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Who God Calls He Qualifies: Unpacking The Meaning Behind The Saying

The saying “who God calls he qualifies” is one often heard in religious circles. But what exactly does it mean?

At its core, this axiom conveys the idea that when God calls someone for a task or role, he also equips them with the necessary qualities, skills, and resources to fulfill it.

If you’re short on time, the quick answer is: The phrase ‘who God calls he qualifies’ means that those who are called by God to carry out a certain mission or purpose are divinely endowed with the capabilities required to accomplish it.

In this comprehensive article, we will unpack the origins of this maxim, analyze the biblical basis behind its meaning, and explore real-world applications with examples of how God qualifies the called throughout history up to the modern day.

The Origins and Evolution of the Saying

Early Vestiges in Christian Thought and Teaching

The saying “who God calls He qualifies” has its roots in biblical teachings about God equipping those He calls to serve Him.

Passages like Exodus 3 where God calls Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt but Moses feels unqualified, yet God assures him “I will be with you,” illustrate this principle.

The Apostle Paul also wrote that “our competence comes from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5), indicating that abilities to serve God come from Him, not ourselves.

Augustine of Hippo in the 4th-5th century AD built upon these ideas, teaching that God distributes talents and gifts to individuals as He wills for the good of the church.

Though the exact phrase may not have been used, the concept of God qualified those He called was present early in Christian thought.

Biblical Basis for the Principle

Old Testament Support

The Old Testament provides several examples that support the principle “who God calls He qualifies.” When God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses felt unqualified and inadequate for the task.

However, God equipped Moses with miraculous powers and the ability to speak well, saying “I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” (Exodus 4:12).

Similarly, God called Gideon to deliver Israel from the Midianites despite Gideon feeling he was the “weakest” of his family (Judges 6:15).

Yet God qualified Gideon by whittling down his army from 32,000 to just 300 men, showing the deliverance was by God’s power and not Gideon’s.

God also called Jeremiah to be a prophet when he was but a youth. Jeremiah felt unqualified, saying “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”

But God qualified him saying “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you” (Jeremiah 1:6-7). Over and over, God calls the unqualified, like David, Esther, and Amos, then equips them for the tasks ahead.

New Testament Affirmation

The New Testament strongly affirms the principle that God qualifies those He calls. When Jesus called his twelve disciples, they were ordinary men – fishermen, tax collectors – with no special qualifications.

Yet Jesus equipped them for ministry, saying “I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). The Apostle Paul felt unworthy to be called an apostle because he had persecuted the church.

But he wrote “By the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10), acknowledging God qualified him.

Paul later encourages Timothy saying “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24), reassuring Timothy that God would equip him for ministry.

The author of Hebrews says God “equips those He has called with everything good for doing His will” (Hebrews 13:21).

The pattern is consistent – God calls the unlikely and unqualified, then qualifies them for His purposes.

In the Lives and Callings of Biblical Figures

Throughout Scripture, we see God calling imperfect and unqualified people, then empowering them for His work. For example:

  • God called Moses, who was a stutterer and murderer, to lead Israel.
  • God called Gideon, the youngest in his family, to deliver Israel from the Midianites.
  • God called David, a shepherd boy, to be king over Israel.
  • God called Peter, a brash fisherman, to be the rock of the early church.
  • God called Paul, who persecuted Christians, to be the greatest missionary.

Manifestations Throughout History

In the Early Church & Christendom

The early church provides many examples of God calling and qualifying individuals for leadership roles they felt unprepared for. The apostles themselves were simple fishermen, tax collectors and zealots – not the religious elite.

Yet God transformed them into the pillars of the early church after Jesus’ ascension.

The lives of disciples like Stephen, Phoebe, and Timothy attest that God often selects and empowers unexpected candidates to accomplish His divine purposes.

This pattern continued as Christianity spread throughout the Roman empire and beyond. Unlearned peasants, slaves, women and barbarian tribes experienced the transforming power of the gospel.

Despite their humble origins, the Lord equipped these new believers for ministry – whether as traveling evangelists, martyrs, or monastics.

From Patrick’s missionary outreach to the Irish, to Aidan’s ministry among the pagan Anglo-Saxons, God repeatedly fulfilled His calling by grace alone.

A photograph capturing a stack of Bibles with the Book of Alma conspicuously absent, symbolizing the intriguing question surrounding its exclusion from the Bible.

During the Age of Missions & Revivalists

The modern missionary movement starting in the 18th century provides many inspiring cases of God’s calling and empowerment despite human weakness.

Pioneers like William Carey and Hudson Taylor were ridiculed for their vision to reach non-Western nations, but God used their obedience to launch the global missions enterprise.

The ministries of David Brainerd among Native Americans, Mary Slessor in Africa, and Pandita Ramabai in India demonstrate that pioneering spirit is often found in unlikely vessels yielded to the Master’s call.

During the Second Great Awakening, the empowering grace of God was at work in evangelists and revivalists from all spheres of life.

Though lacking formal education, preachers like Charles Finney and Billy Sunday were remarkably effective in leading thousands to faith.

Their success illustrates that divine unction, not human eloquence, is the essential qualification for Kingdom service.

In Contemporary Church Leadership

In today’s church world, the maxim “God qualifies the called” is vividly demonstrated through both vocational ministers and lay leaders.

Pastors like Eugene Cho, Chris Hodges and Derwin Gray were first-generation immigrants or urban youth with meager resources, yet God has blessed their obedience to plant thriving multi-ethnic churches.

Equally, marketplace leaders like K.P. Yohannan and Bob Buford built global ministries by responding to God’s call step by step, not relying on their business savvy.

The rapid growth of churches in the Global South and Eastern Bloc in recent decades also evidences the Holy Spirit’s equipping of those called to ministry.

Though often lacking formal training, house church planters, itinerant prophets and bi-vocational pastors across Africa, Latin America and Asia have turned the world upside down for Christ through bold faith in God’s provision and authority.

Their lives well illustrate the ancient reality that divine gifting transcends all human limitations.

Practical Applications for Believers Today

Embracing God’s Call with Confidence

When we embrace the calling God has placed on our lives, we can move forward with confidence knowing that He who called us will equip us for the task (2 Timothy 3:14-17).

This truth can give us courage to step out in faith when God calls us to something that seems beyond our natural abilities or current spiritual maturity.

We don’t have to feel perfectly qualified – God often uses those who recognize their weakness and dependency on Him (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

As we yield to God’s leading with childlike faith, He will empower and guide us each step of the way.

Understanding God Equips in Different Ways

God equips His people differently according to His purpose and plan for each one (Romans 12:3-8). One person may receive natural talents and abilities, while another receives spiritual gifts and fresh revelation.

One may get mentoring and hands-on training, while another is equipped through supernatural empowerment. We should not compare ourselves to others or limit how God prepares someone for His work.

The key is cooperating with how God chooses to equip you, whether through study, experiences, relationships, or spiritual empowerment.

Cooperating with God’s Ongoing Sanctification

God’s equipping is an ongoing process as we cooperate with His sanctifying work in our lives (Philippians 2:12-13).

As we yield to the Holy Spirit daily, read Scripture, pray, worship, and obey God’s commands, He molds our character to reflect Jesus more and more.

God often uses trials to strengthen our faith and refine us for greater usefulness in His kingdom (James 1:2-4). We can be assured that the Good Shepherd who called us will continue equipping us with everything needed to fulfill His purposes if we submit to His lordship.


In closing, the maxim “who God calls he qualifies” powerfully captures a key biblical truth – that divine enablement accompanies divine commission. When the Lord appoints people to carry out His work, He provides the essential graces and competencies too.

This assurance can instill great confidence for all who feel the stirrings of a vocational call, spurring them on to boldly follow God’s leading into the future He has prepared for them.

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