Practical Bible Training School emerged in 1900 from a series of Bible classes that were conducted in downtown Lestershire (Johnson City), New York, by a young evangelist, John A. Davis, who attended the Chicago Bible Institute (now Moody Bible Institute) where he served D. L. Moody’s table.
These summer evening classes were engendered by the conviction that God would have a Bible institute, similar to Moody, established in the Binghamton area. With an attendance of more than a hundred people, it was agreed that a school should be permanently organized and that a new location should be secured. The school was incorporated on December 6, 1900, as Practical Bible Training School, with Evangelist Davis as the Superintendent and Hymnwriter John R. Clements as the President of the Board.
The first six years’ classes were conducted during the summer months when renowned Bible teachers and evangelists lectured in an extensive summer conference program. An academic year schedule was adopted the Fall of 1906, when the school began a two year study program with resident teachers. This developed into a three year program in 1912.
When the school outgrew its original quarters on Harrison Street, the Lord made possible the purchase of the White City Amusement Park, which consisted of some thirty acres, overlooking the Susquehanna River. After extensive renovations and alterations (many of the park’s buildings were ‘converted’ to holy purposes), PBTS occupied the park in June of 1911. In October of the same year a United States Post Office was established at the school and was called Bible School Park, NY. Most of the original buildings have now been replaced by modern facilities.
On September 24, 1993, Practical Bible Training School became Practical Bible College, and was authorized to grant the two year Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree and the four-year Bachelor of Religious Education (BRE) degree. The college continues to offer a one-year certificate in Bible and a three-year diploma. A major in Bible/Theology is at the core of all programs. On August 1, 2004, Practical Bible College became Davis College, a Practical College of Bible and Ministry.
From its inception, Davis College has promoted preaching, evangelism, and missions, as well as other church ministries and Bible study. Being a gifted preacher and evangelist, John A. Davis was eager to train men and women for Bible-centered ministries with the result that many graduates are serving the Lord on nearly every mission field of the world.
Today, the vision, leadership, and enthusiasm of Dr. Davis are personified in our current president. The Lord is doing great things through this ministry of teaching his people God’s Word and of preparing them to use the Word effectively to evangelize the lost and disciple his people.