Discipleship: Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 4
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Discipleship: Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 4 (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works #4)

4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  15,330 ratings  ·  535 reviews
With that sharp warning to his own church, which was engaged in bitter conflict with the official nazified state church, Dietrich Bonhoeffer began his book Discipleship (formerly entitled The Cost of Discipleship). Originally published in 1937, it soon became a classic exposition of what it means to follow Christ in a modern world beset by a dangerous and criminal governme...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published November 20th 2000 by Fortress Press (first published 1937)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Dwight Davis
I went into Discipleship thinking that I would really hate it. I love the early academic theology of Bonhoeffer, and I'm really interested in Bonhoeffer studies, but I figured that a book couldn't be that interesting and ground breaking if so many fundamentalists love it. I was so wrong.

Bonhoeffer puts forth a lot of very radical ideas here. The idea of the Church being the physical manifestation of Christ, and therefore vicariously representing Christ on earth is brilliant. Bonhoeffer completel...more
Sandy Ferguson
Where does one begin?
This is a book that will profoundly change your understanding about what it means to be a person of faith in the world. Bonhoeffer challenges us to look beyond the values of this world, and asks us are we willing to embrace the true cost of discipleship? His analysis of cheap grace, and its corrupting influence reminds us that there are times that we have to challenge the powers of this world, that there are times when to be a good Christian means we can't always be a good c...more
booklady
Listened to the audio version of this book and found it very compelling. It challenged me in ways I didn't know I needed challenging, which is why it earns 5 stars from me. As a lifelong cultural Catholic and for the last twenty years (or so) actively striving-to-be-Christlike Catholic, I need books which help me to look at my faith from a fresh perspective.

Bonhoeffer's eclectic approach to the Gospels reminds me very much of his German compatriot and one of my other favorite authors, Pope Bened...more
Mike
I have spent most of my life attending what are generally called the mainline Protestant denominations in the US. I grew up in the United Methodist Church and I'm now a PCUSA Presbyterian. I have heard this book quoted or referenced In sermons and bible studies more times than I can count. But I had never actually read it myself so I decided to as part of a Lenten discipline of reading only books on religion during Lent.

Having now finished, I am surprised at its popularity among liberal Christi...more
Natalie Wickham
Ever since reading the remarkable Bonhoeffer biography by Eric Metaxas last year, I’ve been eager to read more of Bonhoeffer’s own writings. Discipleship is of particular interest to me, so I decided to start with this book. As was alluded to in the biography, the book deals not primarily with the concept of discipleship in regards to discipling others, but primarily with the individual’s role and responsibilities as a disciple of Christ. I copied down many excerpts from various chapters, but es...more
Paul Mullen
Having read Eric Mataxus's brilliant biography of Bonhoeffer... 5 stars... skip this review... go read the biography... I had to read more of what Bonhoeffer wrote. It is tough reading. Good food, but vegetables when my brain occasionally wanted chocolate!

The book is divided into 5 sections:

1) Grace and discipleship
2) The Sermon on the Mount
3) The messengers
4) The Church of Jesus Christ and the life of discipleship


The book is worth your time if you're interested in deepening in discipleship. Se...more
Brett
This book will mess you up, and you will be better for it - at least it should. Bonhoeffer combats what he coins "cheap grace" (i.e., grace with no demand, no cost, no cross). He demonstrates that the life of discipleship is the life of crucifixion. But this is not from some pussified metrosexual pastor, wearing his tight button-down, throwing around terms like "imitatio christi." No, this is from a man who did it, who faithfully followed and bore witness to Christ until the end when he was hung...more
Emily Woodham
I loved this book! Some passages were more difficult than others, but I found it to be time well spent to think through what Bonhoeffer had to say.

I disagree with some of Bonhoeffer's pacifist views. He mentioned that he differs from the Reformers on those points, and I think I'd side more with them. Considering that he was a part of the plot to assassinate Hitler, I'd be interested to know how he reconciled the plot with what he proposes in The Cost. I am reading his biography by Metaxas, and...more
Jonathan Woodward
Within the first few pages of the first chapter, I fell in love with this book. The first chapter, entitled “Costly Grace,” caught me hook, line, and sinker. This is not to say, however, that Bonhoeffer keeps me fastened to his words. Actually, quite the opposite happens. I find that his thoughts become repetitive, and unnecessarily provocative. Themes are repeated over and over. This is not to say that The Cost of Discipleship does not offer a good read, rather it was unnecessarily repetitive i...more
Steve
A great thought provoking read setting forth Bonhoeffer's thoughts on the Word as it relates to discipleship. I particularly appreciated his thoughts on "cheap" vs. "costly" grace: "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." While Gods grace is freely given it isn't free, and while you could never earn God...more
Charlene
This book begins with a devotional and challenging coverage of the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew's Gospel. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was jailed in World War II because he resisted Nazi influence in the Church and elsewhere. He was hung just before the prison camp was liberated by the Allies.

I used to read this book once per year, especially the material about what Bonhoeffer calls "Cheap Grace." As a New Testament Professor, I also assigned it as part of a seminary course on Matthew's Gospel, so th...more
Will Waller
The cost of discipleship was an important one for me-turned a new corner with this one. Here are some of my notes from it:

The seemingly dischotomous problem of the clals to faith through grace with the call to obedience as well.
* they are not divorced but are united--the story of Peter and the boat.
* he must be called to obey -- they faith in Jesus exists and he obeys the call to it.
* to the sinner who struggles with faith he must obey Jesus' way then he will find faith.

Story of the young ric...more
Lorna
I wish I could have read this book in its original language - German - because I'm just just a bit of the brilliance is lost in translation. However, the necessary content has remained well intact and it is the content which makes it a book for all seasons, nations, and peoples. In Bonhoeffer's work, he describes the many ways in which the Christian will have to sacrifice himself in order to follow Christ. He deals seriously with topics such as "the Enemy," speaking of the time which is "coming...more
Hannah
Wow. Dietrich Bonhoeffer is THE MAN. (And not the one who's always trying to keep us down, either.) That thought kept replaying in my mind as I read the memoir that G. K. Bell, the bishop of Chichester, wrote for him at the beginning of the book. Just amazing that he was so willing to stand up to Nazis and Hitler's power at a time when so few were openly doing so, by working to get the Church to publicly condemn the Nazis' actions, by refusing to serve in the army, and by even plotting to bring...more
Tim Chavel
What is the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ? Well that is what this book explains. Bonhoeffer makes nit plain that the price is high. Ther cost means we must die to self! I few quotes from the book:

Jesus asks nothing of us without giving us the strength to perform it. His commandment never seeks to destroy life, but to foster, strengthen and heal it. p. 40

"Ye are the salt." Jesus does not say: " You must be the salt." It is not for the disciples to decide whether they will be the salt o...more
Bob
I'm not going to attempt to "review" such a classic work. Rather, I thought I would comment on what I thought were some striking themes in Bonhoeffer's work.

One thing is the theme of unqualified obedience to Christ. One of Bonhoeffer's chapters is "The Call of Discipleship" and I think that may have been an even more appropriate title for the book. The call is both a gracious call, one we need but don't deserve, and a call to implicit, unqualified obedience in following Christ, as in the case of...more
Ann
"When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die." For Bonhoeffer, this phrase sums up what one pays when he/she decides to answer the call of Christ.

It isn't the lukewarm affection displayed by many churchgoers. Bonhoeffer wrote this book before World War II when Europe and North America were considered "Christian." The lack of a Christianity, however, that cost, may be one reason Nazism was able to grow in a country that had known Christian theologians and intellectuals. The country had beco...more
Jeremy
I'm rating this a 5 mostly due to the personal significance I derived while reading, as well as for the enormous theological insight Bonhoeffer's book gave me, in particular about what the Beatitudes actually mean. I put this in the 'life-changing' heading of my personal library, and I'd estimate that about 25% of my copy is now underlined. As for readability, it was a bit of a slog at points as Bonhoeffer's style is quite academic, though his insights are broadly relevant. Overall I found his e...more
Brenton
"When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die."

As a Christian this book was deeply challenging and moving to me. It's difficult to put into words the effect that this book has. Someone of another faith or belief system may find it hard to sympathize, but reading the text will have a similar effect on anyone. Bonhoeffer lived out the radical faith he preaches in this work, and proved it with his life. This forum is too short a medium to convey everything unique and valuable about this work,...more
Jeanie
Bonhoeffer was only a few that understood that National Socialism was godless and in my opionion stripping men of dignity, liberty and freedom. I think this is a good read because the enemy of cheap grace is so rapid in our churches today. Bonhoeffer lived in a time where cheap grace could not be afforded and so do we. The book gives a clear understanding of grace thru discipleship. Bonhoeffer goes on to say that this cheap grace is what we give ourselves instead of being given by God thru Jesus...more
Eli Mostrales
In this book, Bonhoeffer coined the term cheap grace. Justification by grace alone is arrived at as the answer to a sum, not as the initial data in man's spiritual quest; here is a relevant quotation from the book:

At the end of a life spent in the pursuit of knowledge Faust has to confess:

"I now do see that we can nothing know."

That is the answer to a sum, it is the outcome of a long experience. But as Kierkegaard observed, it is quite a different thing when a freshman comes up to the university...more
Kayla
Bonhoeffer has some incredible things to say. In the first part of his book, he compares “costly grace” and “cheap grace.” How often we cheapen God’s grace! I underlined a lot in that section. In the second (and longest) of the three parts, he goes through the Sermon on the Mount in depth. Some of what he mentioned, I’d heard before; some I hadn’t. It was interesting to look at it with a different perspective. His third section is mostly about the Church and what we should look like in the world...more
C. Hollis Crossman
Put simply: grace is not cheap, and Christ's followers are called to imitate Him and practice the God-ordained ethics presented in the Law and elaborated in the Beatitudes.

Bonhoeffer calls us to abandon the heretical notion of "free grace" in the sense of "grace that requires nothing of the recipient." While this is technically true in the sense that no one is saved through his or her good works, it's also absolutely true that God calls us to repentance and new life in the Spirit.

The call is ete...more
Barry
This book is chock full of wisdom and deeply profound insights, but it took me almost two months to get through it simply because its readability is quite low. Perhaps this is because of the translation, or because Mr Bonhoeffer wrote in a different era, but whatever the reason, it's a tough read. Compounding the problem of poor readability is the injection of strong opinions about non-essential Christian beliefs. Writers are entitled to their opinions like everyone else, and I'm entitled to dis...more
Jimmy
Glad to have finally gotten through this classic. The opening of the book was very edifying and I enjoyed the way how the author tackled on the problem of cheap grace theology. Dietrich Bonhoeffer is truly a Lutheran and one get that feel in the book. It is a call to believers to be disciples of Jesus Christ and to be one faithfully. An excellent book for a believer to read to count the cost and one in which the readers must keep in mind that for the author who lived in Nazi Germany had to pay t...more
Joy
My Tuesday Bible study has been discussing this book over the past several months. We enjoyed the book and our time together so much that we didn't even take a summer break. Several of us read the Eric Metaxis book on Bonhoeffer's life, so that was helpful in putting Bonhoeffer's thoughts into the context of the life he was living in Nazi Germany. It was encouraging to see that there were believers who discerned early the evil of Hitler. The Bonhoeffer family was very prominent, yet not Christia...more
David Shane
No one will ever accuse Bonhoeffer of not being serious about his faith. The early chapters in this book are probably the most important and by far the most quoted. Bonhoeffer warns against a "cheap grace" that justifies the sin, without justifying the sinner - in a church this might manifest itself by constant "don't worry about it" preaching of the forgiveness of God, without ever speaking about the obedience of man. For if we love God, we will obey God - and Bonhoeffer hits on this over and o...more
Erin
Powerful writing and powerful ideas. The only problems I had were that it began to feel like a chore to read after a while (but that's probably because I don't read a lot of nonfiction, let alone theology) and that Bonhoeffer's rhetoric bordered on discouraging. I don't know how much value this book would hold for people who aren't interested in Christianity, as every main idea is grounded on belief in Jesus Christ. Unlike, say, Mere Christianity, I think this is a Christian classic that isn't v...more
Shannon
Years ago a few friends and I started a book club discussing topics of Christian ideologies, and after hearing my professor's recommendation for Bonhoeffer, we embarked on a six-month odyssey through The Cost of Discipleship. Bonhoeffer's life story is a living testament to the dynamic words on the pages urging Christians to seriously consider and take up the great commission of following Jesus, that Christianity is an active employment, and though good works do not earn salvation, they are vita...more
Stephen Wolfe
As someone who is not Lutheran, rejects the two-kingdom theology, and not particularly taken by Barthian theology, it is hard to assess this work. When filtered from his influencers and applied to traditional Reformed (or Reformational) theology, it is profound yet profoundly incomplete. It seems that Bonhoeffer's theology of the cross has no theology of the resurrection. A theology of the resurrection tells us that we are "in Christ" in his resurrection life, and for this reason all areas of li...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Politics of Jesus
  • The Religious Affections
  • The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God
  • Let the Nations Be Glad!: The Supremacy of God in Missions
  • The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society
  • The Imitation of Christ
  • Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home
  • Resident Aliens
  • Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church
  • A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society
  • Basic Christianity (IVP Classics)
  • Dogmatics in Outline
  • How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture
  • On the Incarnation
  • The Knowledge of the Holy
  • The Mortification of Sin
  • Christ and Culture
  • Generous Justice: How God's Grace Makes Us Just
29333
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian. He was also a participant in the German Resistance movement against Nazism, a founding member of the Confessing Church. His involvement in plans by members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office) to assassinate Adolf Hitler resulted in his arrest in April 1943 and his subsequent execution by hanging in April 1945, sho...more
More about Dietrich Bonhoeffer...
Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community Letters and Papers from Prison Sanctorum Communio Ethics (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Vol. 6) Psalms

Share This Book

“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.” 376 likes
“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” 229 likes
More quotes…