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|Bio in Brief: Dr. Henry H. Halley|
|Written by Reverend Steve Williams|
Dr. Henry Hampton Halley was born in 1874, in Kentucky. In 1895, Halley graduated from Transylvania University, and the University’s College of the Bible, of Lexington, KY. It was while under the tutelage of Professor J.W. McGarvey, in the College of the Bible, that young Mr. Halley gained an appreciation for the study and understanding of the Bible. He committed himself to memorize the Scriptures. Many hours were set aside to learn the Word of God, that he might recite it at a moment's notice.
In 1896 he took a position as teacher, in the preparatory department at Transylvania University, and then in 1897, he taught at the Women's Missionary College in Hazel Green, KY. He was ordained to preach among the Disciples of Christ in 1898; moving to Michigan, the following year and beginning his life’s service to preaching.
After 20 years in the ministry, Henry Halley was finally rewarded for his memory skills. Generally, he would prepare meticulous notes for his sermons, but on a particular occasion, in the early 1920s, Henry realized that he had left his preaching notes at home. He was uneasy as to what to do, quickly he decided to quote some Scriptures; spending the remainder of his time quoting the Bible. Of course the congregation was amazed at his abilities; soon, he found that he was in high demand among churches to hear him preach from memory.
Halley loved learning about the Bible, not only the content of the Sacred Scriptures but everything about it. He studied the backgrounds, geography, dates, authorship, any and all information about the Bible; he would commit it to memory.
When Halley would preach, he used his knowledge of historical and relative background information, to enlighten and intrigue the audience before quoting the Bible. People found the information so helpful that they began asking him for some of this information in a written form. A court stenographer was called in order to record the details of his introductory information, while he preached, but Halley found the typing so distractive, that he decided he would write his own introductory material and make it available to the public.
In 1924 Dr. Halley produced a sixteen page booklet of Biblical introductory information, handing it out at his services, to people who wanted it. Over time the paper grew into a small volume, and it was called Halley's Pocket Bible Handbook. That title had to be dropped, soon enough, because it was too large for a shirt pocket. Ultimately, the book was given the name Halley's Bible Handbook, and increased to over 800 pages.
In 1961 the Gutenberg Award from the Chicago Bible Society was bestowed to Henry Halley for his wonderful guide to Bible Study. . Halley’s Bible Handbook has been translated into foreign languages, and remains one of the top selling Bible Handbooks in the Christian marketplace.
The most distinguished contribution that Dr. Halley made to the Church was the small pocket-handbook that through the years has grown into Halley's Bible Handbook, but it was his memorization of the Bible that started it all off. It has been suggested that at any one time Dr. Henry Hampton Halley could quote more than 25 continuous hours worth of Scripture with no assistance of any kind. It is well known that he could recite from memory, entire books from the Bible, in either their abridged, connected form, or in their own words.
Henry H. Halley Died in 1965, leaving behind a genuine legacy of good work; a preacher, teacher and without a doubt, a Trail-Blazer of the Church.