Nobel Peace Laureate Thomas Woodrow Wilson on the Bible

Author/Compiler: Tihomir Dimitrov (; also see

Nobel Prize: The twenty-eighth President of the United States, Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924) received the 1919 Nobel Prize “for his sincere attempts at peace negotiations” and for his contribution to the peace at the end of the First World War. Wilson is the founder of the League of Nations.

Nationality: American

Education: Ph.D. in politics and history, Johns Hopkins University, 1886; he remains the only American President to have earned a Ph.D. degree

Occupation: U.S. President (1913-21); Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Economy at Princeton University; Professor at Bryn Mawr College, PA, and Wesleyan University, CT


1. “From the laws of the Old and New Testaments every civilized nation has taken the foundation of its laws. At no time can any nation be prosperous whose laws are not founded upon these eternal principles of right and wrong, of justice and injustice, of civil and religious liberty.

Above all, in these pages may be found the most perfect rule of life the mind can conceive. Dimly through the Old, and brilliantly through the New Testament, shines the principle of love to God as the foundation and cause of men’s duties to God, to each other, and to their own souls. One who forms his every-day life after the perfect model of Christ’s life will himself be a model which no man can afford to despise, besides thereby gaining for himself an assurance of everlasting life.” (Woodrow Wilson, The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, 1966, Vol. 1, p. 185, Arthur S. Link - editor, Princeton University Press).

2. “Our civilization cannot survive materially unless it is redeemed spiritually. It can be saved only by becoming permeated with the Spirit of Christ and being made free and happy by the practices which spring out of that Spirit. Only thus can discontent be driven out and all the shadows lifted from the road ahead.” (Wilson, as cited in Collins 1988).

3. “When you have read the Bible, you will know that it is the Word of God, because you will have found it the key to your own heart, your own happiness, and your own duty.” (Wilson, as cited in Huling 2000).

4. “The radical error among modern Christians is neglect of the Word of God. We are too apt to seek for religious information and instruction from other sources. Christian people are too much in the habit of seeking for instruction or improvement from lesser streams of knowledge, in preference to going to the eternal fountain head which is ever at hand. This is a great mistake. Though a man read this precious volume continuously for a life time he cannot exhaust one-half of its treasures.” (Woodrow Wilson, The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, 1966, Vol. 1, p. 185, Arthur S. Link - editor).

5. “The Bible is the one supreme source of revelation of the meaning of life, the nature of God and spiritual nature and need of men. It is the only guide of life which really leads the spirit in the way of peace and salvation.” (Wilson, as cited in Ankerberg and Weldon 1997).

6. “We are so slow to comprehend, that happiness lies, not in anything that you can get out of thinking about yourself, but always in being glad about others and living outside yourself in the free atmosphere of God’s big World.

In God’s gracious arrangement of things I have little time or chance to think about myself.” (Woodrow Wilson, The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, 1977, Vol. 31, p. 4, Arthur S. Link - editor).

7. “There is no middle course, no neutrality. Each and every one must enlist either with the followers of Christ or those of Satan.” (Woodrow Wilson, The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, 1966, Vol. 1, p. 181, Arthur S. Link - editor).

8. “I am sorry for the men who do not read the Bible every day. I wonder why they deprive themselves of the strength and of the pleasure.” (Wilson, as cited in Huling 2000).

9. “The Bible is not something to turn aside to; the Bible is not something to which to resort for religious instruction and comfort; the Bible is not something to associate merely with churches and sermons.

It stands right in the center, in the market place, of our life, and there bubbles with the water of life. It is, itself, the fountain; it is, itself, the inexhaustible fountain. Only those who have learned from it, and only those who have drunk of those waters, can be refreshed for the longer journey.” (Woodrow Wilson, The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, 1977, Vol. 23, p. 499, Arthur S. Link - editor).

10. “The Bible is so commonly known and so universally spread through this Christian country that few people appreciate the treasure they see every day in their libraries. Let anyone turn over its pages carefully and scan its contents with a critical eye. It is a treasury of poetry, history, philosophy, laws and morals which will never be equalled.” (Woodrow Wilson, The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, 1966, Vol. 1, p. 184, Arthur S. Link - editor).

11. “As a history the Bible is one of the most valuable of ancient records, though it gives and professes to give, little information as to the history of the period. Into these sacred pages the historian can dip without fear of finding anything but truth.

As a philosophical work this wonderful book is unsurpassed. In its teeming pages is developed a system of mental and moral philosophy than which none has ever been more simple and yet more profound, more plain, or more logical. No philosopher ancient or modern has ever been able to conceive of motives more powerful than are here set forth. Here is found the key to every man’s character, for which philosophers have so long and so vainly sought.” (Woodrow Wilson, The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, 1966, Vol. 1, p. 185, Arthur S. Link - editor; see also the Wilmington North Carolina Presbyterian, Aug. 30, 1876).

12. Sigmund Freud and William C. Bullitt described Woodrow Wilson’s religious convictions in their psychological-biographical study Thomas Woodrow Wilson: 28th President of the United States:

“He never doubted the exact and literal truth of Presbyterianism. All his life he prayed on his knees morning and evening. Every day he read the Bible. He believed absolutely in the immortality of the soul and the efficacy of prayer.

‘I do not see how anyone can sustain himself in any enterprise in life without prayer,’ he once wrote. ‘It is the only spring at which he can renew his spirit and purify his motive. God is the source of strength to every man and only by prayer can he keep himself close to the Father of his spirit.’ In crises he felt himself ‘guided by an intelligent Power outside himself’.” (Freud and Bullitt 1967, 7-8).