The Southern Bible Institute & College had its beginning in 1927. Rev. L. G. Foster, Sr.—an African American elevator operator at the Magnolia building in downtown Dallas explained, “I was walking down Elm Street and I saw some white men who were there at Stone Place. They were preaching and I had never heard the Bible preached so profoundly. I listened as I waited because I wanted to know where they had gotten so much knowledge about the Bible from.” Rev. Foster then recalled, “They told me that they were from Evangelical Theological College (what is now Dallas Theological Seminary). I knew that I couldn’t attend the school because I was colored, but I asked them if they would teach me.” Rev. Foster met Rev. Edmund Ironside (son of famed theologian Harry Ironside) and they not only developed a teacher/student relationship, they also became friends. As a result of this friendship—and in spite of the deep racial divide that existed at that time—Dallas Colored Bible School was born. During the many years of Dr. Ironside’s sacrificial service, the school’s name was changed from “Dallas Colored Bible School” to “Southern Bible Training School”, and in 1940 was renamed again to “Southern Bible Institute”.
In 1945, Dr. Henderson S. Fox was called to serve as the school’s next president. In the summer of 1948 under the leadership of Dr. Fox, land was purchased and a building was erected at 1415 Fleetwood Street. As the school grew, two additional lots were purchased. Night classes met on this campus only three times a week since most of the ministers worked full-time jobs and/or pastored during the day. Although the majority of students were men, Fox helped open the door for women to not only benefit but also contribute to the first decades of Southern Bible's history.
In June of 1971, Dr. Henderson S. Fox retired and Dr. Gordon R. Mumford was appointed President. Some of those who taught under Dr. Fox and Dr. Mumford while at the Fleetwood location included, Dr. Martin Massinger, Dr. Aldon Gannett, Dr. Harold Hoener, Dr. Erwin Lutzer, Dr. Stan Orth, Dr. Paul Fink, Dr. Kenneth F. McKinley, Dr. Alfred Martin, Dr. Ron Anderson, and Dr. Anthony (Tony) Evans. In May of 1976, Southern Bible moved its location to 830 south Buckner, which tripled its size and building space. It was at this location that the school began both day and evening classes and substantially grew its student population. This location served the school well until such time that the growth of the school precipitated a need to relocate. In August of 1993, Southern Bible moved to its current campus which consist of 12 acres of land and a 27,000 square feet building facility.
A major highlight of this era is the hiring of the school's first African-American president, Dr. Martin E. Hawkins in September of 2005. Early in his presidency, Dr. Hawkins began making defining statements of leadership. Among them was affirming Southern Bible’s commitment to the authority of God and His Word as the central focus of its educational philosophy and strategic initiatives. Perhaps one of the most significant milestones of the Hawkins’ presidency is Southern Bible’s determinative pursuit of accreditation through the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) where in 2019 reached ‘Candidacy’ (pre-accreditation) status. Also under Dr. Hawkins’ leadership, the school entered into several distinguished academic partnerships and articulation agreements with the Evangelical Training Association, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, and Dallas Theological Seminary. In 2016, Southern Bible purchased a 9,000 volume library collection and in 2017 was bequeathed the personal library of Dr. Charles Ryrie at the time of his death. Dr. Hawkins’ legacy can also attest that in 2017 the name was once again changed from “Southern Bible Institute (SBI)” to “Southern Bible Institute & College (SBIC)”.
Anticipating both a seamless and God-honoring transition of leadership in August of 2021, the Presidency of Southern Bible Institute & College will officially transfer from Dr. Martin E. Hawkins to Dr. Terrance A. Ford. In the spring of 2021, Dr. Ford will receive his Ph.D. from the University of Texas Arlington, as he already holds a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary. He has been on staff at Southern Bible for 12 years and has more than 25 years of senior pastoral experience. Dr. Ford says that he is both humbled and honored for the opportunity to continue in this strong legacy of leadership as SBIC enters into a new season of academic excellence, numeric growth, and missional focus.