Quotes by Billy Graham

Media Note: Video of quotes marked with an asterisk (*) is available here.


Billy Graham...

...on death

...on who God is

...on accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior

...on his legacy

...on race relations

...on suffering and tragedy

...on preaching 

...on his wife, Ruth Bell Graham

...on death

"Do I fear death?...No. I look forward to death, with great anticipation. I am looking forward to seeing God face to face. And that could happen any day." (Newsweek, July 4, 2005)

"There were a few times when I thought I was dying...I didn't say to the Lord, ‘I'm a preacher, and I've preached to many people.' I said, ‘Oh Lord, I'm a sinner, and I still need your forgiveness. I still need the cross.' And I asked the Lord to give me peace in my heart and he did—a wonderful peace that hasn't left me." (Cincinnati Crusade, June 27, 2002)

"Well, I'm going to heaven, not on my good works or because I've preached to all these people or read the Bible. I'm going to heaven because of what Christ did on the cross." (PBS interview with David Frost, 1993)

"I think heaven is going to be a place beyond anything we can imagine or anyone in Hollywood or on Broadway can imagine. There is a passage in Revelation that says we will serve God in heaven. We're not going to have somebody fan us or sit around on a beach somewhere." (Time, 1993)



...On who God is

"You can't put God in a test tube. You can't put him on a computer screen. But that doesn't mean he isn't real. God is love, forever and ever and ever." (Oklahoma City Crusade, 2003)

"I'm most grateful that God has revealed himself to us and that he's not sitting way out there in darkness, but he's with us and can come into our hearts and lives, and make a big difference." (Interview with Oprah Winfrey, 1997)

"The human heart is the same the world over. Only Christ can meet the deepest needs of our world and our hearts. Christ alone can bring lasting peace—peace with God, peace among men and nations, and peace within our hearts. He transcends the political and social boundaries of our world." (Billy Graham: Footprints of Conscience, World Wide Publications, 1991)



...On accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior

"I didn't have any tears, I didn't have any emotion, I didn't hear any thunder, there was no lightning. But right there, I made my decision for Christ. It was as simple as that, and as conclusive." (Time, 1993)
Note: Billy Graham accepted Christ as his personal Savior at the age of 16

"People have all kinds of ideas about truth. Whatever your view is, you would be wise to consider what Jesus Christ taught about truth. He taught not only that there is truth, but that he is the Truth." (Decision magazine, March 2004)

"All over the world I have been privileged to see people respond in faith to the simple yet profound message of God's love in Jesus Christ. They have come from every conceivable social, racial, political and ideological background, for Christ transcends the boundaries that divide us. And in Christ, they have found the answer to their deepest spiritual longings...[Christ] brings hope in the midst of despair, joy in the midst of sorrow, forgiveness in the midst of guilt and peace in the midst of turmoil." (The Courage of Conviction, Ballantine Publishers, 1986)



...On his legacy

"My legacy, I think, will just be as the Apostle Paul said, in the hearts of the people. I don't think it will be some building or some organization or some place where my name is prominent. I think it's going to be the hearts of people whose lives have been touched or changed as a result of the Gospel that we were able to proclaim." (Charlotte Observer, 1992)

"God will raise up different ones [evangelists] who will do it far better..." (Time, 1993)



...On race relations

"We and our fathers have made the situation what it is. In the midst of this tangled web, it is more than ever our responsibility to weave a pattern of justice—and more than justice: the principle of the Golden Rule, the spirit of neighbor-love, and the experience of redemptive love and forgiveness." (Life magazine, 1956)

"The most segregated hour of the week in America is the eleven o'clock Sunday morning Christian church service. It is natural for churches to organize and function along ethnic and nationalistic lines....The sin comes when a church becomes exclusive and certain groups are refused admission or fellowship in worship because of race or color." (Reader's Digest, August 1960)

"I reject any creed based on hate...Jesus was a man. He was human. He was not a white man; he was not a black man. He came from that part of the world that touches Africa and Asia and Europe...Christianity is not a white man's religion, and don't let anybody ever tell you that it's white or black. Christ belongs to all people. He belongs to the whole world!" (Johannesburg Crusade, 1973. Graham declined 20 years of invitations to speak in South Africa, waiting instead until the he was assured the event would be integrated.)

"Racial prejudice and injustice is fundamentally a moral and spiritual issue. God has created every person in his image, and his love is extended equally to people of every race." (Cincinnati Enquirer, 2002)



...On Suffering and Tragedy

"I have been asked hundreds of times in my life why God allows tragedy and suffering. I have to confess that I really do not know the answer totally, even to my own satisfaction. I have to accept, by faith, that God is sovereign, and He's a God of love and mercy and compassion in the midst of suffering." (National memorial service, National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., Sept. 14, 2001) 

"...Yes, our nation has been attacked, buildings destroyed, lives lost. But now we have a choice: whether to implode and disintegrate emotionally and spiritually as a people and a nation—or, whether we choose to become stronger through all of this struggle—to rebuild on a solid foundation. And I believe that we are in the process of starting to rebuild on that foundation. That foundation is our trust in God....My prayer today is that we will feel the loving arms of God wrapped around us and will know in our hearts that He will never forsake us as we trust in Him." (National memorial service, National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., Sept. 14, 2001)

"Someone asked me recently if I didn't think God was unfair, allowing me to have medical problems when I have tried to serve him faithfully. I replied that I did not see it that way at all. Suffering is part of the human condition, and it comes to us all. The key is how we react to it, either turning away from God in anger and bitterness or growing closer to him in trust and confidence." (Just As I Am, updated and expanded edition, Harper Collins 2007)



...On preaching

"When I start up the platform, I'm scared because it is a huge responsibility to tell people about eternal things that come from the Bible...many times I've gone up there and wished the floor would open up and let me fall through." (Interview with John F. Kennedy Jr., George magazine, 1996)

"God called me to preach, and I will never do anything else as long as I live. I believe I have a calling from God and a command from Christ to go to the whole world—not just the capitalistic world, but to the whole world—and proclaim the Gospel of Christ, and that's what I'm doing and that's what I intend to continue to do as long as God gives me strength." (CBS Television interview, 1987)

"I am convinced, through my travels and experiences, that people all over the world are hungry to hear the Word of God. As the people came to a desert place to hear John the Baptist proclaim, ‘Thus saith the Lord,' so modern man in his confusions, frustrations and bewilderment will come to hear the minister who preaches with authority." (Just As I Am, Harper Collins, 1997)



...On his wife, Ruth Bell Graham

"Ruth was my life partner, and we were called by God as a team. No one else could have borne the load that she carried. She was a vital and integral part of our ministry, and my work through the years would have been impossible without her encouragement and support." (Statement upon Ruth's death, June 14, 2007)



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