"The Greatest Thing in the World"

Henry Drummond

(1851 – 1897)

Born in Scotland in 1851, Henry Drummond gained popularity after answering a call to join the evangelical movement started by Dwight L. Moody (1837 – 1899). He was a true polymath: an ordained minister, missionary, and author who was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His book Natural Law in the Spiritual World (1883) demonstrated his interest in the interaction of science and faith in the evolution of spiritual understanding.

“Once when I was working on a woman in Cleveland, I called and asked [Dr. Bob], ‘What do I do for somebody who is going through delirium tremens?’ He told me to give her the medication, and he said, ‘When she comes out of it and she decides she wants to be a different woman, get her Drummond’s The Greatest Thing in the World. Tell her to read it through every day for 30 days, and she’ll want to be a different woman.” – Dorothy S.


Henry Drummond’s book “The Greatest Thing in the World” is a spiritual and inspirational work that explores the concept of love as the supreme virtue and the key to a fulfilling life. He emphasizes the importance of love in all aspects of human existence and provides practical guidance on how to cultivate and express the summum bonum.

Drummond grounds his stirring sermon on Paul’s paean to Godly love found in 1st Corinthians 13. Drummond highlights the various qualities of love, such as patience, kindness, humility, selflessness, courtesy, good temper, sincerity, forgiveness, and perseverance. He argues that these qualities are not only essential for personal relationships but also crucial for societal harmony and spiritual growth.

Drummond emphasizes that love is not merely an emotion or sentiment but an active choice and a way of life. He encourages readers to practice love in their daily interactions, to see the best in others, and to respond to hate and negativity with love and compassion. He believes that love has the power to transform individuals and society, and he provides examples and anecdotes to illustrate its profound impact.

The author also discusses the obstacles to love, such as selfishness, pride, and prejudice, and offers practical suggestions for overcoming them. He emphasizes the need for self-examination and personal growth in order to cultivate a genuine and unconditional love that goes beyond superficiality and selfish motives.

Drummond’s insights and teachings serve as a reminder that love has the power to bring about positive change, foster meaningful connections, and lead to a more fulfilling and purposeful existence. These very principles have come to define the spiritual program of recovery found in the Big Book. 


Nine ingredients of love,







Good Temper



The greatest thing a man can do for his Heavenly Father is to be kind to some of his children.

Love begets love.

Love never fails.

Dr. Bob’s annotated copy of The Little Red Book

Book & Audio


The Greatest Thing in the World [pdf]


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A published version of Drummond’s seminal work is available for purchase at the Dr. Bob’s Home Gift Shop; all proceeds go to the restoration and preservation of the National Historic Landmark in Akron, OH.