Today, we turn our attention to that rarest of species, the female Bible major at an evangelical or otherwise conservative Christian university. While male Bible majors have always been plentiful, very few females are ever spotted in the wild. This is why most Bible majors have to be put through a captive breeding program, a.k.a. seminary.
You may be thinking that the reason we have such a lack of females in Bible departments is that they simply lack interest or initiative, and there is some truth to that. However, they also face certain predators, namely cultural expectations and the fact that few of them would ever have a chance to actually teach scripture in their preferred evangelical church. While more opportunities for females to teach are opening up, there is still a lack of plentiful resources to nourish a thriving population.
Full disclosure: I was a female Bible major, or more accurately a Biblical Literature major, at the evangelical Taylor University in Indiana. I was one of only a few, as most of the women went for the Christian Education major instead, assuming that it would give them a better chance at a paying job. Luckily for me, I was a double major in political science, so I had a high-paying career in public service to fall back on (Note the sarcasm there!). I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in 2008.
It’s really a shame that more women don’t go the Bible route, because while an education in Biblical exegesis may not be as ideal for that Christian counseling job as one in psychology, it also carries some unique benefits which I am now going to detail.
First, even though few women can use their biblical knowledge in a professional preaching/teaching position, they can still use it as a lay leader working with other women. Yes, when we’re not talking about all of that girly stuff, women can benefit from some knowledge of the scriptures. Ladies, a few of us getting advanced degrees in biblical history and interpretation may well be all that stands between us and a lifetime of Beth Moore Bible studies….not that I have anything against Beth Moore, of course.
Second, a Bible degree is valuable on a personal level. My university studies awoke in me a passion for scripture that has never died, at least not after 9 a.m. and before 10 p.m. That is not to say that I am perfect by any means – the more I learn, the more I realize I have left to learn. Even so, I wish every Christian could have access to the kind of resources I have been gifted with in learning about the Bible both in college and elsewhere. After all, it’s kind of a big deal.
Third, and I don’t think I can emphasize this enough, there is a truly selfish component to being a female Bible major. Take it from someone who has been there: you will be thoroughly outnumbered by eligible Christian bachelors, many (though not all) of whom are fairly serious about their faith. A few of them are even good looking when they come to class in something other than pajamas. I’m not saying you have to be looking for an M.R.S. degree, but even if dating is not on your mind, the view is fairly decent.
I suppose some people may be shocked to hear me say this. Shouldn’t the study of scripture be a more noble pursuit? Shouldn’t our motivation be to gain a better understanding of God? Well, yes, I suppose so. But at the rate women are not signing up for Bible classes, I submit that a little healthy motivation may be exactly what they need.
So if you’re a female trying to decide what to major in at your Christian university, consider a degree in Bible. I can’t guarantee you that it’s outsource proof or that your financial future will be secure. But in an age when few college degrees promise a stable future, you could do worse than studying the Word of God. If that fails, there’s always the scenery.