Ruth Bell Graham and the Word of God

June 11, 2024

Categories: Ruth Bell Graham

Ruth Bell Graham grew up knowing the Bible. She grew up in rural China, the child of medical missionaries, and her parents ensured she knew of God’s great love.

Young Ruth Bell Graham

As a young teen, the political situation was changing in China, and Ruth was sent to boarding school in what is now Pyongyang, North Korea. Desperately homesick, she cried herself to sleep for weeks. In her book, It’s My Turn, she recounts:

“Sick in the infirmary for a few days during this period, I propped myself on my pillows and spent an entire day reading the Psalms—all 150 of them. The tiny corner room in that small infirmary building remains a warm glow in my memory because of the strengthening from those timeless, timely passages.”

During one of her lowest moments at that time, Ruth sought peace and comfort from the Bible. Years later, she still thought of that time as her “spiritual boot camp,” preparing her for her future.

Ruth Bell Graham carrying her Bible in 1950

Throughout her life, it was important to Ruth Graham that others know the Bible. Once, she even gifted her own well-used Bible she had used in high school to a friend. In it, she inscribed: “For lack of anything better, I give you that which I treasure most.”

Ruth Bell Graham’s well-loved high school Bible she once gifted to a friend

Later, as a mother to five children, Ruth Graham certainly continued in her parents’ footsteps as she shared Christ’s redeeming love with her own young family. In her son Franklin Graham’s book, Rebel With a Cause, he recalls:

“My parents also encouraged us to memorize Scripture verses. One of the ways they did this was on Sunday after church and lunch, before we could go out and play, we had to memorize a verse and recite it to Mama, almost word perfect. She did make a few exceptions. When we complained that the verses were too difficult, she let us pick our own. She didn’t care as long as it was the Word of God. This got us reading the Bible to find short verses—such as “Jesus wept.” It didn’t bother Mama. Mama and Daddy believed that the time would come when their children would need the strength of God that comes through His Word. They knew that one day we would be out on our own; yet God would always be with us. And they were right.”

Nelson Bible Award presented to Ruth Bell Graham in 1975

In 1975, Thomas Nelson, a Christian book publisher, recognized Ruth Graham for her love of the Word. The certificate proclaims: “Presented to Ruth Bell Graham, who, like the great women of the Bible, has exerted a profound influence in acquainting others with the life-changing power of the Word of God.”

Ruth Graham studied the Bible throughout her life, making it a part of her daily existence. Its passages brought her strength, comfort, and encouragement as she lived her life according to God’s will.

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