a variety of people, regardless of their faith.
11. Youth Minister
A youth minister, also known as a youth pastor, is someone who works with and disciples to children or young adults. These people devote time to teach children their religious doctrine and coach them along the stage in life they are in with a foundation on their faith. The goal of a youth minister is to bring children closer to their faith and denomination. Youth ministers also aid parents and guardians in teaching their children according to their religious beliefs. Many youth pastors oversea trips, missions and camps that the youth group travels on. A youth minster reports to the senior pastor in their organization.