MABL: Master of Arts in Biblical Languages

Program Description

HBU’s MABL program is unique in that Houston has no major seminary or other source that specializes in biblical language acquisition. Of those national programs that do, very few produce graduates at the level of proficiency of our undergraduates in biblical languages. Our hope with this area of study is to serve students who have graduated with a BA in either Biblical Languages or Christianity. Building on this solid base, we expect to provide exceptional training in Hebrew and Greek that will prove useful in (and beyond) ministry.

Here you will study with award-winning faculty who are committed to excellence in teaching and Christian values. You will enjoy one-on-one advising and personal attention in small classes with a low faculty-student ratio. MABL permits a student to establish a master’s-level proficiency in both Greek and Hebrew, with additional work in linguistics, hermeneutics, and Aramaic.

The learning objectives and outcomes for the MABL include the ability to read the Bible and related literature in their original languages with an understanding of grammatical, syntactical, semantic, discursive, rhetorical, exegetical and hermeneutical issues.

Advantages and Opportunities

Through close interaction with experienced faculty in small, seminar-style classes, students in HBU’s Master of Arts in Biblical Languages program will be challenged to grow intellectually and spiritually in their servant leadership. One of the greatest strengths of our program is the personal interaction with faculty. Our MABL classes are typically capped at 15 students, which best allows us to get to know you personally. In addition, rather than always lecturing and merely giving you all the right answers, our classes are primarily seminar-style, in which we read texts together and discuss them in community, allowing us all to learn from the diverse perspectives of those in the classroom. This not only encourages a deeper engagement with texts and language; but for those looking toward future study, it prepares learners for the type of discussion in PhD seminars.

The majority of our students are pursuing a vocation of church-related ministry, and our ecclesially engaged faculty are well-suited to help you in your preparation. Besides the variety of past church ministry experiences that we bring, many of our faculty are currently serving as pastors and interim pastors. At the same time, some of you might be considering a PhD as the next step. Many of our faculty, some with degrees from world-class research universities, are engaged currently in research and publishing. We have had a number of students complete further graduate study successfully at other well-respected programs, such as Cambridge University and Yale University. The option to write a graduate thesis is especially helpful for those looking in this direction.

Course Requirements

The MABL degree requires at least 30 hours for completion, given that the student has acquired at least two semesters of Elementary Greek and two semesters of Elementary Hebrew prior to admission. Students who do not have sufficient training in Greek or Hebrew (at least two semesters of coursework in each language equivalent to GREK/HEBR 5301 & 5302) must complete this before advancing to the Greek and Hebrew reading classes.

The MABL core requirements are thus:

  • two 6000 level Greek courses,
  • two 6000 level Hebrew courses, and
  • two additional 6000 level courses in the student’s chosen language of specialization.
    • (This will amount to a minimum of four courses in either Greek or Hebrew.)

Beyond these core courses, students will take two Language Elective courses from the following: Hermeneutics, Linguistics, or any courses in Greek (6000+), Hebrew (6000+), Aramaic (5000+), or Latin (5000+).

Finally, students will take two additional courses from the Language Electives above or any CHRI, MLA, PHIL, APOL 5000/6000 courses that have relevance for the student’s specific area of study based on approval of the program director. Also pending approval from the program director, a 3-hour or 6-hour Thesis may satisfy one or more of these requirements.

Costs, Scholarships and Financing

To find the costs of the program, see the current year Graduate Tuition and Fees for the MABL program.

HBU offers several types of scholarships to help our incoming students. Below is a list of those applicable to MABL students.

MABL Program Scholarship (up to 50% of Tuition, i.e. $750/class): This is a competitive scholarship, which is granted based on a variety of factors (GPA, vocational calling, strength of resume, etc.). It is granted only to incoming students. And about 1/4 of our students get this scholarship. If you are applying for the program scholarship, please submit a letter of introduction of yourself to the Scholarship Committee addressing your goals and how this degree will help you achieve them, as well as a description of the top 5-10 books that have influenced you. In addition, please include your church membership information. This essay should be about 300-500 words and uploaded with the application.

 HBU Alumni Scholarship ($250/class): If you are an alumnus of HBU, you will automatically get this scholarship if you apply for it on time.

GRE Scholarship (Variable Amounts): We don’t require the GRE for entrance, but if you take it and do well (i.e., 308 or greater), you can get a scholarship based on how well you do. We’ve had students get 10%-25% of tuition covered through this scholarship, so if you think you might do well without (much) preparation, it would be worth just taking the test to see if you get something.

Guild Scholarship (~$3000/yr): About 1/4 of MATS students that apply for this scholarship get some aid, with the stronger students getting higher amounts. Different than other scholarships, this one is granted on an annual basis, so that students currently in the program (as well as new students) can apply for this. The application deadline for this scholarship is April 1, and whatever is granted will apply to the following academic year (Summer-Spring). Besides the Guild application, which is a separate application from the one for the other scholarships, you also need to submit a letter of introduction as described on the website. Note: No additional material besides the application and the letter of introduction are required. The letters of reference and resume will be drawn from your application for admission (unless you want to update them).

BGCT Graduate Scholarship. ($100/credit hour): Additionally, the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) offers $100 per credit hour for graduate students who are pursuing ministry as a vocation. Please note that there is a Graduate Initial Application (and possibly an additional personal statement) different from the application for admission. Please make sure you check all the relevant boxes on the application.

NOTE: Your Application file must be completed and Scholarship Application must be submitted by these dates to be considered for scholarships: Summer: April 1, Fall: July 1, Spring: November 1.

Apart from our many scholarship opportunities, students may also take out loans to help finance the cost of their graduate education. To be eligible for federal loans, students must take at least 5 hours for a fall or spring semester, or 4 hours in the summer.

After Graduation

Students earning a Masters of Arts in Biblical Languages may serve the body of Christ in a variety of ways. Many will proceed for doctoral work or seminary. Others will ultimately find vocations in teaching, preaching, translating and pastoral ministries. Our MABL students have gone on to work as missionaries, professors, pastors, and scholars in fields relating to biblical studies, linguistics, neuroscience, and more. No matter your path, every student will acquire tools that will enrich his or her Christian service in all areas of life.

Connect With Us

There are a variety of ways to engage the Department of Classics and Biblical Languages. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter. Our students benefit from a professorial biblical languages blog. Our professors contribute to HBU’s School of Christian Thought community blog, and we participate in HBU’s annual Theology Conference and regular lectures by preeminent scholars as part of the A.O. Collins Lecture Series.

Feel free to direct any further inquiries to our MABL Program Director, Dr. Timothy Brookins, at tbrookins@hbu.edu.