Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a well-known German Protestant theologian known for his support of ecumenism and his thoughts on the function of Christianity in a secular society.
He was born in Breslau, Germany, in 1906, and grew up in the scholarly circles of the University of Berlin.
Bonhoeffer studied theology at Tübingen and Berlin universities, where he was significantly inspired by historical theologians Adolf von Harnack, Reinhold Seeberg, Karl Holl, and Karl Barth.
He returned to Germany to teach systematic theology after a year at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
He was an outspoken opponent of the Nazi dictatorship, notably its anti-Semitism, and became a key voice for the Confessing Church, the heart of German Protestant resistance.
He also founded a seminary for the Confessing Church and produced notable writings such as “The Communion of Saints,” “Life Together,” and “The Cost of Discipleship.”
His outspoken resistance to Hitler culminated to his arrest and murder in 1945.
Here are the best quotes from Dietrich Bonhoeffer for you.
Best Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes
A god who let us prove his existence would be an idol. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you your life. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
The first service that one owes to others consists in listening to them. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
May God in His mercy lead us through these times; but above all, may He lead us to Himself. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
God is not a God of the emotions but the God of truth. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
A righteous person is one who lives for the next generation. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Fulfilled life is possible in spite of unfulfilled wishes. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Comfort the troubled, and trouble the comfortable. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
You can only learn what obedience is by obeying. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Famous Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes
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.
We are silent at the beginning of the day because God should have the first word, and we are silent before going to sleep because the last word also belongs to God. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
The church has an unconditional obligation to the victims of any ordering society, even if they do not belong to the Christian community. ~ 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.
Faith is only real when there is obedience, never without it, and faith only becomes faith in the act of obedience. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Prayer does not mean simply to pour out one’s heart. It means rather to find the way to God and to speak with him, whether the heart is full or empty. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
We are gentle and we are severe with one another, for we know both God’s kindness and God’s severity. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Christianity preaches the infinite worth of that which is seemingly worthless and the infinite worthlessness of that which is seemingly so valued. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
The Church is the Church only when it exists for others. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Top Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes
The devil doesn’t fill us with hatred for God, but with forgetfulness of God. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our church. We are fighting today for costly grace. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Earthly possessions dazzle our eyes and delude us into thinking that they can provide security and freedom from anxiety. Yet all the time they are the very source of anxiety. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
If you reject God’s commanding word, you will not receive God’s gracious word. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Suffering means being cut off from God. Therefore those who live in communion with him cannot really suffer. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
The will of God, to which the law gives expression, is that men should defeat their enemies by loving them. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
The only man who has the right to say that he is justified by grace alone is the man who has left all to follow Christ. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Popular Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes
Advent creates people, new people. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
The pursuit of purity is not about the suppression of lust, but about the reorientation of one’s life to a larger goal. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Self-justification and judging others go together, as justification by grace and serving others go together. ~ 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.
A Christian is someone who shares the sufferings of God in the world. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
It is only because he became like us that we can become like him. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Silence in the face of evil is evil itself. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Being a Christan is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
The deep meaning of the cross of Christ is that there is no suffering on earth that is not borne by God. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Great Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes
Nothing can be more cruel than the leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one’s community back from the path of sin. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Many people are looking for an ear that will listen. They do not find it among Christians because we are talking when we should be listening. ~ 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.
The church is not a religious community of worshippers of Christ but is Christ himself who has taken form among people. ~ 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.
The more deeply we grow into the psalms and the more often we pray them as our own, the more simple and rich will our prayer become. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Each morning is a new beginning of our life. Each day is a finished whole. The present day marks the boundary of our cares and concerns. It is long enough to find God or lose Him, to keep faith or fall into disgrace. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Your life as a Christian should make nonbelievers question their disbelief in God. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
It is from God that parents receive their children, and it is to God that they should lead them. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Wise Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes
If Jesus Christ is not true God, how could he help us? If he is not true man, how could he help us? ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Discipleship is not an offer that man makes to Christ. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
A king who dies on the cross must be the king of a rather strange kingdom. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Christianity means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ. No Christian community is more or less than this. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich! ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Things do exist that are worth standing up for without compromise. To me it seems that peace and social justice are such things, as is Christ himself. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Every Christian community must realize that not only do the weak need the strong, but also that the strong cannot exist without the weak. The elimination of the weak is the death of fellowship. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
What is happiness and unhappiness? It depends so little on the circumstances; it depends really only on what happens inside a person. I am grateful for every day and that makes me happy. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Jesus calls men, not to a new religion, but to life. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Powerful Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes
The life of discipleship is not the hero-worship we would pay to a good master, but obedience to the Son of God. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
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. Once more, all that self-denial can say is, ‘He leads the way, keep close to Him.’ ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
If you believe, take the first step, it leads to Jesus Christ. If you don’t believe, take the first step all the same, for you are bidden to take it. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
God does not give us everything we want, but He does fulfill His promises… ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Good Friday and Easter free us to think about other things far beyond our own personal fate, about the ultimate meaning of all life, suffering, and events; and we lay hold of a great hope. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Faith without works is not faith at all, but a simple lack of obedience to God. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Only he who believes is obedient and only he who is obedient believes. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
He who loves community destroys community; he who loves the brethren builds community. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
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. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
It is the voice of the Church that is heard in singing together. It is not you that sings, it is the Church that is singing, and you, as a member of the Church, may share in its song. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
The cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise God-fearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ. When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
We are so afraid of silence that we chase ourselves from one event to the next in order not to have to spend a moment alone with ourselves, in order not to have to look at ourselves in the mirror. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Inspiring Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes
Why do Christians sing when they are together? The reason is, quite simply, because in singing together it is possible for them to speak and pray the same Word at the same time; in other words, because here they can unite in the Word. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
There is meaning in every journey that is unknown to the traveler. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest, and sacrificial. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Cheap grace is grace without discipleship. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Jesus is the only significance. Beside Jesus nothing has any significance. He alone matters. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Death is hell and night and cold, if it is not transformed by our faith. But that is just what is so marvelous, that we can transform death. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
God is in the manger, wealth in poverty, light in darkness, succor in abandonment. No evil can befall us; whatever men may do to us, they cannot but serve the God who is secretly revealed as love and rules the world and our lives. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Only the suffering God can help. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
In Jesus Christ we have been chosen from eternity, accepted in time, and united for eternity. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Christians have forgotten that the ministry of listening has been committed to them by Him who is Himself the great listener and whose work they should share. We should listen with the ears of God that we may speak the Word of God. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won where the way leads to the cross. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
The time is short. Eternity is long. It is the time of decision. ~ 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.
The biggest mistake you can make in your life is to be always afraid of making a mistake. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
There is no way to peace along the way to safety. For peace must be dared. It is the great venture. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
The more isolated a person is, the more destructive the power of sin over him. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
The Lord stands above the new day, for God has made it. All restlessness, all worry, and anxiety flee before him. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. Let him who is not in community beware of being alone. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
The right way to pray is to stretch out our hands and ask of One who we know has the heart of a Father. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Do not try to make the Bible relevant. Its relevance is axiomatic. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
So these were the 107 top Dietrich Bonhoeffer quotes and sayings on suffering, hope, faith, grace and prayer.