Among Southern Disciples, no one was more influential in the latter half of the nineteenth century than Nashville editor and teacher David Lipscomb. Born into a Baptist family with leanings toward the Campbells’ reform, Lipscomb claimed to have read everything Alexander Campbell wrote.
Through its columns and editorials he influenced the southern conservative Disciples, known today as Churches of Christ. Lipscomb considered one of his chief joys in life the privilege of teaching the Bible to young men and women at the Nashville Bible School. Founded by Lipscomb and evangelist James A. Harding in 1891 on the model of Fanning’s Franklin College and Alexander Campbell’s Bethany College, it is now known as Lipscomb University.
David Lipscomb was born not far from Davy Crockett's Old Kentuck farm, on Bean's Creek, in the Old Salem Community, Franklin County, Tennessee, January 21, 1831. His parents were Granville and Ann Lipscomb. He, and his older brother William, attended Franklin College in 1846 under the tutelage of Tolbert Fanning, and he graduated in 1849. After graduating he spent a couple years in Georgia, helping with family business. In 1852 he moved back to Franklin County, Tennessee and helped in the building of the railroad between Nashville and Chattanooga. On July 13, 1862 he married Margaret Zellner. One child was born to this union, Zellner, born in September, 1863. He died at nine months of age from severe dehydration from teething. He is buried in the Hughes Cemetery, off Santa Fe Pike in Maury County, Tennessee. In 1866 David Lipscomb began as co-editor of the Gospel Advocate with Tolbert Fanning. In 1891, with the help of J. A. Harding and others, he founded the Nashville Bible School, now Lipscomb University. The university now sits on the old Lipscomb farm, Avalon, on Granny White Pike, Nashville, Tennessee.
He was a very intelligent man who was soft spoken, but greatly convicted in his beliefs. He, by far, had more influence on the churches of the south through his work in the Gospel Advocate than any other preacher of the gospel during his lifetime. He died November 11, 1917 at the age of 86. Brethren, E.G. Sewell, J.C. McQuiddy, E.A. Elam, and C.A. Moore conducted the funeral at the College Street Church. He was laid to rest in the cemetery at Mt. Olivet. Through his efforts in the Gospel Advocate and Nashville Bible School, it could be said that he was the most influential man in the Restoration Movement in the Southern United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.