At a time in our culture where Christian beliefs are increasingly challenged, here’s a great question to ask: What are Bible colleges and why do we need them? We’re glad you asked! Here are some frequently asked questions about Bible colleges.
1. What is a Bible College Anyway?
The basic characteristic of a Bible college that differentiates it from other universities is the number of Bible credits students are required to take. As defined by the Barna research group, “Bible colleges offer programs and hands-on experiences in ministry as well as other professions that help students live out their calling from God. They typically require 21-30 credit hours of Bible/theology classes, promote Christian discipleship and require students and faculty to abide by a covenant of belief and conduct consistent with biblical faith.”
At Lancaster Bible College, our on-campus undergraduate students are required to take between 30 and 42 Bible credits. This means that most of our graduates earn either double majors or dual degrees in their chosen area of study and biblical studies, depending on the requirements of their chosen program.
Slightly different Bible credit requirements exist for students in online undergraduate degree programs, but the truth of the Bible is still a significant commitment at LBC, regardless of the academic program.
In the past, Bible colleges focused solely on training and preparing students for work in areas that were traditionally considered ministry. Today, Bible colleges have a strong emphasis on keeping the Bible at the core of their curriculum while also preparing students for careers across a variety of disciplines. For example, in the fall of 2023, the top on-campus undergraduate majors at LBC were Business Administration, Education and Counseling & Social Work.
2. So You Can Only Study Ministry If You Go to a Bible College, Right?
Definitely not! In fact, LBC | Capital offers 50 different programs across all levels of education, and these include Business, Education, Social Work, Music, Criminal Justice, Communication & Media Arts and more. Of course, LBC | Capital does offer degrees in Pastoral Ministry, Intercultural Studies and Children & Family Ministry, just to name a few, for those who are called to ministry.
3. What’s the Difference Between a Bible College and a Christian College?
While you may think the two terms are interchangeable, they aren’t. According to Christian Universities Online, Christian colleges and universities “provide higher education options to students who want to prepare for a traditional career in the marketplace while in a Christian setting.” They also don’t require students to take as many Bible classes, with some requiring as little as one to two.
4. Why is Biblical Education Important?
LBC | Capital President Emeritus Dr. Peter W. Teague perhaps said it best in an article for our college magazine, The ECHO:
“Ultimately, we believe the Bible is the Word of God, not that it simply contains it, but that it is the very Word of God, expressed through the Holy Spirit divinely inspired and consistent in truth. It is in the Bible that God makes Himself known to us, and we are fully committed to the truth of God-breathed Scriptures as the ultimate source of wisdom in all matters of faith and practice as seen in our Statement of Faith and our Student and Employee Handbooks.
“Our commitment to integrating biblical truth with grace is central to our identity in an age of theological shifting and confusion. It governs everything about our college: our academic programs, our faculty, campus activities, lifestyle standards, admissions and hiring decisions. That steadfast resolve shapes our worldview, our perspective on all reality – what is true, what is good, what is right.
“As we have done since our founding in 1933, our faculty will teach that the Word of God is the ultimate source of wisdom for life and how to do life well with God. While the pendulum of change appears to be swinging in many other institutions of higher education, we have no pendulum. We have a plumb line steadfast and true: the Word of God. ‘Forever, O Lord, your Word is firmly fixed in the heavens,’ and by Your grace living out Your expressed will we will’ … think and live a biblical worldview and proclaim Christ by serving Him in the Church and society.”