Course Descriptions

The following are the categories and titles of the courses offered at our institute during our study terms. Select a course from the list below to read it’s a description.


Christ in the Old Testament – 3 hours

     Bi – This course is a study of Christ (Jehovah) as veiled in the types and shadows of the Pentateuch. This study is a view of the beginnings of God’s revelation process. A large portion of the course will be a study of the typology of Israel’s journey, the tabernacle, and the law.

Genesis – 3 hours

     Bi – It is the seed plot of the Bible. Genesis is the key to understanding the basic questions such as the fall of man, redemption, judgment, faith, covenant, forgiveness, sacrifice and holy living.

Books of Moses – 3 hours

     Bi – “In the beginning God” are some of the most important words of the Bible. The Old Testament is the foundation of the New Testament and the Pentateuch is the foundation of the Old Testament. The approach of study will be historical and typological. We will focus on the promised coming Redeemer and the unfolding redemptive plan. 

Joshua/Judges – 1.5 hours

     Bi – The spiritual ups and downs of the children of Israel parallels the spiritual lives of many today. The class will discuss the dynamics of revival and apostasy and the role of leadership in these conditions.

Ruth and Other Bible Women – 3 hours

     Bi – The first part of this class will explore the story of Ruth and the faith, love and character of the key people in the book. The second part of the class will develop lessons from some of the other women of the Bible.

Kings – 3 hours

     Bi – Course participants will find doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness as we explore God’s recorded information about the rise and fall of Old Testament kings.

Ezra/Nehemiah – 1.5 hours

     Bi – We will look at the lives of these two men of God and how their leadership shaped the direction of the people they led.  We will look at the historical aspects of their rebuilding and restoration in Israel and also make practical application for today in how to respond to roadblocks to restoration.

Esther/Job – 3 hours

     Bi – Both of these books are historical accounts in story form.  The story format reveals the practical interventions of God in everyday living. We will study the ways of God as He surprisingly uses evil to accomplish His purposes in us. Job in particular will be a study on suffering and how to minister to those in pain.

David/Joseph – 3 hours

     Bi – These men are two of the clearest examples of Christ in the Old Testament. Their exemplary way of handling stress and rejection present a beautiful picture to Christians today.

Psalms – 1.5 hours

   Bi – An understanding and appreciation of the Psalms will be attempted through a dual approach of surveying the whole book and studying specific settings, poetic forms, concepts and titles of God, and Psalmodic quotations in the New Testament.

Wisdom Literature – 3 hours

     Bi – We will learn to apply God’s laws for true freedom and study God’s map of the devil’s minefield in order to determine how to destroy it. The course will also include looking at an enlarged snapshot of a materialist and the principles relating to fulfilling relationships. 

Major Prophets – 3 hours

     Bi – We will look at God’s hand in dealing with His people before, during, and after their captivity to discover how this message relates to individuals in the church today. We will also discover what kind of individual is able to stand through apostate conditions. The fulfillment of God’s judgments and promises inspires faith and hope.

Minor Prophets – 1.5 hours

   Bi – Called “The Twelve” in the Hebrew Old Testament, these books point to the coming of the Lord. Their message is judgment for sin,yet hope for a better future. Special attention will be given to their message for the church today.

Old Testament Survey – 3 hours

     Bi – In this course we will trace the redemptive thread from creation to the birth of Christ. We will see how God progressively revealed His redemptive plan through the law, poetry, and the prophets. We want to see God as the Designer of history. Each Old Testament book will be examined to determine its basic message, purpose, and its place in the historical and political setting of the Old Testament.

Sermon on the Mount – 3 hours

     Bi – A course designed to guide students in developing inner character that meets God’s approval and equips one to serve others. This study will attempt to explore the wealth of Christ’s own description of what He wanted His followers to be and do.

Life of Christ – 3 hours

     Bi – The approach to study this course is to harmonize the gospel accounts and to follow the life of Christ through His earthly pilgrimage. Christ is truly the Son of God and the Son of man. Being His disciple, then, means following Him in life.

Parables – 1.5 hours

     Bi – Jesus, the master Teacher, used stories to illustrate His message. From seeking the lost to handling our money, these stories speak as profoundly to us today as they did in the times of Christ. We will look at the primary truth of each parable and how to apply that today.

John – 3 hours

     Bi – The Gospel of John is simple enough for a child to understand yet profound enough to bring an adult to faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Such subjects as pre-existence, incarnation, the Word, new birth, methods of evangelism, faith, identity and character of Christ, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, fellowship of the church in Christ, foot washing, and the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ will be studied.

Acts – 3 hours

     Bi – This is a study of the first century Christian church and missionary efforts. The study will include the challenge, methods, and successes of early Christian missions. This is a foundational course for all concerned about bringing the Gospel to a lost and dying world whether at home or abroad. 

Romans – 3 hours

     Bi – Romans is Paul’s most comprehensive presentation of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. What is justification by faith?  How are we to relate to authority, or to our weaker brother? How does one live by the Spirit? What is the believer’s relationship to the Law? These are all questions that Paul answers in Romans. 

I Corinthians – 3 hours

     Bi – The church at Corinth: A young church, a struggling church, and a “problem” church. Can the answers given to them be answers for us today? Are the solutions “practical” for twentieth century churches? Is it Paul’s word or God’s Word? Let us exposit the book.

II Corinthians – 3 hours

     Bi – Paul has already exhorted and instructed this struggling church concerning its problems. In II Corinthians, Paul rejoices in their response to the first letter, but also finds it necessary to defend his apostolic authority and ministry because of some who opposed him. Emphasis will be placed upon practical applications to present-day church life especially in the areas of church discipline, repentance, separation, New Testament principles of giving, and the ministry of reconciliation.

Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon – 3 hours

     Bi – These epistles give practical teaching regarding the Christian life with Christ as the all-sufficient Head. Galatians warns against legalism, Colossians against ascetic practices, while Philippians encourages the Christian to be faithful to Christ. 

Ephesians – 3 hours

     Bi – This epistle alerts the Church to the tremendous calling that is hers from God and to the challenge of being faithful to that calling. The approach will be an in-depth study of each chapter as well as further expansion on such topics as predestination, faith and works, the role and beauty of the church, family roles, and spiritual warfare.

I, II Thessalonians – 1.5 hours

     Bi – An in-depth study of these two early epistles reveals much about the structure of the Early Church. Paul corrects misconceptions about Christ’s second coming and emphasizes being ready when Christ does come. Other topics covered include the reasons for suffering and Paul’s financial policies.

I, II Timothy/Titus – 3 hours

     Bi – These letters were written to young men responsible for spiritual leadership in the churches, but with instruction and application for all. What is the Church?  How are leaders called? How can leaders lead effectively? We will search for answers to these questions and more. The inductive method of study will be the basic approach.

Hebrews – 3 hours

     Bi – The book of Hebrews brings light and life to the Old Testament book of Leviticus.  In this course we will seek to relate the “shadows” of the book of Leviticus with the “substance” of Hebrews. The approach of study will be basically expository.  Some outstanding themes to observe are the superiority of Christ, the priesthood of Christ, the superiority of the New Covenant, the faithful saints of the past, the “let us” challenges, and more.  

James – 1.5 hours

     Bi – This course will be an in-depth study of the book of James. The emphasis will be on practical application of the truths taught in the book. A major subject will be the role of faith and works in the life of the believer. 

I & II Peter – 3 hours

     Bi – Peter’s style of writing is pastoral in nature.  He spends time writing about foundational salvation issues from which practical holy living can naturally occur. Several different commentaries will be used as sources. 

I, II, III John /Jude – 1.5 hours

     Bi – This book is written to believers to bring them to a firm assurance of salvation. The blessings of forgiveness and the witness of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s heart are major themes. John also gives instructions on how to guard against false doctrine. Jude warns against apostasy and challenges the believers to keep the faith.

Revelation – 3 hours

     Bi – There is a blessing to those who read the book of Revelation. Effort will be made to study the structure and message of this last book of the Bible to prepare us for these last days. The approach will be pre-millennial interpretation of the visions of the apostle John.

New Testament Survey – 3 hours

     Bi – The New Testament is worthy to be studied in many different ways. We would like to answer questions such as: “How was the New Testament cannon formed?”  “What can I learn from the character of the New Testament writers?” “How can I get beyond the mechanics of a survey study and experience the power of the Source?” “What cultures did the New Testament writings penetrate?” But, best of all, we would see that the New Testament bears witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Almighty, who will soon return.


Gospel and Culture – Elijah Yoder         3 hours

     Ev. – This course begins with asking the question: What is our message? What is the gospel? Then culture and anthropology will be studied in light of the Bible. Finally, the course will examine the task of planting indigenous churches in areas of differing cultures and languages. Our Anabaptist heritage and beliefs will be evaluated from a Biblical perspective in light of cross-cultural missions. What are the methods and strategies needed to plant a disciplined Biblical Anabaptist church in the twenty-first century?

Muslim Evangelism – 3 hours

     Ev – This is a course designed for those working or interested in working with Muslim people. The emphasis will be to gain a basic knowledge of Muslim beliefs, history, and cultural practices in order to be able to focus and adapt our message and approach.  The Anabaptist heritage has the answers for the many Muslims seeking for a disciplined faith. This course is required for students enrolled in the New York Muslim Ministry Focus and open to others.

Issues in Anabaptist Missions – 3 hours

     Ev – This course begins with examining the missionary strategies of Paul in the book of Acts. Then the successes and the failures of Anabaptist missions from 1525 to the present will be studied. The New Testament model will be compared to the spirit of an “evangelical fundamental” church and an Anabaptist church. The focus of this course will be on issues related to the Anabaptist heritage:  how these have been dealt with in the past and how to effectively deal with them in the future.

Lives of Great Christians – 3 hours

     Ev – There are few greater motivations than the exemplary lives of past ministers and missionaries. Their victories and defeats, obedience and disobedience provide a wealth of background to the struggles of making Christ known in our culture and around the world. Much of the course will involve reading testimonies about them.  

Local Church Evangelism – 1.5 hours

     Ev – The local church, whether in the U.S. or abroad, is the bride of Christ. This course will focus on outreach and evangelism in the local setting. Topics such as prayer and fasting, witnessing, and discipleship will be discussed. Opportunity will be given for outreach in the local area. 

Missiology –  3 hours

     Ev – This course examines the biblical basis for missions.  The Bible is a missionary book from Genesis to Revelation. Some topics studied will be the missionary call, women in missions, Paul’s methods, finances, developing a biblical theology of missions, and practical aspects of a missionary’s daily life. A survey of missions in church history will be discussed.

Personal Evangelism – 3 hours

     Ev – The purpose of this study is to plant and grow in the lives of our students a passion for sharing their faith. According to studies, only 2% of believers actually share their faith on a regular basis. As conservative Anabaptists, we have a unique responsibility and opportunity to do so. As good stewards, it is imperative that we pass on the faith as it has been given to us. The class will include personal preparation and training, practice witnessing sessions and class events where we flesh out the concepts we discuss in class in real time.

Urban Evangelism – 3 hours

     Ev – This course will compare the urban “mind set” to the rural “mind set”. Steps that conservative, rural Anabaptists must take in order to evangelize urban dwellers will be explored. Students will gain an appreciation for urban dwellers, missionaries, and missions. The course is designed to create a desire to serve the Lord in cities.


Anabaptist History & Theology – 3 hours

     Hi – This course is an analytical study of the first two centuries of Anabaptist history and theology with a goal to grasp the essential and distinctive beliefs of the Anabaptists which set them apart from Roman Catholicism and Protestantism with reflection on the relevance of this heritage for contemporary doctrinal, congregational, and personal life. We will become acquainted with major events, personalities, teachings, and practices which shaped the Anabaptist movement. The course aims to provide a framework for making wise decisions in our own time.

Biblical Cultural Foundations – 3 hours

     Hi – The scriptures are a treasure chest of historical insight and cultural references.  We will discover the ancient cultures and explore the scriptures in their cultural context with an emphasis on the Greek, Roman, and Jewish cultures of the New Testament.

Early Church History (100-1517) – 3 hours

     Hi – The objective of this course is to study the history of the Christian church from its beginnings up until the reformation BC 6-AD 1517. We will cover a broad range of history, movements, individuals, literature and issues in the church with a combination of lectures, discussions and homework assignments. A major goal of every class session is to explore. “How does the history of the early church effect who we are today?”

Mennonites in America – 1.5 hours

     Hi – Since the 1700’s a large part of the Mennonite story has been lived out on North American soil. This course will examine the Mennonite experience relating culture, education and church growth to an ever-more secular American society.

Modern Church History – 3 hours

   Hi – This course begins with the momentous events of the Reformation and proceeds to explore the development of men, movements, and ideas from the Reformation to the present. The Great Awakenings and revival movements are part of this study. 

Reformation Studies – 3 hours

   Hi – A study of the men who were influential in starting the Reformation. This course will give the student a working knowledge of the theology of the reformers and how that theology affected the world in which the reformers lived.


Introduction to Biblical Hebrew – 3 hours

    La – This course introduces the student to the original language of the Old Testament.  While serving as an introduction to Hebrew grammar and pronunciation, emphasis will also be placed in actual speaking in class through dialog memorization.  In the space of six weeks, the dedicated student should be able to recognize and understand nearly 700 word forms when heard within context.  Tools will also be given for successful and meaningful continued self-study.

New Testament Greek I – 3 hours

   La – This course is an introductory study of New Testament Greek. An acquaintance with the language, plus learning to use the various resources of study, will be the basic goal. This will be very beneficial in discerning the thoughts of the Scriptures in light of the many versions and translations of our day.

New Testament Greek II – 3 hours

     La – A continuation of Greek I with more study of the grammar of the language. It will be necessary to have taken Greek I or its equivalent. Emphasis in this course will be placed on practical application and usage of the Greek language in Bible study. New Testament Greek II will be very worthwhile in helping to retain what is learned in Greek I.

Spanish I – 3 hours

     La – A beginner’s course designed to lead the student in a rapid ability to pronounce Spanish correctly, engage in everyday conversation, and to read simple Spanish text. There is a daily building on the vocabulary, conversation, and grammar learned each day. Students learn Spanish songs and key Scripture verses.  This course is for those interested in the challenge of witnessing to Hispanics in the U.S. or abroad; or simply enjoy the challenge of learning one of the easiest but most beautiful of all languages. 

Spanish II – 3 hours

     La – A continuation of Spanish I, with emphasis on building vocabulary, conversation, Bible reading, and translation. For the student who is serious about learning Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish I or its equivalent.


Choir – 1 hour

     Mu – The ministry of singing and worship is an inner expression that comes when hearts are in tune with God and a song breaks forth in joyous harmony to His glory. Tour plans include a one-week tour following second, third, and fourth terms (est. cost $300.00 for 1 week tour) and a three-week tour following 5th term. Reservations for tour are NOT assumed and must be affirmed on the application. They are granted as per enrollment sequence. Tour personnel will be finalized during the first week of term.  Tour itineraries and CDs are available at

First Term Choir

     Mu – The first term choir opportunity offers some of the traditional SMBI choir experience with a different emphasis and focus. While the typical choir tour focuses on singing and worship in formal church presentations, the first term tour focuses on ministry and evangelism opportunities. The tour will include some work projects with urban Anabaptist missions. Music presentations and evangelism may include nursing homes, homeless shelters, children’s clubs, schools, streets, prisons and more.

Choral/Congregational Conducting – 1.5 hours

     Mu – A practical course for those interested in developing skills and proper techniques for leading of worship through song leading and choral directing. Typical settings, situations, and problems will be simulated and analyzed. There will be opportunity for leading of worship and choral conducting.  Practical music skills in theory and sight reading are essential prerequisites.

Class Voice – 1.5 hours

     Mu – A course designed to give daily opportunity for vocalizations, solos, and demonstrations of proper voice techniques for the distinctive purpose of developing the gift of singing for worship and the glory of God. Prerequisites include basic music skills, sight reading ability, and an audition.

Hymnology – 1.5 hours

     Mu – A study of the progressive development of hymns through the centuries, how they can be used in worship, and what makes a good hymn.

Music Fundamentals – 3 hours

     Mu – The ABC’s of music for those who have had little or no exposure to the basics of music. The course will include daily drill, sight reading, and exercises in a delightful learning atmosphere.

Music Theology & Appreciation – 3 hours

     Mu – A course designed to develop understanding and appreciation for the biblical basis for music and various historical eras of musical development.  The historical background will include hymnody, a study of the lives of composers, and the relationship of music to the church.  Considerable attention is given to music on the contemporary, religious, and secular scene, and our response to the choices available today.

Music Theory I – 3 hours

     Mu – A basic study of fundamental theory and composition of music, including sight reading and ear training, with an introduction to chord construction, rhythm patterns, and melodic composition.

Music Theory II – 3 hours

     Mu – An advanced study of music theory and composition of music, including sight reading, dictation, and ear training. There is composition of melodies, emphasis on rhythm patterns, triad structure, cadence structure, drills and exercises. There is a choice of either a research paper or a four-part song composition including the lyrics. A good grasp and experience of Theory I is essential.


Biblical Worship – 1.5 hours

     Pr – Worship is an expression of the heart. This course will develop a biblical concept of worship, principles that shape the expression of worship, and practical direction for facilitating worship in a corporate setting.

Biblical Manhood – 3 hours

     Pr – What is biblical manhood? This course will endeavor to uncover the purpose, pattern, and expectations that God has put in place for a Godly man and will search for God’s plan of action to fulfill these. We will look at God’s plan versus Western society’s view of what it means to be a successful man. Some of the concepts explored will include character qualities of a Godly man, finances, leadership qualities, moral purity, Godly business practices, and a man’s need for shoulder-to-shoulder relationships.

Biblical Womanhood – 3 hours

Pr – What is biblical womanhood? This course will endeavor to uncover the purpose, pattern, and expectations that God has put in place for a Godly woman and will search for God’s plan and action to fulfill these. We will look at God’s plan versus western society’s view of what it means to be a flourishing woman. Some of the concepts explored will include character qualities of a Godly woman, biblical femininity and the influence of feminism, modesty, mentoring, finances, rest, singleness, and a woman’s need for face-to-face relationships.

Biblical Stewardship – 1.5 hours

     Pr – What is biblical stewardship? A definition of stewardship is “the job of supervising or taking care of something, such as an organization or property.” God has given us many things that He requires us to be stewards of. In this class we will attempt, through the study of Scripture, to discover the importance of developing a godly, Christ centered vision for all areas of our lives. We want to look at developing a mindset and methods that will help us to stay on track and to understand the blessing of committing all parts of our lives, including finances, to the lordship of Jesus Christ. We will also examine how to create a financial roadmap that shows us where we are, where we want to be, and how to get there from our present location.

Christian Family I – 3 hours

     Pr – This course seeks to restore some of the Creator’s intention for creation’s most basic institution: the home. The subjects deal with a young person relating to parents, siblings, singleness, courtship, engagement, and marriage.

Christian Family II – 3 hours

     Pr – This course is a sequel to Christian Family I and deals with issues faced by families after marriage such as children, education, finances, health care, care of elderly, occupational pursuits, etc.

Christian Morality – 3 hours

     Pr – This class will be an in-depth study on developing a distinctive Christian world view. Emphasis will be placed on using Scriptural principles to more effectively live the Christian life.  Practical application will be made to decision making and the ethical questions of our contemporary society.

Christian Writing – 3 hours

     Pr – The ministry of writing is one of the most influential tools God has used in the past. Expertise in this area is important in communicating Scriptural truth. There will be opportunity for various writing exercises in short stories, articles, devotional themes, and more.

Developing the Servant – 3 hours

     Pr – How does God see me? What should I be like? What is wrong with me? How would God like to change me? This course seeks to help the student discover and understand the discipline of daily cross bearing and discipleship. This course is about the ways of God with man and how He changes man, as well as the consequences of man’s ways without God. This study will help the student to grow deeper in his own relationship with God and to enjoy the assurance of the eternal presence of God. (Servanthood That Enriches is a sequel to this class)

The Devoted Life – 3 hours

     Pr – This is a study of what true devotion is in the life of the believer. The class will develop the foundation of the devoted life and elements that hinder or enhance our personal relationship with God. It will explore communion with God in all phases, pressures, and activities of life.

English Composition – 3 hours

   Pr – This course is designed to help the student develop the necessary skills for fulfilling writing assignments at SMBI. The goal is to learn to use the English language to speak and write effectively. A brief study of principal parts of speech and basic sentence structure is followed by the principles of sentence formation. The student will also learn how to develop and write a term paper.  

Methods of Bible Study – 1.5 hours

     Pr – This course will cover various means of Bible study including the book method, the topical method, the biographical methods, and the inductive method. There will be practice in memorization, outlining, and word studies. Emphasis will be placed on the enrichment of personal Bible study with applications for preparing topics and teaching Sunday School. 

Principles of Teaching – 3 hours

     Pr – Certain fundamental rules in teaching will be observed with an effort to help teachers develop the lesson and communicate it more effectively to the student. The primary emphasis will be on teaching biblical lessons in Sunday School, Christian Day School. Basic principles will also apply to other settings in the school, church, and home. Opportunity will be given for each student to participate in teaching experience. 

Public Speaking – 3 hours

     Pr – This course will endeavor to cultivate effective methods of communication through public speaking and reading.

Reading & Study Skills – 1.5 hours

     Pr – The purpose of this course is to help the student develop basic study skills. The course will emphasize budgeting time, reading, listening, note-taking, thinking processes, vocabulary development, remembering, test-taking, motivation, and self-evaluation.  

Servanthood that Enriches – 3 hours

     Pr – The goal of this course is to equip the student to be God’s instrument of change in the lives of others. We will study methods to help the hurting in areas of grief, rejection, and abuse. The student will learn how to provide encouragement to persons with emotional and spiritual problems, as well as preparation to be a compassionate care giver in the context of the home, the local congregation, and the community.  Developing the Servant is a prerequisite to this course.

Victorious Christian Living – 3 hours

     Pr – A study of the dynamics behind the victorious Christian life. The course will look at how to deal with root issues behind surface problems and how to experience freedom in personal holiness. It will also examine the principles of spiritual warfare and how to develop more of an awareness of God in your life.


Christian Evidences – 3 hours

     Th – This course introduces apologetics and explores the multitude of evidences by which the Bible is established as the inerrant, infallible Word of God. We endeavor to “study to show ourselves approved” that we may not be ashamed.

Christian Ordinances – 3 hours

     Th – The ordinances are beautiful reminders of the believer’s beliefs and practices. This course attempts to discover the Biblical principles that underscore the practices, their cultivation and the significance of their continued application.

Discovering Our God – 3 hours

     Th – Our most basic belief about God directly influences how we conduct our lives. This belief is intended to spring from the Scriptures as they unveil God the Father and Jesus, His Son. This study in theology includes Theology Proper, Bibliology, and Christology.

Growth in Christ – 3 hours

     Th – The real character of sin must be grasped before salvation can be understood. Salvation is much more than an experience, it is a vibrant way of life with Christ. Anthropology, Hamartiology, and Soteriology are studied in the context of a scriptural passing from death into life.

Peace and Simple Life – 3 hours

     Th – In this course we will study the biblical basis for peace and nonresistance. We will discuss how to apply this in war and in peace. The section on nonconformity and the simple life will also include the biblical basis plus practical applications.  Subjects discussed will include materialism, speech, sports, attire, etc.  

Principles of Biblical Interpretation – 1.5 hours

   Th – The goal of this course is to help the student develop sound principles enabling him to properly interpret scripture. In this course we will investigate the history of interpretation, some general principles for the interpretation of scripture as a whole, and some special principles for the interpretation of various literary forms in the Bible.

Spiritual Life – 3 hours

   Th – The contrast of living by the Spirit versus living by the flesh (Romans 8), is a key to living a life of victory over sin and over the Devil. In these last days, we need to be filled with God’s Spirit in order to be effective in spiritual warfare. This study in theology includes Pneumatology, Angelology, and Eschatology.

The Church: The Bride of Christ – 3 hours

    Th– This course will explore the role of your local church as it relates to you as a Christian and how the local church fits into the universal church of Jesus Christ. With Christ’s primary focus being upon His bride, the church, we must come to value her as He does. We will discuss the development of unconditional love toward our church, how to develop a congregational hermeneutic, how to plant new churches, and how our church can reach to a decadent world.