Scofield, Cyrus Ingerson
- Time Period
C.I. Scofield was born in Michigan in 1843, but fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Afterwards, he had a career in law but began to drink heavily. By 1879 Scofield had converted to Christianity and began working with evangelist Dwight L. Moody. Scofield pastored Congregationalist churches in Massachusetts and Texas. In 1909 he published the eponymous Scofield Reference Bible, which had extensive footnotes for personal bible study. It sold more than two million copies by the end of World War II and is responsible for the popularization of dispensational premillenialism in America. Scofield used his proceeds from the Bible to found Philadelphia School of the Bible in 1914.
C.I. Scofield was born in frontier Michigan in 1843, just six years after statehood. He planned to attend law school in Tennessee, but in short order the state seceded from the Union and the Civil War began. Scofield volunteered for the Confederacy for a time, but after he was threatened with further conscripted service, he deserted. Following the war, he worked as a lawyer in Kansas and briefly served as a US district attorney and state legislator before leaving office under a cloud of allegations of corruption. Not long after, his first marriage fell apart as he began drinking heavily.But by 1879 Scofield had converted to Christianity and volunteered for evangelist Dwight L. Moody's revival campaigns in St. Louis. Scofield remarried and then, with Moody's encouragement, became an ordained Congregationalist minister in Massachusetts and Texas. He also became a staple of the Bible Conference circuit. One of Scofield's priorities in his ministry was encouraging laypeople to do personal, inductive Bible study. He wanted Christians to read deeply in the Bible, to learn to categorize the spiritual information within and actively apply it to their lives. To this end, in 1909 he published the eponymous Scofield Reference Bible, which had extensive footnotes on every page. The Bible was a hit, selling more than two million copies by the end of World War II, and it continued to popularize a strain of theology known as dispensational premillenialism long after Scofield's death; a young minister named Jerry Falwell credited it with his own theological development while in college. Despite Scofield's limited formal education, he founded Philadelphia School of the Bible in 1914 with the proceeds of his Reference Bible. Following Scofield's death, his protege, Lewis Sperry Chafer, would found Dallas Theological Seminary, a leading center of dispensationalist education for the rest of the twentieth century.
- Religious Groups
Independent Fundamentalist Family: Other Timeline Entries
Independent Fundamentalist Family: Other ARDA Links
Publication of Scofield Reference Bible
Niagara Bible Conference
Publication of The Fundamentals
World Christian Fundamentals Association
Cyrus Scofield portrait- Internet Archive
Cyrus Scofield reading- Internet Archive
Larson, Timothy and David Bebbington and Mark Noll, 2003. Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals. InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois.
- Web Page Contributor
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History