Theology Major (BA)

George Fox Theology ministries majors study at a top Christian college.

‘A Study of God, and the Things of God’

Theology is “the study of God, and the things of God.” At George Fox, that study is about more than knowledge. Every theology student will gain understanding of the whole Bible, church history and Christian thought.

Beyond that, students will be given spiritual formation through faculty mentors and the chance to participate in a community of study, worship and spiritual discipline. They will continually apply what they are learning in service to the church and the world.

Discover Where Your Talents Can Be Used

After a foundational course of study, each student concentrates in an area of interest, the place where they see their talents lining up with the church’s and world’s needs.

  • In the biblical studies concentration, students dive deeper into Scripture – into the original languages and history of the Bible – and hone the art of interpretation in preparation for a life as pastor, teacher or scholar.
  • In the Christian ministries concentration, students think practically about serving the church – everything from global missions to youth ministry – and learn the basic tools of counseling, budgeting, and church administration.
  • In the philosophy concentration, students journey deep into apologetics, logic and ethics, and are formed as Christian thought leaders, prepared for service to the church and society.

Delve Deep into the Heart of the Faith

Every concentration in the major requires students to master the art of reading, discussing, interpreting, writing and speaking about core texts, ideas and issues at the heart of our Christian faith. These core skills are transferable into any sector of professional life and provide a distinct advantage for those who go on to careers in related fields such as law, journalism, politics, education or nonprofit leadership.

Biblical Studies

The biblical studies concentration offers a 38-semester-hour course of study designed to provide students a solid foundation for church ministries, with an emphasis on working with youth and parachurch organizations, teaching the Bible in Christian school settings, and pursuing graduate work in Bible and theology.

Students in this concentration will acquire an in-depth working knowledge of Scripture, theological tradition, and methods of Christian interpretation.

Christian Ministries

The Christian ministries concentration offers a 39-semester-hour course of study designed to prepare students to enter Christian service in local churches and parachurch organizations, providing biblical and theological preparation and an excellent base for graduate studies in a wide variety of ministry fields. Typical careers are positions as pastors, missionaries, youth pastors and Christian education directors.

Philosophy

The philosophy concentration offers a 39-semester-hour course of study designed to prepare students to think well and communicate clearly at the intersection of Christian theology and philosophy. 

The program prepares students for a wide variety of options in graduate school, including history, law, law enforcement, literature, philosophy and theology/ministry. Skills in critical thinking and clear communication also prepare students well for careers in business and industry. Most importantly, philosophical skills are central to the active life of the mind.


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Major Requirements

Complete the following:

Using selected books and portions, the Old Testament will be studied with attention given to historic contexts, major religious themes, and literary forms of the Bible.
In this first part of a two-part sequence, students begin their journey into the breadth and depth of Christian theology, studying what Christians have believed and practiced. Emphasis is placed on major themes, figures, texts, and on students connecting their Christian practice with the intellectual traditions of the Church.
Using selected books and portions, the New Testament will be studied with attention given to historic contexts, major religious themes, and literary forms of the Bible.
In this second part of a two-part sequence, students continue their journey into the breadth and depth of Christian theology, studying what Christians have believed and practiced. Emphasis is placed on major themes, figures, texts, and on students connecting their Christian practice with the intellectual traditions of the Church. Prerequisite: THEO 202 Theology I

Concentrations (26-28 hours) - choose one

Complete the following:
In this course students will study languages relevant to their biblical and theological study (options include ancient languages such as Hebrew, Greek, Latin, or inscriptions, as well as modern languages such as German, French, Spanish, etc.). Basics of vocabulary and grammar and special aspects of the language will be covered in the first semester, while the second semester moves more heavily into reading primary sources.
Ethics consists of an analysis of the ethical theories and systems by which persons make judgments and choices, with special attention to contemporary moral issues and the modern revival of virtue theory.
In this course students will study the history of Biblical interpretation as it has been practiced within the Bible itself and by Christians throughout the first 1500 or so years of the Church. We then turn to examine interpretation in the modern, “critical” period after the Enlightenment, and explore the wide variety of interpretive methods that have blossomed in the 20th and 21st centuries. Students will also engage in a process toward considering what faithful and creative interpretation of the Bible might look like in their personal study and in their various communities. Prerequisites: THEO 201 Old Testament and THEO 202 Theology I; or instructor permission.
In this course students will study languages relevant to their biblical and theological study (options include ancient languages such as Hebrew, Greek, Latin, or inscriptions, as well as modern languages such as German, French, Spanish, etc.). Basics of vocabulary and grammar and special aspects of the language will be covered in the first semester, while the second semester moves more heavily into reading primary sources. Prerequisite: THEO 325 Theological Languages I.
Having gained reasonable command of biblical content and the Christian theological tradition, in this course students are invited into advanced academic study at the intersection of theology and biblical studies. Topics will vary, but will include readings, seminar discussion, and research on the relationship between the Bible and theology, contemporary problems in theology and biblical studies, and the relationship among these fields of study and the contemporary world. Prerequisites: THEO 301 New Testament, THEO 302 Theology II, and THEO 390 Biblical Interpretations.
Complete 9 hours from the following:
Theology and Biblical Studies are vibrant and dynamic fields of study, with profound implications not only for communities of faith but also for the study of politics, literary studies, philosophy, history, and popular culture. This course will focus on contemporary issues relevant to the research interests and specialties of George Fox University faculty in theology and Bible and will offer an opportunity for students and faculty to collaborate in the dual process of research and personal transformation. Specific topics rotate, and the course can be taken more than once with different topics. Prerequisite: THEO 101 I Believe and THEO 102 I Believe, or by permission.
Theology and Biblical Studies are vibrant and dynamic fields of study, with profound implications not only for communities of faith but also for the study of politics, literary studies, philosophy, history, and popular culture. This advanced course will focus on contemporary issues relevant to the research interests and specialties of George Fox University faculty in theology and Bible and will offer an opportunity for students and faculty to collaborate in the dual process of research and personal transformation. Specific topics rotate, and the course can be taken more than once with different topics. Prerequisite: THEO 301 New Testament and THEO 302 Theology II, or by instructor permission.
In this course students will continue their language study from the THEO 325-425 sequence, reviewing grammar and vocabulary as necessary but moving into primary source readings, research papers requiring use of the language, and other skills as appropriate. Prerequisites: THEO 325 Theological Languages I and THEO 425 Theological Languages II.
Supervised internship or other experience in the areas of Christian ministry, biblical studies, philosophy, teaching, or other related fields as appropriate to the student’s discipline. Administered by application or instructor permission as required by a student’s academic program. Graded Pass/No Pass
Complete the following:
A study of biblical principles of evangelism, nurturing, and teaching. This study encompasses the Christian educational responsibilities of the local church and parachurch agencies.
The biblical basis and history of missions are considered, with a special focus upon the modern missionary movement of the last 200 years.
This course examines the diversity of the global Christian Church through an exploration of key theological texts written by the foremost theologians from the continents of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe.
A study of the historical background and philosophical development in Christian education, with an examination of the influence of these antecedents upon theory and practice. Contemporary trends in current and emerging ministries will be assessed against such perspectives.
A study of motivation, guidance, and method in reference to youth and youth ministries, aimed at developing leadership skills.
An exploration of how people grow and change spiritually. The study integrates biblical insights, classic Christian spirituality, developmental theory, and contemporary individual and corporate practice in spiritual formation. It will critically explore how spirituality relates to vocation, relationships, and the demands of daily living.
A practical course providing methods and introductory techniques for preparation and delivery of Christian speaking as ministry. A variety of message construction types will be studied, and students will have opportunity to speak and receive student and instructor evaluation. This course will cover sermon preparation and delivery, devotional and inspirational speaking, extemporaneous sharing, and broader aspects of communicating Christian truth.
A comparative study between Christianity and other prominent religions of the world, such as Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and contemporary kinds of alternative religion. [THEO 410 and INTL 440 are identical courses].
Supervised internship or other experience in the areas of Christian ministry, biblical studies, philosophy, teaching, or other related fields as appropriate to the student’s discipline. Administered by application or instructor permission as required by a student’s academic program. Graded Pass/No Pass
Complete the following:
This course is designed to introduce students to what it means to think and live philosophically. There are a number of different variations of this course. Each variation picks a different topic through which to explore how philosophy be a tool for interpreting, understanding and interacting with the world. Not only that, we will also examine how philosophy can shape the way in which we live out our lives. Each course includes some reading of Plato and at least one other major philosophy in the tradition. Examples of different variations of this course include: "God, Freedom and Evil", "Simplicity", "Socrates and Plato", "Land and Humans", and "Virtue and Faith".
Logic involves a study of Aristotelian forms of deductive reasoning, including the syllogism, inductive reasoning, fallacies, and some aspect of symbolic logic, including Venn diagrams and truth tables. Its goal is to facilitate sound thinking that is both creative and critical.
Ethics consists of an analysis of the ethical theories and systems by which persons make judgments and choices, with special attention to contemporary moral issues and the modern revival of virtue theory.
This course seeks to overcome the opposition between spirituality and the intellectual life. We will examine ways in which spirituality can deepen and undergird the intellectual life, as well as finding ways that a reflective, deep thinking life can nurture and strengthen one's spirituality. We will not only examine these relationships abstractly, but will attempt to put into practice patterns of integrating mind and spirit.
Having gained reasonable command of biblical content and the Christian theological tradition, in this course students are invited into advanced academic study at the intersection of theology and biblical studies. Topics will vary, but will include readings, seminar discussion, and research on the relationship between the Bible and theology, contemporary problems in theology and biblical studies, and the relationship among these fields of study and the contemporary world. Prerequisites: THEO 301 New Testament, THEO 302 Theology II, and THEO 390 Biblical Interpretations.
Complete 12-hour of the following course with different topics:
This course will be offered with various topics.
Theology and Philosophy are vibrant and dynamic fields of study, with profound implications not only for communities of faith but also for the study of politics, literary studies, philosophy, history, and popular culture. This advanced course will focus on contemporary issues relevant to the research interests and specialties of George Fox University faculty in theology and philosophy and will offer an opportunity for students and faculty to collaborate in the dual process of research and personal transformation. Specific topics rotate, and the course can be taken more than once with different topics. Prerequisite: THEO 202 Theology I, THEO 250 Introduction to Philosophy or THEO 302 Theology II.

Jobs, Internships and Graduate School

Theology majors are known by name by their professors.

Theology graduates find themselves both qualified and sought after for positions in churches, mission organizations and faith-based nonprofits. Those alumni that pursue graduate education find themselves well-prepared for pursuing advanced degrees in biblical or theological studies, and it is not uncommon for graduates to build on their theology foundation by pursuing upper-level degrees in teaching, social work and counseling. All theology graduates leave as men and women formed by Christ and ready to serve as agents of formation in the lives of others.

  • Night Ministry, Portland Rescue Mission
  • Nurse, Sisters of Providence
  • Youth Minister, 2nd Street Community Church
  • Dentist, La Clinica
  • Translator, Wycliffe Bible Translators
  • Chaplain, United States Air Force
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Notre Dame
  • Missionary in Indonesia, Wycliffe Bible Translators
  • Principal, Newman Catholic Middle/High School
  • English Teacher in Rwanda, Rwanda Yearly Meeting of Friends
  • Portland Seminary
  • Gordon-Conwell Seminary
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Princeton Theological Seminary
  • Dallas Theological Seminary
  • Yale Divinity School
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Eastern University
  • University of Nebraska
  • University of Portland, School of Nursing
  • Oregon Health & Science University, School of Dentistry
  • Mission Year
  • 2nd Street Community Church, Newberg, Ore.
  • Dundee Covenant Church, Dundee, Ore.
  • Love, INC, Newberg, Ore.
  • Friendsview Retirement Community, Newberg, Ore.
  • Minuteman Community Education
  • Catholic Community Services
  • Youth Dynamics

In the News

Jael Chambers

Grad’s passion for racial reconciliation is changing lives in Philadelphia

If there’s ever the temptation to get discouraged and give in – to let all the brokenness and heartbreak around him derail the work at hand – Jael K.D.L.V. Chambers doesn’t let on. He can’t afford to. The need is too great, the stakes too high.

As associate regional director for Young Life in Philadelphia, Chambers sees it all: the fatherless homes, the desperation of “the hood,” the palpable racial and political tension in the city. And yet, he remains unfazed. He’s witnessed too many instances of restoration and reconciliation to lose hope now. Read more …

Student Experiences

Frances Bunday

"I spent two years doing ministry with the safety net and coaching of my professors. I experienced some majorly challenging moments in ministry that continued even after I graduated, and to know I still had professors I could call on to meet and to problem solve was huge for me. They helped me understand how God had been working over the course of my life to show me what his calling on my life would be, and they gave me the tools I needed to do the work God has for me."

- Frances Bunday

Mat Hollen

"I was taught to think critically and faithfully about the message of Jesus and how it impacts our lives, and I saw that truth lived out daily in my relationship with my professors. George Fox has left a lasting legacy on my spiritual life and my desire to do excellent biblical and cultural exegesis in order to demonstrate just how compelling Jesus is. But more than anything else, God has taught me to trust and to follow and to take care of myself in order to better care for others. I learned the skills of self-care in my time at Fox. I am confident that I am a healthier, better-adjusted follower of Jesus because of the foundations I received in my time there."

- Mat Hollen

Points of Distinction

  • Faculty members have real-life ministry experience.
  • Our programs prepare students for a life of service, not only “professional” ministry positions.
  • Programs include perspectives on social justice issues, peace and reconciliation.
  • Students are prepared for graduate and post-graduate studies.

Why George Fox?

Christ-centered community

Our faith influences everything we do here, from the way our professors teach to the way we relate to one another and serve in the community.

Global opportunities

More than half of George Fox undergraduate students study abroad, ranking George Fox among the nation's leaders in study abroad participation (U.S. News & World Report).

Small classes

Our 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio means you'll get to know your professors on a personal level.

National recognition

George Fox University is a Christian university classified by U.S. News & World Report as a first-tier national university, and Forbes ranks George Fox among the highest Christian colleges in the country.