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Scofield Reference Bible

The Scofield Reference Bible is a widely circulated annotated study Bible that was edited and annotated by Bible scholar Cyrus I. Scofield.

This edition of the Bible first appeared in 1909, and was revised in 1917. The first editions of this Bible were published by the Oxford University Press. The original version of the Bible contained the traditional King James Version text of the Bible itself.

This Bible was widely popular, as a result of several innovative features. It introduced a chain cross-referencing system that tied together related verses of Scripture and allowed the reader to follow Biblical themes from one book and chapter to the next. It featured an attempt to date the events of the Bible chronologically, and the text contains a running commentary that sets a year or approximate year for each page of the Bible text. It was in the pages of the Scofield Reference Bible that many fundamentalist Christians encountered Archbishop James Ussher's calculation fixing the date of Creation at 4004 BC, and it was largely on the authority of Scofield's bible that creationism became the subject of major controversy among Christian fundamentalists.

The Scofield Reference Bible taught the interpretative school of dispensationalism, and it was the chief vehicle by which this school of Bible interpretation became highly influential in the United States. Scofield's annotations to the Book of Ezekiel, ch. 38, prophesied that Russia would play a part in the Battle of Armageddon. This passage of Scofield's notes is illustrative of his interpretations and method:

That the primary reference is to the northern (European) powers, headed up by Russia, all agree. The whole passage should be read in connection with Zechariah 12:1-4; 14:1-9; Matthew 24:14-30; Revelation 14:14-20; 19:17-21, "gog" is the prince, "Magog," his land. The reference to Meshech and Tubal (Moscow and Tobolsk) is a clear mark of identification. Russia and the northern powers have been the latest persecutors of dispersed Israel, and it is congruous both with divine justice and with the covenants (e.g. "Genesis 15:18" See "Deuteronomy 30:3" that destruction should fall at the climax of the last mad attempt to exterminate the remnant of Israel in Jerusalem. The whole prophecy belongs to the yet future "day of Jehovah" ; Isaiah 2:10-22; Revelation 19:11-21 and to the battle of Armageddon Revelation 16:14 See "Revelation 19:19" but includes also the final revolt of the nations at the close of the kingdom-age. Revelation 20:7-9.

These and similar passages were a major source of Hal Lindsey's earlier prophecies. Scofield's extensive notes to the Book of Revelation are a major source of the various timetables, judgments, and plagues predicted by Lindsey's and other fundamentalists' computations of the end times. It was largely a result of the success of the Scofield Reference Bible that dispensationalism has largely displaced the Calvinist understanding of the Book of Revelation and Bible prophecy; it is a result of the success of dispensationalism that conservative Protestantism in the U.S.A. lays such a great stress on end-times speculation.

The original and 1917 text of the Scofield Reference Bible has fallen into the public domain in the United States. Oxford University Press continues to publish revised editions of this Bible under the title Oxford Scofield Study Bible, which it offers with a variety of translations in addition to the original King James Version. The revisions have muted somewhat the more extravagant claims of Scofield's theology.

External link

Searchable text of the 1917 version of the Scofield Reference Bible reference notes.