There But For The Grace of God Go I – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Did someone just tell you, ‘there but for the grace of God Go I?’ What does this proverb mean? This post unpacks everything you need to know about the meaning and origin of this expression.

Meaning

The proverbial expression ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ means that you place your life and fortune in God’s hands. It’s a way of saying you rely on God’s guidance and mercy to lead you through life and protect you.

It also means that you follow a Christian religion and embrace the faith completely. If you say ‘there but for the grace of God go I’, you’re telling someone you place your faith in God and His plan for your life.

Example Usage

“Things can go wrong or right in life, and you never know what’s coming around the corner. There but for the grace of God go I, and I’ll go where his love takes me.”

“I don’t ever doubt my faith in the Lord. There but for the grace of God go I, and I go where he takes me, not where I want to go.”

“There but for the grace of God go I. I’m confident that the higher power has good intentions for my life. Trust in the Lord, and he shall provide.”

Origin

The expression ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ originates from the English preacher John Bradford  (1510–1555). His original version is different from the current use of the phrase.

“There but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford”

John Bradford was tried as a heretic and burned at the stake in 1555. The Parker Society published a 1,000-page collection of his writings in 1848.

However, the current version of the phrase only appeared in print hundreds of years after Bradford’s death. Edward Bickersteth wrote ‘A treatise on prayer’ in 1822, with the author using the phrase to reference Bradford’s writings and life story.

Phrases Similar to There but for the Grace of God Go I

  • Inshallah.
  • Gods will.

Phrases Opposite to There but for the Grace of God Go I

  • Atheism.
  • I don’t believe in god.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • There but for the grace of God go I.

Ways People May Say There but for the Grace of God Go I Incorrectly

‘There but for the grace of God go I’ is an expression stating that your life is in God’s hands, and you accept any outcome he delivers. It’s not a way of expressing atheism or a lack of belief in a higher power.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase There but for the Grace of God Go I

You can use the proverb ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ in situations where you want to express that your life is in the hands of a higher power. It’s a way of saying that God controls your destiny, and what happens in life is his will, regardless of the outcome.

It’s a similar saying to the Arabic word ‘inshallah,’ which means ‘God’s will.’ You can use the phrase in social situations where you want to say you’re comfortable with whatever happens to you in your life. ‘There but for the grace of God go I’ is an expression describing your attitude to life and how you take everything as it comes, regardless of whether it’s good or bad news.

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