The Bible institute movement has grown rapidly since 1882 when Nyack Missionary College was founded, and 1886 when Moody Bible Institute was begun. More than 200 Bible institutes and colleges are presently in existence.
The movement has been hailed by its friends and alternately condemned and pitied by its foes.
On the asset side of the ledger an emphasis on sound doctrinal belief has been paramount. Bible schools have positively proclaimed the virgin birth and deity of Christ, man’s sinfulness, redemption through the substitutionary atonement, the bodily resurrection, the imminent return of Jesus Christ, and the full inspiration of the Bible. This doctrinal emphasis was a bulwark against the onslaught of nineteenth century rationalism which impatiently waved aside biblical supernaturalism.
Strong emphasis also was placed on the direct study of the English Bible. The logic of the early Bible school leaders demanded that no peripheral interest should supplant the firsthand study of Scripture, the written Word of God. Such methods as inducive Bible study and Bible synthesis have largely been popularized in Bible institutes.
Equipping the layman and laywoman with a practical knowledge of the Bible for use in teaching in Sunday Schools, supervising rescue missions, and in other areas of Christian service was the original purpose of the Moody Bible Institute. The goal of Nyack, on the other hand, was to train recruits for a practical and evangelistic ministry on the foreign mission field.
Complications soon set in because students looking forward to the pastorate began to apply in large numbers, and the pressure mounted to increase the range of subjects and to deepen the content. This type of training began to register a marked effect ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more