Every institution has its beginning in the planting of a seed idea, and for Arlington Baptist University the seed was planted in 1925 with a concept of a Bible Institute in Dallas. Although this institute did not materialize, it led Dr. J. Frank Norris, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, to begin in 1927, the Fundamental Bible Institute. The Institute offered a plan of systematic Bible study via radio and correspondence.

In 1931, Dr. Norris announced the formation of the Pre-Millennial Bible Conference/Southwestern Pre-Millennial Bible School which would conduct two sessions a year. The first session was held in November, 1931, and Dr. Louis Entzminger was named Superintendent. These Bible conferences were developed to provide concentrated pastoral training, encouragement, challenge, and teaching in the truth of God's Word.

Out of these early Bible training efforts, the Fundamental Baptist Bible Institute was chartered on March 3, 1939; and the first classes met in October of 1939, in an upper room of the First Baptist Church in Fort Worth, TX. The curriculum was expanded from the Bible conferences, and the length of the term was changed to eight months plus a two-month summer term.

The name of the School was changed in 1945 to Bible Baptist Seminary. Dr. Norris' death in 1952 left the institution without a "home", and the classes were transferred to a temporary location in downtown Fort Worth.

Dr. Earl K. Oldham was named President in 1953. Dr. Oldham, a graduate of the Bible Baptist Seminary, was pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, Texas. Under Dr. Oldham’s leadership, the School was relocated to its permanent home in Arlington, Texas in 1955. Dr. Oldham directed the School into a four year undergraduate institution, changing the name to Arlington Baptist College, and offering the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees. Although the College was authorized by the Texas Higher Education Commission to issue degrees, Dr. Oldham recognized the importance and necessity for fully accredited status under an accrediting body approved by the United State Department of Education. In 1975, Dr. Oldham initiated an inquiry with what was then entitled the American Association of Bible Colleges (AABC). The College achieved Candidate status with AABC in 1977. In 1980 Dr. Oldham was named Chancellor. During Dr. Oldham's twenty-seven years as President, the College grew in facilities, students, and personnel.

Dr. Wayne Martin was named President in 1980. Dr. Martin led the College to its fully accredited status in 1981, completing the accreditation process that had begun in 1975. Dr. Martin continued the College's pursuit of Christian service and academic excellence while preserving the institution's original purpose.

In January 1992, Dr. Wendell Hiers was named interim President, bringing to the office over twenty years of veteran mission work in Brazil and several years as Director of the World Baptist Fellowship Mission Agency.

The College Board of directors appointed David D. Bryant as the President of the College effective May 1, 1993. David Bryant graduated from the Bible Baptist Seminary with a Bachelor of Divinity degree and served as a pastor for 17 years. Dr. Bryant continued his education and now has a Master of Theology from the Louisiana Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Divinity from Baptist Christian College.

Dr. Danny L. Moody became President of Arlington Baptist College in June of 2009. He is a 1983 graduate from Arlington Baptist College (BA Pastoral Ministries), 2002 graduate from Moody Graduate School (MaMin), and a 2005 graduate from Covington Theological Seminary (DMin).

Dr. Moody has served in a number of capacities at ABC including - Recruitment and Development, Dean of Students, Faculty, and Chair of Pastoral Ministries Program.  He has served as pastor of two churches - Victory Baptist Church, Paris, Texas (1982-1989) and Pleasantview Baptist Church, Arlington, Texas (1994-2009). 

In 2019, Cliff McDaniel was named interim President of Arlington Baptist University.