Question: "Why should I consider going to a Bible college?"
Answer: Having a higher education is a valuable asset in many fields, including vocational, or full-time, ministry. A Bible college education is designed to equip believers who are pursuing God’s call to vocational ministry, but it can be beneficial for any believer. Here are a few reasons why one should at least consider going to a Bible college:
One should consider going to Bible college because of the training in the Word he or she will receive. Studying the Bible is, of course, the main emphasis in a Bible college, and the Bible college student will learn various study methods, how to properly interpret a given passage, and how to arrive at practical applications of God’s truth. The study of God’s Word is every believer’s business. A good Bible college provides tools for the correct handling of “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
A Bible college is a good source for any training in the Bible, even for those who do not wish to pursue a four-year degree. Most Bible colleges offer one-year certificate programs in biblical studies and two-year associate programs in a variety of subjects. Also, most Bible colleges allow classes to be audited at low cost. For those who don’t need college credit, auditing a class can be a great way for Sunday school teachers, pastors, or anyone interested in the Bible to increase their knowledge with some formal training without a long-term commitment.
One should consider going to Bible college because of the ministry experience a Bible college provides. As part of their mission to equip students for service, most Bible colleges recommend or even require involvement in church-related Christian ministries. In their service, students exercise their spiritual gifts and lend vital support to local churches, gaining valuable experience in the process. In some cases, a student may even discover that vocational ministry is not for him or her—an important discovery to make before graduation.
One should consider going to Bible college because such an institution fosters spiritual growth. Of course, spiritual growth is possible anywhere, but a Bible college is in many ways a spiritual greenhouse. The faculty, staff, students, and curriculum of a Bible college all share the same goal of glorifying Christ, and the resulting milieu provides ample opportunity to flourish in one’s spiritual walk.
One should consider going to Bible college because of the training it provides in developing a biblical worldview. The education one receives at a Bible college will come from a point of view that upholds moral absolutes and human dignity, accepts the reality of the spiritual realm, and points to Christ as the Redeemer.
One should consider going to Bible college because it is a place to readily find Christian role models. The faculty and staff of a Bible college typically represent decades of learning and spiritual maturity. Finding a mentor who understands Christian discipleship and is willing to share his or her insights is easy to do on a Bible college campus.
One should consider going to Bible college because graduates have a network of lifelong Christian friends and ministry contacts. A Bible college graduate need never feel alone in the ministry. Dozens of old friends, most of whom are also in ministry, are just a phone call or email away. They supply a constant resource for advice, guidance, and encouragement in serving the Lord.
Attending a Bible college is not God’s will for everyone, and a formal degree is not a prerequisite for serving the Lord. But the training a Bible college affords can be invaluable to serious students of God’s Word and especially to those who are called to vocational ministry roles.