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January 16, 2011 / compassioninpolitics

Top Christian Bible Colleges and Universities

What do you mean by best bible school?
Do you mean best Christian university or do you want to attend a theology or seminary program? The first part of the post is dedicated to the former (christian university) and the second half which includes 2 types of rankings (seminary or theology school) which hopefully will prove useful in your quest to find the best school.

Best Bible School = Best Christian School
So you’re looking to attend one of the best bible colleges in the United States? Well, in an effort to help you out in your college search, I’ve compiled to the Top Christian Universities as ranked by Forbes magazine ranking system. (which I borrowed from TopChristianSchools)

I suggest you bookmark this webpage for further research on picking the best bible college. (please note that I’ve added some Christian Universities which were originally left off the rankings list). The first list of universities list 35 universities altogether (the other ranking lists include 10 and 25 respective I believe for a total of 35 for each type of bible school). Hence, it may be important to pace yourself as you search for the best university bible school program for you.

You will find that each university is bolded (with a link to the university webpage) and you are provided with some of the basic specs for each college to help you in your search.

Alternatively, if by best bible school, you are looking for a theology or seminary program–I’ve included two additional sets of ranking systems:
1) A short list of top bible schools (Wheaton, Biola, Moody, Baylor, etc)

2) Finally, At the very end of the post you will also find top seminary programs as ranked by size (which isn’t the best criteria, but does give you an idea of some of the larger programs–which at least suggests popularity of the seminary program)

59. Wheaton College (#1)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 59
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 103
U.S. News Rank: National Liberal Arts Tier 1
Wheaton, Illinois
Est. 1860
Denominational Affiliation: Christian nondenominational

81. Westmont College (#2)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 81
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 222
U.S. News Rank: National Liberal Arts Tier 1
Santa Barbara, California
Denominational Affiliation: Christian nondenominational

134. George Fox University (#3)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 134
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 58
U.S. News Rank: National Universities Tier 1
Newberg, Oregon
Denominational Affiliation: Evangelical Friends

142. Pepperdine University (#4)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 142
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 276
U.S. News Rank: National Universities Tier 1
Malibu, Calif.
Denominational Affiliation: Churches of Christ

160. Gordon College (#5)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 160
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 426
U.S. News Rank: National Liberal Arts Tier 1
Wenham, Massachusetts
Denominational Affiliation: non-denominational

179. Covenant College (#6)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 179
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 185
U.S. News Rank: Regional Colleges (South) Tier 1
Lookout Mountain, Georgia
Denominational Affiliation: Presbyterian Church in America

209. Whitworth University (#7)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 209
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 198
U.S. News Rank: Regional Universities (West) Tier 1
Spokane, Washington
Denominational Affiliation: Presbyterian Church in America

213. Houghton College (#8)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 213
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 172
U.S. News Rank: National Liberal Arts Tier 1
Houghton, New York
Denominational Affiliation: Wesleyan Church

233. Oklahoma Baptist University (#9)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 233
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 109
U.S. News Rank: Regional Colleges (West) Tier 1
Shawnee, Oklahoma
Denominational Affiliation: Southern Baptist Convention

235. College of the Ozarks (#10)
Forbes 10-11 rank: 235
Forbes 09-10 rank: NA
U.S. News Rank: Regional Colleges (Midwest) Tier 1
Point Lookout, Missouri
Denominational Affiliation: Christian Interdenominational

258. Calvin College (#11)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 258
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 455
U.S. News Rank: National Liberal Arts Tier 1
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Denominational Affiliation: Christian Reformed

268. Goshen College (#12)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 268
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 177
U.S. News Rank: National Liberal Arts Tier 1
Goshen, Indiana
Denominational Affiliation: Mennonite Church USA

286. Mississippi College (#13)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 286
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 120
U.S. News Rank: Regional Universities (South) Tier 1
Clinton, Mississippi
Denominational Affiliation: Southern Baptist Convention

287. Union University (#14)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 287
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 278
U.S. News Rank: Regional Universities (South) Tier 1
Jackson, Tennessee
Denominational Affiliation: Southern Baptist

289. Huntington University (#15)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 289
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 97
U.S. News Rank: Regional Colleges (Midwest) Tier 1
Huntington, Indiana
Denominational Affiliation: United Brethren in Christ

304. Cedarville University (#15)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 304
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 284
U.S. News Rank: Regional Colleges (Midwest) Tier 1
Cedarville, Ohio
Denominational Affiliation: Baptist

316. Vanguard University of Southern California (#16)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 316
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 395
U.S. News Rank: Regional Colleges (West) Tier 1
Costa Mesa, California
Denominational Affiliation: Assemblies of God

324. Biola University (#17)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 324
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 314
U.S. News Rank: National Universities Tier 1
La Mirada, California
Denominational Affiliation: Nondenom

333. John Brown University (#18}
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 333
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 316
U.S. News Rank: Regional Colleges (South) Tier 1
Siloam Springs, Arkansas
Denominational Affiliation: Interdenominational

335. Asbury University (#19)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 335
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 384
U.S. News Rank: National Liberal Arts Tier 1
Wilmore, Kentucky
Denominational Affiliation: non-denominational

340. Dordt College (#20)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 340
Forbes 09-10 rank: NA
U.S. News Rank: Regional Colleges (Midwest) Tier 1
Sioux Center, Iowa
Denominational Affiliation: Christian Reformed

365. North Greenville University (#21)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 365
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 154
U.S. News Rank: National Liberal Arts Tier 2
Tigerville, South Carolina
Denominational Affiliation: Southern Baptist Convention
Athletic Association: NCAA

387. Northwestern College (#22)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 387
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 212
U.S. News Rank: Regional Colleges (Midwest) Tier 1
Orange City, Iowa
Denominational Affiliation: Reformed Church in America

389. Seattle Pacific University (#23)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 389
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 451
U.S. News Rank: Regional Universities (West) Tier 1
Seattle, Washington
Denominational Affiliation: Free Methodist

390. Carson-Newman College (#24)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 390
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 110
U.S. News Rank: National Liberal Arts Tier 1
Jefferson City, Tennessee
Denominational Affiliation: Baptist

424. Bethel University (#25)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 424
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 229
U.S. News Rank: Regional Universities (Midwest) Tier 1
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Est. 1871
Denominational Affiliation: Converge Worldwide

428. Azusa Pacific University (#26)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 428
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 510
U.S. News Rank: National Universities Tier 1
Azusa, California
Denominational Affiliation: Christian Interdenominational

435. Trinity International University (#27)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 435
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 258
U.S. News Rank:National Universities Tier 2
Deerfield, Illinois
Denominational Affiliation: Evangelical Free Church of America

444. Messiah College (#28)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 444
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 542
U.S. News Rank:Regional Colleges (North) Tier 1
Grantham, Pennsylvania
Denominational Affiliation: Christian Interdenominational

483. Corban University (#29)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 483
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 515
U.S. News Rank:Regional Colleges (West) Tier 1
Salem, Oregon
Denominational Affiliation: Baptist

484. Abilene Christian University (#30)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 484
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 407
U.S. News Rank: Regional Universities (West) Tier 1
Abilene, Texas
Denominational Affiliation: Church of Christ

489. Erskine College (#31)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 489
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 245
U.S. News Rank:Regional Colleges (South) Tier 1
Due West, South Carolina
Denominational Affiliation: Associate Reformed Presbyterian

525. Oral Roberts University (#32)
Forbes 10-11 rank: No. 525
Forbes 09-10 rank: No. 553
U.S. News Rank:National Universities Tier 2
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Denominational Affilliation: Christian Interdenominational

Credit: I’ve borrowed much of the above list from Top Christian Colleges.org in an effort to aid in the value, credibility and transparency of rankings from reputable sources (that list was compiled by the marketing department at George Fox University.)

Here is a summary list of some of the above the Christian Colleges and Universities Rankings from Forbes

Wheaton College
Westmont College
Pepperdine University
Gordon College
Covenant College
Whitworth University
Houghton College
Oklahoma Baptist University
College of the Ozarks

It seems odd that the list did not include either of the three following which usually rank quite highly in Christian college and university rankings in the United States:

1) Southern Methodist University (SMU) (#109 on Forbes Ranking)
Dallas, TX 214-768-2000

2) Baylor University (#346 on the Forbes Ranking)
Waco, TX 254-710-3435

3) Samford University (#409 on the Forbes Ranking)
Birmingham, AL 205-726-3673

4) Texas Christian University (TCU) (#426 on Forbes Ranking)
817-257-7490

This top Bible School list from Ron Augustine is pretty impressive. Even though it might not be perfect–its a good starting point for creating a list of target schools.

If I was looking for a Bible school to attend I would focus on Moody, Wheaton, Biola, Calvin, and Baylor University. Moody & Wheaton University in particular really seem to have a great reputation as Bible schools.

Calvin College
3201 Burton Street Southeast
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
(616) 526-6000
http://www.calvin.edu

Baylor University
Waco, TX‎ 76798
(254) 710-1011‎
http://www.baylor.edu

The King’s College
350 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10118
(212) 659-7200
http://www.tkc.edu

Moody Bible Institute
820 N. LaSalle Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 329-4000
http://www.moody.edu

Wheaton College
501 College Avenue
Wheaton, IL 60187
(630) 752-5000
http://www.wheaton.edu

Biola University
13800 Biola Ave.
La Mirada, CA 90639
(562) 903-6000
biola.edu

Vanguard University
55 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626-6597
(714) 556-3610
vanguard.edu

Gordon College
255 Grapevine Road
Wenham, MA 01984
(978) 927-2300
http://www.gordon.edu

Cedarville University
251 N. Main St.
Cedarville, OH 45314
(937) 766-4444
http://www.cedarville.edu

Oral Roberts University
7777 South Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74171
(918) 495-6161
http://www.oru.edu

Here are the top seminaries (aka bible colleges or theology programs) by the size of the program. While size of the program is not a very important metric in some respect, it does suggest a semi-decent filter for picking a school as you go onto other criteria that are important to you:

• Program specifics
• Cultural & personal fit with the program
• Location & geography
• Financial aid vs. tuition cost (finance & budget considerations)
• Various other methods of measuring program reputation & credibility
• Other applicable criteria

Full Time Equivalent Enrollment / Real Name / Status / Independent, University-Affiliated, or College-Affiliated. / Predominate racial/ethnic identity / State / Denomination

1. 1940 Fuller Theological Seminary ACCRED I W CA INTER
2. 1477 Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary ACCRED I N TX SBC
3. 1430 Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary ACCRED I W NC SBC
4. 1364 Southern Baptist Theological Seminary ACCRED I W KY SBC
5. 1108 Dallas Theological Seminary ACCRED I W TX INTER
6. 1037 Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary ACCRED I W MA INTER
7. 908 Trinity Evangelical Divinity School ACCRED C W IL EFCA
8. 781 Asbury Theological Seminary ACCRED I W KY INTER
9. 772 Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary ACCRED I W CA SBC
10. 656 New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary ACCRED I W LA SBC
11. 649 Bethel Seminary of Bethel University ACCRED C W MN BAPTGC
12. 604 Talbot School of Theology ACCRED U W CA INTER
13. 584 Reformed Theological Seminary ACCRED I W MS INTER
14. 578 Princeton Theological Seminary ACCRED I W NJ PCUSA
15. 566 Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary ACCRED U W MI SDADV
16. 548 Luther Seminary ACCRED I W MN
17. 517 Duke University Divinity School ACCRED U W NC UMC
18. 479 Denver Seminary ACCRED I W CO INTER
19. 473 Ashland Theological Seminary ACCRED U W OH BRCHAO
20. 458 Candler School of Theology of Emory University ACCRED U N GA UMC
21. 451 Covenant Theological Seminary ACCRED I W MO PCA
22. 450 Concordia Seminary (MO) ACCRED I W MO LUTHMS

See Table 1.2 on pages 7-11 of the to the 2009-2010 Annual Data Tables from ATS.

The first couple on the list are Baptist in demonination. Honestly, I’m not sure why #15 is on the list–so I’ve struck it from the list. Thanks to Andy Rowell who is in his 4th year at Duke University school of Divinity in the Dr. of Theology program for the list.

Other Options for Finding the Best Bible School
If you were in fact looking for a seminar program, but you would like additional criteria or information, I suggest you look at this list of top graduate programs in theology which includes: Duke University, Princeton Theological Seminary, Boston College, Notre Dame, and other notable and nationally respected theology programs. (even though you aren’t looking for a graduate program, the fact that a university has a good graduate program says something about both its overall reputation and quality of teachers.)

If you have other needs for picking, ranking, or evaluating a Bible school please leave a question in the comment section. If you’d like to recommend a resource for picking the best Bible college feel free to do that as well. Thanks for reading and remember to bookmark this post for further research on Bible colleges. Have a blessed day!

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10 Comments

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  1. Tahisha / Jul 15 2011 4:31 pm

    Hello, thanks for such a comprehensive list. I was wondering, I am interested in obtaining a PHD, online would be best for me, due to my schedule. What are the best Christian schools that have online programs?

    Thanks so much
    sherealone20@aol.com

  2. compassioninpolitics / Jul 16 2011 8:32 am

    Four Catholic Universities:
    Georgetown University
    Boston College
    Nortre Dame
    Fordham University

    Five Faith-based Universities
    Baylor University
    Southern Methodist University
    American University
    Duke University
    Emory University
    (note: I don’t know how affiliated American, Duke, & Emory are with their respective faith-backgrounds. I imagine they don’t play a role in the curriculum or hiring process unless you are in the theology/religion department–and even that isn’t a guarantee)

    There are probably at least a half dozen with online PhD programs that I haven’t listed because I don’t have access to the info.

    If I were you I would take a list of schools I like which were respected, Christian, and had PhD programs in your discipline and contact them directly. Incidently, what discipline are you looking at getting a PhD program in?

    Perhaps Wheaton, Pepperdine, Biola, or others. I know that Pepperdine is heavily vested in the online space, but their programs are pricer.

    Looking for online universities….online is very difficult, because there are so many affiliate marketing programs. Every site which caters to that niche is pretty much pure marketing and advertising, with a little added content to rank in search engines. This is one key decision where you would be very well served by doing some old school emailing or calling of the universities directly.

  3. Jamie Francis / Aug 26 2011 7:30 pm

    Hello There: I am seeking to learn about the Bible, Christian history and biblical principles in order to become a pastoral counselor. I am literally broke and have been seeking scholarships and financial aid. I had decided I would apply to a local seminary (Biblical Theological in Hatfield, PS) because it’s close to where I currently live, but I wonder if perhaps there is a better school out there for me. I don’t think I have the smarts to go to a top school…(my SATs were only a 1080 when I did my undergrad), but I would like to find an evangelical school where I could get very involved in USA missions. My hope is that I will be able to work with young adults in the counseling setting, perhaps as a college counselor or high school guidance counselor. Do you have a list of schools that might fit MY criteria?

    • John Fieck / Oct 13 2013 7:12 pm

      My Alma Mater could be your answer. The Grad School of Northland International University offers a Master of Counseling in 2 years onsite or online. If you do the degree onsite (Dunbar, WI), they offer a work study program where your program is FREE as you work 20 hours per week and take courses. If you are broke, there is your answer!

  4. Bill / Feb 6 2012 11:33 am

    Jamie, You can see programs for every school that has been accredited by the ATS (Association of Theological School). I would strongly strongly recommend that you do not attend any seminary that is not accredited by the ATS. http://www.ats.edu/Pages/default.aspx

    • tyler / Mar 27 2013 9:01 pm

      That is an excellent point Jamie. ATS accreditation should be a key determining factor.

  5. R Robyn / Jun 23 2012 12:20 pm

    Hi, I’m moving back the states from overseas. I’ve been accepted by Biola, Masters College and Azusa Pacific in southern California.

    Do you have any advice/information on these universities?

    They all have different advantages and I want to get as much information as possible before making a final decision. I’m hoping to do an undergrad in communication, Biblical Studies or intercultural studies with the aim of eventually getting into some sort of multicultural ministry or charity.

  6. steven mwaniki syengo / Aug 31 2013 7:38 pm

    Dear sir i m look for the theology school were by i see this is the school i was looking for me i need to understand the bible to preach the true word.Sir can i get a schoalship in this school our living God is faithful.thankyou be blessed steven m syengo

  7. K. Lassiter / Sep 24 2013 12:05 am

    I am interested in receiving a Masters degree from an online bible college. D you have list of the best? Thank you

    • John Fieck / Oct 13 2013 7:29 pm

      Here are a few that would be 100% online:

      Northland International University (grad.ni.edu/academics/online-degrees)
      Rockbridge Seminary (rockbridge.edu)
      Southern Seminary (sbts.edu/online)
      Southeastern Seminary (sebts.edu/distance/online)
      Liberty University (liberty.edu/online)
      Grand Canyon University (gcu.edu/Academics/Online-Degree-Programs)

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