BLI has a long and faithful heritage of training men and women for service in the Kingdom of God. This faithful heritage, begun by Dr. Shilling and kept alive by those who followed, has inspired the students, supporters, faculty, and staff of the school for over 80 years. We are a school built on faith, prayer, ministry, spiritual formation, and academic excellence. These are dear to us! Change is coming to BLI, but the foundation of who we are as a school remains firm. Here are some of those foundational things that will not shift.

Jesus Christ

It’s about Jesus! Jesus Christ is the Messiah and incarnate Son of God who died for our sins and rose again on the third day. Through faith in him we have eternal life. The work of the Church is to proclaim Jesus, call all to repentance and faith, and form disciples of Jesus Christ. Throughout our history, we have been a part of this work. Specifically, BLI is called to train men and women for a lifetime of faithful discipleship and service to this task of proclaiming Jesus Christ.


The mission of our school has always been about faith formation and the academic study of the Bible. Our current mission statement puts it this way: Biblical Life Institute is a school of biblical higher education that prepares students for faithful Christian thought and life in order to transform lives and build the kingdom of God.

Wesleyan–Arminian and Inter-denominational

Transylvania Bible School was founded on an approach to the Christian faith that draws from the Wesleyan-Arminian heritage. At the same time, the school was open to Christians of all denominations- all who sought Jesus and training in faith and ministry. This dual commitment to a Wesleyan understanding of faith and practice along with an interdenominational openness remains.


Dr. Henry Shilling began Transylvania Bible School with a calling, fifty cents, and faith. The school was built by the grace of God working through Dr. Shilling and the great men and women of faith who followed him. We have a rich heritage! Like those who came before us, we build upon this great history, honoring our past and reaching forward in faith like they did.

Check out the latest post about Kairos from our partner at Sioux Falls.