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The Big Book of Christian Quotes

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
4 February 1906 – 9 April 1945 German Lutheran pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi dissident.

  • We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.
  • Who can really be faithful in great things if he has not learned to be faithful in the things of daily life?
  • Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.
  • Jesus calls men, not to a new religion, but to life.
  • Jesus himself did not try to convert the two thieves on the cross; he waited until one of them turned to him.
  • 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.
  • One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons.
  • Only he who believes is obedient and only he who is obedient believes.
  • Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our church. We are fighting today for costly grace.
  • Your life as a Christian should make non believers question their disbelief in God.
  • 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.
  • Do not worry! 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. The heart which clings to goods receives with them the choking burden of worry. Worry collects treasures, and treasures produce more worries. We desire to secure our lives with earthly goods; we want our worrying to make us worry-free, but the truth is the opposite. The chains which bind us to earthly goods, the clutches which hold the goods tight, are themselves worries.
    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.
  • Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.
  • The Lord confers great honor on his servants when he brings them suffering….
    It is from God that parents receive their children, and it is to God that they should lead them.
  • Christianity without the living Christ is inevitably Christianity without discipleship, and Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.
  • The gift of Christ is not the Christian religion, but the grace and love of God which culminate in the cross.
    Christianity preaches the infinite worth of that which is seemingly worthless and the infinite worthlessness of that which is seemingly so valued.
  • He who loves community destroys community; he who loves the brethren builds community.
  • We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.
    Music… will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.
  • When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.
  • God’s truth judges created things out of love, and Satan’s truth judges them out of envy and hatred.
  • To be sure, God shall call you, and us, only at the hour that God has chosen. Until that hour, which lies in God’s hand alone, we shall be protected even in the greatest danger; and from our gratitude for such protection ever new readiness surely arises for the final call.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • God does not give us everything we want, but He does fulfill His promises…
  • 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.
  • There is meaning in every journey that is unknown to the traveler.
  • The disciple simply burns his boats and goes ahead. He is called out… The old life is left behind, and completely surrendered. The disciple is dragged out of his relative security into a life of absolute insecurity… out of the realm of the finite…into the realm of infinite possibilities.
  • Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.
  • Unless he obeys, a man cannot believe.
  • 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…
  • Cheap grace is grace without discipleship.
  • Earthly goods are given to be used, not to be collected…. Hoarding is idolatry.
  • The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.
  • Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you your life.
  • A god who let us prove his existence would be an idol.
  • Discipleship is not an offer that man makes to Christ.
  • Often we combat our evil thoughts most effectively if we absolutely refuse to allow them to be expressed in words..
  • It is only because he became like us that we can become like him.
  • When our will wholeheartedly enters into the prayer of Christ, then we pray correctly.
  • Where a people prays, there is the church; and where the church is; there is never loneliness.
  • If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.
  • Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy.
  • Our community with one another consists solely in what Christ has done to each of us.
  • Who is pure in heart? Only those who have surrendered their hearts completely to Jesus that he may reign in them alone. Only those whose hearts are undefiled by their own evil–and by their own virtues too. The pure in heart have a child-like simplicity like Adam before the fall, innocent alike of good and evil: their hearts are not ruled by their conscience, but by the will of Jesus.
  • Absolute seriousness is never without a dash of humor.
  • 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.
  • Fulfilled life is possible in spite of unfulfilled wishes.
  • And if we ask how are we to know where our hearts are, the answer is just as simple – everything which hinders us from loving God above all things and acts as a barrier between ourselves and our obedience to Jesus is our treasure, and the place where our heart is.
  • If my sinfulness appears to me to be in any way smaller or less detestable in comparison with the sins of others, I am still not recognizing my sinfulness at all. … How can I possibly serve another person in unfeigned humility if I seriously regard his sinfulness as worse than my own?
  • A king who dies on the cross must be the king of a rather strange kingdom.