70 William Barclay Quotes from the Scottish Author & Theologian

William Barclay was a New Testament scholar and Church of Scotland minister best known for his media broadcasts and the Daily Study Bible series.

Born in Wick Scotland he felt called to preach by age 12.

After studying at Glasgow University and the University of Marburg in Germany he was ordained in the Church of Scotland in 1933.

Barclay’s ministry especially during the Great Depression and World War II fostered his ability to communicate effectively with ordinary people.

William Barclay Quotes- Internet Pillar

He was a Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at Glasgow University and was awarded the Commander of the ‘Most Excellent Order’ of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.

Although Barclay’s theological views were often considered modern and liberal he emphasized the importance of studying the Bible and applying its teachings in everyday life.

Further to his Daily Study Bible series Barclay wrote over 50 books mainly focused on the New Testament.

I have picked the top quotes by William Barclay.

Best William Barclay Quotes


True prayer is asking God what He wants. ~ William Barclay.


The best way to prepare for the coming of Christ is never to forget the presence of Christ. ~ William Barclay.


Jesus is to God as we must be to Jesus. ~ William Barclay.


Religion fails if it cannot speak to men as they are. ~ William Barclay.


Instead of our petulant, fretful, irritable human hastiness we should cultivate in our souls the patience which has learned to wait on God. ~ William Barclay.


There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why. ~ William Barclay.


Loyalty to Christ may produce a cross on earth, but it brings a crown in eternity. ~ William Barclay.


Jesus’ coming is the final and unanswerable proof that God cares. ~ William Barclay.

We have a duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a man on his feet. Blessed is the man who speaks such a word. ~ William Barclay.


If we find ourselves becoming critical of other people we should stop examining them, and start examining ourselves. ~ William Barclay.


But the best definition of it is to say that heaven is that state where we will always be with Jesus, and where nothing will separate us from Him any more. ~ William Barclay.

Top William Barclay Quotes

Prayer is not a way of making use of God; prayer is a way of offering ourselves to God in order that He should be able to make use of us. ~ William Barclay.


Even if we are separated from people, and even if there is no other gift which we can give to them, we can surround them with the strength and the defence of our prayers. ~ William Barclay.

Strict orthodoxy can cost too much if it has to be bought at the price of love. All the orthodoxy in the world will never take the place of love. ~ William Barclay.

Jesus is the yes to every promise of God. ~ William Barclay.


In the time we have it is surely our duty to do all the good we can to all the people we can in all the ways we can. ~ William Barclay.

Jesus promised his disciples three things – that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble. ~ William Barclay.


Not even God can teach a man who comes to the Bible with his mind made up. ~ William Barclay.

There is only one way to bring peace to the heart, joy to the mind, and beauty to the life; it is to accept and do the will of God. ~ William Barclay.

Famous William Barclay Quotes

Pride is the ground in which all the other sins grow, and the parent from which all the other sins come. ~ William Barclay.


If all the other noble qualities of life were placed in the balance against it, loyalty would outweigh them all. ~ William Barclay.

The tragedy of life and of the world is not that men do not know God; the tragedy is that, knowing Him, they still insist on going their own way. ~ William Barclay.

True worship is when the spirit, the immortal and invisible part of man, speaks to and meets with God, who is immortal and invisible. ~ William Barclay.

The simple fact is that the World is too busy to give the Holy Spirit a chance to enter in. ~ William Barclay.

It is fatally easy to think of Christianity as something to be discussed and not as something to be experienced. ~ William Barclay.


God himself took this human flesh upon him. ~ William Barclay.

The only way to get our values right is to see, not the beginning, but the end of the way, to see things not only in the light of time but in the light of Eternity. ~ William Barclay.

Popular William Barclay Quotes


It is characteristic of modern outlook that we want quick results. ~ William Barclay.

Christian freedom does not mean being free to do as we like; it means being free to do as we ought. ~ William Barclay.

Faith in God is the instrument which enables men and women to remove the hills of difficulty which block their path. ~ William Barclay.


Christianity is unquestionably a personal experience. It is also unquestionably not a private experience. ~ William Barclay.

The word grace emphasizes at one and the same time the helpless poverty of man and the limitless kindness of God. ~ William Barclay.

We reverence God and we hallow God’s name when our life is such that it brings honor to God and attracts others to Him. ~ William Barclay.

If we are to accept the teaching of Jesus at all, then the only test of the reality of a man’s religion is his attitude to his fellow men. The only possible proof that a man loves God is the demonstrated fact that he loves his fellow men. ~ William Barclay.

It is more from carelessness about truth than from intentional lying, that there is so much falsehood in the world. ~ William Barclay.

Wise William Barclay Quotes

Whenever religion becomes a depressing affair of burdens and prohibitions, it ceases to be true religion. ~ William Barclay.

The glory of God is not that of a despotic tyrant, but the splendor of love before which we fall not in abject terror but lost in wonder, love and praise. ~ William Barclay.

There is a time when to avoid trouble is to store up trouble, and when to seek for a lazy and a cowardly peace is to court a still greater danger. ~ William Barclay.

There is no joy in the world like the joy of bringing one soul to Christ. ~ William Barclay.

The essential fact of Christianity is that God thought all men worth the sacrifice of his son. ~ William Barclay.

The Christian is called upon to be the partner of God in the work of the conversion of men. ~ William Barclay.

We are chosen for joy. However hard the Christian way, it is both in the traveling and in the goal, the way of joy. ~ William Barclay.

Faith is not only a commitment to the promises of Christ; faith is also a commitment to the demands of Christ. ~ William Barclay.

Great William Barclay Quotes

The awful importance of this life is that it determines eternity. ~ William Barclay.

The people who get the best out of others are those who insist on seeing them at their best. ~ William Barclay.

A saint is someone whose life makes it easier to believe in God. ~ William Barclay.

More people have been brought into the church by the kindness of real Christian love than by all the theological arguments in the world. ~ William Barclay.

Christianity does not think of man finally submitting to the power of God, it thinks of Him as finally surrendering to the love of God. It is not that man’s will is crushed, but that man’s heart is broken. ~ William Barclay.

When we love anyone with our whole hearts, life begins when we are with that person; it is only in their company that we are really and truly alive. ~ William Barclay.

The greatest thing is a life of obedience in the routine things of everyday life. No amount of fine feeling can take the place of faithful doing. ~ William Barclay.

The danger of prosperity is that it encourages a false independence. ~ William Barclay.

A man may well be condemned, not for doing something, but for doing nothing. ~ William Barclay.

God tested Abraham. Temptation is not meant to make us fail; it is meant to confront us with a situation out of which we emerge stronger than we were. Temptation is not the penalty of manhood; it is the glory of manhood. ~ William Barclay.

Thought-Provoking William Barclay Quotes

So often we have a kind of vague, wistful longing that the promises of Jesus should be true. The only way really to enter into them is to believe them with the clutching intensity of a drowning man. ~ William Barclay.

For the Christian, heaven is where Jesus is. We do not need to speculate on what heaven will be like. It is enough to know that we will be for ever with Him. ~ William Barclay.


In the way of Christ the reward of work well done is more work to do. ~ William Barclay.

It is the simple truth to say that the New Testament books became canonical because no one could stop them doing so. ~ William Barclay.

The only victory love can enjoy is the day when its offer of love is answered by the return of love. The only possible final triumph is a universe loved by God and in love with God. ~ William Barclay.

Prayer will never do our work for us; what it will do is to strengthen us for work which must be done. ~ William Barclay.

I thank you for my friends, for those who understand me better than I understand myself. For those who know me at my worst, and still like me. For those who have forgiven me when I had no right to expect to be forgiven. Help me to be as true to my friends as I would wish them to be to me. ~ William Barclay.

Profound William Barclay Quotes

We will often find compensation if we think more of what life has given us and less about what life has taken away. ~ William Barclay.

God does not choose a person for ease and comfort and selfish joy but for a task that will take all that head and heart and hand can bring to it. God chooses a man in order to use him. ~ William Barclay.

To repent means to realize that the kind of life we are living is wrong and that we must adopt a completely new set of values. To that end, it involves two things. It involves sorrow for what we have been and it involves the resolve that by the grace of God we will be changed. ~ William Barclay.

Real repentance means that a man has come, not only to be sorry for the consequences of his sin, but to hate sin itself. ~ William Barclay.

The Christian man must aim at that complete obedience to God in which life finds its highest happiness, its greatest good, its perfect consummation, its peace. ~ William Barclay.

Prayer is not flight, prayer is power. Prayer does not deliver a man from some terrible situation; prayer enables a man to face and to master the situation. ~ William Barclay.

So these were the 70 top William Barclay quotes and sayings.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Henry Alford quotes and Hosea Ballou quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar