In Loving Honor: 12 Quotes on Evangelism from Billy Graham

This morning the world woke to the news that Billy Graham, arguably the most recognized evangelist in history, has passed into glory.

Born November 7, 1918, and born again at age 16 at a revival meeting, Graham became a household name for his evangelistic crusades. It’s safe to assume that most Christians in America personally know someone who was saved at a Billy Graham crusade.  

By the Lord’s grace, Graham had a formidable influence on the world for Christianity. These facts and statistics, gleaned from his Wikipedia page, give only part of the picture:

  • Graham preached to live audiences nearing 215 million people in over 185 countries and territories.
  • An estimated 3.2 million people accepted Christ as their savior at Graham’s crusades.
  • Graham met personally with every sitting president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama, and had close friendships with some of them.
  • With the help of John Stott, Graham founded the Lausanne Movement, a gathering of around 2,700 individuals from 150 countries focused on global Christianity and evangelism. By Graham’s invitation, Stott was the chief architect of the Lausanne Covenant, an influential manifesto for worldwide evangelism.
  • As of 2008, his lifetime audience, including radio and television broadcasts, was estimated to exceed 2.2 billion people.

As Barry Horstman sums it up, “He has preached the gospel to more people in person than anyone in history.”

Let us honor Graham by reflecting on twelve quotes illustrating his passion for evangelism and tenderness for the lost.

12 quotes on evangelism:

  1. “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love.”
  2. “Evangelists cannot be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle in order to preach to all people, right and left. I haven’t been faithful to my own advice in the past. I will be in the future.”
  3. “When we come to the end of ourselves, we come to the beginning of God.”
  4. “The cross shows us the seriousness of our sin—but it also shows us the immeasurable love of God.”
  5. “I’ve become an old man now. And I’ve preached all over the world. And the older I get, the more I cling to that hope that I started with many years ago, and proclaimed it in many languages to many parts of the world.”
  6. “Sin is the second most powerful force in the universe, for it sent Jesus to the cross. Only one force is greater—the love of God.”
  7. “We are the Bibles the world is reading; we are the creeds the world is needing; we are the sermons the world is heeding.”
  8. “I am not going to Heaven because I have preached to great crowds or read the Bible many times. I’m going to Heaven just like the thief on the cross who said in that last moment: ‘Lord, remember me.’”
  9. “The Bible says today is the accepted time, today is the day of salvation… But there will come a time when it will be too late for you.”
  10. “Spend more time in study and prayer. That’s the secret of successful evangelism.”
  11. “Whenever I counsel someone who feels called to be an evangelist, I always urge them to guard their time and not feel like they have to do everything.”
  12. “You’re born. You suffer. You die. Fortunately, there’s a loophole.”

Billy Graham follows his wife, Ruth Bell Graham (1920–2007), and is survived by his five children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Written by
Matthew Boffey

Matthew Boffey (MDiv, Trinity International University) is the pastor of worship at Christ Church Bellingham. He is also editor-in-chief of Ministry Team magazine, has edited several books, and has written for several blogs and publications, including Relevant online, the Logos blog, and the Faithlife blog.

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  • His works in the vine will go on longer than 100yrs. until we meet in the Lord’s house searching for him and saying thanks to him for those who took the message.

  • Reverend Billy Graham has gone home to be with the Lord. He is in my mind one of the greatest evangelist the Christian and secular worlds has known or seen in his evangelistic crusades. Millions of souls came to Christ Jesus to be saved through his ministry.
    Rest In Peace my fellow yokeman. – Rev. Lynwood F. Mundy

  • One of the most faithful representatives of the Christian faith. He will be sadly missed after a life of 99 years and deeply appreciated after over 60 years of service as an evangelist.
    His “Billy Graham rule” ( is especially interesting in today’s world of accusations and revelations.
    I remember this man with affection and respect, and pray comfort for his family and friends.

  • Not only a faithful preacher but a faithful Christian. Well done, thou good and faithful servant. You’ve already heard those words from the One Who really matters.

  • Folks,

    Billy Graham Lives not by his works, (even though those works are very great), he, Billy Graham lives by the Love, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, as we all do. I believe Billy Grahams work has just begun and that our Lord knows Billy very, very well. Billy Graham, as a farmer of people for Christ has planted millions of seeds and watered each one with a kiss of truth, faith, love and our Lord through His Holy Spirit gave those seeds life and growth into eternal life with Him! What a harvest one man has brought before our Lord… Truly Amazing! We are forever Blessed by this work of love!! Thank You Billy, I am better in this world today because of you and my Lord Jesus Christ… With love, we will surely miss you until we come together again in Christ Jesus, forever!

  • Thank you, Billy, for being faithful. Thank you for the message of Jesus. Thank you for reminding us all what the Bible says…and thank you for showing me, that I too, can share the gospel with others. Thank you, Jesus, for Billy Graham. I pray for Franklin, and the rest of his family at this great time of loss…yet, we don’t grieve as others who have no hope…”

    Love always, Daniel “Taxicab Minister” Clewley

  • One of the best books I have every read on Billy Graham was written by David Aikman. It is well worth the read. The Book is: “Billy Graham, His Life and Influence” by Thomas Nelson publishers.

  • I loved Billy Graham and he would be my hero, although he would not want to be my hero. I know he would just want to point me to Jesus, who truly is my hero. Billy loved and served Jesus humbly and faithfully and God powerfully anointed him to speak to the hearts and minds of so many men and women and bring them back to Himself. He reached all ages, races and walks of life. May Billy Graham’s legacy live on, indeed may his mantle fall on other preachers to rise up with that same anointing in this needy hour. He also believed firmly in prayer and his crusades were solidly girded in prayer before, during and afterwards. So let us come and join together in prayer to the Father for this generation.

Written by Matthew Boffey