Mars Hill Bible School

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Mars Hill Bible School
MHBS Logo-shield
Florence, AL
United States
Type Private
Established 1947 (1871)
Founder T. B. Larimore (1871)
President Dexter Rutherford
Faculty 46
Grades PreK-12
Enrollment 528
Campus 80 acres (320,000 m2)
Color(s) Blue, White, and Red
Mascot Panthers
Accreditation AdvancED

Mars Hill Bible School is a preparatory Christian day school for boys and girls located in Florence, Alabama. The school begins at pre-kindergarten and continues through the twelfth grade.[1] The school also operates a pre-school on four campuses in the area and has an enrollment of over 300.


Mars Hill Academy, the first predecessor of today's school was opened by Theophilus Brown Larimore in 1871.[2] He drew the name "Mars Hill" from the New Testament book of Acts (17:22) Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill... He later changed the name to Mars Hill College. The academy and college operated for 16 years teaching hundreds of young men. Larimore offered a diverse curriculum of classes including business writing, rhetoric and Latin as well as advanced studies in the Bible. from his students came many preachers that established numerous congregations around the area. The college was closed in 1887 in order for Larimore to spend more time preaching.[citation needed]

Mars Hill Bible School was opened in 1947 through a collaboration among local churches of Christ on the original campus of Larimore's Mars Hill Academy . Larimore's home was used as the main building of the school with classes being taught in the 12 rooms of the historic house. A high school building was later built and a few years later a new elementary building was constructed. While Mars Hill Bible School affiliates itself with the churches of Christ and although the Mars Hill Church of Christ is next to the campus, the school is completely independent of all churches and is a fully autonomous entity.[citation needed]


  • MHBS has been awarded the "Excellence in Education Award" on 3 separate occasions. In 2016 the school received an overall score of 306.15 from AdvancED which is a national school accreditation agency. Their score was above the agency's network average of 278.34 The Honors Diploma, one of 4 offered diplomas, requires 28 credits that include Bible, English, Social Studies, Humanities, Science, Mathematics, Computer Science, Foreign Language, Health and Physical Education. To receive this diploma, students must maintain a 90.0 or higher cumulative average.

The Dual-Enrollment program in partnership with Northwest-Shoals Community College allows students to take college classes on the MHBS campus. This is possible because MHBS offers a block schedule that mimics college schedules and allows time for juniors and seniors to take college classes while still in high school. MHBS also offers the Early-Scholar Program which allows students to take courses at the University of North Alabama during the day. The timing of the block schedule and the close proximity to the UNA campus allows students the time to commute. The school also conducts ACT preparation for their high school students.

  • A strong spiritual emphasis is placed on academics with daily Bible class being part of the mandatory course load for all students. Daily chapel attendance is also required to begin each day where the students sing worship songs, read scripture and hear short devotional talks.


Mars Hill competes in the Alabama High School Athletic Association in the 2-A classification. Their nickname is the "Panthers". The school has won 14 Alabama High School Athletic Association championships, with three in baseball (including 2010 and 2012), seven in girls' basketball, one in boys' golf and two in girls' track and field.[citation needed] A football program began in 2009 with plans to eventually develop into a varsity squad. On August 21, 2014 Mars Hill played their first varsity football game against the Sheffield Bulldogs.


  • Irven Lee (first president)
  • Paul O. Simon[3]
  • Ralph Snell
  • Jack Wilhelm
  • Milton Sewell served as President of Mars Hill Bible School from 1983-1990. He is currently the chancellor at Freed Hardeman University.[4]
  • David Vester served as President of Mars Hill Bible School from 1994-2000. He is a National Christian School Association board member who has since served as President at Dallas Christian School and later at Nashville Christian School.[5]
  • Dr. Kenny Barfield served as President from 2000 until 2011. He is the author of The Prophet Motive[6] and Why The Bible is Number One.[7]
  • Dexter Rutherford has served as President since 2011.

Notable alumni[edit]

The following list of notable alumni is arranged by Class year and surname.

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Thomas Burrows 2013 Baseball player [8]
Fletcher Srygley 187? Preacher, writer, and controversialist in the American Restoration Movement. [9]

Adam Bevis

Josh Willingham 1997 Baseball player [10]

Benefit Dinner[edit]

Every year Mars Hill Bible School hosts a large Benefit Dinner, featuring celebrity speakers, to raise money for the school's General Fund.[11] Past keynote speakers include:


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°50′48″N 87°39′34″W / 34.84654°N 87.65955°W / 34.84654; -87.65955