BIBLICAL GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY
Established in 1989, the Biblical Graduate School of Theology (BGST) offers training mainly for lay people, in Singapore and from overseas, to help them live out their Christian faith in their vocations and be more effective in serving God.
Mr Calvin Lim, who works in the oil/marine industry, was equipped to teach God’s Word and effectively address ministry issues in cross-cultural contexts by his training at BGST. Serving in the Missions ministry of Ang Mo Kio Methodist Church, he runs basic missions training for church members, teaches God’s Word both at home and in the field, as well as plans and executes mission programmes and trips.
Calvin shared that his time at BGST helped shape his theological world-view, which he applies in policy-making and decision-making in the marketplace and in the church. He said that since he entered BGST, “God has brought me to situations and arenas where my training had to apply. It was indeed a life-changing journey and an investment that has brought practical and spiritual returns for a lifetime”.
BGST’s mission statement reads: “BGST engages the whole people of God in a trans-denominational community that promotes excellence in learning. Together we seek to grow in Christ-likeness and develop an integrated biblical world-view for effective service in the Church and in the Marketplace.”
Four phrases bring out what is distinctive about BGST.
Whole people of God:
We believe that all Christians have a ‘ministry’. We do not exclude those intending to engage in church-based ministry, but our aim is to help Christians from all professions and walks of life fulfil their calling. We make our training as flexible and accessible as possible. Our classes mostly take place in the evenings. There are also many video-recorded lectures. This semester, the first fully online courses will be launched.
The Rev Wilfred Leow, Pastor-in-Charge of Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church, was able to take advantage of BGST’s flexibility. Although called to the pastoral ministry in his teens, he felt led to work before entering the ministry. He wanted to start theological studies as early as possible but with a full-time job, daytime study was not possible. Instead, he took classes at night as well as modules incorporating video instruction. There was also flexibility with regard to the number of modules he took per year. He shared, “I am glad to have had BGST as part of my theological education landscape.”
Excellence in learning:
Training for “the whole people of God” does not mean ‘theology lite’. We want to offer rigorous training that helps our students to grow spiritually and intellectually.
Grow in Christ-likeness:
Theological education should feed into Christian discipleship. Academic standards are important, but theology is not a purely academic exercise. Our commitment to helping our students grow spiritually is reflected in the content of our courses.
Integrated biblical world-view:
Christians should have a world-view founded on biblical teaching, an integrated world-view where all the parts fit together. Many BGST courses address traditional theological disciplines, e.g. Biblical Studies, Theology, Church History, and so on.
While affirming the importance of such courses, BGST also offers another category of courses focusing on the application of biblical truth to contemporary life. This semester, for example, the course offerings include:
- Christian Spirituality and the Song of Songs
- Vocation, Work and Ministry
- Isaac, Jacob, Joseph: God’s Grace in a Dysfunctional Family
- Christian Discipleship in a World of Social Media.
Dr Tan Chew Lim of Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church remembers ‘Vocation, Work and Ministry’, taught by Paul Stevens, as the first course he took at BGST. The National University of Singapore Professor of Computer Science, who has since retired, said: “We learned that there is no distinction between the clergy and lay people in Christian ministry and that theology is not just for pastors, but for all, as we need to be equipped in order to serve well within and without the church.
“It amazes me to see how God’s hand was in my vocational choice leading to my career as a professor. Serving in ‘full-time ministry’ in my Christian vocation in the university and in church, I am a ‘pastor’ to my students and cell group members, as well as a Methodist lay preacher.”
BGST has its distinctives, but is not isolationist. On the contrary, it values fellowship and partnership with other theological colleges in Singapore, and it welcomes students from a wide range of church backgrounds.
Beginning in January 2017, BGST will be collaborating with Trinity Theological College (TTC) in a joint Diploma in Theological Studies. We rejoice at this opportunity to work together with TTC.
Biblical Graduate School of Theology (BGST)
If you are interested in studying with us, please contact us!
Address: 50 Kallang Pudding Road, #07-01, Golden Wheel Industrial Building, Singapore 349326
- Certificate of Biblical Studies (12 credits)
- Certificate of Theological Studies (12 credits)
- Certificate of Faith and Vocation (12 credits; jointly with Graduates’ Christian Fellowship)
- Graduate Diploma in Christian Studies (30 credits)
- Master in Christian Studies (60 credits)
- Master of Divinity (90 credits)
Enrolment: Any time of the year
BGST is accredited by the Asia Theological Association.
Photos courtesy of Biblical Graduate School of Theology
Dr Philip Satterthwaite –
is Principal and Lecturer in Old Testament, Biblical Hebrew & Hermeneutics at the Biblical Graduate School of Theology. He is a member of Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church.