Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
—1 Timothy 4:12
It has been five years since Billy Graham, in his words, changed his address—from an earthly one to a heavenly one. During his 99 years here, he lived an extraordinary life. He befriended royals and presidents, traveled the globe, and shared the hope of Jesus Christ with nearly 215 million people.
Mr. Graham and his wife Ruth had five children and many grandchildren. That might be one reason the evangelist was so passionate about helping young people find hope, meaning, fulfillment, and adventure through Christ.
Here are 10 things he said in his lifetime that can speak to young men and women in 2023 and beyond.
“Our young people are no longer being taught what is right and wrong. And they are floundering. They don’t know which way to turn.”
“I have found that most young people really want us to spell out a moral code. They may not accept it or believe it, but they want to hear it, clearly and without compromise.”
“I don’t believe that young people today can live clean, pure lives without the help of God. The peer pressure is too great, and the temptations of what they see in the movies and on television and on the newsstands is too much. Only Christ can protect them. Only Christ can give them the power to say no.”
“No subject is closer to my heart than the family. Sometimes I feel that my heart will break when I see the results of divorce, infidelity, and rebellion. The moral foundation of our country is in danger of crumbling as families break up and parents neglect their responsibilities.”
“There is a great identity crisis among students today. Who am I? What is the purpose of life? Where did I come from? Where am I going? The Bible has a direct answer to this great big philosophical question.”
“I believe that young people need to be told the truth. … The truth is that you have inherited a deadly disease, and it’s gonna kill you. That disease is called sin. … There’s only one possible cure, one total cure. That’s why Jesus Christ came down to this earth. He came and shed His own blood, that a cure might be provided by God for you.”
“The Bible says that there is pleasure in sin (Hebrews 11:25). You can go out and drink and take drugs and have sex and all the rest of it—and have a lot of pleasure at it—but the Bible says it is only for a season. Then it is over. It leaves you bitter and finally destroys you. A day of reckoning always comes.”
“I find that young people all over the world want … something to really believe in. Something that’s intellectually logical and something that will satisfy their hearts and give them an experience … a spiritual experience. I want to tell you if you come to Jesus Christ you’ve found it.”
“Discover the Bible for yourself.”
“‘What shall I do then with Jesus who is called the Christ?’ (Matthew 27:22) This is the most important question that has ever been asked. It is also the question you must ask yourself.“