1874 - 1965
H.H. Halley was born in Kentucky in 1874.
He was graduated from Transylvania University and the College of the Bible in
1895. In 1896 he taught in the preparatory department at Transylvania
University. In 1897 he taught at Women's Missionary College in Hazel Green, KY.
He was ordained to preach among the Disciples of Christ in 1898. The following
year he moved to Michigan and began his preaching career.
The most noted contribution he made to
society was the development of Halley's Bible Handbook. The story behind its
production deserves telling. Sitting at the feet of
J.W. McGarvey in the College of the Bible, Halley learned early on in his
education to appreciate the study and understanding of the Bible. He made it his
duty to commit the scriptures to memory. Hours and hours were set aside to learn
the Word that it might be rehearsed at a moment's notice. Some have suggested
that at any one time Henry H. Halley could quote in excess of no less than 25
continuous hours worth of Scripture without looking at a reference.
His memory skills paid off after about 20
years into his ministry. It happened on an occasion in the early 1920s that he
was visiting a church and was planning to speak for them. Generally his
preparation of sermons involved the preparation of meticulous notes that he
would carry with him into the pulpit. However, on this occasion he accidentally
left his notes at home. He did not notice they were missing until he went into
the pulpit. As he needed to rely on the notes for his points, he was quickly
troubled as to what to do next. He decided to quote some scriptures. So, for the
rest of his time in the pulpit he quoted scripture. The response was
overwhelming. People were amazed at his skills. Very soon he was in high demand
among churches to have him come and preach the scriptures.
Halley loved to learn not only the content
of the Bible, but everything about the Bible. He studied the backgrounds of
biblical texts. Among the many books he studied, McGarvey's Lands of the
Bible and J.T. Barclay's City Of The Great
King would have been prized possessions in his library, as he would study
the geography of the Bible lands. Dates of writing, authorship and other
historical information on Bible books were a great help to him. When he would
preach a lesson in Scripture he would reveal the historical background and
contextual information in the sermon before quoting the scriptures. People began
asking him for some of this information. On one occasion a court stenographer
was called in for one of his lessons so that every detail of introductory
information could be recorded. She placed herself on the front seat, just in
front of him. As he began his lesson, she began typing. The shuffling of paper
and the noise of the machine was so distracting to his effort that he decided to
go home and write his own introductory material and make it available.
1924 he produced a sixteen page booklet of introductory information and began
giving it out to people who wanted it. In time the paper grew into a small
volume. He began calling it Halley's Pocket Bible Handbook. Before long
Pocket was dropped from the name as the volume was too large for a shirt
pocket. Eventually the volume would become an 800 page handbook that is now
known as Halley's Bible Handbook. Today this little volume is made
available with the New International Version of the Bible as a study Bible. It
has been translated into foreign languages, and is still one of the top selling
Bible Handbooks on the market. In 1961 Henry Halley received the Gutenberg Award
from the Chicago Bible Society for this wonderful guide to Bible Study.
Henry H. Halley passed from this life in
1965. He was buried in the beautiful cemetery at Lexington, Kentucky. Very close
to his grave are the graves of some of his heroes of the past,
"Raccoon" John Smith,
L.L Pinkerton & John T. Johnson.
-Sources for this sketch include
gleanings for various sources including an online interview with his great
granddaughter, Patricia Wicker, president of Halley's Bible Handbook, Inc. See
this interview here.
Directions To The Grave Of Dr. Henry Hampton Halley
Lexington Cemetery is one of the
most beautiful old cemeteries in America. It is located on West Main Street
heading away from downtown Lexington toward Leestown Pike. Turn right into the
main entrance past the office. Once inside the gates take the second turn to the
left that leads up to the front of the Clay Monument. Then turn left onto West
Main Avenue. Follow the road on around past Section "D & H" Then
you will come to Section "O" Dr. Halley is buried in Section
Note: While at
Halley's grave be sure to see the graves of
"Raccoon" John Smith,
Lewis L. Pinkerton, John T. Johnson,
I.B. Grubbs & Robert Milligan who are
buried very near.
Map To Grave Here!
N38º 03.514' x WO 84º 30.650'
25 Ft. Accuracy
Grave Faces Southwest
Section O Lot 174 Part:NE1/2
Old Stone (Above)
New Stone (Above)