God called you into ministry. You need preparation to follow that call. For some, that preparation requires biblical and theological preparation. For others, preparation involves leadership skills.
Many Christians have the idea that all they need is Bible study. Besides, the Holy Spirit will give me everything I need to do the work of ministry. Right? Yes and no. It is true that the Holy Spirit will lead and guide you in ministry. But that truth does not mean you should not prepare!
Everyone God calls into ministry should be involved in regular Bible study. This fact is a given. But a question must be asked: How do I properly study the Bible? This is where a Bible college or seminary plays an important role.
What is a Bible college?
Bible colleges are undergraduate programs that have a unique focus on the Bible and a biblical worldview to their general education studies. In other words, you can get an Associate degree or bachelor’s degree at a Bible college.
While you can often major in nursing, criminal justice, etc., the major focus of most Bible colleges is studying the Bible, doctrine, and professional skills needed in ministry. Courses include Old Testament Survey, New Testament Survey, Doctrine, Life of Christ, Greek, Hebrew and basic general education courses.
Bible colleges serve an important role in higher education. Obviously, you get the foundational teachings in Bible, doctrine and ministry. But you also study grammar, history and philosophy from a biblical worldview.
Many students will attend a Bible college for their first two years (associate degree) to get a biblical foundation before transferring to a university that trains them in a field, such as engineering, medicine or biology. The advantage is that a Bible college is often significantly more affordable than a state university or private college.
What is a seminary?
Bible colleges and seminaries are similar yet different. They both focus on Bible, Christian ministry and doctrine. However, Bible colleges are designed as undergraduate programs (associate, bachelor’s) whereas seminaries are graduate level (master’s, doctoral).
The other major difference is that seminaries normally focus more on leadership roles within ministry, like pastors, worship leaders and missionaries. Some students attend seminary before moving into a doctoral program to teach in biblical higher education.
What’s the Difference Between Bible College and Seminary?
Bible colleges require a high school diploma (or equivalent) for entry. Seminaries require a bachelor’s degree. Therefore, some students attend Bible college to go on to pursue greater studies at the seminary.When this happens, they often get credit for courses already taken.
If you believe God has called you into ministry, then attending a Bible college and/or seminary is an important part of your preparation. While you could attend one and not the other, you may find a greater depth by attending both.
Much of that decision depends on what is required for the job or ministry you are pursuing. To be a pastor in your denomination, does it require a degree? If so, what kind? Are you preparing for ordination and need a better foundation?
The difference between Bible college and seminary may be summarized in one word: purpose. What’s the purpose behind your education?
Why Should I Attend a Bible College?
It’s been said that the foundation is key to everything. Consider a house. If the foundation is strong, the house is strong. But a weak foundation leads to issues all throughout the house. Attending Bible college is like building a solid educational foundation.
At Carolina College of Biblical Studies, our mission is to disciple Christ-followers, through biblical higher education, for a lifetime of effective servant leadership. If we can help you reach your ministry goals, let us know.
To learn more about Bible colleges, download our “9 Answers to Your Questions About Biblical Education” from our website at www.ccbs.edu.