Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield

B. B. Warfield Portrait 7Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield was born at “Grasmere,” near Lexington, Kentucky, November 5th, 1851. He was graduated with the highest honors from Princeton College with the Class of ’71. After two years spent in foreign travel and in literary work in this country, he entered Princeton Theological Seminary, graduating with the Class of ’76. He was then for a short time stated supply of the First Presbyterian Church of Dayton, Ohio. After a year spent in study at the University of Leipzig and in travel, he served as assistant to the First Presbyterian Church of Baltimore for about a year, and was ordained by the Presbytery of Ebenezer on April 26th, 1879. In 1878 he was appointed Instructor, and in the following year was installed as Professor of New Testament Exegesis and Literature, in Western Theological Seminary. In 1887 he accepted the call to Princeton Theological Seminary to succeed Professor A. A. Hodge as Charles Hodge Professor of Didactic and Polemic Theology.

Dr. Warfield was a prolific writer along theological lines. From 1880, when his first article appeared in The Presbyterian Review, to the time of his death when three series of articles on “Perfectionism” had begun to appear in as many different theological quarterlies, his pen was incessantly busy. In 1889 he succeeded Dr. Francis L. Patton on the editorial staff of The Presbyterian Review. A year later he became the chief editor of its successor, The Presbyterian and Reformed Review; and continued to edit it until 1903, when it was succeeded in its turn by The Princeton Theological Review. To this latter he was also a frequent contributor. In addition to his contributions to these and other theological publications, Dr. Warfield was the author of a number of books. His Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament appeared in 1886 and passed through a number of editions. His more recent publications are, The Lord of Glory, Faith and Life, The Plan of Salvation, and Counterfeit Miracles. A number of his sermons have been published and also a collection of hymns and religious verses.

Dr. Warfield’s scholarship was early and widely recognized, and he was the recipient of honors and degrees from learned institutions in this country and abroad. He received the degree of D.D. from Princeton College in 1880, of LL.D. from Davidson College and Princeton College in 1892, of Litt.D. from Lafayette College in 1911, and of S. T. D. from the University of Utrecht, Holland, in 1913. He was the lecturer on the Smith Foundation at the Columbia, S. C., Theological Seminary in 1917 and 1918.

Dr. Warfield was taken suddenly ill on Christmas Eve. His condition was serious for a time; but it improved very greatly and on the 16th of February he felt able to resume his teaching in part and met one of his classes in the afternoon. He apparently suffered no immediate ill effects from the exertion but died that evening at about 10 o’clock of an acute attack of angina pectoris. Until the Christmas vacation, Dr. Warfield had been actively at work and had met all his classes as usual.

“Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield.” Princeton Theological Review 19:2 (April 1921), 329–30. [PrincetonPDF]


  1. Inerrancy and Church History: The Post-Reformation and Modern Period | Derek J. Brown - December 1, 2014

    […] B. B. Warfield (1851-1921), for example, professor of theology at Princeton from 1887-1921, produced over his lifetime several scholarly articles that dealt with the matter of Scripture’s divine inspiration, as he sought to confront current attempts “to undermine the historical truthfulness” of the Bible’s narratives. In many of these articles, Warfield spoke directly to the issue of inerrancy. For example, in a brief article entitled, “Inspiration” (1911), Warfield linked the reliability of Scripture to their divine authorship. […]

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