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History of Moody Bible Institute

Our History

Since it began, Moody's education ministry has focused applying God's Word to life.

Chicago Evangelization Society and Moody Bible Institute

D. L. Moody's interest in educational endeavors took root in the summer of 1870, when he met Emma Dryer, principal and teacher at Illinois State Normal University. The following year, while ministering to the needs of thousands who were left homeless by the Chicago Fire, Dryer began developing a program of Bible study, teaching, and home visitation for young women.

Moody persuaded Dryer to stay in Chicago and carry on her Bible work under the auspices of his church. During the next decade, Moody continued his involvement in evangelistic work around the country, and Dryer developed the training program among women in Chicago. At every opportunity she encouraged Moody to start a training school for both young men and women.

Early in 1883, several Chicago residents began meeting weekly with Dryer to pray that Moody would return to Chicago and develop the new school. During a meeting to discuss evangelization in Chicago on January 22, 1886, the subject of a training school again came up. By this time Dryer's persistent message had taken hold in Moody's heart.

Moody addressed the gathering

"I tell you what I want, and what I have on my heart. I believe we have got to have gap-men to stand between the laity and the ministers; men who are trained to do city mission work. Take men that have the gifts and train them for the work of reaching the people."

The Chicago Evangelization Society, later renamed Moody Bible Institute, was born.

Moody Correspondence School

In January 1901 the Moody Correspondence School was established for "the benefit of those of both sexes who cannot, for financial or other reasons, attend the Institute personally. The purpose is to give them, as far as possible, all the advantages of the systematic methods of study pursued here."

The school started with two courses: Bible Doctrine and Practical Christian Work. Both courses were written by Moody's second president, R. A. Torrey. The number of courses grew steadily from 1901 to 1945, and by the end of 1945, there were 17 courses available.

Today, correspondence courses are known as Independent Studies, and can be taken for personal enrichment or for credit towards a college degree. Moody Bible Institute Distance Learning offers almost 70 Independent Studies courses for either personal enrichment or college credit. In spring of 2009 Moody Bible Institute Distance Learning offered web- based Independent Studies courses for the first time.

In January 2000 Moody Bible Institute Distance Learning pioneered a Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies degree available completely online. Since 2000, an online Associate of Biblical Studies degree and an online Certificate of Biblical Studies for graduate and undergraduate students have also been offered. In 2012 Moody launched the fully online Master of Arts [Biblical Studies].

Moody Theological School and Moody Theological Seminary in Michigan

In 1985 Moody Bible Institute started Moody Graduate School to provide excellent biblical leadership training. Two name changes have followed: in 2009 it was changed to Moody Graduate School and Seminary, and in 2011 it became Moody Theological Seminary. The seminary now offers eight master's degrees and five graduate certificates, including in-depth theological training from top-notch faculty and ministry internships that build practical skills and experience.

In 2010, Michigan Theological Seminary merged with Moody Graduate School and Seminary to become Moody Theological Seminary in Michigan. With its Bible-centered evangelical core beliefs, Moody Theological Seminary in Michigan is committed to providing its students with rigorous academic training. Students receive training to be theologically prepared and spiritually mature leaders who will serve the church community in Michigan and throughout the world.

Moody Aviation

In 2005 Moody Aviation—Moody's program focused on training missionary pilots—was relocated from Tennessee to its current site in Spokane. Moody Aviation partners with Spokane Community College and employs faculty from top mission aviation agencies to offer a Bachelor of Science in Missionary Aviation with two emphasis options.