Thomas Scott

1747-1821. Biblical commentator. Born at Braytoft, Lincolnshire, son of a grazier, Scott was employed for nine years in menial farm work which permanently ruined his health. Driven from home by his father's cruelty, he was ordained deacon in 1772 by the bishop of Lincoln, held a number of curacies, and in 1781 succeeded John Newton at Olney. From 1785 to 1801 he was chaplain at the Lock Hospital and lecturer at St. Mildred's, London, and from 1801 to 1821 rector of Aston Sandford, Buckinghamshire, where he helped to train missionaries for the Church Missionary Society. Apart from his theological works (5 vols., 1805-8), he is chiefly famous for Force of Truth (1779), his spiritual autobiography which recounts his development from early Unitarianism to the adoption of evangelical Calvinism, under the influence of Newton, and for his Commentary on the Bible which appeared in weekly numbers between 1788 and 1792. Scott's exegesis, though occasionally wooden, is remarkable for its candor, and as an exercise in experimental Christianity, eliciting the meaning of each passage of Scripture for the author's own soul. The commentary became immediately popular, but brought its author no financial rewards-and charges of Arminianism from extreme Calvinist critics.