2018-2019 Graduate Catalog

Biblical Studies (PhD)

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Biblical Studies is a terminal research doctorate designed to prepare and equip biblical scholars who show exceptional academic promise and teaching potential.

The degree program requires 60 credit hours of study, including the doctoral dissertation. The program is delivered in a blended format, leveraging online technology with face-to-face seminar experiences, resulting in a model of delivery that fits the lives of adult learners. Because of this alternate delivery method, the PhD in Biblical Studies will be accessible to men and women who are already actively engaged in full time marketplace employment or Christian ministries and are unable to enter a traditional residency program.

The life-engaged learners will join a cohort of peers who, together, will progress though a prescribed sequence of seminars, develop sustainable habits of scholarly inquiry, and enjoy the benefits of functioning in a cooperative learning environment.

Through the PhD in Biblical Studies, students will realize a greater mastery of biblical languages, historical backgrounds, and theological frameworks. The program also contains a significant component of seminar work dedicated to the development of mediated and classroom teaching skills for the instruction of adult learners, including learning theory, instructional design, and educational technology. In addition to the more common humanities-based research model for biblical research, students will have the option of focusing their dissertation research in the area of biblical instruction by using empirical methodologies as well as humanities-based research designs.

The integration of these studies and disciplines will enable the candidates to conduct doctoral level research and will equip them to serve as ministry practitioners in a variety of fields requiring the highest level of academic degree achievement.

Curricular Structure

The PhD in Biblical Studies program consists of sixty credits, two non-credit Research Language Courses (French and German) and a non-credit Comprehensive Exams Course. The curriculum is designed as follows:

Expert Biblical Exegete 32 Credits
Innovator of Education 8 Credits
Researcher-Scholar 20 Credits
Program Total 60 Credit

Curricular Design and Distinct Characteristics

This program requires a minimum of three and a half years of study. Students who enroll in the PhD in Biblical Studies degree program will complete 60 hours of academic study consisting of 40 credit hours of core competency seminars and 20 credit hours of focused, research-related study, including comprehensive exams, prospectus preparation, and completion of the dissertation.


The purpose of the PhD in Biblical Studies program is to prepare twenty-first century professors, teachers, pastors, missionaries and other types of ministry educators to teach biblical and theological studies in Bible colleges, Christian liberal arts colleges, seminaries, and other teaching contexts and equip them to integrate a significant knowledge of educational technology, adult learning theory, and mediated learning methodology in their teaching role, which in many cases will involve a mediated delivery environment.

Location Offered

Greenbelt, MD

Program Director

Dr. Mark R. Meyer

Dr. Mark Meyer provides the leadership for the PhD in Biblical Studies. He brings more than 20 years of church ministry and teaching experience to the classroom having taught at the graduate level at Capital Bible Seminary. Dr. Meyer has earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University, an MS in Electrical Engineering at The Johns Hopkins University, an MDiv degree at Capital Bible Seminary, and an MA and PhD in Semitic Languages and Literatures at The Catholic University of America. Dr. Meyer has also completed studies in Israel with Jerusalem University College.

Phone: 717.342.7594 | Email: mmeyer@lbc.edu


These individuals have full-time or part-time appointments on the faculty and will serve this program. Other full-time, adjunct and part-time faculty will be engaged as the program progresses in its development.

Resident Faculty: Adjunct Faculty:
Doug Finkbeiner, PhD Michael Antohny, PhD
Thomas W. Hudgins, EdD Debra Johnson
Joseph Kim, PhD Jeffrey Tuttle, EdD
Harold Kime, PhD
Miles A. Lewis, EdD
Mark L . Menga, PhD
Mark R. Meyer, PhD
Carl E. Sanders II, PhD
John Soden PhD

Core Competencies

As a result of completing the PhD in Biblical Studies, the student will attain an excellent command of the historical, cultural, and linguistic foundations of Scripture. The student will also attain an expert's ability to apply advanced hermeneutical principles to develop a theology of Scripture and to critically evaluate theological systems. The graduate of the program will then be empowered to serve as a teacher of teachers, employing the most effective and innovative techniques, including computer technology and mediated instruction. The program will also prepare world-class scholars proficient in advanced research methods leveraging cutting-edge computer research techniques.

Expert Biblical Exegete

This core competency will:

  • Deepen and sharpen the students' ability to exegete Scripture through advanced training in the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The students explore the cognate languages and study textual criticism to expand their knowledge and understanding of the wider foundations of Scripture.
  • Enable the student to comprehend and analyze Scripture against the backdrop of the languages, civilizations, and literatures of the ancient world in which the revelation of God was first given to humanity.
  • Equip the student with exegetical skills needed to effectively discern the teaching of Scripture for the sake of communicating biblical truth to others.

Innovator of Education

This core competency will:

  • Equip the student to think and execute skillfully as classroom and online teachers. Courses focus on the acquisition of the knowledge and skills necessary for comprehending human development processes, learning theory, and the teaching-learning process as they apply to both the classroom and online teaching contexts.
  • Students will gain an understanding of adult learning theory and its effective application to the teaching of adults in the changing higher education environment. Students learn how to engage adult learners in face-to-face, online, and blended teaching contexts. Students explore appropriate teaching models for adult learners in mediated learning environments. As students employ technological tools and blended learning techniques, they further hone their ability to train others to effectively use the same tools and techniques.

Researcher Scholar

  • As a result of completing the PhD in Biblical Studies program, the student will gain the ability to think and execute skillfully as a researcher-scholar and author using computer technology. This core competency focuses on the development of research skills necessary in the completion of a research doctoral degree. This is accomplished through three primary means: the foundational research course, mentored research, and the dissertation sequence.
  • Students may elect one of two approaches to research - the humanities approach most commonly employed in biblical scholarship or an empirical approach often employed in the field of education. Students will take a Biblical Research and Writing Course which includes an introduction to empirical research methods at the beginning of the program.
  • Biblical Research & Writing Course: This course is taken in the first semester to orient the student to the research and writing methods which will continue to be developed throughout the duration of the program. The student is also introduced to the cohort learning model and participates in collaborative learning processes. The principles established in this foundational course also feed directly into the educational competency as they model the teaching methods from the andragogical courses.
  • Mentored Research: All students are assigned a scholar-mentor who will assist them in honing the skill of research. Mentors supervise the students' research and serve as the chair of the students' dissertation committee.
  • Biblical Research Dissertation Sequence: The dissertation sequence consists of four stages: Reading & Prospectus, Chapters 1-2, Dissertation Completion, and Dissertation Defense. Building on the foundation laid in the Biblical Research & Writing Course, this core competency furthers the development of the essential knowledge and thinking skills needed to carry out the entire research process, including identification of the research problem, conducting a literature review, designing of research approach, and writing of the dissertation. It also develops the analytical and critical thinking skills needed to evaluate and interpret research findings. This competency culminates with the writing and defense of a research dissertation.
  • Biblical Instruction Dissertation Option: Using an empirical approach to research design, students may elect to study aspects of biblical instruction in the mediated learning environment. Each candidate for the PhD in Biblical Studies Instruction Option must complete a dissertation based on the candidate's own systematic inquiry into an area of advanced research in academic instruction. The dissertation is intended to demonstrate competency in research design, methodology, and the ability to think critically and make a contribution to the literature in the field of study. Special permission is required from the Dean of the Seminary to pursue this dissertation approach.

Program Requirements for PhD in Biblical Studies

Content Seminars (40 credits)

Content seminars engage the student in the study and analysis of the pivotal topics in biblical backgrounds, exegesis, hermeneutics and theology, exposition, and pedagogical and andragogical communication skills. Students learn both the skill of biblical research and the skill of teaching adults in the blended and online environments.

Research Language Courses (0 credits)

Proficiency in two modern languages is required for the PhD in Biblical Studies, usually French and German. Doctoral students who have not previously taken French and German must complete non-credit coursework to gain proficiency in reading French and German literature pertinent to biblical studies. These courses are taken during the first two years of the program. A proficiency exam is administered at the end of each course. A grade of B or higher is required for the proficiency exam.

(Students who are accepted into the "Biblical Instruction Dissertation Option" may take Empirical Research in place of Reading German and Reading French. Approval of the Program Director is required.)

Comprehensive Exams Course (0 credits)

Four written comprehensive examinations will be given, one in each of the following areas: biblical backgrounds, exegesis, hermeneutics, and theology. Doctoral students must complete the comprehensive examinations successfully before the dissertation prospectus can be approved.

Dissertation Series (20 credits)

The student follows the dissertation courses 915-918 leading to dissertation completion.

Core Competency

Expert Biblical Exegete (32 credits)

BIB 903OT Backgrounds


BIB 904NT Backgrounds


BIB 905OT Exegesis


BIB 906NT Exegesis


BIB 909OT Hermeneutics & Theology


BIB 910NT Hermeneutics & Theology


BIB 911Cohort Elective 1


BIB 912Cohort Elective 2


Innovator of Education (8 credits)

BIB 902Teaching & Learning: Theory & Practice


BIB 913Contemporary Instructinal Methods and Design


Researcher Scholar (20 credits)

BIB 901Advanced Biblical Research & Writing


BIB 907Reading French


BIB 908Reading German


BIB 914Comprehensive Exam Preparation


BIB 915Dissertation IA: Reading & Prospectus


BIB 916Dissertation IB: Chapters 1-2


BIB 917Dissertation II: Completion


BIB 918Dissertation Defense


Total Required Credit Hours (60 credits)

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate with the PhD in Biblical Studies degree, the student must have fulfilled all of the following:

  1. Complete all course work with a grade of B or higher.
  2. Pass the comprehensive exams.
  3. Successfully write and defend the dissertation prospectus.
  4. Successfully write and defend the dissertation.
  5. Submit the completed dissertation for publication and binding.
  6. Fulfill all financial obligations to Capital Seminary and Graduate School.
  7. Complete the program within the statute of limitations period as identified in the PhD in Biblical Studies Handbook.
  8. Adhere to biblical standards and ethics in living one's lifestyle.
  9. Participate in the graduation and hooding ceremony

Admission Criteria

Admission to the PhD in Biblical Studies program is selective and is reserved for students who demonstrate advanced abilities in the areas of teaching, ministry, and academic scholarship. Applicants should meet or exceed the requirements listed below.

  1. Completion of full Application Process.
  2. Preferred applicants will be those engaged in a teaching or ministry role or those applicants who show exceptional promise for such a role in the future.
  3. Applicants must hold an earned and accredited Master's degree in an appropriate and related field, with coursework equivalent to either an MDiv or a master's degree with a thesis. Students who have other Master's degrees may appeal this requirement to the Dean of the Seminary.
  4. Applicant's transcripts must reflect a background in biblical, theological, biblical language, and ministry studies. Those applicants who have not completed sufficient coursework in biblical, biblical language, theological, and ministry studies will be required to take "leveling" work to prepare the applicant for the biblical and theological component of the program.
  5. Applicants must submit a writing sample of 15 pages or longer. The sample must be written at the master's level on a biblical or theological topic.
  6. Applicants with a ThM degree may apply for Advanced Standing. Students who are admitted and approved for Advanced Standing may be allowed to audit BIB 901, BIB 905, and BIB 906 instead of taking these courses for credit. This will allow them to complete the program with 48 hours of coursework instead of the standard 60 hours while still benefitting from exposure to the course content.
  7. Applicants must hold a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.25 in previous master's level work. Students may appeal this requirement to the Dean of the Seminary.
  8. Applicants must take the MAT (Miller Analogies Test, www.milleranalogies.com) or GRE (Graduate Record Exam, www.ets.org/gre/general/register) and submit their score as per the application process. The test scores may not be more than five years old at the time of application.
  9. Applicants must complete the Online Computer Proficiency Form.
  10. Applicants whose first language is not English must attain a minimum test score of 600 on the paper-based TOEFL General Test (250 on the computer-based exam or 100 for the Internet-based test) or an equivalent demonstration of the ability to read, write and do academic research in standard English.
  11. The student must obtain employer permission to enter the program. An Employer Permission Form must be on file as part of the application process.
  12. Applicants with deficiencies in required areas may appeal to the Program Director. The Program Director and the Admissions Committee will review the application and may admit the student on a provisional basis. Students admitted on a provisional basis must meet the requirements set forth by the Program Director and the Admissions Committee in the time allotted in order to remain in the program.
  13. Applicants must provide three confidential reference forms (1 academic, 1 character, and 1 pastor) using the Recommendation for Admission Form for each.

Application Process

In order to complete an application to the PhD in Biblical Studies program, the applicant will need to perform the following tasks.

  1. Complete the Online Application Form or request an Application Packet from Adult Learner Services by email, by phone at 866.275.8720 or 717.560.8297, or by mail at Capital Seminary and Graduate School, 901 Eden Road, Lancaster, PA 17601-5036. Request a PhD pre-application.
  2. Submit Additional Documents.
    • Transcripts from all post-secondary school attended
    • Writing sample
    • Five Confidential Reference Forms (two academic, two character, one pastor, using the Recommendation for Admission Form.)
    • Employer Approval Form
  3. Complete Standardized Testing.
    • Take and submit official test scores for the GRE or MAT.
    • Applicants whose first language is not English must also submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language exam (TOEFL).
  4. Create and submit a Personal Vitae.

    This vitae should include in the following order:

    • A brief description of your previous academic studies
    • A brief description of your rationale and goals for pursuing research doctoral studies
    • A brief description of areas of research you might be interested in exploring during your doctoral studies
    • A list of writings you have published, if any
    • A detailed description of your current occupational responsibilities
    • Identify and explain the ministries in which you are currently are engaged. Provide a detailed listing of previous ministry experiences indicating the significant tasks and leadership responsibilities, if any.
  5. Pay the $40 non-refundable application fee.

    Pay with credit card by calling 717.560.8254 or mail a check, payable to Capital Seminary and Graduate School, to 901 Eden Road, Lancaster, PA 17601.

  6. Interview and Field Essay.

    All applicants must come to the Greenbelt site for an admissions interview. While there, applicants will be asked to write a field essay on a topic related to biblical/theological studies. Applicants must bring a laptop computer for writing the essay.