Baptist College of Florida, founded by a group of pastors in 1943, held its first classes in a Sunday school room in the First Baptist Church of Lakeland, Florida. The educational institution, then named Florida Baptist Institute (FBI), was purposed to provide training for “God-called” men and women who needed seminary-type training, but lacked college degrees. Degree programs were begun in 1976 by adding a fourth year of study to the existing three-year diploma programs. Diploma programs declined in popularity and were phased out of the curriculum a few years later. In 2000, to reflect the broadening scope of the college, but still focused on theologically-based Christian higher education, the name of the college was changed again to “The Baptist College of Florida.”
BCF awards associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees, as well as certificates, in liberal arts and religious subjects. The Baptist College of Florida conducts Distance Education in two forms—a fully online program and distance sites (off-campus instructional sites). A student may complete all degrees/majors in either the online or distance site format.