Scofield Forever

I’ve got a fair few bibles. But one of my favorites is my 1917 Scofield Reference Bible. It is a bible that has played a significant part in the evolution of dispensationalist theology in the last 100 years. If you’ve seen or read Left Behind and its siblings, chances are its because of what Scofield wrote in his bible. You simply couldn’t imagine a more conservative bible. And that’s why I love it, it is such a work of cultural specificity.

Scofield Reference Bible of 1917

The 1917 Scofield. Photo credit: chunghow (CC Attribution, Non Commercial, Share-alike)

One of the interesting things about it (which isn’t unique to the Scofield) is that each page has a date on it, where that page’s content is placed on Ussher’s chronology of the world. Starting with the creation in 4004 BC. The dating is interesting. Because, even though it had long been shown to be false by the time Scofield adopted it, it still forms the basis of the chronologies of a large branch of ‘biblical literalists’. Answers in Genesis, for example, have a PDF version of it available (though you’ll have to google, I’m not going to link to them).

I’ve been playing with some software to draw detailed timelines. I’ll post more about the Church history timeline I’m currently working on. But I thought about doing the same thing for an Ussher timeline. Unfortunately I can’t find a good source of dates other than a few headlines (like the exodus, the flood, etc). Ideally a list of every major biblical character with their birth and death dates in the Ussher chronologies would be good. If you see one, let me know. Otherwise if I have a spare hour or two I might get my Scofield down and try to compile one.

Incidentally, if you’re in the market for a study bible. Might be worth waiting a couple of months and get the 4th edition of the Oxford Annotated Bible (NRSV) with Apocrypha. At least the book introductions don’t flat out lie to you like some of the other study bibles I have.



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3 responses to “Scofield Forever

  1. So, the Oxford Annotated Bible IS the New Revised Standard Version?
    We are looking forward to the dateline stuff.

  2. ian

    @sabio. The Oxford Annotated strictly refers to just the commentary and other tools in the bible, just as Scofield strictly refers to just his commentary and apparatus. But the OAB is associated heavily with the RSV and NRSV text (which, incidentally is about the best english translation for scholarly work, and has a well translated apocrypha which is also important imho), just as it would be difficult to imagine anyone putting out a Scofield bible with a NIV text, for example.

    I’m not that fussed about the peculiarities of different translations, personally, because I think the diversity they hide is far greater than any diversity they display. I do think that the KJV is one of the great works of English literature, however.

  3. atimetorend

    I’m not that fussed about the peculiarities of different translations, personally, because I think the diversity they hide is far greater than any diversity they display.

    That is an interesting observation, I hadn’t looked at it that way before. I get too hung up on the slants and spins that supporters of various translations give to their favored ones.

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