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Words of Wisdom from George Whitefield

How can George Whitefield encourage Christians today?

by Andy Davis on April 26, 2022

Christians today can learn from church history figures like George Whitefield.
"And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead." - Hebrews 11:4


It is wonderful for us to know what a rich heritage is ours in Christ! What a royal family we belong to! What greatness worked by the sanctifying hand of grace! To read the accounts of the martyrs who suffered during the era of the Roman Empire is to have courage and boldness poured into our souls by the Spirit. To read the careful theology of John Calvin and Jonathan Edwards is to have our minds shaped by the Spirit and by the word as these eminent teachers perceived it. To read the biographies of great missionaries, men and women, who risked everything that the distant nations might know and worship the Savior is to be enflamed with the hot zeal that burned in their hearts for the glory of God.

Few servants of the Lord have been so completely dedicated to the salvation of the lost as was George Whitefield. He lived a brief life of merely fifty-five years (1714-1770), and his preaching helped bring about the First Great Awakening. He was a traveling evangelist, Calvinist in theology, utterly sold-out for the glory of God. He was deeply humble, sometimes throwing himself fully on the ground spread-out before the Lord begging, “O God use me! Use me!!” He was passionate and somewhat dramatic in his preaching, and it is estimated that over ten million people heard him preach in the course of his life! He believed in the absolute sovereignty of God over salvation and coupled that with a stunning zeal to preach the gospel to lost people and plead with them to be saved. He saw no contradiction between these since there is none.

"It is better to be a saint than a scholar; indeed, the only way to be a true scholar is to be striving to be a true saint." - George Whitefield

What follows are a few of his choicest statements. May God use them to convict you for personal holiness and personal evangelism:

  • It is better to be a saint than a scholar; indeed, the only way to be a true scholar is to be striving to be a true saint.
  • The bank of heaven is a sure bank. I have drawn thousands of bills upon it, and never had one sent back protested.
  • There is not a thing on the face of the earth that I abhor so much as idleness or idle people.
  • I am burning with a fever, and have a violent cold; but Christ’s presence makes me smile at pain; and the fire of his love burns up all fevers whatsoever.
  • We must be made perfect by sufferings. If we do not meet them in our younger days, we shall certainly have them in the decline of life.
  • God has condescended to become an author, and yet people will not read his writings. There are very few that ever gave this Book of God, the grand charter of salvation, one fair reading through.
  • Suffering times are a Christian’s best-improving times.
  • God forbid that I should travel with anybody a quarter of an hour without speaking of Christ to them.
  • May God put me into one furnace after another, that my soul may be transparent; that I may see God as he is.
  • Young Christians are like little rivulets that make a large noise, and have shallow water; old Christians are like deep water that makes little noise, carries a good load, and gives not way.
  • I have put my soul, as a blank, into the hands of Jesus Christ my Redeemer, and desired him to write upon it what he pleases. I know it will be his own image.
  • I hope to grow rich in heaven by taking care of orphans on earth.
  • It is very easy talking what we can bear, and what we can do, but let God lay his hand on us, and we shall see what we are.
  • When I die the only epitaph that I desire to be engraved upon my tombstone is “Here lies George Whitefield; what sort of man he was the great day will discover.”


To learn more about George Whitefield, check out this class on Whitefield by Andy Davis.

Tags: church history, running the race