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What do people really learn in bible college?

Discussion in 'For New Christians' started by Goodbook, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. Goodbook

    Goodbook Reading the Bible

    In Relationship
    I'm confused..Is a bible college different from church?
    I'm not sure how this works..if you are studying at one or have studied in one can you share your experience? Are they good or bad?

    Does God call you to one and how do you know which one to go to? Are there different denominations? Or are they just for people who grew up in religion, decide they want to be ministers because it runs in the family?

    Do they treat women differently from men? Do you have to be a certain age?

    Is reading the Bible not enough and do you have to learn all about church history and theological arguments as well? Do they teach rituals and rites or is that only in catholic seminaries? Or are they practical?

    I'm curious because I'm not sure why some people would go to bible college if they didn't believe in God. I was reading this book by Phillip Yancey, which I found interesting because he said he went to a bible college but didn't have any faith. I don't know the whole story, or what he learned, or how he found faith, or exactly what his faith now is..but it seems to me you can go to bible college and never really read the Bible. Because he writes in one of his books that he decided to read the bible from the beginning, straight through something he'd never done and I'm going, ?? hold on, didn't you go to Bible college? Do some bible colleges just treat the Bible as a Christian dictionary to pull quotes from to bolster their own ideas about religion? Or am I just generalising, that bible colleges don't teach this it's just the student doesn't believe.

    Another one is Karen Armstrong the former nun who now writes lots of books about religion and God. I'm pretty sure she is a humanist, she likes the IDEA of God rather than having a personal faith in the Lord himself. I read her memoir, and she was writing constantly about trying to find God but failing in her catholic religion. I wanted to tell her it was very simple. She just needed to be humble and pray.

    I just feel quite sceptical about people who treat God as their hobby and make him more complicated than He really is, then go to bible college and write books that make them out to be scholars and theologians as if they were above ordinary believers. I tried to read some books written by christians because I wanted to know how their walk with Christ was, and what they learned. But they don't turn out to be believers at all. Like Lloyd Geering. And then I want to know if the people who teach in these bible colleges are not believers, because if the teachers don't believe then what are they really teaching?
    And then the people that attend the churches where the ordained ministers don't believe..what is it the church members are learning?
    Do churches just hire pastors based on how well they passed their exams and adhere to the churches own doctrine rather than whether they have a heart to serve God?

    I had a pastor in church one day say how he was finally going to get a chance to get up and speak, he didn't spend 3 years in bible college for nothing. And it made me question..if you had something to preach in church, wouldn't it be because the Spirit led you to say it rather than because you studied for 3 years and got a diploma?

    In the Bible it says the church is the priesthood of all believers - WE are priests. It also says we don't need man to teach us, the Holy Spirit teaches us. It is up to us to search the scriptures and study the Word prayerfully, we don't need to pay someone to help us do this. The Holy Spirit gives us gifts making us pastors, teachers, ministers, healers etc. It never says we have to go to a bible college to learn all this...all the apostles were empowered by the Holy Spirit, without him they could do nothing.

    so..i'm not sure about bible colleges.
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  2. djsterf

    djsterf Passionately in Love with the Savior Supporter

    Two sides:

    (1) The key here is 'preparation.' God calls, and at times, He will call us to prepare responsibly so that we KNOW the Word. This can be done through reading Scripture and listening to the Holy Spirit's leading, and it can also be done by heeding the wisdom of men led by the Holy Spirit who have traveled the path before and who have heard the Lord's voice through the years, as well.

    Bible College is usually preparatory work for Seminary. Students have to make sure that it's not 'Cemetery' or a means to pride. Remember that the Apostles prepared under Jesus for 2-3 years! Even Paul sat under the other Apostles at times, and key NT men of God such as Timothy and Titus were discipled by Paul through their early ministry.

    (2) I do agree with you that some local churches are overly pragmatic when it comes to doctrines, ordination boundaries, degree requirements, etc. Many churches also draw lines that are thought out but not sought out and end up forcing people out of ministry. While it's frustrating and I've personally experienced a ton of frustration in this area, it's our duty to pray and humbly confront where necessary.
  3. fm107

    fm107 Psalm 19:1-4 and Romans 1:20

    United Kingdom
    Amen Sister, Amen!!

    I can see the Holy Spirit is working in you because of the way you managed to answer your own question!

    In my opinion bible colleges are an affront to God.

    Man tries to intellectualise God's word! What silly men!

    1 Corinthians 1:18-31
    For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
    Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
    Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

    You see, God choose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise!

    Jesus choose fishermen to be disciples, I doubt they were even educated!

    Yet there are none wiser in the things of God than the apostles.

    You see bible colleges are for those who are weak in their faith, those who don't have enough faith in God to teach them and lead them into the truth. Instead they run to man and try to some how get "educated" in God's word. Yet we know that only the Holy Spirit can do that.

    I have taken out the poster's name from the quote lest he feels imbarrassed. But I don't see how he can be since he publically posted this:

  4. fm107

    fm107 Psalm 19:1-4 and Romans 1:20

    United Kingdom
    Bible college is not biblical, whilst going to church is biblical. The bible tells us to go to Church but bible college are alien to the bible. Giving people degrees for things relating to God is just terrible.

    Jesus said to Peter, on this rock, I will build my church. If he wanted bible colleges as well he would have said so. Educational Institutions were around then too.

    They may have been created with good intentions but that doesn't make them right. Christians should be reliant on the Holy Spirit as you said and not on man and their different courses. If you want to learn, go to a local bible study at church or read your bible at home, always relying and asking the Holy Spirit to help you.

    Everything should be led by the Spirit, in the church I go to, no one is the minister, we are ALL ministers and we all take part.

    Cannot comment on that sorry!

    Learning about these things won't help you or other people in their Christian walk. This is simply head knowledge, which does not benefit anyone I'm afraid. As you say, you need practical teaching.

    Wouldn't surprise me if many there didn't believe. There are lots of ministers etc who are not true Christians, they just have head knowledge. That's why so many wrong teachings have been introduced into the church. These people are spoken about here:

    Matthew 7:22-23
    Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

    Amen, those who ask receive.

    They try to teach things they think they understand, but really only the Holy Spirit gives true understanding.

    Yes, exactly, and it's absolutely destroying the church. How intelligent a person is shouldn't come into it, it's how spiritual the person is.


  5. pilgrimgal

    pilgrimgal Jeremiah 29:11 It's good!

    The original poster poses a good question. My intention is to simply reply to that and not to enter into argument here or flame bible colleges.

    It is true that some who have gone to bible colleges have not lead holy lives and have not ministered according to the Word they should have learned. Bad example has discouraged and hurt others especially those who have been under their authority. However, everyone, including ministers and bible school graduates are human and sin and fall short of God's purposes and glory. Most bible college graduates I know were called to serve God and led to be prepared and educated in the context of a bible based college which taught other courses as well. They earned degrees. And you can recognize that they have a solid grasp on the Word of God as they lead solid Christian lives. Some serve on church staffs and some do not.
    Yet, on the other hand, I come from a background where at least a four year seminary and ordination were the must for any credible position in the church especially a local congregation. Clericalism ruled there and it was definitely limiting. There were times when God would raise up others within a congregation but they were not given recognition or responsibilities although they would have done better than the ordained ones. Yet, I still believe in authority and how important obedience is. It has been my experience that God can and does work through a system in which clericalism exists.

    I am now in a church where there are many who are called pastors..because the service they do there is definitely of a pastoral nature. Some graduated from bible schools or colleges and some did not. But all have been prepared by the Holy Spirit, tested, and recognized by their peers as worthy to perform the service to which God called and prepared them. Their understanding of the Word, as mine, continues and is on-going.

    It really does depend on the mission, purpose, and environment of the bible college too. And that applies to a congregation as well.

    As the bible students in Christian colleges and bible schools and any of us study and grow in the Word we recognize that mistakes can be made in interpretation as to what the scriptures mean. That is why it is good to have others to help guide and direct their studies. The Holy Spirit uses them too. As we read in Proverbs 11:14. "Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellers there is safety."

    A good church comes together more than simply on Sunday to hear an ordained minister preach a sermon. A good church encourages and offers on going opportunities to learn often in smaller groups and study of God's Word together.

    my 2 cents..

    peace and blessings.

    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
  6. heron

    heron Legend

    In Relationship
    You can get an idea of what these colleges teach, by checking their course catalogs. Most require theology, Biblical and traditional history, Greek, Hebrew, psychology; some offer organizational management, archaeology, anthropology, counseling.

    There is a difference between regionally accredited schools and those affiliated with denominations or ministries. The latter tend to teach doctrine, where the accredited schools do not grant credit for doctrine. Specifically, an accredited one might have a course where students define their own faith in contrast with several authors; where a non-accredited one might teach a topic on faith or prayer based on those authors.

    You have a good point there! Especially in light of your observations of the authors' personal beliefs.

    Some agnostics want to go into ministry to help and counsel people. These days, some have noticed that it can be lucrative, and find a way to get a piece of the pie.

    I agree with you about authors, to a certain extent. Many publishers will not sign a contract if the author does not have credentials to stand behind their claims.

    It bothers me when I see parenting teachings by people who don't have kids, or have only been through it a few years. It also bothers me when certain ministers write inspirational books that don't contain any more research than the common churchgoer already knows.
    Paul not only mentored, but records show that he spent much of his life in OT training and scholarly work, before he became a Christian.

    Nazirites made vows to dedicate themselves to the Lord, and the whole arrangement is not clear, but it could have included scriptural study. (Started before there were many scriptures to read.)

    Samuel's mother handed him over to apprentice under the priest Eli when he was young.

    Mr 14:49
    -Jesus: "Every day I was with you in the temple teaching"

    Ac 18:24
    Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures.

    This article describes what was found to be historic Hebrew scriptural training, that was quite extensive.

    Some useful references...

    2 Timothy 3:15

    A person can learn the same information that a school offers. But a school presents a standardized range of topics, and holds people accountable for learning each part. Most of us shy away from certain topics, and delve deeper into our own areas of interest.
  7. heron

    heron Legend

    In Relationship
    That's an excellent question. Most males say they treat women just dandy, but when it comes down to leadership and respect, the world is full of some serious discrepancies. You will want to look through their materials carefully to get an idea of attitudes.

    Some religious groups do not allow women to be elders or ministers; and while they know this is a hiring discrimination issue, they hold to their convictions. Similarly, a Bible school will let you pay tuition and get credit, but you might run across scattered individuals who express that it's wonderful for a woman to go to Bible college so they can teach their children and volunteer in their communities. You would really want to check the flavor of the school before signing up -- there are extremely dogmatic ones, and generously open ones. Finding a good fit can make a difference in one's own faith, as well as direction.

    It depends on the church. Most churches I am familiar with have a very organized structure for sermon delivery. The head pastor takes the majority of the sermons, and doles out time slots to assistant pastors, elders, and visiting speakers. I think it is more a matter of how prominent the head pastor is within the church structure, and how much influence s/he likes to have in what is taught.

    I went to a church that had an assistant pastor who passionately dug deep into scriptures but didn't know how to end sermons; an assistant who was a warm counseling type but not a good speaker; and an interning pastor who gave incredible sermons and showed up the head pastor. All three were rarely allowed to preach, for different reasons. All three wanted more chances to preach.

    Sorry to air so many human frailties within the church -- we are all just people trying to serve God in the way we believe we need to.

    It's important to remember that the current role of pastor is a paid leadership position, that is responsible for many legal issues a normal member might not be aware of. HR compliance, HIPPA, tax reporting, zoning ordinances, predators near children, family restraining orders... we need to at least respect the fact that one person has allowed his 24/7 identity to shoulder emergency counseling sessions, deaths and marriages, staff management, marketing... so many things.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011
  8. heymikey80

    heymikey80 Quidquid Latine dictum sit, altum viditur

    There're also people who have never had a chance to live in a majority-Christian environment. They have the disadvantage of living in a thoroughly secularized culture, and don't really see the spiritual items in their lives that would be significant to see. That happens because everyone in their lives suppresses that spiritual component.
  9. papaJP

    papaJP Prophet


    Having studied in a form of Bible College and received a graduate degree from a theological seminary I can make a few statements.

    I learned much in my over 6 years of studies. The most important was where I should not go in my learning and interpretations of the Bible.

    Both men and women should study. The choice of where you should attend is something that should be a God lead decision.

    In my case I was prophesied over and told to go to a particular school and to walk in the halls and if God confirmed to me that I should go their then go.

    I went and while walking in the hall was approached by a man you identified himself as the president and told me that God wanted me in that school and so did he. It was a situation that later I labeled a Godsidence. I prayed for the ability to complete this degree and write my thesis. I can attest that God led me and I wrote my thesis in less than 3 weeks with God's help.

    You learn from God and His Holy Spirit. The teachers or professors are just their doing what God wants them to do. Not all are called by God and you can tell that yourself. However, they can guide you into the areas that God wants you to both learn and understand.

    You will not come out thinking you are special if it is a God lead thing. You will understand and be guided by God.

    Those who say they should lead because they are educated in scripture or church doctrine are not always following God.

    In Revelation you will find that their will be elders and they will not always be someone who was held in high esteame on earth. The lowest will be the highest and the highest will become the lowest.

    If you are filled with the Holy Spirit and seek God in your heart let Him guide you and He will tell you what to believe and who can assist you on your journey.
  10. HAPMinistries

    HAPMinistries Well-Known Member

    I have a Doctorate in Biblical Studies, and I am a licensed minister that has been through seminary. The key is to know what you are wanting.

    It you want to become 'educated' on the bible, then go to a bible college or university.

    If you are called into 'ministry', go to a seminary.

    The difference is at Seminary will teach doctrine, and doctrine preaches. They are not so much interested in the depth as much as the message. They are not interested in theological debates, they want to instill what works behind a pulpit, or open air. They teach ethics, the order of church, etc.

    A university will get into original languages, will be much less biased on doctrine and beliefs, and often raises more questions than answers. The university will not tell you what to believe usually. Also, throughout my Masters anyways, it seems I learned more about every other religion in the world than I did about my own. Universities are more a raw knowledge.

    Now, this has been my experience, and I notice some places are called College Seminaries, so it 'may' relate more to what your major is.

    So it is bad if you are wanting to learn how to become a refined minister to go to a bible college, and it is bad if you are wanting a in depth knowledge to go to a seminary.

    So know what you are seeking.
  11. Forealzchola

    Forealzchola Contributor

    In Relationship
    **away bible college experience

    Hello i went to bible college for the beginning of my college career so I will share my experience and perceptions with you....bible college is basically a college that has its whole school structure based on biblical foundations and sculpted around God...you learn everything normal( psychology, criminal justice with a God emphasis...so the professors arent cursing like other professors do in secular colleges..class might begin with prayer, mandatory church service is also normally apart of the curriculum and one or two bible classes

    Its more so geared towards building a christians faith and then "releasing" them into world or whatever career field they are going to, to make an impact for God.

    Negative things I would say that it does is makes you naive and too sheltered especially if you live on campus...it doesnt help you to learn how to handle "secular situations so when you go out into the world you get culture shocked.like how am i supposed to handle this situation or that?
  12. Phaedron777

    Phaedron777 Member

    I personally think they are similar to the pharisees. Back in those times Jesus was a very new thing, though prophecised to come. To us he is a historical certainity of the past, but somehow I bet they don't teach you much about prophecies to come and end times stuff there, nor do you ever see any sermons on end times content in your churchs. At least not to my knowledge.
  13. Goodbook

    Goodbook Reading the Bible

    In Relationship
    Thanks all for your replies.
    I found a subforum on CF that was about bible colleges so I will have a look and see what people talk about on there.
    I understand it may be different from a seminary, which appears to me a kind of Catholic institution. There is a bible college up the road from me that prepares people for ministry, that is not catholic, I don't think it's just a regular university for christians like a catholic high school is a school for catholics.

    I went to university, which was completely secular. I also learned psychology. I'm not sure why people would be learning psychology at a bible college as psychology is not biblical and a vain philosophy that is manmade. Also it's not true that professers at secular colleges would be cursing all the time! I don't remember that! Some of them do.,to many people that is just language they are used to but not everyone is like that.

    I'm not sure it's a good idea that bible colleges are used for 'building a christian's faith' as faith is a gift given by God not something you can really 'build'..I can see how it would be a culture shock though..but as you go out into the world anyone can be culture shocked.. I read this book called 'the unlikely disciple' about a quaker who goes to a fundamental baptist bible college, it was an interesting read...but what things would people be learning in these bible classes?

    From the book I read it appeared you would memorise all the books of the bible..learn some church doctrines, and learn how to refute evolution.

    I remember when I went to university, there were evangelising christians on campus (the whole culture of campus was not christian at all - when you go to a secular univeristy you are encouraged by peers party and booze and experiment with sex so you are not wrong there) and they would try and encourage people to go to their churches, and they would hold seminars on why evolution was wrong..but that was about it. I was picked up by them at one stage and did go along to church with them, and thought I was a christian, but sadly I did not really understand then what it was all about, they may have thought they were preaching the gospel but I never really got what it was about until last year..I think if anyone is evangelising its really important that people can teach correctly on what sin is and repentence, I was lost in my sins and didn't know just how much God hated it, until I was really convicted by the Holy Spirit. The Campus Crusade for Christ just seemed a way to get people to join a church and people were understandably wary of it ..it is a false gospel in that it just made me think I could choose good and bad for myself, the good being, go to church and learn to be good, instead of Jesus, dying for my sins, giving me new life so that I can become holy and acceptable to God.

    I'm sure there the bible colleges out there are all different and they are not all bad..I guess like Jesus says, you will know them by their fruits..personally I think they are extra..orthodox Jews go to yeshivas and learn Torah and how to debate scripture..there is much emphasis on learning scripture..and it's a lifetime thing for them..but I also know that Jesus says there are people that learn and memorise scripture all their life but never come to him for the truth.

    John 5:39-40 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

  14. Forealzchola

    Forealzchola Contributor

    In Relationship
    In bible colleges all degrees are offered if that makes better since. I think only back in the day was it that bible college only taught bible...so even if you got a bible or theology degree you still are taking your general requirements which does too include psychology, math, p.e. history etc.
  15. pamelawardtxtx

    pamelawardtxtx New Member

    children there learn a lot of the same things that children learn in other educational institutions. by the way, many of those subjects can be handled with the help of special professional services ✏️ that help with homework.
  16. pamelawardtxtx

    pamelawardtxtx New Member

    They study a lot of subjects with which professional service ✏️ can help students.
  17. Bible Highlighter

    Bible Highlighter Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. Supporter

    United States
    One does not learn the Bible ultimately from men but by the Spirit. A Bible college is actually the worst thing a person can do to learn the Bible. Bible colleges can destroy a person's faith in God. Bible colleges get a person to distrust what their own Bible says on many things. They attempt to re-write the Word and say the original languages mean what they want it to mean instead of just reading and believing their own Bible in the plain English and comparing spiritual things with spiritual (Scripture with Scripture) under the guidance of the Spirit (By asking God for the Spirit to help understand His Word). God's Word cannot be understood by men alone. Other believers can help, but they have to be genuine followers of Christ and the listener has to be asking God for the understanding on such portions of Scripture, as well. Bible colleges are not being loving towards the brethren because they are putting them into a great financial burden like other secular worldly colleges do.
  18. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

    United States
    Now that this thread is nearing the ripe old age of ten years and the questioner who wrote the OP has moved on, it may be best not to try to resuscitate it.
  19. Bible Highlighter

    Bible Highlighter Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. Supporter

    United States
    I don't believe we can apply secular worldly approaches to learning the Word of God.

    “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.” (1 Corinthians 3:19).
    The wisdom of this world says that if you want to learn something, go to college.

    “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (1 John 2:27).​

    So as we can see in this above verse, the brethren that John was writing to referred to how they did not need any man to teach them because they had the Anointing (i.e. the Holy Spirit) to teach them.

    Bible colleges charge money for you to learn God's Word. But the Word says,

    “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” (Isaiah 55:1).
  20. ChristServant

    ChristServant Well-Known Member

    United Kingdom

    Doctrine, based on my experience of talking to those who have gone. Their free will to search for truth seems to have been dampened even taken away as now they think they have all the answers. The working of the Holy Spirit in them seems to have been replaced with theology text. Learning Theology doesn't = Holy Spirit. Passing exams is the important factor, not seeking the Kingdom of GOD and HIS Righteousness. It's strange to me that we are told;
    "We no longer look to be served. We look to serve and give our lives for others. No longer fight for privilege, influence and status. We esteem others better than ourselves and put their interests above our own"
    but privilege, influence, status and acceptance is what many seek.

    Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him

    We no longer look to be served. We look to serve and give our lives for others. No longer fight for privilege, influence and status. We esteem others better than ourselves and put their interests above our own.

    Peace be with all those in the body of Christ