"Old Scofield" Study Bible


So, long story short, I have been given a copy of this.

Short story long, some background: I’m a new convert. Never been a churchgoer, though my parents were (nominally) Protestant; my mother had inherited an early 20th Century copy of the KJV which my dad used to read from as a bedtime story (just the bizarre Jacobean language was always some kind of treat - I always liked the Book of Ezekiel for the mind-bending imagery!) and that was my only real exposure to Scripture other than a Gideons NT/Psalms which I re-read compulsively as a teenager. Anyway, this is a digression.

So, a distant family member, knowing I’ve converted and am a big reader (I currently have, and like to dip into and compare, a few volumes of the Navarre, Haydock, New Jerome and Oxford Catholic Study Bible; haven’t got the Ignatius yet and might wait for the OT to be finished), did a very nice thing and bought me a present of a nice new KJV bible.

You can guess where this is going.

It’s actually really nice, as an artefact in its own right - it’s a leather bound, red letter edition, and a facsimile of the 1917 edition in the same type etc. But it’s an Old Scofield, and even just flicking through the notes on Revelation I can see immediately the author was evidently both somewhat bonkers and rabidly anti-Catholic. :eek:

I’m well aware of the history and reputation of this thing, and its role in the more spittle-flecked end of the spectrum of American evangelical Protestantism. I don’t for one moment believe the donor intended any kind of subtle or not-so-subtle message about my conversion - this person isn’t religious, wouldn’t know Cardinal Hume from Billy Graham, she was just trying to do a nice thing.

(I’m surprised at the OUP really. Nowhere on the (again really rather nice!) packaging does it say “this is the edition considered to be a foaming-mouth fundamentalist Protestant’s faithful bedside companion”, it’s quite surreptitiously packaged up as “a full-featured study Bible at an amazing price” etc. It strikes me that someone really should produce an equivalent Douay-Rheims/Haydock volume and market it in exactly the same way. But I digress, again.)

So, anyway. I’ve no intention of throwing it away, I’m quite keen to keep it - if nothing else as a nice version of the KJV, which I still think is beautiful even though it isn’t and will never be “my” Bible to be used as, well, a Bible (I’m a Jerusalem guy, though I like to compare different versions).

Rather my question is this; I’ve seen it mentioned in a few threads, but is there anything positive to take from it? Are any of the notes helpful in any way? I don’t have an independent concordance, is this one any use? Is it just valuable in its own right to have a window into what your everyday fundamentalist is reading/thinking?

All opinions/thoughts/observations gratefully received.


I’d hang on to it, just because it’s a piece of history.

You’re right, though…it’s essentially whacked and exemplary of anti-Catholic propaganda.

Most people don’t know that that particular Bible was one of the main proponents of the Rapture error. Until Scofield included it in his notes it was pretty much unknown aside from Church of Ireland preacher J.N. Darby who concocted it to begin with.

The Rapture?

By the way, your signature is awesome and from one of my very favorite prayers. Just for fun and FYI, here’s how it reads in Latin.

Ne permittas me separari a te.


Im a former Southern Baptist, and I still have mine. Strangely enough when I was taking classes at a Bible institute that was Independent Baptist, I had an instructor tell me that it should be in the garbage and that I needed a Ryrie study Bible. This surprised me but taught me the dysfunction even among Baptists. I actually never felt it was very helpful back then, especially now, but I keep it because its a reminder of my journey to the Catholic Church. To me it was nothing more than an image thing, I just wanted to look like a typical hard nosed Bible thumping Baptist. Thankfully those days are far behind!


Thanks both. Sorry if I sounded a bit intemperate in that first post - my hyperbolic remarks about fundamentalist Protestantism were based on personal observations drawn from a very limited sample (I’ve only known a couple of people to refer to this book by name, and they were very much in that mould).

Having read it some more last night (I only got given it yesterday!), I find it a very confusing book on a number of levels - the “commentary” doesn’t really explain a lot from the text, even in terms of pushing the author’s agenda as to what a particular passage or verse might mean - the standard footnotes in pretty much every Bible I’ve ever seen (never mind those that are explicitly marketed as “study Bibles”) are more rigorous and illuminating than this.

Rather, it seems that Scofield forms a theory about grace, salvation, history and revelation - which I have to say seems to be both extremely subjective and also a surprisingly outlying position even in terms of (my understanding of) Baptist teaching generally - in the introduction, and then assumes we take it as read as a basis for everything that follows, to the point of him not really arguing so much as underlining.

So the “Scofield Study System” seems to be a sort of running commentary that pipes up every few pages, highlighting passages that could be interpreted to agree with his overview but simply skimming right over any parts that become contradictory or inconsistent. Fascinating in itself, I guess, but not particularly informative.

Although I’ve now learned the word “Romanist”, and why one shouldn’t Google it, so there’s that. :eek:

A further question (and I appreciate a Catholic forum is not perhaps the ideal place for this!): I’ve seen it mentioned that Scofield and his team actually altered the KJV text in places in order to better support some of his readings - is this true? I already own the (entirely secular) OUP World’s Classics version of the 1769 KJV, which is presumably free from any such “improvements”, but I’ve no great urge or wish to go through both of them line by line looking for differences…

(don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware the KJV is not a Catholic Bible and also not an especially reliable translation - I’m just interested to know what (if anything) Scofield saw fit to change, not full of rage because he dared change it!)


Your observation so far is how I always felt about it. It was not informative of the text but rather sections of a lousey heretical system that are placed by passages that are thought by Scofield to be related. It had no value as a commentary at all. Like I said, I never found it helpful even as a Baptist.


I collect Bible’s so needless to say I’d keep it. I got Protestant Bibles, Catholic Bibles and Eastern Orthodox Bibles of many different translations. I even got a Greek New Testament that was given to me from a Presbyterian minister.


As far as I know, the old Scofield you have doesn’t have any changes to the KJV text. The New Scofield Bible that was released in the 1960’s had changes to the KJV text. The notes were also revised to tone down some of his theology. This study Bible has been published in the newer translations as well.


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