Why? Why questions, wise quotations

January 6th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized


Why do bad things happen to good people? Why is there sickness and death? Why doesn’t God answer my prayers? Why . .?

For over twenty years, I’ve been collecting quotations that attempt to address those difficult questions. So here are over three thousands years of wisdom: from King David (circa 1000 BC) to modern-day pastors, priests, philosophers, politicians, poets, and ordinary people from around the world. (See categories of questions and contributors below.)

Browse excerpts

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God’s silence
Unanswered prayer


Keith Ablow Psychiatrist, author and television personality
Douglas Adams English writer, humorist, and dramatist
Charles L. Allen American Methodist pastor
Roger Anderson Author
Aristotle Greek philosopher and scientist
Louis Armstrong American jazz trumpeter, singer
Diane Kerner Arnett Author of Going Home: Facing Life’s Final Moments
Candy Arrington Author of Aftershock: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide
William Arthur
Augustine Early Christian theologian and philosopher
Maltbie D. Babcock American clergyman and author of hymn, “This is My Father’s World”
Dwight Bain National stress management expert
Karen Ball Author and literary agent
Karl Barth Swiss Reformed theologian
Mark Batterson Author and pastor of National Community Church
Alexander Graham Bell Scottish-born scientist, credited with inventing the first practical telephone
Fredric Beuchner American novelist and theologian
Henry Blackaby Evangelical pastor, author of Experiencing God
Dietrich Bonhoeffer German Lutheran pastor, theologian, and key founder of the Confessing Church
Sarah Ban Breathnach American author of Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort
Emily Barnes American author of A Cup of Comfort
Erma Bombeck American humorist and newspaper columnist
Andrew Bonar Free Church of Scotland pastor
Horatius Bonar Scottish churchman and poet
Reihard Bonnke German evangelist known for his work in Africa
Christy Bower American author, Best Friends with God
Dianne Brady American author, Fraternity
Jim Branch American author, Becoming
Kely Braswell Church planter, author of Independent Me
Regina Brett American author, newspaper columnist
Jerry Bridges Christian author, speaker and staff member of The Navigators
Busta Brown Wesleyan pastor and denominational leader
Scott Wesley Brown Singer, songwriter
Kurt Bubna Pastor of Eastpoint Church
Mark Buchanan Author, professor of Pastoral Theology, Ambrose Seminary
Eve Bunting Ireland-born American author of young adult books
John Bunyan English writer and preacher, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress
Mark Canfora Founder of Celebration of Life Festivals, who lost son to suicide
Rosabeth Moss Cantor Professor of business at Harvard Business School
Leslie Caron American film actress and dancer
Oswald Chambers Scottish Baptist and holiness movement proponent, best know for devotional My Utmost for His Highest
Winston Churchill Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II and again from 1951 to 1955
George Chakiris American dancer, singer, and actor
G. K. Chesterton English writer of prose and poetry, Christian apologist
Joan Chittester Benedictine nun, author, speaker
Marcus Tullius Cicero Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer
Mason Cooley Professor of French, speech and world literature at the College of Staten Island
Calvin Coolidge Thirtieth president of the United States
Letti Burd Cowman Author of devotional, Streams in the Desert written under the name Mrs. Charles Cowman
Neva Coyle American author
W. A. Criswell American pastor, author, past president of the Southern Baptist Convention
Larry Crabb American author, psychologist, speaker
Alain de Bottom Swiss-British writer, philosopher, and television personality
Donald Demaray American author, retired professor at Asbury Seminary
Mary DeMuth American author and speaker
Steve DeNeff American author, pastor of College Wesleyan Church
Tammy Darling American author and editor
Frances de Sales Bishop of Geneva, Roman Catholic saint
Charles Dickins English social critic and novelist
Emily Dickinson America poet
Jerry Drummonds Chairman and CEO of Verde Energy Group
Joni Earekson Tada Author, artist, quadriplegic, and advocate for handicapped
Thomas Edison American inventor
V. Raymond Edman American author, president of Wheaton College
Elizabeth Edwards American attorney, author, and health care activist
Jonathon Edwards American preacher, philosopher, and theologian
Ralph Waldo Emerson American author and poet
Patsy Whittenberg Engle Author, professor at George Fox University
William Feather American publisher and author
Margaret Feinberg American author and speaker
Francois de Salignac Fenelon Roman Catholic archbishop, theologian, author
Fran Fernandez Spanish author
Henry Ford American industrialist, founder of Ford Motor Company
St. Francis of Assisi Italian Catholic friar and preacher
Viktor Frankl Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor
Robert Frost American poet
Pres Gillham Author, counselor
Seth Godin American author, entrepreneur, marketing expert
Lee Grady American author, ordained Charismatic minister
Billy Graham American evangelist, author
The Prophet Habakkuk Old Testament prophet
Archibald Hart American author, professor of psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary
Ken Heer American Wesleyan minister and denominational leader
Eric Hoffer American author, philosopher
L. Thomas Holdcroft American author
Oliver Wendell Holmes American author, physician, lecturer
Sichiro Honda Japanese engineer and industrialist, founder of Honda Motor Company
Bob Hostetler American author, pastor
Elbert Hubbard American writer, publisher, artist, philosopher
Selwyn Hughes Welsh Christian minister and author
Victor Hugo French poet, novelist, dramatist
Angela Hunt American novelist
Aldous Huxley English author, philosopher
Michael Hyatt Author, publisher
Ignatius Student of John the Apostle, third bishop of Antioch
The Prophet Isaiah Old Testament prophet
Wes Jackson Founder and current president of The Land Institute
St. James Brother of Jesus Christ, New Testament author
The Prophet Jeremiah Old Testament prophet
Jesus Son of God
St. John of the Cross Spanish mystic, Roman Catholic saint
Barbara Johnson American author, humorist
E. Stanley Jones American pastor, missionary to India
Robert Leighton Minister in Church of Scotland, Bishop of Dunblane
Martin Luther German Catholic priest, professor of theology, and leader in Protestant Reformation
Helen Keller American author, political activist, and lecturer who was deaf and blind
Timothy Keller American author, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church
Thomas à Kempis German priest, author of The Imitation of Christ
Carol Kent American author and speaker
Martin Luther King, Jr. American pastor, author, civil rights leader
Michael Korda English-born writer and novelist, editor-in-chief at Simon & Schuster
T. D. Jakes Author, founding pastor of The Potter’s House
William Jenkyn English clergyman imprisoned for non-conformity
Steve Jobs American entrepreneur, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc
St. John One of Christ’s twelve disciples, biblical author
John Henry Jowett British Protestant minister and author
Joseph Jowett Professor of Civil Law at Cambridge University
Bill Kemp Author pastor, church leadership expert
Peter Kreeft American pastor, author
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Swiss-American psychiatrist, pioneer in near-death studies
Ann Lamott American author and essayist
Brother Lawrence Lay brother in Carmelite monastery in Paris
Robert E. Lee Confederate General during U. S. Civil War
Abraham Lincoln Sixteenth president of the United States, served during Civil War
Jeanette Levellie America author, humorist
C. S. Lewis English author, Christian apologist, professor at Oxford University
Louise L. Looney American author, speaker
Max Lucado American author, pastor of Oak Hills Church
George MacDonald Scottish author and Christian minister
Douglas MacArthur American five-star general during World War II
Alexander Maclaren English non-conformist minister
Norma Jeanne Maloney American author and sign painter
Nelson Mandela Anti-apartheid leader, prisoner, then president of South Africa
Jason Mann Screenwriter, director
Brennan Manning American author, priest, speaker
Catherine Marshall American author of inspirational fiction and nonfiction
Peter Marshall Scots-American pastor of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, chaplain of U. S. Senate
George Matheson Scottish minister and hymn writer
Somerset Maugham British playwright, novelist and short story writer
Stephen McCranie Cartoonist
Joe McKeever Southern Baptist director of missions
Mignon McLaughlin American journalist and author
Herman Meville American novelist, poet, short story writer
Linda Meissner Author, leader in Jesus People Movement
Stephen Merritt Missionary philanthropist
Thomas Merton American Catholic writer and mystic
Michelangelo Italian sculptor, painter, architect, poet
Calvin Miller American pastor, author, professor at Southwestern Seminary
J. R. Miller American author, editorial superintendent of the Presbyterian Board of Publication
Beth Moore American author, Bible teacher
Karen Morerod American author, actor
George Mueller English director of the Ashley Down orphanage, which cared for over 10,024 children
Cec Murphey American author and speaker
Andrew Murray South African author, pastor/teacher
F. B. Myer English Baptist pastor
Watchman Nee Chinese church leader and author
Henri Nouwen Dutch-born Catholic priest, professor and writer
Elizabeth O’Connor American author, teacher, counselor
George Orwell English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic
Chuck Palahnuik American novelist and freelance journalist
St. Paul First century missionary, church planter, New Testament writer
Thomas Paine English and American political activist, philosopher
George P. Pardington American theologian, teacher at Missionary Training Institute
Mark Guy Pearse Cornish Methodist preacher, author
M. Scott Peck American psychiatrist and author
St. Peter One of Christ’s twelve disciples, New Testament writer
Austin Phelps American Congregational minister, author, president of the Andover Theological Seminary
Edward J. Phelps American lawyer and diplomat
Nancy Pickering
John Piper American author, Baptist pastor, chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary
Francois Rabelais French Renaissance writer of fantasy and satire, doctor
Joe Ratliff American pastor of Shepherd of Brentwood
Betty Reese Officer of Pilot International, a volunteer service organization
Ruth E. Renkee
Eddie Rickenbacker American fighter ace in World War I, Medal of Honor recipient
F. W. Robertson English scholar, pastor at Holy Trinity Church
Will Rogers Vaudeville performer, humorist, social commentator
Janet Powers Roller American author, speaker, Miss South Carolina 1997
Franklin D. Roosevelt Thirty-second president of the United States
Theodore Roosevelt Twenty-sixth president of the United States
Samuel Rutherford Scottish Presbyterian pastor, theologian, author
Joseph D. Schneller American author, humorist
Walter Scott Scottish historical novelist, playwright, poet
Rebekah Freeland Shaffer American author, radio personality
George Bernard Shaw Irish playwright, music and literary critic, economist
Anna Shipton English author of essays and hymns
A. B. Simpson Canadian theologian, author, founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance
B. F. Skinner American psychologist, author, professor of psychology at Harvard University
Alexander Smellie English minister, writer
M. Blaine Smith American author, musician
Malcom Smith English minister, author
Alexander Solzhenitsyn Russian novelist, historian, critic of Soviet totalitarianism
Faith Watkins Spaulding American social worker
Becky Spencer American author, singer/songwriter
Charles Spurgeon British Particular Baptist, known as the “Prince of Preachers”.
Charles Stanley American Southern Baptists pastor, author
Michelle Steele American pastor, author
Robert Louis Stevenson Scottish novelist, poet, essayist
Harriet Beecher Stowe American abolitionist, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Charles Swindoll American pastor, Bible teacher, author
Noni Joy Tari
Hudson Taylor British Protestant missionary to China, founder of the China Inland Mission
Ira Taylor
Corrie ten Boom Dutch Christian who helped hide Jews during WWII, sentenced to Ravensbruck, became author and speaker
Mother Teresa Roman Catholic Religious Sister, missionary to India, Noble Peace Prize winner
Margaret Thatcher Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
J. R. R. Toilken English writer, poet, professor at Oxford
Cheryle Touchton American author, speaker
Leo Tolstoy Russian novelist, short story writer, philosopher, playwright
A. W. Tozer American pastor, author, magazine editor
Matthew Trexler American pastor of The River Church
Elton Trueblood American Quaker author and theologian, chaplain both to Harvard and Stanford universities
Henry Clay Trumbull American pastor, author, pioneer of Sunday school movement
Phil Vischer Creator of children’s videos, VeggieTales
C. H. Von Bogatzky German hymn writer
Marilyn vos Savant American magazine columnist, author, playwright
John Wagner Entertainer, encourager
Terry Wall
Terry Walling Christian leadership coach
Kay Warren American author, speaker, co-founder of Saddleback Church
Rick Warren American pastor, author, co-founder of Saddleback Church
James N. Watkins America author, speaker
Dennis Watson
G. D. Watson American Wesleyan Methodist minister/evangelist, author
John Wesley English Anglican minister/theologian, who helped found the Methodist Church and holiness movement
Charles West
Tammy Whitehurst American author, speaker
Warren Wiersbe American pastor, Bible teacher, speaker
Oscar Wilde Irish writer, poet, playwright
David Wilkerson Founding pastor of Times Square Church, best known for work with drug addicts and gang members
Dallas Willard American philosopher, author on Christian spiritual formation
Leslie Williams American author
Marvin Williams American pastor, author
Wilbur Williams Professor of Old Testament at Indiana Wesleyan University
Aron Willis Pastor, executive in Wesleyan denomination
Pete Wilson American author, founding pastor of Cross Point Church
Barbara Winter American author
Mike Yacconelli American author, co-founder of Youth Specialties
Philip Yancey American author
Sarah Young American missionary, author of Jesus Calling
William Paul Young American author of The Shack
The Prophet Zephaniah Old Testament prophet
Zig Ziglar Author, motivational speaker
Kyle Zimmerman American pastor


Order Why? Wise Quotations for Why Questions today. And order extra copies for friends and family.


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