David Brainerd

David Brainerd was dedicated to growing in holiness from the time he came to know Christ. He reached out to the Native Americans on the East Coast. Even though David died early, he left a legacy to all those who would come after him.

Early Life

David Brainerd was born on April 20, 1718 in Connecticut. He had a melancholy attitude, which he kept with him throughout his life. David was the 3rd out of 9 children. His family performed the outward duties of religion, without any heart in it. In the winter of 1738, David came to Christ.

Yale University

After finishing high school, David decided to go to Yale University in order to become a minister. While he was there, an illness flared up and he had to stop his education short. When he was over his illness, David returned to Yale. Even though he was back to school, he got kicked out for insulting his tutor. David’s friends tried to help him get back into school, but the teachers refused to allow him to go back. It was a requirement to graduate from Harvard or Yale in order to preach in a church and David was uncertain of where to turn to after missing the opportunity to become a pastor.

Among the Native Americans

After being thrown out of Yale, David decided to be a missionary among the Native Americans of the East Coast. Some he was not successful at reaching, but others chose to follow Jesus. At one time, 77 Native Americans came to Christ. Throughout his life, David struggled with his personal holiness before God.

After 3 years of being a missionary, David came down with Tuberculosis. He went to Johnathan Edward’s house, where he was nursed by Edward’s daughter. David died October 9, 1747 at the age of 29.

David Brainerd’s ministry brought much fruit, even though it was only for 3 years. The Journal of David Brainerd put together by Jonathan Edwards has inspired others to be missionaries including William Carrey who went to India and Hudson Taylor. Through the many missionaries who were and have been inspired by David Brainerd’s ministry, his legacy continues on.

  1. “David Brainerd: A Biography.”
  2. “David Brainerd, Missionary.”
  3. Dreisbach, Dr. John A. “David Brainerd.” Gospel Fellowship Association Missions.


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