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Chapter One


1.1     Background of the Study

The Bible is the foundation for teaching and life at Trinity Theological College. Biblical Studies at Trinity means focusing on interpreting the books of the Old and New Testaments within their literary, historical, cultural, and theological context. Courses are designed to examine the meaning of the text that was intended by the original author and understood by the original audience. Modern biblical scholarship has been characterized by its extensive engagement with textual, philological, historical, literary, cultural and social dimensions of the Bible. Among these, ‘historical criticism’ figured prominently, often used to indicate various methods in the interpretation of biblical texts. The proponents of historical criticism required that these texts should be studied historically, especially in terms of their original communication setting. They argued that the understanding of these texts is decisively determined by the identity of their authors, their addressees or audiences and the function of their contents. Historical criticism, as the designation implies, tended to neglect the theological and spiritual meaning of its objects of research, preferring to focus on the original time and context of the biblical texts Aune, (2010). However, Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries Daniel, (2004). It occupies itself with the unique content of analyzing the supernatural, but also deals with religious epistemology, asks and seeks to answer the question of revelation. Revelation pertains to the acceptance of Godgods, or deities, as not only transcendent or above the natural world, but also willing and able to interact with the natural world and, in particular, to reveal themselves to humankind. While theology has turned into a secular field, religious adherents still consider theology to be a discipline that helps them live and understand concepts such as life and love and that helps them lead lives of obedience to the deities they follow or worship.

Theologians use various forms of analysis and argument(experientialphilosophical, ethnographic, historical, and others) to help understandexplain, test, critique, defend or promote any myriad of religious topics. As in philosophy of ethics and case law, arguments often assume the existence of previously resolved questions, and develop by making analogies from them to draw new inferences in new situations.

The study of theology may help a theologian more deeply understand their own religious tradition, Kogan, (1995) another religious tradition,[3]  or it may enable them to explore the nature of divinity without reference to any specific tradition. Theology may be used to propagate, reform, or justify a religious tradition; or it may be used to compare, Burrell, (1994) challenge (e.g. biblical criticism), or oppose (e.g. irreligion) a religious tradition or worldview. Theology might also help a theologian address some present situation or need through a religious tradition, or to explore possible ways of interpreting the world Gorringe, (2004).

Gradually, historical criticism became the norm for academic scholarship in most of 20th century biblical research. Its ‘canonical’ status is best illustrated by the remarks of Hengel (1994:337) that the only appropriate way to understand a biblical text is to determine what an author wanted to express with his text to an audience in a particular time and place. Such a historical approach became so matter of fact in research that Brown (1997:35) remarked that it represents ‘the common sense observation that readers of any book of Scripture will want to know what the author of that book tried to convey’. Biblical interpretation increasingly became a matter of tracing and determining historical information that would generate literal, contextual readings, rather than an understanding that inspired or illuminated the spiritual journey of believers. Such a focus on the historical interpretation of the bible is remarkable, if not ironical, when one considers how earliest readers of the Bible regarded the interpretive process incomplete without illuminating the spiritual meaning of biblical texts. Even though these early traditions certainly carefully studied philological, literary and historical dimensions of texts, their relationship with the text by far exceeded a mostly literal approach as in historical criticism. They were predominantly involved in an existential, transformative relationship with the Bible and in appropriating its meaning Barr, (1999).

1.2  Statement of the Problem

Instead of the modern approach to go back to the meaning at the origins, the aim of the early Christian readers was to let the text become part of their context and so to let God speak through the text to the present. In those early centuries, theology had not yet been organized into separate disciplines, like biblical studies, systematic theology and spirituality. Furthermore, letting the texts speak to the present was not meant as merely imparting information or doctrines, but was understood as bringing about a transformation of the readers.

1.3  Objectives of the Study

The study shall be guided the following objectives:

  1. To examine the relationship between biblical and theological studies
  2. To examine the missing link between biblical and theological studies in Umiahia
  3. To examine the effect of pastors formal education/training on biblical and theological studies interpretation.


The study shall answer the following research questions:

  1. What is the relationship between biblical and theological studies
  2. To examine the missing link between biblical and theological studies in Umiahia
  3. What is the effect of pastor’s formal education/training on biblical and theological studies interpretation?


The study shall test the following hypotheses

  1. There is no significant effect of the relationship between biblical and theological studies
  2. There is no significant effect of the missing link between biblical and theological studies in Umiahia
  3. There is significant effect of pastor’s formal education/training on biblical and theological studies interpretation.

1.6  Significance Of The Study

The significance of this study can be viewed from the following perspectives.

  1. One main significance of this study is that when completed, it would serve as a bridge for the gap that have been created between where previous works on this subject area stopped and today.

2    This study is significant in the sense that it’s finding would serve as a base and framework for future researchers to carry out further studies in the field of knowledge under study.

3    The CAN, PFN, pastors, church workers would benefit from this study in view of the fact that they would learn how efficacious biblical and theological interpretation affects Christian growth and propagation of gospel

4     The outcome of this research is hoped to be of immense use to students of management since it contains information on how to improve individual or team performance and therefore, increase productivity.



1.7  scope of the study

The scope of the study was delimited to biblical and theological studies using trinity theological college, Umuaiah as a study area


       In every research work, it is likely that the researcher may encounter some limitations. The researcher encountered some challenges during the period of carrying out this research. Some of these challenges include the dearth of materials for a proper and effective research work constituted a major limitation. Again, how to get the true and required information from the students through questionnaire also constituted a constraint in the study.

Finally, there was the problem of convincing the students on the primary objectives of the questionnaire so as to give the true and required information. However, the intervention of the class teachers in the schools who took time to clear the air and convince his students helped the investigator to administer the instrument successfully.



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