About BLI

Preparing for a life of calling

Biblical Life Institute is an intimate Bible school that prepares men and women for a lifetime of service in the kingdom of God. Our goal is to help you clearly define what you believe, live what you believe, and give you the tools needed to minister to others. Attending BLI, you will not only learn the Bible and related studies, you will learn how to lead a disciplined Christian life whatever your future life plans.

Life of Calling
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Drawing from over 80 years of training men and women in faithful ministry and Christian life, BLI continues to educate those called into ministry or who desire to deepen their discipleship to Jesus Christ. Our 164 acre campus is located in a beautiful rural setting thirty minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. There is plenty of space to explore our woods, sit by the lake, or grab a book from the library and relax in one of our lounges. For those who want to learn the Bible, live faithfully, and minister God’s love and redemption to the world, there is no better place to be.

Our History

Dr. Henry Shilling, founder of Transylvania Bible School (now Biblical Life Institute) was no stranger to biblical studies or to walking by faith. He received his Bible school training at God’s Bible School, then his high school diploma, and finally his college degrees. Although a college education is needed for many vocations, he felt his training at the Bible school grounded him firmly in holiness background and doctrine. Our Bible school began with seven years of faith (1938-1945).

By faith, Dr. Shilling purchased White Oak Camp which was operated as a service station, dance hall, and tourist camp. Through God’s direction this parcel of land was turned into a camp meeting , youth convention, and finally a Bible School.

The name Transylvania was changed to Biblical Life Institute, but the concept of providing a strong biblical foundation remains the same. The beautiful three-story building, built by Dr. Shilling and the students, still remains surrounded by many of the original white oak trees.

In Februrary 2020, the BLI Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to enter into an integrated partnership with Sioux Falls Seminary and the Kairos Development Network. While the network includes over 30 partners at various levels of partnership, BLI will join three other schools at the level of an integrated partner. We will be working out all the details of the partnership for some time.



Pray a definite prayer for a definite need. Meet definite conditions peculiar to that need. Exercise a definite faith for that need. God will answer with a definite answer.


Mission Statement

Biblical Life Institute is a school of biblical higher education that prepares students for faith Christian thought and life, in order to transform lives and build the Kingdom of God.

Philosophy of Education

BLI School of Ministry is a community of learners committed to educating the whole person within a Christ-centered learning environment. BLI embraces the collaborative and complex nature of learning, so we embrace biblical higher education that occurs through engagement in a rigorous academic curriculum, meaningful co-curricular experiences between faculty, staff, and students, and various ministry formation experiences all designed to develop effective witnesses and servants for the Kingdom of God.

In seeking to prepare students for a faithful life of christian service, BLI expects students to participate in practical ministry formation experiences through involvement in the local church, civic engagement, and capstone courses with concentration specific internships.

All of our students, regardless of where they find themselves when they come to BLI; deserve a christ-like, caring, creative, professional, and engaged faculty and staff that helps them cultivate a passion for lifelong learning and service. Students are encouraged in their studies to develop critical thinking skills, while seeking to understand and appreciate a wide array of theological perspectives.

The impact of a BLI education is significant because it is deeply transformative. Students acquire new habits of mind and heart in their educational experiences at BLI that they will take with them after graduation in order to live a life of obedience in service to God, the church, and their community.

Institutional Goals

  • Attain and retain accreditation through ABHE
  • Attain and retain college status with the Commonwealth of PA
  • Maintain financial stability and stewardship
  • Be a college distinguished for its close-knit, intentionally Christian campus community
  • Be distinguished as a college that unites both strong academics and vibrant faith formation
  • Be known for a high quality of ministry preparation of students
  • Be a center of intellectual Christian culture in the area
  • Be known for championing a biblical worldview


Meet our staff and faculty.