Guidelines for Bible Content Examination

Guidelines for Bible Content Examination

The Presbyteries’ Cooperative Committee on Examinations for Candidates administers five
examinations as outlined in the Book of Order (G-14.0431), to assist in assessing readiness for ministry.
The first examination that should be taken is a multiple-choice Bible Content Examination (BCE) on major themes, events, and people of the Scriptures (normally taken in the first year of seminary).


The Commission on Preparation for Ministry of Pittsburgh Presbytery (CPM) strongly recommends Inquirers take the BCE during the first year of enrollment. Ordination examinations may be taken a maximum of three times. A third failure of any ordination examination, including Bible Content, Bible Exegesis, Church Polity, Worship & Sacraments, and Theological Competence, will result in removal from the care process.


  1. Approval is not required from CPM for the student to register for the BCE.
  2. The BCE is given twice each year: the first Friday in February at 10:00 AM / registration deadline preceding December 31; and the Friday before Labor Day at 10:00 AM / registration deadline proceeding July 31.
  3. Inquirer executes the online application and submits to the Presbyterian Church (USA) office in Louisville along with fee
    • CPM will reimburse Inquirer for the first time the exam is taken upon receiving proof of payment
    • Re-takes are at the expense of the Inquirer
  4. Reference this schematic that illustrates the process to be used by the Care Team and Inquirer if multiple attempts are needed to pass the examination.

Suggested resources for preparation of the Bible Content Exam:

  • Fee, Gordon D Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014.
  • Fee, Gordon D. and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible Book by Book. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.
  • Handbook on Standard Ordination Examinations