there but for the grace of God go I

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

Allegedly from a mid-sixteenth-century statement by John Bradford, "There but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford", in reference to a group of prisoners being led to execution.

ProverbEdit

there but for the grace of God go I

  1. A recognition that others' misfortune could be one's own, if it weren't for the blessing/kindness/luck bestowed by fate or the Divine.
  2. Man's fate is in God's hands.
  3. More generally, our fate is not entirely in our own hands.

Usage notesEdit

  • This proverb is an expression of humility; in using it, a speaker acknowledges that outside factors (such as God's grace, or his upbringing) have played a role in his success in life.
  • The adverbial phrase is often set off with commas: "There, but for the grace of God, go I."

TranslationsEdit

Last modified on 8 October 2013, at 23:20