- One of the first study Bibles available
- Over 5 Million copies sold
- Best known as one of the best cross-reference systems ever developed
The original Scofield Reference Bible is the classic Dispensational study Bible created by Cyrus Ingerson Scofield. The Bible was originally conceived by Scofield and A. C. Gaebelein in 1901. Scofield and his wife began researching and writing the notes for the Bible in 1904, and it was published by Oxford University Press in 1909. An updated version was later published in 1917. It became the first book published by Oxford to achieve 1,000,000 units sold.
About the Author
Cyrus Scofield was born in Lenawee County, Michigan in 1843. During the American Civil War he served for a year as a private in the 7th Tennessee Infantry. By 1866 he was in Missouri working in his brother-in-law's law office. Admitted to the Kansas bar in 1869, he was elected to the Kansas legislature as a Republican in 1871 and 1872 and was appointed U.S. attorney for the district of Kansas.
After his conversion to evangelical Christianity in 1879, Scofield assisted in the St. Louis campaign conducted by Dwight L. Moody and served as the secretary of the St. Louis YMCA. Significantly, Scofield came under the mentorship of James H. Brookes, pastor of Walnut Street Presbyterian Church, St. Louis, a prominent dispensationalist premillennialist.
In 1883 Scofield was ordained as a Congregationalist minister, and he accepted the pastorate of the First Congregational Church in Texas, now Scofield Memorial Church. The church grew from fourteen to over five hundred members before he resigned its pastorate in 1895.
In 1888 Scofield attended the Niagara Bible Conference where he met Hudson Taylor. The two became life-long friends, and Taylor's approach to Christian missions influenced Scofield to found the Central American Mission in 1890, now CAM International.
Scofield also served as secretary of the American Home Missionary Society of Texas and Louisiana; and in 1890, he helped found Lake Charles College (1890-1903) in Louisiana. As the author of the pamphlet, "Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth" (1888), Scofield himself soon became a leader in dispensational premillennialism.
In 1895, Scofield was called as pastor of Moody's church, the Trinitarian Congregational Church of East Northfield, Massachusetts, and he also took charge of Moody’s Northfield Bible Training School. Although, in theory, Scofield returned to his Dallas pastorate in 1903, his projected reference Bible consumed much of his energy, and for much of the time before its publication, he was either sick or in Europe. Scofield shortly left the Congregational Church to become a Southern Presbyterian and moved to the New York City area where he supervised the New York Night School of the Bible. In 1914 he founded the Philadelphia School of the Bible in Pennsylvania, now Philadelphia Biblical University.
Scofield believed that between creation and the final judgment there were seven distinct eras of God's dealing with man and that these eras were a framework around which the message of the Bible could be explained. It was largely through the influence of Scofield's notes that dispensationalism and premillennialism became influential among fundamentalist Christians in the United States. Scofield passed away at his home in Douglaston, Long Island, in 1921.