by Wilfrid Lofft
(The Bible Collector – July/Sept 1984)
In 1904, the year the Russo-Japanese war broke out, Adolphus Spalding Worrell published his The New Testament Revised and Translated. The American Baptist Publication Society (now Judson Press) published it in 1907, and Gospel Publication House put out an edition in 1957. (Editor’s note: Margaret Hills in her The English Bible in America lists an edition of 1904 “published by A. S. Worrell, Louisville, which shows pagination: (3) (iv) (396) (26). Her note says that it was reprinted from the original plates in 1907 by the American Baptist Publication Society, Philadelphia. She gives the following information: “Printed in paragraph form with introductions and appendices. The notes appear between chapters or at foot of page.” She also calls it an “immense” version.)
But who was A. S. Worrell? Arduous but enjoyable research has revealed most of the facts.
Adolphus Spalding Worrell was born March 3, 1831 in Newton County, Georgia, to William Green Worrell and his wife Martha, nee Melton. Both parents had been born in Georgia.
In September 1844 Adolphus was converted and in 1850 he felt called to preach. He graduated from Mercer University, Macon, Georgia, with an honors A.B. in 1855 and with an A.M. in 1858. Later, he is termed “Dr.”, but where and when he attained his degree is not known.
In 1864 he married Mary L. Sheed of Sweetwater, Tennessee, and they had a family of two daughters and one son. His wife was still living in 1900.
During his lifetime, he held many positions, perhaps they are best summarized as follows:
Professor of Greek and Latin at Mississippi College, Clinton, Hinds County, Mississippi—1855-1856.
Professor of Greek and Hebrew at Union University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee—1856-1857.
Edited or published Soldier’s Friend at Atlanta, Georgia—1860’s. President of Mount Lebanon University, Mount Lebanon, Louisiana—September 1865-1867.
Edited or published the Louisiana Baptist —1865-l866.
Principal of Baptist Female College, Lexington, Kentucky, from its opening, February 10, 1868 -1871.
On Staff of Danville Female Academy, Danville, Kentucky—late 1860’s.
Publisher of The Baptist Sentinel, Lexington, Kentucky—Nov. 1868-Dec. 1871.
Editor, then owner of the Western Recorder of Louisville, Kentucky—1871-1872.
Moved to California for health reasons—1872?
Edited or published The Evangel, San Francisco, California— 1870’s.
President of California College, Vacaville, Solano County, California; taught ancient languages and moral science—Spring 1873-November 1875.
President of Mount Pleasant College, Huntsville, Missouri—April 1882-September 1882.
Pastored First Baptist Church, Little Rock, Arkansas—April 1882-September 1882.
President of Buckner College, Witcherville, Sabastian County, Arkansas—1882-1884.
Edited or published Gospel Witness, Kentucky—1893-1908.
Lived in Louisville, Kentucky, from at least 1895-1908 and died there July 31st, 1908.
Dr. Worrell was an individualist who held strong opinions on right and wrong, who believed in divine healing, and who traveled largely for several years, preaching constantly.
As well as his New Testament, he is known for the following volumes, still held in some libraries: Review of Corrective Church Discipline, 1861; Principles of English Grammar, 1861; Corrective Church Discipline, 1874; The First and Seventh Day Controversy, 1896; Full Gospel Teachings, 1900; Full Gospel Text-Book, 1901; Didactic and Devotional Poems, 1908.