Christian University or Bible College?

With all the faith-based, higher education options on the market today it can be confusing to differentiate between a Bible college and a Christian university. The key differences between the two are the resulting credential earned and the plans of the graduate. Bible colleges allow students to immerse themselves in the scripture, and most graduates attempt to use that knowledge to work in mainstream Christian ministry as pastors, teachers, missionaries, evangelists, or church administrators. Christian universities usually offer liberal arts based educational degree programs taught from a Christian perspective.

Bible Colleges Characteristics

Bible colleges have also been historically known as seminaries for many years, and they seek to prepare students for a life of service in Christian ministry in some capacity. Some colleges focus on old and new testament studies with ancillary courses in biblical language studies. Other institutions teach students vocational and professional skills along with bible studies so graduates ready themselves to take on missionary work. Many Bible colleges are not accredited, and usually limit degree offerings to the undergraduate level. Additionally, not all Bible colleges teach the scriptures in the same manner; denominational differences like those among charismatic, liberal, and fundamentalists Christians are highlighted in these theological settings. Many of these schools are purposefully located in rural or mountain communities that are some distance from urban distractions.

Multnomah Bible College located in Portland, Oregon is an accredited Bible college that offers comprehensive biblically based coursework along with degree programs in aviation and early childhood education. Surprisingly, many jobs are available for those graduating with an aviation degree from Multnomah Bible College because mission organizations often transport food and medical supplies to missionary sites easiest via airplane. The school also provides coursework in intercultural studies and teaching English as a second language. All of the non-biblical courses taught at Multnomah Bible College are used in some capacity to support missions and church service work.

Christian University Attributes

Christian universities provide higher education options to students who want to prepare for a traditional career in the marketplace while in a Christian setting. While most offer Bible courses and some even have theology degree programs, the majority of the courses are not solely to prepare students for long term, international missions.

Regent University located in Virginia Beach, Virginia was one of the first Christian universities in the country. Regent is accredited and offers programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. Some of its popular degree program offerings include education, business, and law just to name a few. Regent keeps pace with trends in higher education like developing online curricula just as most secular schools have recently done.


Bible colleges tend to allow students the opportunity to explore the scriptures in-depth while developing skills expected to be used in domestic church ministry or overseas missions. The stated mission of many Christian universities is to develop ethical, educated leaders for careers in the global market place.