“The Scofield Bible had several innovative features. Most important, it printed what amounted to a commentary on the biblical text alongside the Bible instead of in a separate volume. It also contained a cross-referencing system that tied together related verses of Scripture and allowed a reader to follow biblical themes from one chapter and book to another.
“Finally, the 1917 edition also attempted to date events of the Bible. It was in the pages of the Scofield Reference Bible that many Christians first encountered Archbishop James Ussher’s calculation of the date of Creation as 4004 BC; and through discussion of Scofield’s notes, which advocated the “gap theory,” fundamentalists began a serious internal debate about the nature and chronology of creation.
“The Scofield Bible was published only a few years before World War I destroyed the cultural optimism that had viewed the world as entering a new era of peace and prosperity; and the post-World War II era saw the creation in Israel of a homeland for the Jews. Thus, Scofield’s premilliennialism seemed almost prophetic. “At the popular level, especially, many people came to regard the dispensationalist scheme as completely vindicated.” Sales of the Reference Bible exceeded two million copies by the end of World War II.”
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