Robert E. Norton

RIO GRANDE BIBLE INSTITUTE AND LANGUAGE SCHOOL. The Rio Grande Bible Institute and Language School, Edinburg, first began operation in 1946 as a private coeducational institution under the direction of M. C. Ehlert, president. It was founded as an evangelical, interdenominational training school primarily preparing missionaries for work in Mexico and Latin America. On April 19, 1946, the official name given to the organization was Rio Grande Bible Institute and Latin American Mission. The latter part of the name was later dropped.

In 1955 the institute, seeing the need that missionaries going to Latin America had for good preparation in the Spanish language, added a nine-month Spanish course. Some thirty mission organizations now send their candidates to Rio Grande to study Spanish before going out as missionaries. In 1990 the school offered the language course, a four-year Bible and theology course, and a one-year special Bible course. In January 1989 an evening school also was initiated for local pastors and others who could not attend during the day.

The institute was approved by the Texas Education Agency for the training of veterans, and by the United States Department of Justice, which permitted the school to receive foreign students. The institute is also a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and the Interdenominational Foreign Missions Association. In 1989 it was granted applicant status with the American Association of Bible Colleges and in 1994 advanced to candidate status. The faculty grew from two in 1946, to twenty-four (seventeen full-time and seven part-time) in 1990. In the latter year the staff was composed of seventy-six full-time members, nine associate staff, and many volunteer workers. In 1946 the student body numbered 7; in 1990, 118 were enrolled in the institute, 67 in the language school, and 80 in the evening school, for a total of 265. Since the beginning, the administration, faculty and staff have served as missionaries and do not receive salaries. Besides the academic program, Rio Grande Bible Institute and Language School has been adding other branches of ministry in recent years. A quarterly newsletter (the Rio Grande), a bimonthly prayer bulletin (the Intercessor), and the monthly Prayer Calendar are regular publications of the school. In addition, the institute owns and operates a Spanish-language radio station on two frequencies, KRIO-AM (910) and KOIR-FM (88.5) and also produces biblical training materials on video cassettes. In 2001 the institute had no president. Bob Kracht was executive vice president. Ninety-four students were enrolled in the institute, 46 in the language school, and 18 in the evening school. The faculty numbered twenty-five.

Steve Van Atta, Forty Years of Faith: The Story of the Rio Grande Bible Institute (Edinburg, Texas: Rio Grande Bible Institute, 1986).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Robert E. Norton, "RIO GRANDE BIBLE INSTITUTE AND LANGUAGE SCHOOL," accessed February 22, 2020,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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