A Bible seminary is an educational institution that allows students to study the Bible in-depth and obtain a higher education degree for their studies. The Bible seminary may also prepare the student for life as an officiant in a certain church, including positions as a priest or deacon. Some institutions are accredited — that is, they have been evaluated by an accreditation agency to ensure the education they are offering is of the highest quality and it meets or exceeds certain standards. A student studying at a Bible seminary may become an expert in the interpretation, dissemination, history, and social importance of the Bible.
A student at Bible seminary can focus on different applications for their education. A particular student, for example, may attend classes toward a degree program that prepares the student for Biblical research, interpretation, or education, while another student might focus more on Biblical counseling, in which the student is prepared to help others learn about the Bible and apply its lessons to their daily lives. In either case, a course of study at a Bible seminary will give a student the background and education needed to know and understand the significance of different parts of the Bible as well as its place in history and in society today.
Different religions may offer specific education courses only pertaining to that religion. A Baptist Bible seminary, for example, may focus exclusively on the sacred text as it pertains to the Baptist denomination. Other institutions may focus on more of a global study, analyzing how the Bible plays a role in several different religions and even in governments and societies. Each institution will have its own course structure and topics, so it is important for a potential student to research several options before applying for a particular program.
While some Bible seminary institutions are degree-granting institutions, others are not; they are designed more for general education and one's personal achievements. In many cases, the education at such institutions is just as good as the education available at a degree-granting institution, but a student looking to attend classes that will qualify him or her for a job or for a position in the church will probably want to consider attending a degree-granting institution that is accredited by a reputable accreditation agency. Some schools even offer distance learning courses that allow students to take Bible classes online or through other means of correspondence without having to attend classes on-site.