A prominent Scottish Protestant minister and teacher, Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) is best remembered for his widely-read devotional My Utmost for His Highest. He was born on July 24, 1874, to devout Baptist parents, and accepted Christ in his teen years. Though he developed quickly in his faith, he did not intend to enter the ministry.
Instead, he attended Kensington Art School and studied archaeology and fine art at the University of Edinburgh. However, while there he felt called to the ministry, and transferred to Dunoon College. An unusually gifted student, he soon began teaching classes. He also started a local society devoted to his favorite poet, Robert Browning.
During this time, Chambers experienced dissatisfaction with Christianity, finding the Bible uninspiring and dull. After four long years of spiritual dryness, he realized that he could not force himself to be holy. Once he understood that the peace and strength he was seeking was Christ's life in exchange for his sin, he experienced great renewal.
Chambers travelled the world, stopping in Egypt, Japan, and America. On one of his trips to America, he met Gertrude Hobbs, who he affectionately nick-named "Biddy". They were married in 1910. Three years later, on May 24, 1913, Gertrude gave birth to their only daughter, Kathleen.
In 1911, Chambers founded the Bible Training College in Clapham in London, becoming principal of the school. Feeling called to the war effort in 1915, he applied and was accepted as a YMCA chaplain. Suspending the Bible Training College's operations for the duration of World War I, he was assigned to Zeitoun in Egypt, where he ministered to Australian and New Zealand troops who were later part of the disastrous Battle of Gallipoli.
Chambers died on November 15, 1917, as the result of a ruptured appendix. He suffered the extreme pain of appendicitis for three days before seeking medical attention, refusing to take a hospital bed needed by wounded soldiers. His wife spent the remaining 30 years of her life compiling his records to form the bulk of his published manuscripts.