Dating back to the fourth century, the study of the bible and religious beliefs have always been an important part of a Christian education. Even in modern times, the establishment of prestigious Christian schools such as Yale, William and Mary, and Princeton set the standard in early American education. Though many of these traditional colleges have long since moved away from their Christian roots, Bible schools and other universities dedicated to a Christian education are as prominent as ever in the 21st century.
Today, there are over 1000 such schools in North America. With so many options, it’s important that you make a decision based on your interests. For those wanting to study the Bible as their primary focus, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best Bible schools out there.
Biola University – Los Angeles, CA
Situated in the heart of the west coast, Biola is often recognized as the standard of excellence in Christian academia in the western United States. Though the university boasts high rankings across the board, they are best known for their Apologetics training and Bible study programs. The school has an incredibly qualified faculty as well, and many professors have traveled the world to give biblical seminars and presentations on a regular basis. In all, Biola offers 36 courses in the Bible department and offers numerous degrees in biblical education, including several masters and doctorate degrees. Tuition at Biola is higher than other similarly designed schools, with the yearly cost at about $36,700. It is also a larger university than most Bible schools (6,000 students), but the demand is likely due to Biola’s exceptional curriculums. If looking for a truly authentic Christian education, you won’t find much better than Biola.
Moody Bible Institute – Chicago, IL
More than any other school on this list, the Moody Bible Institute is a “Bible school” in its purest form. Founded in 1886, the institute was originally established to prepare aspiring priests and teachers for the ministry. Staying true to its roots, Moody maintains the same agenda today: prepare students to become ministers. Upon admittance, students are asked to sign a letter of intent to “enter the ministry,” and offer more than 20 unique degrees in religious education, including three online degrees. Financially, Moody is also one of the cheapest schools we found. Tuition is free (yes, free!), while other costs such as books, room and board, etc. cost roughly $14,000 per year. If looking to enter a ministry, look no further than Moody.
Liberty University – Lynchburg, VA
Considering that Liberty was founded just over 40 years ago, the Virginia-based school’s formidable size and influence is very impressive. Though the university is home to about 14,500 residential students, there are more than 95,000 students enrolled online throughout the country. A school this big deals with more than just religion. Combining both residential and online options, Liberty offers more than 500 unique programs, including the nation’s most marketable degrees such as IT, engineering, economics, and nursing. While it is big, don’t let that cause you to overlook their bible studies programs. Over the years, Liberty has earned the reputation of being very denominational in classroom culture, and they provide a morally sound education. Liberty differs from their big-school peers by maintaining a 19:1 student-professor ratio. They also try to keep tuition low with costs around $29,000 in 2015 despite teaching a wide variety of subjects. Because the school has roots in Protestant, Evangelical, and Baptist beliefs, there is a narrow focus on sola scriptura, the sole authority of scripture. When you consider the school’s flexibility, accessibility, and dedication to the scriptures, Liberty is a great option for students who want to study the Bible.
Houston Baptist University – Houston, TX
Though it’s been around since the 60s, HBU has put itself on the map of Christian schools during the past decade. In a renewed vision to overhaul their curriculum and return to the essentials of Baptist theology, much of their progress is due to the diligence and inspiration of current president, Robert Sloan. Since 2006, they have brought on several great Christian scholars like John Mark Reynolds who was a former associate at Biola. They also added a new Apologetics department Apologetics and applied Sloan’s “10 Pillars” initiative. Today, Houston Baptist offers four Bible-oriented degrees: Biblical Studies (BA), Christianity (BA), Master of Arts in Biblical Languages (MABL), and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS). The school looks like it will continue to grow, but even as they are, HBU has become a powerhouse in the fields of Bible study and Christianity. For now, the school’s tuition is about $28,000 and they have 2,200 enrolled students.
Bryan College – Dayton, TN
Another school who has stayed true to its founders’ vision, Bryan College emphasizes teaching not only the Bible and offers a more holistic, worldview approach to Christianity. They offer a plethora of different religious majors, ranging from Biblical Studies and Pastoral Ministry to Christian Leadership and Christian Thought. For those looking for a more “small-town” atmosphere, Bryan is just the place. They boast one of the best student-to-professor ratios at 14:1 and only have 1,400 enrolled students. Their tuition costs are based upon credit hour, so at $272 per hour, going to school at Bryan is a very economical option. Like any good Bible school, Bryan is accredited by several theological organizations including the ACSI, SACS, and CCCU, and they even offer online classes for adult or non-traditional students.
Grove City College – Grove City, PA
Grove City is not only dedicated to having a strong Bible study program, they also try to maintain biblical consistence throughout other programs as well, such as Humanities. Their excellent curriculum has earned them national recognition from the likes of Forbes, The Princeton Review, and the U.S. News & World Report. They have high standards and expectations for their students; they must attend 16 chapels per semester and complete a three-year humanities program by the time they graduate. GCC is a traditional “Bible college,” offering only undergraduate degrees, albeit prestigious ones in Law, Economics, and Politics. Perhaps the best thing about Grove City, though, is their independence. Refusing any federal funding has helped GCC keep their tuition prices around $16,000. Their enrollment is around 2,500 students.
Gordon College – Wenham, MA
From its humble beginnings in the basement of a Boston church, Gordon College has since grown into a true Christian powerhouse, achieving an academic status that many colleges can only dream about. Gordon has recognized programs in Biblical studies, Christian Ministries, and Philosophy. It even has an independently-operated seminary, Gordon-Conwell Theological.
Gordon is a strong advocate for the practice of faith. Students are required to sign a confessional statement of Christian faith upon admittance, and the college holds chapel services twice a week. Gordon boasts a strong international influence with study abroad programs throughout Europe. They also have a 13:1 student-faculty ratio. The great education comes at a price, though, as the annual total cost of attendance can be upwards of $43,000.
Cedarville University – Cedarville, OH
A reformed Baptist school, Cedarville is the only school that we found that requires all undergraduates to either complete a Bible minor, or pursue a more intensive Bible/Theology major. With this mandatory Bible focus, Cedarville often attracts students with a strong interest in scripture, which usually results in an ethically sound and conservative campus atmosphere. Though it’s not as well-known as other schools on this list, Cedarville is a bigger school that enrolls roughly 3,300 students. Its yearly tuition is around $29,000.
Oral Roberts University – Tulsa, OK
Much like the Moody Institute, Oral Roberts is a ministry-focused university and has received past recognition from national critics such as the Princeton Review and U.S. News. ORU was founded in 1963 by the evangelist Oral Roberts himself. But unlike its controversial founder, the university has grown to become one of the most unanimously respected charismatic universities in the world. One-fourth of the majors majors offered here include Ministry-based degrees, and these 15 programs are available as both majors and minors. Their Christian curriculum specializes in teaching Old and New Testament scripture, as well as some unique courses such as “Whole Person Assessment” and “Spirit-Powered Living.” Their tuition hovers around $23,000, and the school is military friendly. Overall, this a great place to receive a Christian education.
Trinity International University – Deerfield, IL
Less than an hour from the Moody Institute, the TIU campus in Deerfield is perhaps the best among its 12 sites worldwide, especially in regards to Bible study. With about 3,000 students, Trinity International is unique because it emphasizes global diversity and advocates for international missions. In addition, the Illinois campus has a Divinity School and a time-intensive Bible Studies major. With a 72-hour course program before including core classes, Bible students are sure to leave TIU with a top-notch education. They also have a highly qualified faculty to give students the best instruction.