By BBC Admissions Office
Let’s be honest, Bible college is not normal, and as humans sometimes we get suspicious of what is not normal. Our suspicions can create misperceived narratives about whatever we distrust. Whether it is children who are suspicious of vegetables, teenagers who are suspicious of authority figures, or authority figures who are suspicious of teenagers, we all consciously or unconsciously create narratives to validate our suspicions. Sometimes our narratives are based on truth, but most of the time our narratives are based on half-truth. There are always two sides to every story. Many misconceptions exist on half-truths, but the challenge we each face is to seek the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Meaning, we are going to have to do our homework.
Many misconceptions about Bible college are based on some aspect of truth – either it was true a decade ago, or it was true in a single circumstance, or it is currently true but there is more to the story than meets the eye. Let’s look at four common misconceptions about attending Bible college, and particularly Boise Bible College.
Misconception #1 – Students are expected to be perfect, clean-cut Christians
This misconception may still be true at some Christian colleges, and it may have been true fifty years ago, but Boise Bible College does not expect our students to be perfect, clean-cut Christian know-it-alls. If fact, we expect the opposite because we know that everyone has sinned and is in need of God’s grace (Romans 3:23-24). However, grace is not a free pass to sin our brains out; it is an opportunity to live a new life in Christlikeness (Romans 6). This is the expectation we have for our students: come as you are and be willing to submit yourself to the process of becoming more like Christ in how you think and how you live. Really, this is the Gospel’s expectation for every person, so that all may have eternal life in Jesus Christ (John 3:16-21). Our students are not perfect; our students are not always clean-cut; our students are not always Christian; and our students do not know it all – but our students are loved and equipped to grow up in Christlikeness.
Misconception #2 – Students Have to Work in a Church after Graduation
In order to address this misconception properly, we have to clarify two definitions of “church.” One is church as a religious institution that meets in a church building and that facilitates Sunday morning worship and teaching. The other is church as the people of Christ who care for each other and who strive to become more like Jesus. Ideally, these two definitions of church exist as one unified and healthy organism. But sometimes that does not happen; sometimes “church” is just Sunday morning and sometimes “church” is just a small group of believers hanging out. So, ministry can either look like supporting the institutional church or it can look like investing in relationship with people and caring for their needs. What is important to understand is the theological impossibility of separating ministry from church as the people of Christ. The entire New Testament illustrates this truth – the church is the people and not the building.
So, back to Bible colleges. Bible colleges came into existence in the 1800s in order to prepare students for church ministry, primarily the institutional kind. Every Bible college will emphasize different aspects of ministry and will train their students accordingly. Boise Bible College is no different – we have our theological priorities too. However, our mission is to equip servant leaders who build up the church to advance the Gospel around the world. Notice the distinct implication of our mission statement – servant leaders serve and lead people, people who are the church, so that these people can share the good news of Jesus wherever they go. The training at Boise Bible College seeks to prepare students for both institutional church and relational church, because both are necessary in our modern world. Even though many of our graduates vocationally work in institutional churches, your education at Boise Bible College will prepare you for ministry wherever you live and work. Ministry is about sharing the good news of faith, hope, and love in Jesus.
If you are a student who is on the fence about whether or not you want an education in ministry, we strongly encourage you to least consider a one-year Bible Certificate, which will give you the basics for a life of ministry.
Misconception #3 – Bible Colleges are Not Accredited
Bible colleges are all over the map when it comes to accreditation. Some have no accreditation, some only have national accreditation, and some have both national and regional accreditation. You should ask schools about their accreditation, and don’t take the simple answer at face-value. Do a little research at CHEA.org about the accreditation of a college or university. Accreditation is a way for a school to keep itself accountable to a higher standard. Regionally accredited schools can be more expensive because their accreditation is more prestigious which means that credits are easier to transfer to other schools. Nationally accredited schools can be less expensive because their accreditation is less prestigious, meaning that credits are not generally accepted by other schools. Boise Bible College is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education, which is a national faith-related accreditor who is accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). This means that you can expect a high-quality education from Boise Bible College, but regionally accredited colleges and universities may not recognize credits or degrees from our school.
Misconception #4 – Bible College Only Teach Bible/Christian Classes
If a Bible college is accredited, it will most likely be required to teach general education courses alongside of Bible, theology, and ministry courses. Because Boise Bible College is accredited, we require students to learn language and communication, philosophy, history, math or science, and social science as part of a forty-credit general education core for a Bachelor degree. BBC believes that having a broad working knowledge of our world is critical for sharing and contextualizing the Gospel.
There are many more misconceptions about Bible colleges, and maybe some particular ones about BBC. We encourage you to ask us about any suspicions or concerns that you have about an education at Boise Bible College. We promise to do our best to give you honest and accurate answers.