I am the product of a Bible college. In the fall of 1977, as an 18-year-old, I enrolled in a college in Birmingham, Alabama. I graduated four years later with a bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Ministries.
God graciously allowed me opportunities to go back to school three subsequent times for two master’s degrees and a doctoral degree — for which I am grateful. With each course taken and additional degree earned, I learned truths that were new to me. That being said, it is not a stretch when I tell people that a significant part of who I am and the foundation for much of my life and ministry over the past 35+ years was laid in those first four years at Bible college.
Bible colleges exist to prepare men and women for various ministries, including but not limited to pastoral roles, youth and children’s ministries, missions and nonprofit ministries.
They are similar in many ways to seminaries except for the degrees offered — associate’s and bachelor’s degrees rather than master’s and doctoral degrees.
Why was Bible college so foundational for me? After all, I have nine years of additional study in graduate schools and seminaries and only four years in Bible college. The following are a few reasons I advocate for Bible college:
• My degree from Bible college required a healthy dose of Greek (the original language of the New Testament) and Bible interpretation courses. These courses aimed to prepare my fellow students and me to understand what the Bible says with greater clarity.
• Six semesters of preaching and communication courses aided me greatly in taking what I’d learned from my study of God’s word and being able to communicate it effectively to others. I am sure I would have been a much less effective communicator without those courses.
• Finally, I met others who had the same goal I did. They wanted to serve Jesus, be instruments used to bring him glory, and help people find peace with God and purpose for living. Those classmates became my best friends … one became my wife.
Since 2004, I have had the privilege to be at Carolina College of Biblical Studies. I have the joy of leading a team of faculty and staff that are being greatly used by God to lay a foundation in our campus and online students’ lives for current and future ministry around the world.
I often tell CCBS students if they get half as much out of Bible college as I did, they will still be transformed, useful for God’s purposes and grateful as I am. Hardly a day passes, even 36 years after graduating, that I don’t find myself reflecting on and relying on the truths I learned in Bible college.