Radio Bible Hour
Monday, February 20, 2017
| An Effective and Respected Christian Radio and Missions Ministry since 1935.
Broadcasting This Week on the Radio Bible Hour:
About Dr. J. Harold Smith
J. Harold Smith (1910-2001)
Born in Woodruff, South Carolina, in 1910, J. Harold Smith grew up in the Greenville area, and graduated from Furman University with the intention of going on to medical school. He found Christ on the porch of his sister Mildred's home in 1932, and shortly thereafter surrendered to preach. In his first revival shortly after he was saved, many were saved, and the revival lasted several weeks.
Dr. Smith was a pioneer in the use of broadcast media, and started the Radio Bible Hour broadcast in 1935. He helped to develop Christian radio in the 1940's, and was one of the first ministries to be heard nationwide through the giant Mexican radio station XERF. He was the pastor of a number of churches, from very small to very large, and always loved the work of the pastor. In 1953 as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Fort Smith, Arkansas, he started the television broadcast of the morning worship services. That was one of the first regular television broadcasts of a church service in the United States.
Always known for his fundamental Bible-based preaching, Dr. Smith often found himself in opposition to the liberal religious movement which has proved so destructive to many church denominations. He accepted the Bible as he found it, preached it as the truth, and lived by its principles. Although he took strong stands in the pulpit, he was known for his kindness and compassion to his congregations and he had a genuine love for the lost. He seldom met a person and failed to ask them if they knew Jesus Christ. Many thousands, and perhaps, hundreds of thousands made decisions to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord under his ministry. Several hundred young people made decisions to serve in full-time ministry as pastors and missionaries under his ministry.
Dr. Smith loved the Lord above everything else. He loved to laugh and enjoy fellowship with other Christians. Being a Christian was a joyful and life-sustaining way to live. For those who knew him, he was a humble man, even when he was experiencing great success in his ministry. During his years as an evangelist, he always accepted speaking invitations on a "first-come-first-served" basis. He often spoke in small churches, because they had asked first, and never refused to go preach because his expenses might not be met. He and Mrs. Smith had known poverty in the early days of their marriage, but had learned to completely rely on the Lord to meet their needs. He enjoyed God's blessings, but never forgot what it was like to be poor. He generously helped many people with what he had.
A deeply spiritual man, J. Harold Smith always took time for prayer and Bible study in his daily life. In the 1950's he was led to learn more about the practice of fasting, and completed several long fasts of twenty to forty days. He eventually wrote a book on fasting which became a best-seller.
He was married to his childhood sweetheart, Myrtice Rhodes Smith, and they had three children, Martha, J. Harold (Sunny), and Don. Sunny died in 1941, and that experience was often described by Dr. Smith as "the hardest thing I ever faced." Dr. Smith lived his life with integrity, joy, and with absolute confidence in Jesus Christ. He often signed Bibles for his listeners with the words, "Jesus Never Fails." By the time of his death he had nearly memorized much of the Bible.
Dr. Smith worked in the office of the Radio Bible Hour until about five weeks before his death on November 13, 2001. At that time, he was 91 years of age.