More than 120 years after the first Bible school was started, there are more than 1200 Bible schools and colleges in the United States and Canada. Approximately 200 of these institutions have a relationship with the Association for Biblical Higher Education, either through accreditation or affiliation. Many of these institutions still bear a resemblance to their forbears. For example, the current curriculum of undergraduate institutions accredited by ABHE still include a core of biblical and theological studies, along with general studies (liberal arts) and professional studies. Course work is supplemented with ministry field education and service learning opportunities through which students apply what they have learned in the classroom. Furthermore, the ethos of these institutions can still be described as academically respectable, evangelical, disciplined, and focused on spiritual and ministry formation.
Most institutions of biblical higher education offer programs in biblical studies, pastoral ministry, Christian education, cross-cultural missions, and music. Many also provide programs in elementary and perhaps secondary education, youth ministries, urban ministries, and business administration. Others offer specialized programs in such areas as deaf ministries, social work, aviation, and other technology-oriented fields. Increasing numbers of biblical higher education institutions offer curricula across a broad spectrum of academic and professional disciplines.
One of the most significant developments in the growth of the Bible college movement was the founding of the Accrediting Association of Bible Institutes and Bible Colleges in 1947. The name was shortened in 1957 to the Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges. It was changed in 1973 to the American Association of Bible Colleges before being changed back to the Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges in 1994 to more accurately represent the geographic purview of the Association that included institutions in Canada, the United States and related territories. In 2004, the name was changed to the Association for Biblical Higher Education in order to reflect its expansion of scope with graduate education accreditation and programmatic accreditation and in order to address its expansion of services to include affiliate institutions. Adoption of a new Constitution and Bylaws in 2009 designates the organization’s present name as: The Association for Biblical Higher Education in Canada and the United States.