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Dwight L. Moody Biography

Dwight L. Moody Biography
Portrait of the inspirational preacher and evangelist, D L Moody

Portrait of the inspirational preacher and evangelist, D L Moody

Dwight Lyman Moody went from humble, uneducated beginnings to being mightily used by God. He proves that God can truly use anybody from anywhere; you do not need to be a Bible scholar to be successful in the Lord.

D.L. Moody: A Man used of God

D.L. Moody, whose full name is Dwight Lyman Moody, is a famous nineteenth-century evangelist. D.L. Moody came from humble beginnings in fortune and in faith. When he first came to the Lord, he did not have any knowledge regarding the Bible,nor God. D.L. Moody went from having little to no knowledge about God to evangelizing to hundreds of thousands of lives.

Early Life

D. L. Moody preaching the Bible from the pulpit

D. L. Moody preaching the Bible from the pulpit

D.L. Moody was born in Massachusetts in 1837. At the tender age of four, his father passed away. D.L. Moody was left to be raised, along with his eight siblings, by his mother alone. Burdened by being as single parent, D.L. Moody’s mother did not encourage him in his education, nor charge him with any interest in reading the Bible. Consequently, Moody’s education suffered, never surpassing the fifth grade. Moody’s spirituality and knowledge of the Bible also suffered due to the hard-ship of his early-childhood. God would later use Moody to minister to people with similar, less-fortunate lives.

God’s Call in Moody’s Life

At the age of 18, D.L. Moody felt the calling of the Lord. A Sunday school teacher persuaded Moody to answer the call and repent of his sins. D.L. Moody was converted! Despite not knowing the Bible, he recognized the drawing of the Lord and sought to become a member of the church. Unfortunately, due to his lack of education and Bible knowledge, Moody failed a test administered by the church to those wanting to become official members. He would never receive any formal Bible training, but still went on to accomplish much for God.

A Man About His Father’s Business

D. L. Moody preaching from his missionary pony to children in the slums

D. L. Moody preaching from his missionary pony to children in the slums

After his encounter with God and his conversion to Christianity, D.L. Moody moved to Chicago to pursue a career selling shoes in hopes of gaining wealth. Moody’s faith in God soon grew stronger than his desire for riches. Though he did not stop working in his business, he decided to pursue a work for the Lord. In 1958, D.L. Moody started a mission Sunday school in the ghetto of Chicago. This school grew into a church, the Illinois Street Independent Church, and just six years after that Moody established the school. (The Illinois Street Independent Church would eventually become the current and well-known Moody Memorial Church.) Moody did eventually leave his shoe business to focus completely on his social and evangelical work for the Lord.

D.L. Moody genuinely loved his community and worked hard to reach its members. He held special activities for children, such as pony rides. Moody also offered and conducted English classes to the German and Scandinavian immigrants. Moody held evening prayer meetings in addition the English classes. He showed these community members the love of the Lord through his own love, kindness, and assistance.

“The Fire”

Moody Memorial Church Chicago, Illinois

Moody Memorial Church Chicago, Illinois

D.L. Moody married Emma C. Revell, a Sunday school teacher. He and Emma had three children. During this time in his life, D.L. Moody became the president of the YMCA in Chicago. Moody’s life was greatly impacted by a natural fire that sparked a spiritual fire deep within his soul: The Great Chicago Fire in October 1871 destroyed not only his YMCA, but his church, and his home. While in New York raising funds for the YWCA and his church, he felt the presence of God like he had never felt Him before, and a flame was kindled in his soul. This moment in God’s presence changed D.L. Moody forever. He returned to Chicago determined to preach the Kingdom of God rather than continue his own social work.

Moody and Evangelism

D.L. Moody was invited to evangelize in the British Isles in 1873. The crusades which Moody was involved in resulted in many converts. After this two-year trip in England, Scotland, and Ireland, Moody returned to the United States as a famous revivalist. He preached to more than 100 million people throughout his life work for God. Moody worked hard for the Lord, preaching up to six sermons a day.

D. L Moody’s Bible College and Legacy

D. L. Moody preaching in the Great Opera House, Haymarket, London

D. L. Moody preaching in the Great Opera House, Haymarket, London

In 1886, D.L. Moody founded and established the Bible Work Institute of the Chicago Evangelization Society, which was eventually renamed Moody Bible Institute and remains open and available today.

The life of D.L. Moody proves that it is not how one starts that matters, but how one finishes. D.L. Moody did not have a fancy education, nor formal training of the Bible; yet, God used him and his life mightily. D.L. Moody’s legacy lives on through his church and Bible college, as well as the many lives touched throughout his ministry.

D.L. Moody Quotes

“He who kneels the most, stands the best.”

“God never made a promise that was too good to be true.”

“Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can.”

“Faith makes all things possible. . . love makes all things easy.”

“A man ought to live so that everybody knows he is a Christian. . . And most of all, his family ought to know.”

“Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest.”

“God doesn’t seek golden vessels, and does not ask for silver ones, but He must have clean ones.”

Works Cited

Maas, David. “The Life & Times of D.L. Moody.” Christianity Today.

“Dwight L. Moody.” Christianity Today.

Dorset, Lyle. “Profile in Faith: D.L. Moody.” Knowing & Doing.

Torrey, R.A. “Why God Used D.L. Moody.” Wholesome

About The Author

Priscilla Santos

This biography of D. L. Moody has been researched and written by Priscilla Santos. Priscilla recently acquired a BA in English, which emphasized professional writing. She has a passion to write, and an even bigger passion for God. She loves to write for His purpose.


  1. Ruth Oconnor

    My dad, Dwight Lyman Price was born in September of 1903. I have wondered & wished I had asked how my grandmother came to hear of D. L. Moody to name her 2nd oldest son after him. She lived in the little town of Sartinville, Mississippi. I guess possibly word of mouth or maybe literature, I’m not sure. He seem to be a very devoted man of God & I am proud to know that my dad was named after such a great man.

  2. Lisa

    So glad to have gone to the school he founded in Chicago ❤

  3. peter lau sie teck

    preparing Moody’s story for my student in church. thanks for the information. good job.

  4. Dan Henderson

    Great snapshot of his life! Love his quotes. THANKS!


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