At nearly 100 years old, evangelist Billy Graham is still keeping his focus on the basics, such as the importance of scripture memorization and keeping God’s Word in his heart.
Of all the portions of the Bible that he has studied and taught for most of his life, there is one verse in particular that stands out to Graham. In fact, it has made such an impression on him that he has not only displayed it in his home near Asheville, North Carolina. According to Frankin Graham, son of the evangelist, Galatians 6:14 is the elder Graham’s life verse.
“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
Galatians in Every Room
For so many years, Graham has been known for his humility and clear desire to keep the focus on Christ, not on himself. So, it is not surprising that Graham would select that particular verse.
“Still today, my father Billy Graham has a Bible verse pinned up on the wall in his bedroom, printed in VERY large letters,” Graham’s son Franklin explained. “In fact, it’s in the dining room, his bathroom, and several other spots around the house! It was his passion to memorize it, to saturate his heart and mind with it. He made it his life verse.”
Franklin went on to add the piece from Galatians was the one verse his father based an entire sermon on several years ago. “Back before his 95th birthday, he was working on a sermon based on this key Scripture,” he said.
A Special Verse for Many
Galatians 6:14 is much more than just a favorite verse for one of the most well-known evangelists in history. Franklin invites many more people to join his father by making Galatians 6:14 their life verse too. As he says, it is a wonderful verse for everyone to follow closely in their lives. But what exactly does it mean?
The verse says that Christians should not boast about anything they are or do, but only in who Christ is and what He has done. Rather than having a religious mindset based on self-righteousness, Christians are to have a mindset whose foundation is God’s righteousness. The focus should always be on Christ, not on the self.
Galatians 6:14 dovetails well with Philippians 3:3-11:
“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
A Well-Known Hymn Reference
A much-loved hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” by Isaac Watts, also alludes to Galatians 6:14, as it says:
“Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ my God!”
Watts wrote the hymn all the way back in 1707, so Galatians 6:14 has inspired musicians, ministers and everyday worshippers for several centuries. With Graham’s father and son encouraging people to take it up as their life verse, it will continue to have a great deal of influence.
Billy Graham’s 99th birthday is November 8. Although he has had a variety of health problems over the year, he is doing well, all things considered. It is amazing that he has been blessed with such a long and influential life. His beloved wife, Ruth, passed away in 2007.
Graham, a prominent figure not just in Christanity but also in modern world history, is still inspiring and leading many in their faith. He will undoubtedly continue to do so for the rest of his earthly life and beyond.
~ 1776 Christian