An online Bachelors Degree in Theology varies from religious studies degrees in that it offers a more in-depth study of the history, doctrines, Biblical themes and academic applications of Christian faith. Ministry degrees concentrate on practical applications whereas the best online bachelor of theology (Th.B.) programs focus more on the understanding and intricate workings of Christian theology and belief.
Online Bachelors Degrees in Theology Requirements
Top online bachelors of theology degree programs through online schooling require students to do several hours of daily reading, writing, and discussion for the content of each course. Students may also need to have an aptitude for foreign language study as well as an understanding of basic Christian faith doctrines to succeed in this program.
To determine if an online theology bachelor’s degree is a fitting program, students should consider the following questions:
- Do I enjoy reading and discussing Biblical insights or “problem texts”?
- Am I intrigued as much by the history and development of the worldwide church as the present activity of churches today?
- Do I enjoy the academic study and communication of theological and spiritual topics?
- Do I consistently enjoy intellectual study, digging into original texts to find the most accurate meaning and understanding of a theological doctrine?
Online Bachelor Degree in Theology Education
Top online theology bachelor’s degree programs typically take 4 to 5 years to complete. The types of degrees available through the best online bachelor in psychology programs include:
- Bachelor of Theology
- Bachelor of Arts in Theological Studies
- Bachelor of Science in Theological Studies
Information on Theology Courses
The coursework for good online bachelor of theology degrees includes language study, theological understanding and concentration on specific Biblical texts as well as the overall view of Scripture. Courses include:
Greek is the original language of the New Testament, making Greek courses important to master in order to understand the original texts of the Bible as they were written. Greek courses teach the alphabet, common words, punctuation and writing styles of Koine (Biblical) Greek, which differs from modern spoken Greek.
Like Greek courses, Hebrew is the Old Testament’s written language and this language-learning course parallels Greek. Combining these language studies, students are able to practice Biblical interpretation without the distance of translators, making them more effective in their understanding of Biblical doctrine.
- Systematic Theology
Systematic theology classes are intense studies of the main doctrines of Christian faith, such as the Trinity, salvation, sanctification, and the return of Christ as they are found systematically woven throughout the whole teaching of the Bible. These courses show the relationship between Old and New Testament as well as the internal completeness of Scripture.
- Homiletics (Preaching)
Homiletics classes are training in how to correctly preach what is the message of the Bible to an audience (congregation) using relevant language for the layperson who is not a Biblical scholar.
- Christian History
This course surveys Christian history from the end of the written Biblical accounts until modern days. Christian history courses focus on early church leaders’ lives and writings, persecutions, and growth among the church in various eras. This class also covers the transitions of the ancient church into the present day church.
Specializations and Concentrations
The specialties and concentrations often available through good online bachelor of theology programs include:
- Reformed and Evangelical Theology
- Pastoral Theology
- Pentecostal Studies
- Cross-Cultural Theology
These concentrations may be expanded within master’s programs or further study.
Careers in Theology
Careers in theology can be practically applied in ministry, such as pastors and evangelists. However, there are also options within scholarly settings where theologians continue to discuss and explore the deeper meanings of Christian doctrine. The best online bachelor’s degree in theology programs prepare graduates for career options such as:
Theologians are scholars who investigate the questions of Biblical interpretation with reading, writing, and consulting on theological questions. They may work within academic institutions or Christian publications, producing theological writings and research with average annual salaries from $58,000 to $62,000.
- Professor of Theology
Theology professors teach in Christian or secular schools in courses that range from Greek and Hebrew to Old and New Testament studies and systematic theology. Depending on the school, religion and theology professors can earn between $49,000 and $67,600 annually. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 15% rise in employment for professors over the next ten years.
With further training, bachelor’s of theology graduates are eligible for ordination as pastors to serve as the spiritual leaders in local church congregations of certain denominations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists pastors’ average annual salary at $46,900, although this varies widely depending on church size.
- Christian School Administrator
Graduates may pursue roles as Christian school administrators, overseeing faculty, spiritual education, and even school chapel services for private or parochial schools. Graduates can expect to earn approximately $42,500 annually in elementary and secondary schools. In Christian colleges, positions as a Dean of Chapel or Dean of Spiritual Growth positions may earn graduates an annual salary ranging from $41,00 to $80,000. As more schools open or expand their spiritual offerings, these positions are expected to grow by a rate of 12% over the next five to ten years.
- Graduate Student/Seminarian
Some graduates with an online bachelor’s degree in theology continue their education with doctoral studies to increase their credentials in the field. Advanced Greek and Hebrew studies and ministry training, plus writing and defending a dissertation are part of doctorate studies. After completing a doctoral degree, graduates can often earn 30% to 40% higher annual salaries than bachelor’s degree graduates in careers as college deans, seminary professors, and scholars.
By choosing top online bachelor’s degree programs in theology, students who value concentrated study of the Bible, Christian doctrines, and traditions can gain a rich education for personal training or share with others in academic or ministry careers.