History of BISA

A South African Legacy

In the 1920’s certain evangelical ministers were concerned with the loose commitment to the gospel in the theological departments of the day. At that time theological education in South Africa was only available in the universities.

It was their intention to endow a theological professorship at one of the South African universities and to leave a legacy of Gospel training. Their wish, however, was frustrated because of the prevailing liberal theological influence. Undaunted, they determined to establish a college where the evangelical doctrines of the Word of God would be taught.

In 1923, they founded the Bible Institute of South Africa at Mowbray in the Cape in order to provide, for the Church in South Africa, academic training of a high quality, equipping men and women for the challenge of our century.


Alfred Daintree 1923

Joseph Ward 1939

Arthur Taylor 1940

Stuart Law 1945

Sandy Gilfillan 1953

Murdo Gordon 1960

Clive Tyler 1981

Bryan Williams 1995

Tom Austin 1999

Raymond Potgieter 2006

Pete Smuts 2011 (Acting)

Daniel Simango 2014

Throughout its history BISA has been interdenominational with students admitted from across the world. It is not uncommon to have up to a dozen nations and languages represented on campus. BISA has trained evangelical ministers for leadership in many Independent churches as well as South African denominations e.g. the Assemblies of God, the Baptist Church, the Brethren, the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church in South Africa, the Church of the Province of South Africa, the Congregational Church, the Dutch Reformed Church, Hillsong, Jubilee, the Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church and other African Churches.

On this page is a foreword from a booklet in our BISA archives that highlights students who went to serve on foreign fields with many well-known agencies such as AIM International, Bible Society, Wycliffe Translators, Operation Mobilisation, AIM International, SIM, MECO, WEC, OMF, Interserve and others. Particularly in (but not limited to) Africa, hundreds of senior Church and Mission Leaders as well as Theology School Principals and Lecturers, were trained at the Bible Institute.

Immediately prior to World War II the Institute moved to Kalk Bay, where from small beginnings it has developed into the present extensive campus whose buildings bear the names of our great patrons, Marsh, Douglas, Daintree and Kingon.

With great joy and thanksgiving the Bible Institute of South Africa celebrated, in August 2013, her 90th birthday. The 95th Anniversary was commemorated in September 2018

BISA celebrated her centenary in 2023 – Soli Deo Gloria

Here we are almost 100 years later, by God’s grace