The Scofield Reference Bible is a widely circulated annotated study Bible that first appeared in 1909, and revised in 1917. These first editions were published by the Oxford University Press. The original versions
contained the traditional
King James Version text edited and annotated by
Cyrus I. Scofield.
This annotated Bible contained 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 due to Scofield's Bible notes that creationism became
a major issue among Christian fundamentalists.
The Scofield Reference Bible also taught the
dispensational scheme of interpretation and through its popularity became the chief vehicle by which this theological perspective was propagated among Christian fundamentalists and independents in the United States.
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. These modern revisions have muted somewhat the more extravagant claims of Scofield's early dispensationalism.