It is important to understand the difference between Christian and Bible colleges with the many available today. The key difference lies in what a student wants to do once they complete college. Bible colleges allow students to immerse themselves in scripture and are designed for those who plan to enter Christian ministry as teachers, pastors, evangelists or administrators. Christian colleges provide a liberal arts-based education that includes a Christian perspective.
Bible colleges are also known as seminaries as they seek to prepare students who wish to serve Christian ministry in some way. It is important to understand that not all Bible colleges are accredited, and they do not all teach scripture in the same way. There may be denominational as well as cultural differences depending on where the college is based.
Christian colleges prepare students for traditional careers but with a Christian focus. Many offer Bible courses and some even have theology degree programs, the majority of the courses required are not solely focused on religion. Students are required to complete other liberal arts courses that may not be connected to Christianity even though they are taught with a Christian perspective.
Choosing a Bible college can be difficult, especially if you plan to attend one online. The first thing to confirm is that the college is accredited. Only accredited college credits will transfer if you plan to further your education at the graduate level. It is also important to understand what your denomination requires for different positions within the church, including youth pastor, education or music ministry.
Cost is extremely important in choosing a Bible college. Many online colleges charges significantly higher tuition for online courses than for traditional courses. For this reason, it is important to understand what the cost per credit is before signing up for an online program at any college or university, not just at Bible or Christian colleges.
If you are seeking an online bible college, these 25 are accredited, offer a variety of courses that should meet the needs of any denomination and have costs that are not prohibitive. In order to rank the colleges in this list, we reviewed the programs offered online as well as whether the college had a strong Christian or biblical focus in their curriculum. Colleges who are based in a particular affiliation are included as long as they accept enrollment from all denominations. The major factor in the ranking, however, was cost. All colleges in the list have cost per credit hour under $500. More than half of them have the cost per credit of between $200 and $400.
Adult learners who have work, family or social obligations that are preventing them from seeking higher, faith-based education will find that these colleges offer flexible course formats, many degree options and are all at a cost that make them affordable. Even those with slightly higher cost per credit offer excellent financial aid packages that make it easier for working adults to achieve their higher education goals.
Regent University offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in an online format that provide students with the best higher education that is based on faith. Undergraduate degrees include Biblical and Theological Studies, Christian Ministry as well as an Associate’s Degree in Christian Studies. Graduate degrees include Divinity, Practical Theology, Theological Studies, Theology and a Doctorate of Ministry program. Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College as well as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Tuition is $495 per credit hour, making it slightly more expensive than other online Bible colleges. However, Regent University has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 20 best online bachelor’s programs and the 15th online bachelor’s program for veterans. It was also named by G.I. Jobs and Military Advanced Magazine as one of the top Military-Friendly Schools.
Nazarene Bible College prepares adults for world ministry. Students who have entered the online programs at Nazarene Bible College have a 94 percent completion rate. All courses are taught by active and retired pastors who are able to incorporate real life into their courses and provide insight into the pastoral profession. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools as well as the Commission on Accreditation of their Association of Biblical Higher Learning.
More than 30 denominations are represented in the school’s student body. Tuition for online courses is $450 per credit hour. The school has a clear purpose to glorify Jesus Christ by preparing students to evangelize, disciple and minister.
God’s Bible School and College, founded by Martin Walls Knapp, believes that to transform the world for Christ, engaging and speaking the Word of God is critical. The school is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission. The school offers associates, bachelors, and master’s level programs online in order to allow adult learners to achieve their higher education goals. God’s Bible School and College offers a Master of Ministry as well as a Master of Biblical Studies. Associates degrees are available in Bible & Theology as well as Ministerial Education and Intercultural Studies & World Missions. Bachelor’s degree programs include Biblical & Theological Studies, Ministerial Education, Church and Family Ministry and Intercultural Studies and World Missions.
Tuition is $450 per credit hour for online courses, and the school has been ranked number one in the country as one of the most affordable bible colleges with both ABHE and regional accreditation.
Although tuition is slightly higher at Lancaster Bible College, starting at $430 per credit hour, the school offers several online degree programs that allow students the flexibility to learn at their own pace without the need to sit in a traditional classroom. Students can complete their associate's or bachelor’s degree in Bible or Biblical Studies in an accelerated format. This means that they can earn their degree faster than if they attempted the program in a traditional format. Lancaster Bible College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the Association for Biblical Higher Education Commission on Accreditation. The mission of the College has remained constant for more than 80 years, and that is to educate Christian students to think and live in a biblical worldview.
Founded by Quaker settlers in Kansas as the Kansas Central Bible Training School and known as the Friends Bible College from 1925 until 1990, Barclay College welcomes students from all evangelical faiths who are seeking higher education with a solid biblical foundation. Barclay College is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education, the Association of Christian Schools International and the Higher Learning Commission. Tuition starts at $395, and the school offers undergraduate online degree programs. Students may complete bachelor’s degree programs in Biblical Studies or Christian Ministry Leadership. The Bestschools.org named Barclay College as the ninth best in providing free tuition, indicating that the school offers excellent financial aid packages to students who may need assistance to attend higher education.
Established in 1950 and located in Mount Hope, West Virginia, the Appalachian Bible College is an independent, non-denominational college. The college is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission. The school equips students through a biblical curriculum that encourages a Christ-like character and the desire to serve the community in Christian service.
Tuition starts at $375 per credit hour and 96 percent of students attending the full-time college receive financial aid. Currently, the college offers a hybrid online program with some course required to be taken on campus. Students can earn a Bible Certificate entirely online. Students should have a desire to serve in ministry and to seek a better understanding of God’s word. The school has been preparing students for the ministry for more than 65 years.
Central Baptist Theological Seminary is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The core mission of the college is to prepare students to transform churches and communities through education as Christian leaders. Their online program is designed to provide the same rigorous education found in the classroom setting for students who have work, family or social obligations that may prevent them from seeking higher education. Currently, online programs are offered in a hybrid format with students taking a combination of online and traditional classes.
Tuition starts at $360 per credit hour and is the same for traditional students as it is for those attending online. Central Baptist Theological Seminary was originally connected to the Northern and Southern Baptist church but has since grown to become a non-denominational organization. The school works with three seminaries in the Greater Kansas City area so that students may cross-register for classes.
Grand Canyon University was founded by the Southern Baptist Church in 1949 in an abandoned armory building in Prescott, Arizona. Today, the university has developed some of the most efficient servant leaders in the workforce. Online and evening students receive the same rigorous educational experience that students who attend in a more traditional setting receive. Students are prepared to become global citizens, critical thinkers, and effective communicators through a curriculum based on the school’s Christian heritage.
Tuition starts at $355 per credit hour. Students may seek a Bachelor of Arts degree in Christian Studies. Graduate programs include Master of Arts in Christian Leadership, Christian Studies, Urban Ministry or Youth and Family Ministry. A Master of Divinity program is also available online.
Ozark Christian College understands that returning to a traditional classroom to pursue Bible and ministry studies is not always possible. For this reason, they offer online programs designed with working adults in mind. All programs are designed to educate and equip students to become like Christ and serve Christ in leadership ministry. Graduates are biblically grounded, spiritually matured and vocationally prepared. Students may complete their Associate of Arts in Christian Ministry, Music, and Worship or Intercultural Studies. Those who wish to obtain a bachelor’s degree may choose from Theology, Christian Ministry, Music and Worship, Bible and Ministry, Bible and Intercultural Studies or Bible and Interdisciplinary Studies. The college is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education and is a member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Tuition begins at $355 per credit hour.
LeTourneau University is accredited by the Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on Colleges. A deep faith in God is the cornerstone of LeTourneau University, and they believe that no education is complete unless the student understands God and can relate to Him through Jesus Christ. The school is named after its founder, R.G. LeTourneau. While flying over an abandoned Army hospital, Mr. LeTourneau decided to create a school to serve the many World War II veterans returning from the war. Students may complete an undergraduate degree in Theology entirely online. The online program is offered in an accelerated format. Other online programs are available, all of which include a strong focus on Christian beliefs. Tuition begins at $355 per credit hour.
Shasta Bible College offers degree programs online. Students may complete an Associate of Arts in Biblical Studies, Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Theology or Christian Teacher Education as well as Christian Professional Studies, Biblical Counseling or Biblical Studies. There are also Master of Arts programs in Christian Ministries with five different concentrations. Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling, Christian Family Life Education are also offered online. Master of Divinity programs with four different concentrations may be completed online as well. Tuition is $350 per credit hour. Shasta Bible College is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. The mission of the school is to equip qualified Christian leaders in the service of Christ for the 21st century.
St. Louis Christian College is accredited by The Association for Biblical Higher Education. The school affirms the belief in one God as well as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All courses affirm divine inspiration and authority of both the Old and New Testament. The school integrates biblical, general and professional studies with practical experiences to prepare graduates as leaders with a strong Christian background. St. Louis Christian College offers an Associate of Arts degree in Religious Studies as well as a Bachelor of Science in Christian Ministry online in an effort to allow working adults to achieve their higher education goals. Tuition begins at $350 per credit hour.
Oral Roberts University was founded to educate the mind, the body and the spirit. The university offers an education based in a Christ-centered community. Students are able to pursue intellectual discovery and are empowered on the quest for wholeness. The University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, the Oklahoma Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council of Independent Colleges. Tuition begins at $349. The University offers Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in a variety of subjects in an online format.
Moody Bible Institute believes that the Bible is the Word of God and everything at the college falls under the Bible. Since being founded by D.L. Moody, the college has been committed to helping students take the next step toward spiritual maturity. The Institute is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Moody Bible Institute offers online degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Students may choose from undergraduate degrees in Biblical Studies, Ministry Leadership, Theological Studies, Theology and Cultural Experiment as well as an Associate or Certificate in Biblical Studies. Graduate degrees include Applied Biblical Studies and Biblical Exposition. Undergraduate students pay $320 per credit hour while graduate students pay $410 per credit hour. Financial aid is available, and the institute offers flexible payment options as well.
With tuition starting at $310 per credit hour for online associate’s degrees and $395 per credit hour for bachelor’s degrees, Grace Bible College has been recognized as a Tuition Hero. Military personnel, including active duty, veterans, spouse and dependents who are 23 or younger pay only $250 per credit hour. Grace Bible College seeks to develop passionate servants of Jesus Christ by emphasizing biblical truth, ministry experience, and character transformation. Online associate and bachelor’s degrees are designed for busy adults and provide the same rigorous curriculum as on-campus classes. Grace Bible College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and by the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education.
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary & College educates men and women to be disciples of Jesus Christ. From the beginning, students are provided education that transforms their minds with biblical truth and impacts their heart with a passion for ministry. It is an institution of the Southern Baptist Convention. All faculty members participate in a local Southern Baptist church by teaching classes, serving as a deacon or leading the congregation. The school offers undergraduate programs online in Christian Ministry or Biblical Studies. There is also the option of obtaining a Master of Theological Studies and choose from six areas of emphasis or obtain a Master of Divinity and choose from five areas of emphasis. Tuition for qualified Southern Baptists is $315 per credit hour and for all other students is $350 per hour. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Piedmont International University has been preparing individuals for careers in the ministry since 1945. They are accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. The mission of the school is to operate under a biblical authority and to provide quality, Bible-centered higher education for effective lifetime ministry. The school offers online programs that include Biblical Foundations, Associate of Arts degrees in Bible and Christian Ministry as well as Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Christian Ministry. Students who enter the Bachelor of Arts in Bible may concentrate in one of seven minors including Biblical Languages, Church Education, Children’s Ministry, Expanded Bible, Management for Nonprofits, Missions or North American Church Planting. Tuition is $295 per credit hour for students who attend full-time and $310 per credit hour for those who attend part-time.
Central Christian College of the Bible is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education. In an effort to allow adults who may have difficulty attending traditional classes Central Christian College of the Bible offers online programs that are eight-week intensive classes that require 15 to 20 hours per week in order to be successful. The school offers an Associate of Biblical Studies, Bachelor of Religious Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Bible. Central Christian College of the Bible is affiliated with the Restoration Movement, non-denominational independent churches governed by their congregation. The focus of their belief is in the New Testament. The school focuses on the ordinances commanded by Christ, including Christian baptism requiring immersion of the penitent believer. They also believe in a weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper as a memorial of Christ’s death for salvation.
Tuition at Central Christian College of the Bible is $275 per credit hour, making it affordable for more adult students than higher priced universities.
Clear Creek Baptist Bible College’s mission is to provide educational preparation who are called into Christian service. They nurture students who are preparing for God’s work through Bible-based education with an emphasis on Christian service. Students develop an understanding of the Bible and Christian theology as well as communication skills as they relate to ministry. The college is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission Colleges. Clear Creek Baptist Bible College offers a Bachelor of Arts in Ministry in an online format that requires 120 hours. The program prepares students for a career in ministry. Tuition per credit hour for the program is $270. Students may also choose to obtain a Certificate in Bible in an online format from Clear Creek Baptist Bible College.
South Florida Bible College encourages students to be actively engaged Christians in their community. The school prepares students for careers in ministry with an education based on Christian beliefs. The Bible is central in preparing individuals for the ministry, according to the beliefs of South Florida Bible College. The school is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education. Students may obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree in Leadership and Ministry in an online format. Courses include Christian Ethics, Communication Concepts, Biblical Concepts of Leadership and Small Groups in Church along with others. Tuition is $265 per credit hour making it affordable for many working adults who wish to enter the ministry or advance in their current ministerial position.
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges as well as the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools. The school opened its doors in 1950 and offers both traditional as well as online programs. Students who must attend online can choose from a five Master of Arts degrees, including Divinity, Christian Studies, Intercultural Studies, Theological Studies and Church Planting. They may also choose a general Associate of Arts or an Associate of Divinity. The college focuses on the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament and in the Holy Trinity. Programs are based on the Abstract of Principles and the Baptist Faith and Message.
Tuition ranges from $263 to $332 per credit hour for Southern Baptists while students of other denominations pay fees ranging from $526 to $661 per credit hour. Active and retired military pay rates at the Southern Baptist rate regardless of their religious affiliation. Financial aid is available for all students.
SUM Bible College and Theological Seminary is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education. The school’s mission is guided by the Bible, both New and Old Scriptures which they believe were verbally inspired by God. All programs at the college are based in a strong Christian faith and promotes the belief that education should include practical hands-on ministry and personal mentorship. Graduates are given the skills and knowledge to become leaders in their communities. The college offers undergraduate programs in Biblical Studies with many required courses offered online. The college also offers Master of Arts in Biblical Studies, Christian Leadership as well as Master of Divinity programs with courses offered online. Tuition is $260 per credit hour.
Luther Rice offers theologically sound, biblically-based education. The school is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education as well as the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. Tuition at the school is $255 per credit hour, making it very affordable for working adults. Luther Rice College and Seminary offers all of their programs completely online with no campus residency required. Their tuition costs are ranked in the lowest 10 percent of all four-year schools according to the United States Department of Education College Affordability and Transparency Center. The College has been offering online biblical education for more than 12 years. Nine degrees are available online, and the current student body resides in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and 21 foreign countries.
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary has equipped leaders who are answering God’s call since 1917. Students are provided an academic environment that prepares them for ministerial careers. Graduates have been called to be pastors missionaries, counselors, educators and worship leaders. The goal of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is to equip students to follow God wherever He leads. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary offers an Associate in Christian Ministry or a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry in an online format. The programs are offered by a world-class faculty that offers real-world experiences as part of the learning process. Tuition is $230 per credit hour which is why New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is ranked highly. The school offers outstanding programs completely online at a very affordable tuition rate.
Allegheny Wesleyan College prepares students to serve God, the church and society. Programs provide a biblical education with a focus on spiritual social and academic environment that is based in the Wesleyan tradition. Students are taught to prioritize their spiritual life using a biblical view that integrates God’s truth into a holy life while providing academic programs that prepare them intellectually, culturally and socially. Programs create laypersons who effectively serve Christ and the Church. Programs include Pastoral Ministries, Cross-Cultural Missions, Elementary Education and Music Ministry. Allegheny Wesleyan College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education. The school is affiliated with the Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection.
This Bible college is the top online Bible college because the tuition rate is one of the lowest in the country at only $200 per credit hour. This allows many adult students who wish to enter the ministry or another form of Christian employment. A higher education degree can help individuals move into a new Christian-based career or advance in a current career.