Illuminating Scripture in the Classroom and Sending Light into the World

by Sharyn Kopf—Cedarville, Ohio

After years of planning, design, construction, and great anticipation, the doors have opened to the new Center for Biblical and Theological Studies (CBTS) — an impressive representation of Cedarville University’s commitment to scriptural study and ministry.

A first for buildings on campus, the Center beautifully presents the theme “I Am the Light of the World.” This can be seen through the architectural design, the words of Scripture in 20 languages etched on glass, and the commissioned artwork in reflective spaces — including a one-of-a-kind sculpture near the structure’s entrance.

“The Center also stands unique as it conveys the relevance of Scripture for today, while affirming the historical significance of the Word of God,” Dr. Bill Brown, Cedarville president, points out. “Just walk through these halls, and I believe you will share my excitement for the impact this building promises to have on our students for decades to come.”

One highlight is the first-floor kiosk, which allows students and guests to check class schedules, admire the building’s features, locate classrooms, get an overview of the various Bible majors and the Bible minor, and learn more about the faculty.

The Basics

With its obvious emphasis on the study of Scripture, the unique Bible minor stands as a testament to the University’s core values and distinctives. It also unites the student body as the minor is required of all Cedarville graduates.

“The program is not merely a collection of Bible classes,” says Brown, “but a prescribed course of study that equips students to understand and apply God’s Word to life and culture.”

Toward that end, the University affirmed the importance of the Bible within its academic program and mission not only by building the CBTS but also by creating the School of the same name. The 20 Bible faculty members have the distinct opportunity to touch the lives of each one of the school’s 3,000 students. No other department is so central to a student’s Cedarville education.

“Our mission is to prepare students for life in the real world,” says Dr. Scott Dixon, director of the Bible minor. “Our challenge in the classroom is not to get them ready for the next test, but rather to teach and train them to think and act Christianly in whatever context God places them.”

The minor equips students with biblical knowledge, a theological framework, and the skills for a lifetime of continuing study; encourages them to embrace a process of spiritual formation characterized by intentional growth within the context of a Christian community; and prepares them to engage the world in a culturally sensitive, Christ-like manner.

Dr. Tom Hutchison, interim dean of the School of Biblical and Theological Studies, explains that “the courses are designed with students in mind — sequenced and integrated to produce five critical outcomes: to study the Scriptures on their own and in community with other believers, to think theologically, to grow spiritually, to engage the culture as Jesus would, and to think critically.”

The Mission

Clearly, the School’s focus is on fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19) by training men and women to enter full-time ministry with knowledge and a passion for God and service.

The apostle Paul stands as an example of how this is done: “We proclaim him [Christ], admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ” (Col. 1:28).

By offering students a theologically informed philosophy of ministry and the skills and experience to actualize it, Cedarville graduates are able to succeed in the areas of Christian education, youth ministry, pastoral studies, world missions, and international studies-missiology.

Hutchison states, “We’re committed to seeing that every student has a biblically based, theologically sound, philosophically defensible, and life-transforming view of life under God.”