Select Quotes from “Bonhoeffer”: A Dietrich Bonhoeffer Biography

Monday night I watched a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer (February 4 1906 – April 9 1945) was a German (Lutheran) pastor, theologian, dissident anti-Nazi and founding member of the Confessing Church. He earned his doctorate at age 21. His writings on Christianity’s role in the secular world have become widely influential, and many have labelled his book The Cost of Discipleship a modern classic. Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer became known for his staunch resistance to the Nazi Dictatorship. He strongly opposed Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. He was also involved in plans by members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office) to assassinate Adolf Hitler. He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and executed by hanging in April 1945 while imprisoned at a Nazi concentration camp, just 23 days before the German surrender.

This biography (simply titled: Bonhoeffer) interviews a best friend of his, several of his seminary students, a would-be-sister-in-law, along with several others. It is a great watch whether or not one agrees theologically.

Here are some quotes:

“Christianity means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ. No Christian community is more or less than this.”

“Cheap grace is grace without the cross. Costly grace is the gospel for it costs us our lives and God His Son’s.”

“Whenever Christ calls us, His call leads us to death.”

When appointed the head of a seminary, students addressed Bonhoeffer with “Hail, director.” He responded “no, brother Bonhoeffer.”

“This is the end. This is the end for me; this is the beginning of life.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s last words before his hanging.

Just a few quotes. I’ve read sections of his works. I wish to read his books in their entirety and I want to encourage you to check his life and works out, as well. A truly gracious, and bold defender of the faith. There is much to learn from our brother, Bonhoeffer. May we consider our lives as nothing of great value and stand for Christ even if it leads to death, as Bonhoeffer did, and let us say “This is the end… for me.. but the beginning of life.”


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