In this article, we will look at a collection of Dietrich Bonhoeffer quotes that will inspire your faith.
I was in my mid-twenties when I first learned about Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his story. This was because I picked up Eric Metaxas‘, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy I didn’t think I could get through all 608 pages of it, but I devoured it! What Bonhoeffer went through and what he accomplished was incredible. Truly. the Lord was with him.
I highly recommend reading Eric Metaxas’s book if you are unfamiliar with his story. It’s a great read. It’s a history lesson that will inspire you and stir your heart.
With all that said, I thought it would be awesome to share some of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s quotes with you. I hope you enjoy them.
But just in case you are not familiar at all and would like to read a short bio on him. I have done that below. But if not you can skip that and just head to the quotes by Deitrich Bonhoeffer.
A Short Biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German theologian and Lutheran pastor who devoted his life to opposing the Nazi regime during World War II. He was born in Breslau, Germany on February 4, 1906. From 1923 to 1927, he studied theology at the universities of Tübingen and Berlin.
In 1931, at the age of 25, he was ordained at St. Matthias Church in Berlin and became a lecturer in Theology at the University of Berlin and was invited to lecture at other universities throughout Germany as well.
When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, Dietrich began speaking out against the Nazi regime and racial laws. He became part of a small Protestant resistance movement that sought to create an alternative Confessing Church that would stand up against fascism and tyranny.
As a result of his activities against the Nazis, Dietrich had to resign from his post as a professor of theology at the University of Berlin due to pressure from authorities in 1934.
In 1937, Dietrich went into exile in London where he took up teaching positions at various British universities while continuing to work with members of the Confessing Church both inside and outside Germany.
When World War II broke out in 1939, Dietrich returned to Germany with hopes that he could do something for his people by working directly with members of the Resistance Movement such as Hans von Dohnanyi who were active behind enemy lines.
On January 1st, 1943 at age 36, he became engaged to Maria von Wedemeyer whom he had met through Dohnanyi’s family connections.
On April 5th, 1943 however his involvement with Resistance Movement came to an end when he was arrested by Nazi authorities along with Dohnanyi and Dietrich’s sister Christine; they were taken to Tegel Prison in Berlin where they spent two years before being moved to different concentration camps across Europe.
On April 9th 1945 only weeks before Allied troops liberated Germany from Nazi rule, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed by hanging at Flossenburg Concentration Camp; his fiancé Maria later wrote in her memoirs that she believed it happened on Hitler’s orders so that no one could hear what Dietrich truly thought about him or his regime in any court proceedings or interviews which is why it happened so quickly without warning or trial.
Alongside Dietrich’s death, three other members of his immediate family also died due to their involvement with Resistance Movement; these included Hans von Dohnanyi who had been sent back from Flossenburg Concentration Camp just days before Dietrich’s execution.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s legacy lives on today through numerous books written about him & documentaries exploring this courageous man’s work & life which serve as inspiration for many generations around the world today.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes
Some quotes from Bonhoeffer are quite long so I have shortened the paragraphs to make them easier to read. Also, some of these quotes come from his books like The Cost of Discipleship.
May God in His mercy lead us through these times; but above all, may He lead us to Himself. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Do not try to make the Bible relevant. Its relevance is axiomatic. Do not defend God’s word, but testify to it. Trust to the Word. It is a ship loaded to the very limits of its capacity. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
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. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
As long as we let the Word of God be our only armor, we can look confidently into the future. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
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. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you your life. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Jesus himself did not try to convert the two thieves on the cross; he waited until one of them turned to him. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
As brother stands by brother in distress, binding up his wounds and soothing his pain, so let us show our love towards our enemy. There is no deeper distress to be found in the world, no pain more bitter than our enemy’s. Nowhere is service more necessary or more blessed than when we serve our enemies. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
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. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
If our Christianity has ceased to be serious about discipleship, if we have watered down the gospel into emotional uplift which makes no costly demands and which fails to distinguish between natural and Christian existence, then we cannot help regarding the cross as an ordinary everyday calamity, as one of the trials and tribulations of life. We have then forgotten that the cross means rejection and shame as well as suffering. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Your life as a Christian should make non believers question their disbelief in God. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Silence in the face of evil is evil itself. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists of listening to them. Just as love of God begins with listening to his word, so the beginning of love for our brothers and sisters is learning to listen to them. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
It is only because he became like us that we can become like him. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
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. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness and pride of power and with its plea for the weak. Christians are doing too little to make these points clear rather than too much. Christendom adjusts itself far too easily to the worship of power. Christians should give more offense, shock the world far more, than they are doing now. Christian should take a stronger stand in favor of the weak rather than considering first the possible right of the strong. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
In a word, live together in the forgiveness of your sins, for without it no human fellowship, least of all a marriage, can survive. Don’t insist on your rights, don’t blame each other, don’t judge or condemn each other, don’t find fault with each other, but accept each other as you are, and forgive each other every day from the bottom of your hearts… – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
In me there is darkness, But with You there is light; I am lonely, but You do not leave me; I am feeble in heart, but with You there is help; I am restless, but with You there is peace. In me there is bitterness, but with You there is patience; I do not understand Your ways, But You know the way for me.”
“Lord Jesus Christ, You were poor And in distress, a captive and forsaken as I am. You know all man’s troubles; You abide with me When all men fail me; You remember and seek me; It is Your will that I should know You And turn to You. Lord, I hear Your call and follow; Help me. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The person who’s in love with their vision of community will destroy community. But the person who loves the people around them will create community everywhere they go. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The biggest mistake you can make in your life is to be always afraid of making a mistake. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God does not give us everything we want, but He does fulfill His promises. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God loves human beings. God loves the world. Not an ideal human, but human beings as they are; not an ideal world, but the real world. What we find repulsive in their opposition to God, what we shrink back from with pain and hostility, namely, real human beings, the real world, this is for God the ground of unfathomable love. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort.
For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve — even in pain — the authentic relationship.
Further more, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
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.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I hope you have enjoyed these Dietrich Bonhoeffer quotes! I hope they have inspired and blessed you. He truly was an amazing man of God and did so much during his time. If you would like to grow more in your relationship with God check out my Faith Page.
Feel free to leave me a comment below! I would love to hear from you and how these Bonhoeffer quotes have inspired you!
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…