Bible College vs. Liberal Arts Christian College: What is the Difference?
When searching for a college, it’s important that the school lines up with your goals and values. After all, college is a big investment, and you want to be sure you’re getting the education you’re looking for.
Many Christian high school students look forward to a Christ-centered college experience they may not have received in grades K-12. This means that they want to have God and His Word incorporated into their day-to-day life on campus. Going to a college like this is also an opportunity to meet like-minded individuals and be shaped by professors who share similar beliefs. Bible colleges and Christian colleges are two types of colleges that will provide such an experience. Although there are distinctions between the two, the difference can be difficult to spot.
What is a Bible College?
Bible colleges often specialize in (and historically, they exclusively offered) Bible degrees. Some Bible colleges have a range of degree fields but require every student to have a second major in Bible. A student looking to go into full-time ministry or use their skills for ministry-related purposes through degrees such as biblical studies, missions, biblical languages, children and family ministry, preaching, ministry leadership, and youth ministry might find a Bible college to be the right fit.
According to Dr. Tiberius Rata, an Old Testament professor for Grace Theological Seminary and the Grace College School of Ministry of 17 years, “Bible colleges want to develop a student’s worldview through the study of Bible, ministry, and theology. However, in recent years, some Bible colleges have started to offer degrees in communication, music, and elementary education as well.”
This trend has led to increasingly blurred lines between the distinction between Bible colleges and Christian colleges. So what exactly characterizes a liberal arts Christian college?
What is a Liberal Arts Christian College?
A Christian college typically has a wide variety of degrees to choose from in an assortment of schools (arts, sciences, business, education, behavioral sciences, ministry, etc.) All classes, regardless of the subject matter, have Biblical integration and are designed to teach the subject matter through a Christian worldview. In subject matters where the Bible doesn’t appear to fit readily, professors encourage students to employ critical thinking skills and grapple with their faith within the new context. This approach is hugely beneficial for students who want to live out their faith in fields that claim to be secular.
“Liberal Arts Christian Colleges, like Grace College, also believe in establishing the student’s worldview by studying the Bible and making sure that the Bible serves as the foundation for one’s worldview,” said Rata. “However, a Christian Liberal Arts college looks to develop the whole person by making sure the student studies a wide range of topics such as math, languages, music, and art.”
How does a Bible College compare to a Liberal Arts Christian College?
And now, the looming question: is one better than the other? It depends on you and what you want to accomplish through your education.
Both types of colleges are private institutions that incorporate Biblical truths into everyday life. Deciding between a Bible college or Liberal Arts Christian college comes down to the student’s personal and professional goals.
Rata understands the nuance of the decision. “While a Bible College education might be good for someone going into full-time ministry, I believe that a strong liberal arts education at an evangelical school could be more beneficial for someone who needs critical thinking skills to navigate an increasingly secular, anti-God culture.”
If a liberal arts Christian college is what you’re looking for, fill out our Lancer Application to start your journey today.