Biblical Studies vs. Theology Degree: Similarities, Differences

Date Published

May 7, 2023

Home / Blog / Biblical Studies vs. Theology Degree: Similarities, Differences

Published by Calvin Seminary

Biblical studies and theology are both important pieces of a seminary education. What is the difference between biblical studies and theology? Let’s take a look at their similarities as well as their differences.

What Are Biblical Studies?

Biblical studies help students to know, interpret, and apply the story of Scripture faithfully. This is an important piece of ministry because our seminary graduates are often tasked with communicating and embodying the story of Scripture. Indeed, at Calvin Theological Seminary (CTS), students are formed and trained to identify the connections between the good news in Scripture and the missional implications of God’s redemptive activity today. Biblical studies, in some form, are important to all Christ followers. Christian seminarians take an intensive look at biblical studies in preparation for their vocational calling.

Examples of CTS courses in biblical studies include:

  • Interpretation of the Old Testament
  • Interpretation of the New Testament
  • Principles and Methods for Effective Bible Teaching

What Is a Biblical Studies Degree?

All of Calvin Theological Seminary’s degrees incorporate biblical studies. CTS degree programs with biblical studies elements include our Master of Arts in Bible and Theology, Doctor of Ministry (DMin), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). 

What Are Theological Studies?

Theological studies are often referred to simply as theology—the study of God. They help students to understand and integrate Scripture, history, context, and other areas of Christian understanding with ministry practices.

Theology works hand-in-hand with biblical studies as Scripture is looked at alongside Christian tradition, Reformed confessions, and contemporary thought as we consider how best to conduct ministry in today’s world. Examples of CTS courses in theological studies include:

  • Christian Theology in Reformed Confessions
  • Systematic Theology I and II
  • Theological Education for Ministry

What Is a Theology Degree?

All of Calvin Theological Seminary’s degrees incorporate theology. Some of these degrees are the Master of Arts in Bible and Theology, Master of Theological Studies (MTS), and Master of Theology (ThM).

Biblical Studies vs. Theology


There are many areas in which biblical studies and theology overlap. After all, Christian theology requires an understanding of the Bible. Proper theology can help us understand the Bible more richly. Those who love Scripture and love theology have plenty of opportunities to study both at Calvin Theological Seminary. Most courses incorporate and integrate biblical studies and theology.


As discussed earlier, the difference between biblical studies and theology is in their areas of focus. For example, if you would like to become a professor focusing on the New Testament, your seminary education would lean toward biblical studies. If you would like to become an editor of theological literature, your seminary education would likely include more courses in theology.

Bible Scholar vs. Theologian

Bible scholars are experts on Scripture, often with advanced education in their field. Theologians are experts on theology, well-educated in their area of theological study. Both types of scholars can be found in the roles of professor, writer, speaker, pastor, and more.

Explore Biblical and Theological Studies at CTS

Calvin Theological Seminary integrates biblical and theological studies in every degree offered. If you are looking for a seminary education taught from a Reformed perspective with a solid biblical foundation, we’d love to be your home for graduate theological education.

Online and On Campus

Your biblical and theological studies can happen on campus, online, or through a hybrid learning model. Consider our distance learning offerings as you explore the course delivery options available to you.

Career Opportunities

CTS prepares students pursuing biblical studies, theological studies—and both concurrently—for a variety of careers, such as:

  • Ordained pastor: Preach, teach, disciple, provide pastoral care, and/or plant churches as a local church pastor.
  • Missionary: Take part in God’s mission, multiplying communities of disciples.
  • Chaplain: Provide compassionate pastoral care in a specific setting, such as a hospital or nursing home.
  • Nonprofit or parachurch leader: Lead a nonprofit or parachurch organization, fostering missional impact in God’s world.
  • Professor or teacher: Influence the next generation of ministry leaders through teaching, research, writing, and other scholarship.

Community of Learning & Practice

At CTS, you will be enveloped in a community of Christian support and encouragement. Consider these student opportunities:

  • Chapel worship on Wednesday
  • Public reading of Scripture and prayer gatherings
  • Peer formation groups
  • Book studies
  • Faculty mentorship
  • Vocational mentorship
  • Student clubs and publications
  • Student government
  • Food and fellowship times
  • Annual campus-wide events

Learn More About Theology vs. Biblical Studies

If theology and biblical studies interest you, you are warmly invited to join our community of teaching and learning today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does It Mean That CTS Is a “Theological” Seminary?

Calvin Theological Seminary is a theological seminary, rooted in the Word of God and Reformed theology.

Seminary vs. Bible College: What’s the Difference?

Bible colleges usually offer undergraduate studies, featuring programs for bachelor’s and associate’s degrees. Seminaries usually offer graduate studies, featuring programs for master’s and doctoral degrees.


Visit Calvin Theological Seminary’s Campus

We can’t wait to host you on campus! Schedule your visit today, or, if you need more time to find a date that works for you, please request information so we can continue the conversation about supporting your calling!