William Carey translated the complete Bible into 6 languages, and portions into 29 others, yet he never attended the equivalent of high school or college. His work was so impressive, that in 1807, Brown University conferred a Doctor of Divinity degree on him.

William Carey is often called the Father of Modern Protestant Missions. But the first European Protestant missionaries to Asia arrived almost a century before he did. By the time Carey established his mission community, there were thousands of Christians in a Pietist-led settlement in southern India.

William Carey’s ministry sparked a new era in missions. One historian notes that his work is “a turning-point; it marks the entry of the English-speaking world on a large scale into the missionary enterprise—and it has been the English-speaking world which has provided four-fifths of the [Protestant] missionaries from the days of Carey until the present time.”

Due to an illness, Carey lost most of his hair in his early twenties. He wore a wig for about ten more years in England, but on his way to India, he reportedly threw his wig in the ocean and never wore one again.

This famous phrase is the best-known saying of William Carey, yet Carey never said it this way. In a sermon he declared, “Expect great things! Attempt great things!” The phrases “from God” and “for God” were added by others because the sermon’s context implied God’s role.

Carey was married three times, and he baptized all three of his wives.

At age 12, Carey taught himself Latin. Later, also on his own, he mastered Greek, Hebrew, French, and Dutch. During his life he learned literally dozens of languages and dialects.

Carey was a social-political radical. Unlike most of his British countrymen, he was sympathetic ...

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