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By John Nelson Darby / Horizon Christian Fellowship / 1950
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Read chapter-by-chapter commentary on the entire Bible along with one of the founding figures and most influential thinkers of dispensationalism—John Darby.
John Darby’s 5-volume Synopsis of the Books of the Bible has played a central role in the emergence of fundamentalism and the development of American Christianity. As the intellectual and theological forerunner of well-known preachers such as Dwight Moody and contemporary authors such as Tim LaHaye, John Darby’s influence is profound. From a dispensational interpretation of the Bible, to the contemporary understanding of the rapture and the End Times, the prominent features of evangelical theology are indebted to Darby’s influence.
Logos is pleased to offer John Darby’s Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, which includes Darby’s chapter-by-chapter commentary of the entire Bible. These volumes contain introductions to each book of the Bible—written by Darby himself—along with overviews of important biblical themes, such as the implications of biblical prophecy and the nature of divine revelation. Darby’s commentary is indispensable for personal study of the Bible, and a vital addition to the libraries of theologians, church historians, and anyone interested in the emergence of dispensationalist thought.
...I literally devoured these five volumes, giving almost every spare moment to them, so that I read them in two weeks' time, and I think I am safe in saying that they opened up the Scripture in their comprehensiveness in a way that nothing else has ever touched.
Darby left a lasting legacy for us today.
—Conservative Theological Journal
To see classical dispensationalist theology at its best, one must read Darby…
—Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Darby was a brilliant man…
—Moody Handbook of Theology
Born in London in 1801, John Darby attended Westminster School and Trinity College, where he graduated in 1819. Darby became a lawyer, but practiced law for only one year, since he felt the nature of his profession was incompatible with his religious beliefs. He was ordained as a deacon in the Church of England in 1825, and became a priest in 1826.
As a priest, Darby became quickly disenchanted by what he perceived as the empty ritual and corrupt bureaucracy prevalent in the Church of England. He resisted the necessity of clergy, asserting that their role contradicted New Testament teaching, and claimed that the presence of clergy implicitly denied that the Holy Spirit speaks to laypersons. He gathered with other like-minded dissidents to form the movement which later became known as the Plymouth Brethren, and he formally left the Church of England in 1832.
Darby’s ecclesiological pessimism gave way to a new perspective on Scripture, which later became known as dispensationalism. In Darby’s view, the scope of history is divided into seven separate dispensations, each comprising a new stage of God’s revelation. Darby advanced the following dispensationalist scheme:
Since the church finds itself in the sixth dispensation, Darby used a literal interpretation of apocalyptic literature to predict the events of the seventh dispensation. In doing so, he systematized the notion of the secret rapture and developed an extensive pre-millennial eschatology, in which historical events can be used to predict the advent of the Millennium—the seventh dispensation.
Later in his lifetime, Darby traveled extensively. He delivered a series of lectures in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1837, and made seven visits to the United States and Canada, where he influenced individuals such as Dwight Moody and A.J. Gordon and initiated the Bible conference movement. Darby’s influence is also found in the writings of C.I. Scofield, Charles Henry Mackintosh, and William E. Blackstone, whose writings contributed to the rise of fundamentalism in America during the early twentieth century. More recently, Darby’s impact can be felt in books by Hal Lindsay, Tim LaHaye, and Jerry Jenkins.