The classification of benign versus malignant lung nodules using chest CT plays a pivotal role in the early detection of lung cancer and this early detection has the best chance of cure. Although deep learning is now the most successful solution for image classification problems, it requires a myriad number of training data, which are not usually readily available for most routine medical imaging applications. In this paper, we propose the transferable multi-model ensemble (TMME) algorithm to separate malignant from benign lung nodules using limited chest CT data. This algorithm transfers the image representation abilities of three ResNet-50 models, which were pre-trained on the ImageNet database, to characterize the overall appearance, heterogeneity of voxel values and heterogeneity of shape of lung nodules, respectively, and jointly utilizes them to classify lung nodules with an adaptive weighting scheme learned during the error back propagation. Experimental results on the benchmark LIDC-IDRI dataset show that our proposed TMME algorithm achieves a lung nodule classification accuracy of 93.40%, which is markedly higher than the accuracy of seven state-of-the-art approaches.