Home 9 Bible 9 Bible college versus Seminary

Bible college versus Seminary

God has called you into ministry, but you need preparation to follow that call. For some that requires biblical and theological understanding. Is Bible Study alone sufficient? What should you look for in preparation to serve God faithfully? What is the difference between Bible college versus seminary?

Is Bible study alone sufficient?

Many believers 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’s true that the Holy Spirit will guide you into ministry, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare! The Holy Spirit can do a lot more through you if there’s something to work with.

Everyone God calls into ministry should be involved in a regular Bible study, but how should we properly study the Bible? This is where a Bible college, or seminary, plays an important role.

What’s 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.

While most four year colleges offer majors, such as nursing or business, at a Bible college, you can get an Associates or Bachelor’s degree in Bible. Classes also usually include:

  • Old Testament Survey
  • New Testament Survey
  • Doctrine
  • Life of Christ
  • and Greek Language.


Bible college professor teaching Greek at CCBS

Some Bible colleges are accredited through ABHE, while others aren’t. The idea of an accreditation is that a higher authority has validated the school, giving it greater worth. Many graduate schools will only recognize degrees from accredited schools.

Bible colleges serve an important role in higher education. Not only do you get the foundational teachings in Bible, doctrine, and ministry courses, but you will also study grammar, history, and philosophy from a biblical worldview.

Many students will sometimes attend a Bible college for their first two years and earn their Associates degree, in order to get a biblical foundation, before transferring to a university that trains them in a particular field such as engineering or biology.

The advantage to the student is that a Bible college is often significantly more affordable than a state university or private college.

What is seminary?

Bible colleges are similar, yet different. They both focus on Bible, Christian ministry, and doctrine.

The difference between a Bible college versus seminary, is that Bible colleges are designed as undergraduate programs, whereas seminaries are graduate level and above (Master’s, Doctoral).

Seminaries also normally focus more on leadership roles within ministry, such as:

  • pastors
  • worship leaders
  • missionaries

Some students attend seminary before moving into a doctoral program so they can teach in biblical higher education.

What’s the difference between Bible college versus seminary?

Bible colleges usually require a diploma or GED for admission. Seminaries require a bachelor’s degree. Therefore, some students attend Bible college first, in order to pursue greater studies at the seminary level.

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. For example:

  • To be a pastor in your denomination, does it require a degree? If so, what kind?
  • Or are you preparing for ordination and need a better foundation?

The difference between a Bible college and seminary may be summarized in one word: purpose.

What’s the purpose behind your education?

Why is attending a Bible college important?

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 throughout the house.

Attending Bible college is like building a firm foundation.

You can take general education courses at the local community college, or you can take them from a Christian leader with a biblical worldview.

Sure, grammar is grammar, but the instructor makes a difference.

Surely you know that the Bible is important enough to be studied from those who’ve dedicated their lives to it. The faculty at a Bible college are doing that very thing.

At Carolina College of Biblical Studies, our mission is to disciple Christ-followers, through biblical higher education, for a lifetime of effective servant leadership.

 a Bible college student in the library studying group of excited Bible college students

If we can help you reach your ministry goals, let us know.