7 Powerful Quotes From Ben-Hur

Here are 7 powerful quotes from one of my favorite movies; Ben-Hur.

Ben-Hur, made in 1959, is among my favorite movies of all time. It is still a classic.  It is thoroughly biblical and even included an encounter with Jesus by Judah Ben-Hur when Hur was a slave.  Jesus reached out and gave him a drink, which reminds me of the phrase, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38) just as Jesus told the Samaritan Woman at the Well, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10).  Today, people are still thirsting for God but will completely satisfy that thirst someday as it is written in Revelation 22:17, “The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.”

God Meant it for Good

When Ben-Hur rescued Quintus Arrius from drowning and the Roman fleet had a great victory, Arrius told Ben-Hur “In his eagerness to save you your god has also saved the Roman fleet.”  We know that when others intend it for evil, God means it for good (Gen 50:20) so even the evil that happens to us will work out for our best and highest good (Rom 8:28).

The Fall of Rome

No one at the time of the height of the Roman Empire would have ever imagined her downfall but Judah Ben-Hur declared in the movie “Rome is an affront to God. Rome is strangling my people and my country and the whole earth, but not forever. I tell you, the day Rome falls, there will be a shout of freedom such as the world has never heard before.”  Of course he was right and that shout of freedom did come but there’s a greater victory than that over Rome which is coming someday. 

Forgiveness is greater than Love

Esther said “I've seen too much what hate can do. My father is burned up with it. But I've heard of a young rabbi who says that forgiveness is greater and love more powerful than hatred. I believe it.”  Of course she was referring to Jesus Christ and she later discovered that He was more than a rabbi; He is Lord and Master and the fulfillment of the long awaited Messiah who came to die for our sins so that we could be forgiven and reconciled back to a Holy God.

No Stopping the Kingdom

Sextus made a very profound statement in the movie Ben-Hur that many martyrs can identify with, “You can break a man's skull. You can arrest him. You can throw him into a dungeon. But how do you fight an idea?”  The same could be said of the kingdom and the Bible.  No effort by man can destroy the Word of God. It has been burned and banned but never vanquished.  Neither can the kingdom be stopped any more than God Himself can be stopped. 

We were all Condemned

The Roman commander, Quintus Arrius said to the slaves in the galley “Now listen to me all of you. You are all condemned men. We keep you alive to serve this ship So row well and live.”  We who were dead in our sins, Christ has made alive (Eph 2:5) and now there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1).  Like condemned slaves on Roman ship, we were all assigned the burdensome task of being slaves to sin but Christ has freed us and paid for us by His own blood and now we are free. 

The Return of Israel

Over the centuries, people have tried to exterminate the Jews but none have ever been able to do it.  Judah Ben-Hur said in the movie “You may conquer the land, you may slaughter the people. That is not the end. We will rise again.”  If you read the Book of Isaiah, you can clearly see that God will once again restore His people Israel and they will live again in the Promised Land.  God has kept a remnant for Himself all of these thousands of years and He will ensure they are never lost as a nation and will remain a people for all time.

The end of Strife

Near the end of the movie, after Judah Ben-Hur witnessed Christ’s crucifixion, he was profoundly changed as he said “Almost at the moment He died, I heard Him say, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” to which Esther said “Even then” and Ben-Hur replied, “Even then. And I felt His voice take the sword out of my hand.”  This is what the climax of this movie was all about; taking the sword out of our hand and leaving vengeance to God as we are not to “Repay no one evil for evil” (Rom 12:17) for God is the Just Judge Who will ensure that justice will be complete.  We need to trust God to avenge all evil doers against us.  That is not our job.


The movie Ben-Hur is one of my all-time favorites because it gives us a glimpse into the world as we know it today.  Ruled by evil men, filled with sin, and most of mankind is still enslaved by sin but the Captain of our Salvation is coming soon to take the sword out of their hands and set up a kingdom that shall never end.

Article by Jack Wellman