Southland Bible Institute was founded to meet a specific need. Christian workers in this area believed that a Bible Institute was needed to train those who had been reached with the Gospel so that they, in turn, could reach others (II Timothy 2:2).
That basic purpose has not changed in over 75 years of Southland's existence. We attempt to give the earnest Christian a thorough knowledge of Biblical truth. The purpose for such study is fourfold:
1. to encourage each student to be Christlike by a constant, conscious communion with the Lord through His Word.
2. to enable him to lead others into a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. to prepare him to be a pillar of established Christian testimony in his local community.
4. to help train him in skills necessary for full-time service at home or abroad.
In order to accomplish these goals, Southland offers courses of study which:
1. acquaint students with the truths of God's Word, along with tools for self-directed study.
2. promote personal communion with the Lord Jesus Christ and application of His truth.
3. expose students to the techniques of effective ministry in a variety of settings.
4. provide students with skills necessary to effectively communicate God's truth to others.
 In September 1942, at the insistence of several missionaries of the mountain area, and under the leadership of Rev. and Mrs. J. S. Otteson, Southland Bible Institute came into being. The original campus was located seventeen miles southeast of Pikeville, KY, on approximately eighty acres of mountain land. Christian workers had prayed for years that God would raise up a teaching ministry in this area. In answer to this prayer, God raised up a Bible Institute and a Home Missions program.
Southland Bible Institute was opened on September 17, 1945, with a full-time training program geared to train dedicated men and women to be workers for Christ, both at home and abroad. After twenty years of a faithful and fruitful ministry, Rev. Otteson resigned as the President of the Institute. Rev. Raymond Childress, a graduate of 1949, was appointed President effective July 1, 1961. In May of 1973, Rev. Childress resigned and, after much prayer and consideration, Rev. Arnold Cook, a graduate of 1949, was asked to assume the position.
The school year of 1976-1977 was one of severe testing for Southland. November 10, 1976, the ladies dorm and all its contents burned, including the school’s radio and printing equipment. Pike County's flood in the spring of 1977 caused considerable damage to school property. The decision to relocate was made by the Board, and the present site in Ashland, KY was selected, and purchased after the sale of the old campus. May 6, 1977, Rev. Ken Tuinstra was commissioned as the new President of Southland.
Later that same year, Rev. Joseph Otteson was promoted to be with his Lord (September 17).
We began the decade of the 1990's with renewed vigor and dedication. In 1991, Rev. Arnold Adams was appointed President of the Institute, providing a fresh vision of the role of Southland in preparing men and women for service in God’s great harvest field.
The Lord has blessed abundantly since the opening of Southland Bible Institute. He has supplied and added facilities to meet the needs of a growing student body, and we believe that He will continue to make it possible for the Institute to expand as the need arises. Southland's alumni are found in service on the foreign and home mission fields, in pastorates, and in the classroom. Several have taken further training before going into their sphere of Christian service. The men and women who have graduated from the school are living examples of what God is doing at Southland Bible Institute.