The denomination was founded in 1955 with a total of 126 members. The church traces its roots to Methodism with direct ties to the Church of the Nazarene. In 1958, the denomination began Bible Missionary Institute, a then-three year Bible college offering basic theology degrees. Bible Missionary Institute is located in Rock Island, Illinois. In 1959, founder Glenn Griffith and many others severed ties with the Bible Missionary Church over what they perceived to be an overly-lenient view of divorce, forming the Wesleyan Holiness Church. Although the split devastated the church and slowed its growth, the Bible Missionary Church has grown with international branches in Canada, Mexico, the Philippine islands, Guyana, Ghana, Nigeria, Japan, Nepal, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Barbados, and Venezuela.
The Bible Missionary Church holds a monotheistic, Trinitarian theology in the Wesleyan tradition.
The BMC teaches that believers are cleansed from inbred sin and rebellion to God by a second definite experience referred to as entire sanctification, as taught by the historic Methodist Church and the Church of the Nazarene. In conjunction with entire sanctification, the BMC teaches that believers are to live godly lives, manifesting this by compliance to an outward standard of holiness. Many of these standards are codified in the rules contained within the church manual. They believe that complete obedience to God is a joy and delight. In 1999, the Bible Missionary Church adopted a resolution against same-sex marriage, forbidding its ministers to perform the wedding ceremonies of same sex couples. Unlike many other conservative churches, however, the Bible Missionary Church allows women to fill leadership positions in church boards. Observance of Christian Sabbath, Sunday, is also expected by abstaining from unnecessary work or commerce and setting the day aside for worship and service to humanity.
The Bible Missionary Church holds a strong premillennialism view of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, but its adherents hold a variety of views on the timing of the Rapture of the Church.
The Bible Missionary Church believes in aggressive evangelism and in addition to its worldwide missionary efforts is currently expanding in North America with several new churches in the United States and Canada.
The Bible Missionary Church government is patterned after that of the Church of the Nazarene from which it seceded. Its form of government is republican in nature giving equal representation to local churches, lay members, and elders.
The church holds a general conference every four years at which major policy issues for the denomination as a whole are addressed. The most recent general conference took place in 2015. The general conference elects general officers, including two general moderators, and a general board. The general conference also governs additions and deletions to the manual (termed "memorials"). General conference business follows Parliamentary Procedure and Robert's Rules of Order.
In addition, the American church is composed of the following self-governing districts:
Arkansas District (Arkansas), California-Arizona-Nevada District, Intermountain District District (Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Alaska, West Kansas), Iowa-Illinois District, Louisiana-South Texas District, Great Lakes District (Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ontario), Northeast District (New England, Pennsylvania, and Eastern seaboard), Northwest District (Idaho, Montana, East Oregon), North Pacific District (Washington, West Oregon), Southeast District (Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida), Southwest District (Oklahoma, Texas), Midwest District (Missouri, East Kansas) Although most foreign churches come under the jurisdiction of the foreign missions committee (appointed by the general board), the churches in Mexico, Japan, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines are self-governing, organized districts of the Bible Missionary Church.
General officers include two general moderators, a general treasurer, general secretary, general foreign missions secretary, Missionary Revivalist editor, and Sunday School literature editor in chief.
The Bible Missionary Church's schools include Bible Missionary Institute, a 4-year unaccredited Bible college in Rock Island, Illinois, as well as a Bible college in Houston, Texas. Beulah Mountain Christian Academy in Whitley City, Kentucky, is a K-12 boarding school for at-risk children.
The denomination also maintains schools in Mexico, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Ghana, Guyana, and Nigeria.
Although no denominational level schools are regionally accredited, many of the BMC's district leaders and pastors have advanced degrees from other universities.