At the center of the Shepherds Institute is the Master of Theological Studies program, a 42-hour accredited degree taught by the faculty of Shepherds Theological Seminary. The MTS combines the highest quality academic experience with the personal guidance and discipleship of Shepherds Institute staff. At most seminaries this degree would take two to three years to complete, but students at the Shepherds Institute can complete the intensive MTS in one year.
Classes are taken in a module format, and members of the cohort work together through a prescribed schedule in 12 months. Subjects range from Hermeneutics and Old and New Testament Studies to Life of Christ and Historical Theology. As students complete classes in sequence, they receive a biblical foundation that builds upon itself throughout the year.
The MTS has two purposes: (1) for the lay minister, to gain an advanced understanding of the Bible and theology; (2) for those anticipating vocational ministry, to prepare for further graduate studies, especially the Master of Divinity Program.
Shepherds Theological Seminary is committed to the idea that all degree-seeking students should visit the Holy Land. Our Israel Initiative study trip reflects the importance of two realities: Israel as God’s ultimate visual aid and Israel’s accessibility.
We believe a good teacher seeks to incorporate visual aids for the students, and there is no better visual aid to the Bible than seeing in person the land where the bulk of its history took place. Our professors believe that teaching students on location provides the best and most enriching way to help them grow in understanding the biblical narrative. For our students, Israel becomes their giant blackboard, their real-life PowerPoint as the pages of Scripture come alive when they walk in the footsteps of Jesus, David, the Prophets, and other heroes of the faith.
We live in a remarkable and very narrow window of history during which the land of Israel – a land which was functionally closed for visitors from AD 70 to 1967 – is actually accessible. Scripture clearly teaches that Israel has a special place in the plans and purposes of God. The Apostle Paul testified to a special love for the people of Israel, and his desire was that all believers would have an affection for Israel as well (Rom 9:1-5; 11:28-36). The modern State of Israel is the most dramatic and important concentration of Jewish people and culture since AD 70 and that nation is much cherished at Shepherds and Shepherds Institute because of our literal-historical-grammatical approach to understanding the promises of God.
Paul wrote his Epistle to the Romans to enlist the believers from this capital city of the empire to help him in the spread of the gospel. The Arch of Titus was constructed in Rome in AD 82 by the Emperor Domitian and celebrates his older brother Titus’ victories—including the AD 70 destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Paul was imprisoned in Rome, and ultimately both he and Peter were martyred in this city. Our students have the privilege of exploring Rome’s rich and tragic historical and theological significance.