Famed evangelist Billy Graham has a “life verse,” his son Franklin Graham has revealed, and to this day, the Bible verse hangs prominently in several rooms in his home.
“Still today, my father Billy Graham has a Bible verse pinned up on the wall in his bedroom, printed in VERY large letters,” Franklin Graham wrote in a recent Facebook post. “In fact, it’s in the dining room, his bathroom, and several other spots around the house! Back before his 95th birthday, he was working on a sermon based on this key Scripture. It was his passion to memorize it, to saturate his heart and mind with it. He made it his life verse.”
The verse, Franklin said, is Galatians 6:14: “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.”
“A great verse for us to live by,” the evangelist said.
The elder Graham, who is nearing his 99th birthday, spends much of his time inside his Montreat, North Carolina, home.
“Some have asked about an update on my father Billy Graham. He’s now approaching his 99th birthday in November, and while he is doing well, he does have the physical challenges that come with his age,” Franklin previously wrote.
His father enjoys visits from family, including his only living sister Jean Graham Ford.
“Grandchildren and great-grandchildren also come by more frequently in these summer months,” Franklin wrote, adding that his father’s pastor Don Wilton visits weekly.
“This has been a tradition of prayer and encouragement for more than 20 years-we are so grateful to Pastor Wilton,” Franklin said.
As he’s done for decades now, Pastor Wilton still rehearses his upcoming sermons while visiting the famed evangelist.
Billy Graham also keeps his “constant companion” with him-a pet cat named “Kitty.”
“She was a gift from all of us children on his 90th birthday and continues to be by his side,” Franklin said.
70 years ago, Billy Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association with the sole mission of “proclaiming the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to all we can by every effective means available and by equipping the church and others to do the same.”
In an earlier interview with The Gospel Herald, Greg Laurie, pastor of California megachurch Harvest Fellowship, called Billy Graham an “authentic follower of Jesus Christ.”
“In person, he’s everything you would’ve hoped he’d be and more,” Laurie recalled. “He’s gracious, he’s kind, he’s interested in other people, he listens, he’s not critical of other people, and he is a very humble man.”
He added, “He always is a joy to be around, and he is a man that I think has a real heart for God. He wanted to please the Lord. That really comes out.”
Laurie, who has known the evangelist for over 25 years, added that spending time with Graham gave him glimpse of what it must have been like to sit at Jesus’ feet thousands of years ago.
“Billy Graham is the most Christlike man I’ve ever met, because being around him reminds me of what it would have been like to be with Jesus,” the pastor said. “There isn’t a mean bone in Billy’s body. If he has a fault – if you could call it a fault – he always believes the best of people. Sometimes people would take advantage of him because of that. He is a very kind man, and I think that’s why God has used him so mightily.”
Despite being the “gold standard of evangelists,” Graham throughout his ministry maintained a humility that reflects his “life verse,” Laurie said.
“It takes a special man to be able to have the opportunity Billy has had and not become proud and arrogant, and even mean,” he said. “It’s been said it takes a steady hand to hold a full cup, and I think Billy has a steady hand.”