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Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes

40 of the best book quotes from Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  1. #1
    “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.’”
  2. #2
    “Christian love draws no distinction between one enemy and another, except that the more bitter our enemy’s hatred, the greater his need of love. Be his enmity political or religious, he has nothing to expect from a follower of Jesus but unqualified love. In such love there is no inner discord between private person and official capacity. In both we are disciples of Christ, or we are not Christians at all.”
  3. #3
    “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.”
  4. #4
    “And if we answer the call to discipleship, where will it lead us? What decisions and partings will it demand? To answer this question we shall have to go to him, for only he knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows the journey’s end. But we do know that it will be a road of boundless mercy. Discipleship means joy.”
  5. #5
    “Is there some part of your life which you are refusing to surrender at his behest, some sinful passion, maybe, or some animosity, some hope, perhaps your ambition or your reason? If so, you must not be surprised that you have not received the Holy Spirit, that prayer is difficult, or that your request for faith remains unanswered.”
  6. #6
    “Be not anxious! 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 all anxiety.”
  7. #7
    “You are disobedient, you are trying to keep some part of your life under your own control. That is what is preventing you from listening to Christ and believing in his grace. You cannot hear Christ because you are wilfully disobedient. Somewhere in your heart you are refusing to listen to his call. Your difficulty is your sins.”
  8. #8
    “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
  9. #9
    “It is in this light that the good works of the disciples are meant to be seen. Men are not to see the disciples but their good works, says Jesus. And these works are none other than those which the Lord Jesus himself has created in them by calling them to be the light of the world under the shadow of his cross.”
  10. #10
    “The will of God, to which the law gives expression, is that men should defeat their enemies by loving them.”
  1. #11
    “Jesus stands between us and God, and for that very reason he stands between us and all other men and things. He is the Mediator, not only between God and man, but between man and man, between man and reality.”
  2. #12
    “Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a great realist. He was one of the few who quickly understood, even before Hitler came to power, that National Socialism was a brutal attempt to make history without God and to found it on the strength of man alone.”
  3. #13
    “No, God and the world, God and its goods are incompatible, because the world and its goods make a bid for our hearts, and only when they have won them do they become what they really are. That is how they thrive, and that is why they are incompatible with allegiance to God. Our hearts have room only for one all-embracing devotion, and we can only cleave to one Lord. ”
  4. #14
    “Jesus is the only significance. Beside Jesus nothing has any significance. He alone matters.”
  5. #15
    “When a man gets angry with his brother and swears at him, when he publicly insults or slanders him, he is guilty of murder and forfeits his relation to God. He erects a barrier not only between himself and his brother, but also between himself and God.”
  6. #16
    “Every moment and every situation challenges us to action and to obedience. We have literally no time to sit down and ask ourselves whether so-and-so is our neighbour or not. We must get into action and obey - we must behave like a neighbour to him.”
  7. #17
    “It is only because he became like us that we can become like him.”
  8. #18
    “True prayer is done in secret, but this does not rule out the fellowship of prayer altogether, however clearly we may be aware of its dangers. In the last resort it is immaterial whether we pray in the open street or in the secrecy of our chambers, whether briefly or lengthily, in the Litany of the Church, or with the sigh of one who knows not what he should pray for. True prayer does not depend either on the individual or the whole body of the faithful, but solely upon the knowledge that our heavenly Father knows our needs.”
  9. #19
    “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.”
  10. #20
    “Suffering means being cut off from God. Therefore those who live in communion with him cannot really suffer.”

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  1. #21
    “The more genuine and the deeper our community becomes, the more will everything else between us recede, the more clearly and purely will Jesus Christ and his work become the one and only thing that is vital between us.”
  2. #22
    “We are gentle and we are severe with one another, for we know both God’s kindness and God’s severity.”
  3. #23
    “Silence is the simple stillness of the individual under the Word of God… Silence is nothing else but waiting for God’s Word and coming from God’s Word with a blessing.”
  4. #24
    “I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me.”
  5. #25
    “At the threshold of the new day stands the Lord who made it.”
  6. #26
    “Every member serves the whole body, either to its health or to its detriment.”
  7. #27
    “When we received forgiveness instead of judgment, we, too, were made ready to forgive the brethren. What God did to us, we then owed to others.”
  8. #28
    “The elimination of the weak is the death of fellowship.”
  9. #29
    “Therefore, at the beginning of the day let all distraction and empty talk be silenced and let the first thought of the first word belong to him to whom our whole life belongs.”
  10. #30
    “One who cannot listen long and patiently will presently be talking beside the point and be never really speaking to others, albeit he be not conscious of it.”
  1. #31
    “Only where hands are not too good for deeds of love and mercy in everyday helpfulness can the mouth joyfully and convincingly proclaim the message of God’s love and mercy.”
  2. #32
    “One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation, and despair.”
  3. #33
    “Where the heart is not singing there is no melody, there is only the dreadful medley of human self-praise.”
  4. #34
    “We are members of a body, not only when we choose to be, but in our whole existence.”
  5. #35
    “The individual must realize that his hours of aloneness react upon the community. In his solitude he can sunder and besmirch the fellowship, or he can strengthen and hallow it.”
  6. #36
    “He who loves his dream of community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial.”
  7. #37
    “Nothing can be more cruel than the tenderness that consigns another to his sin. Nothing can be more compassionate the the severe rebuke that calls a brother back from the path of sin.”
  8. #38
    “Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him, and the more deeply he comes involved in it, the more disastrous his isolation.”
  9. #39
    “Every Christian community must realize that not only do the weak need the strong, but also that the strong cannot exists without the weak.”
  10. #40
    “Has fellowship served to make the individual free, strong, and mature, or has it made him weak and dependent? Has it taken him by the hand for a while in order that he may learn again to walk by himself, or has it made him uneasy and unsure?”

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