I was recently skimming through a 1910 issue of Biola’s first magazine, The King’s Business, when a fascinating article about the early work of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles caught my attention.
Just two years into the school’s existence, the institute was quickly becoming a rallying center for the study of God’s word, the article said. Hundreds of young people were enrolled in free weeknight Bible classes offered throughout Los Angeles and neighboring cities, and their joint monthly gathering was “one of the most impressive and blessed meetings ever held in our city.”
God was at work, and it was clear to Biola’s founders that Los Angeles was the ideal place for the school.
“Our wonderful climate affords the privilege of living out doors all the year around,” the article reads. “The living is cheap, the cosmopolitan character of the city makes possible the study of the peoples from all sections of the earth, and gives opportunity for practical work in their midst.”
These days, the living might not be so cheap, but the Southern California climate is still wonderful — Biola was recently named one of Newsweek’s top 25 “Great Schools with Great Weather” — and the city is more cosmopolitan than ever. And although Biola left its downtown Los Angeles home for the La Mirada suburbs in 1959, the city and the surrounding region still offer an incredible place for Biolans to study, serve and share the truth of God’s word.
Recognizing all this potential, Biola has begun taking steps to connect with Los Angeles in significant new ways in the months and years ahead. The university’s leadership recently launched an initiative to establish more of a presence in the urban environment of Los Angeles, with plans to eventually open a new center within the city and offer additional programs to expose students to cross-cultural experiences. (Expect more coverage in future issues.)
With this issue of Biola Magazine, we’ve chosen to spotlight some of the ways that Biola is already serving and learning from this great city. Over the following pages, we’ll introduce you to a handful of Biolans who are serving God in various vocations throughout Los Angeles; a group of students who have built deep friendships on the rough streets of Skid Row; and a popular program that’s making waves in Hollywood.
You’ll also find some extras on our website, including some amazing shots of the city from freelance photographer Laurel Dailey (’05) and the results of a poll about Biolans’ favorite restaurants, museums, beaches and other hot spots in the Greater Los Angeles area, voted on by readers like you.
Now, as a century ago, this is an ideal place to be, and God is doing great things in our city. How blessed we are to be a part of it all.