Clinton D. Morrison was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1924. In 1948 he graduated from McCormick Theological Seminary with a B.D. degree and was awarded the Seminary's Blackstone Fellowship in New Testament for two years of advanced study. In 1948 also he was ordained to the Presbyterian ministry. From 1949-51 he studied in the University of Basel under the direction of Professor Oscar Cullman and in 1956 was designated Doctor of Theology by that university. McCormick Theological Seminary appointed him Instructor in New Testament in 1951, Assistant Professor in 1956, and Associate Professor in 1959.