Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes (Full Of Wisdom)

Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor who was involved in the resistance to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime in Germany. In this blog post we have shared more than 100 timeless Dietrich Bonhoeffer quotes.

 Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a German theologian. His books are still read today, and he is considered to be one of the most influential Christian theologians of all time.

Bonhoeffer was born in 1906. Dietrich enrolled at Berlin University to study theology, philosophy and psychology. He studied under Karl Barth and Rudolf Bultmann among others who were giants in their own right.

In 1933, Bonhoeffer became the student director of an illegal seminary for young Germans who were trying to avoid military service with Hitler’s ever-expanding war machine.

The Gestapo detained him in April 1943, and he spent one and a half years in prison at Tegel. Later, he was moved to the concentration camp at Flossenbürg.

Accusations against Bonhoeffer for his alleged involvement in the 20 July plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler led to his swift trial alongside other alleged plotters, including former Abwehr members (the German Military Intelligence Office). On April 9, 1945, when the Nazi regime was nearing its end, he was hanged.

118 Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes

  1. “By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”

2. “When all is said and done, the life of faith is nothing if not an unending struggle of the spirit with every available weapon against the flesh.”

3. “Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.”

4. “A God who let us prove his existence would be an idol”

5. “Absolute seriousness is never without a dash of humor.”

6. “I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me.”

7. “Discipleship is not an offer that man makes to Christ.”

8. “Nothing that we despise in other men is inherently absent from ourselves. We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or don’t do, and more in light of what they suffer.”

9. “Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.”

10. “God does not love some ideal person, but rather human beings just as we are, not some ideal world, but rather the real world.”

dietrich bonhoeffer quotes on suffering

Positive Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes

11. “Your life as a Christian should make non believers question their disbelief in God.”

12. “Any honours that come our way are only stolen from him to whom alone they really belong, the Lord who sent us.”

13. “Jesus himself did not try to convert the two thieves on the cross; he waited until one of them turned to him.”

14. “It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.”

15. “The essence of chastity is not the suppression of lust, but the total orientation of one’s life towards a goal. Without such a goal, chastity is bound to become ridiculous. Chastity is the sine qua non of lucidity and concentration.”

16. “Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our church. We are fighting today for costly grace.”

17. “Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”

18. “This is the end. For me the beginning of life.”

19. “Political action means taking on responsibility. This cannot happen without power. Power is to serve responsibility.”

20. “Cheap grace is the mortal enemy of the church”

dietrich bonhoeffer quotes on freedom

Inspirational Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes

21. “There is meaning in every journey that is unknown to the traveler.”

22. “In the presence of a psychiatrist I can only be a sick man; in the presence of a Christian brother I can dare to be a sinner.”

23. “Through our daily meals He is calling us to rejoice, to keep holiday in the midst of our working day.”

24. “For we cannot speak of the beginning; where the beginning begins our thinking stops, it comes to an end.”

25. “We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.”

26. “Not in the flight of ideas, but only in action is freedom. Make up your mind and come out into the tempest of the living.”

27. “Jesus goes on before to Jerusalem and to the cross, and they are filled with fear and amazement at the road he calls them to follow.”

28. “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”

29. “The Church does not need brilliant personalities but faithful servants of Jesus and the brethren. Not in the former but in the latter is the lack.”

30. “The temple of God is the holy people in Jesus Christ. The Body of Christ is the living temple of God and of the new humanity.”

Famous Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes

31. “In short, it is much easier to see a thing through from the point of view of abstract principle than from that of concrete responsibility.”

32. “No sacrifice which a lover would make for his beloved is too great for us to make for our enemy.”

33. “The justification of my life before God is to live because of and toward the living, dying, and rising of Jesus Christ.”

34. “In the gospels the very first step a man must take is an act which radically affects his whole existence.”

35. “Principles are only tools in the hands of God; they will soon be thrown away when they are no longer useful.”

36. “The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.”

37. “Earthly goods deceive the human heart into believing that they give it security and freedom from worry. But in truth, they are what cause anxiety.”

38. “The Incarnation is the ultimate reason why the service of God cannot be divorced from the service of man.”

39. “If you scorn the fellowship of the brethren, you reject the call of Jesus Christ, and thus your solitude can only be hurtful to you.”

40. “Neighbourliness is not a quality in other people, it is simply their claim on ourselves.”

Thought-Provoking Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes

41. “There is a wrong way of staying in the world and a wrong way of fleeing from it. In both cases we are fashioning ourselves according to the world.”

42. “Only where God is can there be a new beginning. We cannot command God to grant it; we can only pray to God for it.”

43. “We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.”

44. “To deny oneself is to be aware only of Christ and no more of self, to see only him who goes before and no more the road which is too hard for us.”

45. “The church is church only when it is there for others.”

46. “The only way to understand the Psalms is on your knees, the whole congregation praying the words of the Psalms with all its strength.”

47. “Love, in the sense of spontaneous, unreflective action, spells the death of the old man.”

48. “Our community with one another consists solely in what Christ has done to each of us.”

49. “Nothing can be more cruel than that leniency which abandons others to their sin.”

50. “We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes To Live By

51. “The sermon has been reduced to parenthetical church remarks about newspaper events,”

52. “The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.”

53. “If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.”

54. “Where a people prays, there is the hurch; and where the church is; there is never loneliness.”

56. “God is not a matter of mood. He is still present even when we are not in the mood to meet with him. ”

57. “Only those who place tomorrow in God’s hands and receive what they need to live today are truly secure. Receiving daily liberates us from tomorrow. Thought for tomorrow delivers us up to endless worry.”

58. “What will really matter is whether those in power expect more from people’s folly than from their wisdom and independence of mind.”

59. “Everything would be spoiled if we were to reserve Christ for the church while granting the world only some law, Christian though it may be.”

60. “It is a costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.”

61. “No one knows God unless God reveals Himself to him.”

62. “it is not our will but God’s will alone that matters.”

63. “Only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes.”

64. “Nothing can be known either of God or man until God has become man in Jesus Christ.”

65. “Only because the message concerning Jesus Christ must still go forth and find believers, and because our task is not yet perfected, does God in His patience continue to sustain us with His good gifts.”

66. “In Christ we are invited to participate in the reality of God and the reality of the world at the same time, the one not without the other.”

67. “The more thankfully we daily receive what is given to us, the more assuredly and consistently will community increase and grow from day to day as God pleases.”

68. “Self-centered love loves the other for the sake of itself; spiritual love loves the other for the sake of Christ.”

69. “In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”

70. “Luther’s return from the cloister to the world was the worst blow the world had suffered since the days of early Christianity.”

Read More Bonhoeffer Quotes

71. “Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner.”

72. “Simplicity is an intellectual achievement, one of the greatest.”

73. “The word of cheap grace has been the ruin of more Christians than any commandment of works.”

74. “Christian brotherhood is not an ideal which we must realize; it is rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate.”

75. “The joy of God has gone through the poverty of the manger and the distress of the cross; therefore it is invincible and irrefutable.”

76. “May we be enabled to say “No” to sin and “Yes” to the sinner.”

77. “Our eyes are at fault, that is all. God is in the manger, wealth in poverty, light in darkness, succor in abandonment.”

78. “After death something new begins, over which all powers of the world of death have no more might.”

79. “Self-denial means knowing only Christ, no longer knowing oneself. It means no longer seeing oneself, only him who is going ahead, no longer seeing the way which is too difficult for us. Self-denial says only: he is going ahead; hold fast to him.”

80. “It is a wicked sophistry to justify the worldliness of the Church by the cross of Christ.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes About Life

81. “Time is the most precious gift in our possession, for it is the most irrevocable.”

82. “If we have learned to be silent before the Word, we will also learn to manage our silence and our speech during the day.”

83. “Discipleship is commitment to Christ. Because Christ exists, he must be followed.”

84. “Suffering means being cut off from God. Therefore those who live in communion with him cannot really suffer.”

85. “Cheap grace therefore amounts to a denial of the living Word of God, in fact, a denial of the Incarnation of the Word of God. Cheap”

86. “Justification is the new creation of the new man, and sanctification his preservation until the day of Jesus Christ.”

87. “It is only when he is a burden that another person is really a brother and not merely an object to be manipulated”

88. “With the birth of Jesus, the great kingdom of peace has begun.”

89. “I’m now reading Tertullian, Cyprian, and others of the church fathers with great interest. In some ways they are more relevant to our time than the Reformers, and at the same time they provide a basis for talks between Protestants and Roman Catholics.”

90. “Genuine love is always self-forgetful in the true sense of the word.”

91. “The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.”

92. “Thus this spiritual love will speak to Christ about a brother more than to a brother about Christ.”

93. “Holy theology arises from knees bend before the mystery of the divine child in the stable.”

94. “The more I begin to love the commandments of God in creation and word, the more present they will be for me in every hour.”

95. “It is wrong, in this age of necessary decisions, to bully people into decisions that are neither genuine nor necessary.”

96. “Therefore, people cannot make a new beginning at all; they can only pray for one. Where people are on their own and live by their own devices, there is only the old, the past.”

97. “The cross of Christ is the death which we undergo once and for all in our baptism, and it is a death full of grace.”

98. “Whoever despises another human being will never be able to make anything of him. Nothing of what we despise in another is itself foreign to us.”

99. “Only when I forgo visible proof, do I believe in God.”

100. “It is worse for a liar to tell the truth than for a lover of truth to lie.”

101. “Through the medium of prayer we go to our enemy, stand by his side, and plead for him to God.”

102. “Cheap grace is not the kind of forgiveness of sin which frees us from the toils of sin. Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves.”

103. “Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. Let him who is not in community beware of being alone.”

104. “Since the appearance of Christ, ethics can be concerned with only one thing: to partake in the reality of the fulfilled will of God.”

105. “The figure of the crucified invalidates all thought which takes success for its standard.”

106. “Those who seek their own honor are no longer seeking God and their neighbor.”

107. “To follow Jesus means self-renunciation and absolute adherence to him, and therefore a will dominated by lust can never be allowed to do what it likes.”

108. “It is only because he became like us that we can become like him.”

109. “scriptures do not present us with a series of Christian types to be imitated according to choice; they preach to us in every situation the one Jesus Christ.”

110. “The Christian life is participation in the encounter of Christ with the world.”

111. “Talk about one’s own guilt can be just as far from the Word of God as talk about one’s innocence.”

112. “If we would answer the question of the existence of the Evil then we would not be sinners, we could make something else responsible.”

113. “It is not surprising, of course, that those who attempt to discredit the evidence of Scripture are the people who themselves do not seriously read, know, or make a thorough study of the Scriptures.”

114. “If we are to pray aright, perhaps it is quite necessary that we pray contrary to our own heart. Not what we want to pray is important, but what God wants us to pray.”

115. “Not the way to God but the way of God to humanity: that is the sum of Christianity.”

116. “Prayer means nothing else but the readiness to appropriate the Word, and what is more, to let it speak to me in my personal situation, in my particular tasks, decisions, sins, and temptations.”

117. “Through the life and death of Jesus Christ, history becomes not the transient bearer of eternal values but, for the first time, thoroughly temporal.”

118. “The proper relation of the Church to the world cannot be deduced from natural law or rational law or from universal human rights, but only from the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

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