American Baptist pastor, Bible teacher, and writer. Clarence
Larkin was born October 28, 1850, in Chester, Delaware
County, Pennsylvania. He was converted to Christ at the age
of 19 and then felt called to the Gospel ministry, but the
doors of opportunity for study and ministry did not open im-
mediately. He then got a job in a bank.
When he was 21 years old, he left the bank and went
to college, graduating as a mechanical engineer. He continued
as a professional draftsman for a while, then he became a
teacher of the blind. This last endeavor cultivated his de-
scriptive faculties–something God would later use in him to
produce a monumental work on dispensational theology. Later,
failing health compelled him to give up his teaching career.
After a prolonged rest, he became a manufacturer.
But he was not happy. He felt that God wanted him in
the Gospel ministry. When he was converted he had become a
member of the Episcopal Church, but in 1882, at the age of
32, he became a Baptist and was ordained as a Baptist minis-
ter two years later. He went directly from business into the
His first charge was at Kennett Square, Pennsylvania;
his second pastorate was at Fox Chase, Pennsylvania, where he
remained for 20 years. He was not a premillennialist at the
time of his ordination, but his study of the Scriptures, with
the help of some books that fell into his hands, led him to
adopt the premillennialist position. He began to make large
wall charts, which he titled, “Prophetic Truth,” for use in
the pulpit. These led to his being invited to teach, in con-
nection with his pastoral work, in two Bible institutes. Dur-
ing this time he published a number of prophetical charts,
which were widely circulated.
When World War I broke out in 1914, he was called on
for addresses on The War and Prophecy. Then God laid it on
his heart to prepare a work on Dispensational Truth (or God’s
Plan and Purpose in the Ages), containing a number of charts
with descriptive matter. He spent three years of his life de-
signing and drawing the charts and preparing the text. The
favorable reception it has had since it was first published
in 1918 seems to indicate that the world was waiting for such
Because it had a large and wide circulation in this
and other lands, the first edition was soon exhausted. It was
followed by a second edition, and then, realizing that the
book was of permanent value, Larkin revised it and expanded
it, printing it in its present form. Larkin followed this
masterpiece with other books: Rightly Dividing the Word, The
Book of Daniel, Spirit World, Second Coming of Christ, and A
Medicine Chest for Christian Practitioners, a handbook on
Larkin, a kind and gentle man, deplored the tendency
of writers to say uncharitable things about each other, so he
earnestly sought to avoid criticisms and to satisfy himself
with simply presenting his understanding of the Scriptures.
Though he did not intend to publish his own works, the Lord
led in that direction. During the last five years of his
life, the demand for Larkin’s books made it necessary for him
to give up the pastorate and devote his full time to writing.
He went to be with the Lord on January 24, 1924.