Master of Biblical Exegesis and Linguistics (MABEL)

The MABEL program, which provides instruction in Bible translation, is designed for missionary recruits, furloughing and in-service missionaries, and translation support personnel. Offered jointly with the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (GIAL), the program fulfills the minimum requirements for the first term of service with Wycliffe Bible Translators.


Bible Exposition 12
BE101 Bible Study Methods and Hermeneutics 3
BE102 Old Testament History I (or BE104 Old Testament Prophets) 3
BE104 Old Testament Prophets (or BE106 Acts/Pauline Epistles) 3
BE315 Bible Manners and Customs 3
Systematic Theology 6
HT200 History of Doctrine History of Doctrine 3
ST101 Theological Method and Bibliology 3
Languages 24
NT101 Elements of Greek 3
NT102 Elements of Greek 2 3
NT103 Intermediate Greek 3
NT104 Introduction to New Testament Exegesis 3
OT101 Elements of Hebrew I 3
OT102 Elements of Hebrew II 3
OT103 Hebrew Exegesis I 3
OT104 Hebrew Exegesis II and Old Testament Introduction 3
Field Preparation 18
GIAL baccalaureate-level prerequisite courses if necessary 0
AL5207 Field Data Management 2
AL5312 Discourse Analysis 3
AL5315 Semantics and Pragmatics 3
AL5316 Theory and Practice of Translation 3
AL5406 Field Methods 4
Electives & Independent Studies 3
SF245 M.A./BEL Spiritual Formation 0
WM520 A Biblical Theology of Missions A Biblical Theology of Missions (or WM540 Applied Biblical Contextualization) 2
WM901 Independent Study in Missions 1
MABEL Electives 3
63 Hours
complete up to 33 hours online

Please note: due to the unique educational needs of the MABEL degree, its curriculum does not have the complete Bible and theology core present in other MA programs at DTS.


Partner Organizations

Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics Wycliff Bible Translators

Courses are offered jointly with the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (GIAL)

Fulfills requirements for the first term of service with Wycliffe Bible Translators

*Note: This curriculum plan is intended for new students only. Current students should refer to the degree requirements available from the Advising Center.


In addition to the goals common to all professional degree programs at the Seminary, students in this program will be able to:

  • exegete the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible
  • form a basic theological foundation as a grid for Bible translation
  • apply basic principles of hermeneutics in Bible study and Bible translation
  • understand the theory and principles of language translation
  • employ computational tools to construct a phonological analysis, descriptive grammar partial lexicography, and interlinear text of a minority language
  • design an effective strategy for cross-cultural ministry


Admissions Requirements

The application process for the MABEL is a dual process. Applicants for the program must apply to both Dallas Seminary and the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (GIAL), and the admission requirements of both institutions must be met. In most cases students admitted to DTS will meet the admission requirements at GIAL. However, prospective MA/BEL students should be aware that the requirements for linguistic courses at GIAL vary and will include a minimum of 15 prerequiste credit hours.

Until they apply to DTS for admission to the program, students will not be officially enrolled in the MABEL program. Students are advised to contact both institutions as soon as possible regarding their intentions to enroll in the MABEL program so that adequate advice and direction can be provided. 

Transfer Credits

In addition to the normal transfer credit policies of the Seminary for general MA degrees, no more than 30 hours of coursework from institutions outside of DTS and the GIAL will be transferred toward the MA (Biblical Exegesis and Linguistics) degree. Some provision will be made for students to transfer work from the Jerusalem University College to the MABEL program. Entering students with missions experience in Bible translation may be eligible for advanced standing.

Residence Requirements

Currently up to 33 hours of the DTS course requirements can be completed online or by independent study. Of the 62 hours required for the MABEL degree, a minimum of 21 hours must be taken through DTS and a minimum of 18 hours must be taken through GIAL.

Academic Procedures

A dual registration process is followed for all GIAL courses taken for the degree. Students must register through GIAL before taking linguistics courses at that campus. DTS is then notified by GIAL and enters the courses in the DTS registration system. This allows the tracking of student status for such purposes as loan deferments, international visa requirements, etc. There is no charge for the DTS portion of the registration process for GIAL courses.

At the end of each term GIAL sends official grade sheets to the Registrar’s office at Dallas Seminary for transcripting of their courses. Grades earned for GIAL courses are factored into the cumulative grade point average at DTS.

Dual Degree Option

Students who complete the 62-hours required for the DTS MABEL degree may complete an additional 4 hours from GIAL to earn the 37-hour MA in Applied Linguistics at GIAL. In addition to the 18 hours taken at GIAL as part of the MABEL program, students may transfer 15 hours from the MABEL program to GIAL and take an additional 4 hours at GIAL, plus comprehensive exams, to meet the 37-hour requirement for an MA in Applied Linguists. This essentially allows students to earn both degrees for a minimum of 66 hours plus comprehensive exams. Consult your GIAL advisor for details.

Course Requirements

Sixty-two semester hours of coursework are required as a minimum for graduation. Of those hours, 18 are prescribed in linguistics field preparation, 12 in Greek grammar and exegesis, 12 in Hebrew grammar and exegesis, 3 in biblical manners and customs, 3 in world missions, 9 in Bible exposition, and 5 in systematic and historical theology, as well as successful completion of either the two-semester SF245 or the four-semester SF100 requirement. The World Missions and Intercultural Studies department advises students in this program. Career guidance is also available from the GIAL staff.

Substitutions may be made for required courses with appropriate departmental approval. Students who have linguistics background or training should consult the GIAL registrar for course advice.

Linguistics and related translation courses are offered on the campus of GIAL in Dallas. Biblical and theological coursework, as well as coursework in biblical languages, is offered at DTS. A Spiritual Formation group supervised by the Department of World Missions and Intercultural Studies is designed to meet the needs of this group of students.

Completion of course requirements for the MABEL requires careful planning on the part of students as they seek to coordinate coursework at two institutions. Therefore students are strongly encouraged to plan their studies so that they take courses at only one institution at a time.

Students will split their time between DTS and GIAL. Due to the difference in academic calendars of DTS and GIAL, it is extremely difficult for students to take courses at both institutions concurrently. GIAL has designed its courses to be taught in six-month bimesters, from either January through June or July through December. Each bimester is divided into four sessions. DTS follows a regular early-semester calendar. This results in the overlap of DTS courses with GIAL courses in a given term. As such, students are strongly encouraged to adhere to the curriculum chart that follows.

Every attempt is made to facilitate the completion of the program in no more than three calendar years for full-time students. Students may shorten this time by taking advantage of winter and summer offerings at DTS. However, students should be aware that the linguistics courses from GIAL require prerequisites that may extend the length of the program. Also students who choose to pursue the MA in Applied Linguistics from GIAL in addition to the MABEL may need additional time to complete the program.

Before students begin their studies in the MABEL, they should consult the DTS Advising Center to develop a degree plan for completing requirements. This plan will include input from GIAL on the completion of linguistics requirements.

Students should consult both the DTS and GIAL Registrars’ offices for information on scheduling options. The Admissions office at DTS also will be able to assist students.

Degree Plan*

This plan minimizes potential problems with financial aid and housing between the two programs. Students not following this plan may experience unforeseen problems and delays in degree completion. Students are strongly advised to complete all GIAL graduate courses before beginning DTS coursework.

First Year

Fall Semester

GIAL baccalaureate-level prerequisite courses if necessary 

Spring Semester

AL5207Field Data Management2
AL5406Field Methods4
AL5312Discourse Analysis3
GIAL Electives13

Second Year

Fall Semester

NT101Elements of Greek3
OT101Elements of Hebrew I3
BE315Bible Manners and Customs23
WM520A Biblical Theology of Missions A Biblical Theology of Missions (or WM540 Applied Biblical Contextualization)2
WM901Independent Study in Missions1

Spring Semester

NT102Elements of Greek 23
OT102Elements of Hebrew II3
SF245M.A./BEL Spiritual Formation 
BE101Bible Study Methods and Hermeneutics3
BE102Old Testament History I (or BE104 Old Testament Prophets)33

Third Year

Fall Semester

NT103Intermediate Greek3
OT103Hebrew Exegesis I3
ST101Theological Method and Bibliology3
BE104Old Testament Prophets (or BE106 Acts/Pauline Epistles)3

Spring Semester

NT104Introduction to New Testament Exegesis3
HT200History of Doctrine History of Doctrine3
OT104Hebrew Exegesis II and Old Testament Introduction3

Fourth Year

Fall Semester

AL5315Semantics and Pragmatics3
AL5316Theory and Practice of Translation3
  1. Students who wish to complete the MA in Applied Linguistics with a Bible Translation concentration through GIAL in addition to the DTS MA(BEL) degree should take AA5151 and an additional 3-hour GIAL Elective in Bimester 2. These additional 4 hours plus comprehensive exams are required to also complete the MA in Applied Linguistics at GIAL.
  2. BE315 and WM520 are offered in the fall semester of even-numbered years. WM540 is offered in the fall semester of odd-numbered years. WM901 is taken in conjunction with and is designed to be a 1-credit-hour enhancement of WM520 and WM540.
  3. Bible Exposition courses may be replaced with exegesis courses in the Old or New Testament Studies departments or by other Bible Exposition courses as approved by the program advisor.

*Note: This curriculum plan is intended for new students only. Current students should refer to the degree requirements available from the Advising Center.

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