Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Strength to Love” as Want to Read:
Strength to Love
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Strength to Love

4.62  ·  Rating details ·  2,993 ratings  ·  356 reviews
A collection of sermons by this martyred Black American leader which explains his convictions in terms of the conditions and problems of contemporary society.
Paperback, 155 pages
Published April 1st 1981 by Augsburg Fortress Publishing (first published 1963)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Strength to Love, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Mel Foster This book doesn't get the attention it deserves. I was in Atlanta this January at the MLKJ National Historic Site and this book was not among those fo…moreThis book doesn't get the attention it deserves. I was in Atlanta this January at the MLKJ National Historic Site and this book was not among those for sale in the store.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,993 ratings  ·  356 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Strength to Love
May 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Martin Luther King Jr. may be seen by many people, unfortunately, as a cliche historical figure. Everybody feels as though they know a lot about him, but in reality most people know nothing about him besides the fact that he was a civil rights leader who got assassinated. I personally have always wanted to pick up a book by MLK Jr. because I have never been satisfied with the info that black history television programs and school classes gave me. Don't get me wrong, those sources gave me good in ...more
Ted Mallory
Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior wrote that "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" in 1963.

Just last week Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan said that "A terrorist attack on any of us is an attack on all of us."

I shared both quotes with my Civics class, but one eighth grader wrote on the board under Dr. King's words that "no one gets this." I asked if they'd like me to discuss it with them and the same student said, "no, we don't care either."

That made me
robin friedman
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Martin Luther King's Strength To Love

A new anthology of essays exploring the philosophy of Martin Luther King, "To Shape a New World" (2018) (edited by Tommie Shelby and Brandon Terry) has moved me to explore for myself the five books King published during his lifetime. King was an activist during his busy life, cut short by assassination fifty years ago. It is valuable to explore the degree of reflective thought King brought to his activism.

King's second book, "Strength to Love" (1963) consists
Jan 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in Africa, it was life changing. Martin Luther King, Jr. was not only an amazing leader for the African American community's fight for social justice, he also offers so much wisdom for all of us with words of guidance in love, faith, hope, and strength. He challenged me to become a thinking Christian, not just a following one. ...more
Kristen Freiburger
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I savored each sentence like fine dark chocolate. Poignant and powerful messages even all these years later. Thank you for the recommendation Julie!
May 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in social justice, Christianity, or extraordinarily eloquent writing
Recommended to Talat by: Professor Donald Matthewsan
Shelves: christianity
Dr. King's eloquence, rhetorical power and Christian witness inspire at every turn of phrase. each page is saturated with prophetic power. "Strength to Love" (1963) is a collection of sermons that Dr. King delivered in the late 1950s and 1960s and edited for print. I feel challenged to identify what the most powerful part of this book is. Every page seems to bear the best of the book's message. Dr. King's gospel of social justice and non-violence consistently radiates forth. Of special interest ...more
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
5 stars!!! I'm so so happy that I finally found a really good book and a 5 star worthy book. AND it was within the first month of 2021!! :)

Okay, so this was a fantastic book and I highly recommend it. It's a compilation of MLK sermons, and literally all of them were stellar. They were easy to understand, all based on biblical passages/verses and perfectly mixed God's grace and love for his people with the racial injustice that was happening in the 1960s. This was also interesting to read in 2021
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be."

"Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude."

"Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated."
Rachel A.  Dawson
I hate to admit it, but it took me this long to finally read a book by MLK himself. It was incredible— rich, thought-provoking, Gospel-centered, timely, relevant, powerful.
Nick Klagge
May 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I found this book of King's sermons to be very moving. I started thinking about reading it because of the whole tiff-taff over the fake King quote circulating on Twitter after the OBL assassination. (Despite not being a direct quote from King, it certainly expressed a sentiment consistent with his philosophy, and was more or less a paraphrase of a passage in this book.)

Before reading StL, I was of course familiar with King in a cultural sense and had read a couple of his writings such as "Letter
Sep 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith
"Admitting the weighty problems and staggering disappointments, Christianity affirms that God is able to give us the power to meet them. He is able to give us the inner equilibrium to stand tall amid the trials and burdens of life. He is able to provide an inner peace amid outer storms. This inner stability of the man of faith is Christ's chief legacy to his disciples. He offers neither material resources nor a magical formula that exempts us from suffering and persecution, but he brings an impe ...more
Mar 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: must-read
Two words: Read It.

Whether an agnostic, devout protestant, curious catholic or even aethist... this is the quintiessential compilation of sermons and speeches by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Read and discover why we celebrate this man. A visionary beyond words, yet it is through words that we understand the greatest realms of his imagination.

Im still an agnostic, but after reading I feel like ive finally discovered the power of "the word" and gained respect for a man of his time but who was o
Aurélien Thomas
Martin Luther King Jr was not only a civil right activist, he was first and foremost a pastor. This part of his personality is often overlooked, if not forgotten, yet it's crucial to fully understand him. His faith fuelled his political engagement and militant activities.

Short collection gathering some of his most representative sermons, we discover here a man of church deeply shaped by his Christianity, to the point of using the Gospels as a weapon to deeply transform an unfair society. The man
Marcian Enache-Poti
One must read this book to understand that Martin Luther King Jr. is more than the historical figure who fought and won against racial injustice and whose tragic end marked an important page in history. Just as strength to love is more and beyond the mundane romantic understanding our society generally tends to invests in the word "love".
Unexpected, impressive, inspirational and a valuable lesson about life, virtues, attitude and meaning. And it all sums up to love.
This book feels like the essen
15 of MLK's sermons that were tweaked and compiled into a book. Many are great. The last one, explaining how his ideas about non-violence developed, is excellent, and well worth the price of the book. ...more
I consider myself a person who was “informed” about Martin Luther King, Jr. I knew the timeline of events in his life, and what he stood for. But apart from I Have a Dream, I had never read or listened to his work. I am so glad I remedied that.

First the content. The sermons reveal how King’s faith was carried forward into social action. I could see the development of his scholarship and ideas, and how he used them to challenge his own Black Baptist church tradition, daring it not to be complacen
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Strength to Love is a compilation of sermons by Dr. King that includes many of the quotes by him that are circulated on MLK day and throughout the year. These sermons provide a necessary context for each quote. They reveal Dr. King’s commitment to eliminating racial injustice and economic injustice. They reveal his disapproval of police brutality and poverty. They reveal the man who called on the church to address racism and segregation within its own walls and in communities across the country ...more
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read in a long time. Profound!

For me, he cuts to the heart of the matter in Chapter 3, Love in Action, and Chapter 4, Loving Your Enemies. He says conquering the ignorance of those who promote segregation and prejudice requires love and forgiveness. "With Jesus on the cross, we must look lovingly at our oppressors and say, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.'"
"How do we love our enemies? First, we must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a bit like quoting Jesus. You sense sometimes that the people doing it the most haven't spent a whole lot of time with his work.

If they did, they might feel either unworthy or afraid to use his words so often and out of context. There might be something damning to their belief system or point right before or after the line they choose to quote.

In this collection, Dr. King the preacher and prophet calls out for Christian engagement with a troubled world. He'
Jan Wollet
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read this slowly! So much love in this little book.

This has to be one of my all-time favorite books. What a stalwart saint MLK Jr was, and I pick this book up again and again to be reminded what it means to love my enemy, persevere in trial, and be courageous in having a tough mind and soft heart. He has taught me to be a better Christian and laid out the sharp keenness of his mind and theology and how it encompassed his worldview, how it should shape & challenge ours, and ask us to critique whose Kingdom and whose cause we are living for. I'm
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
This is a collection of 15 of Dr. King's sermons, which were originally published in 1963. I swear, almost all of them could have been written today, and they would still be just as relevant, just as applicable. Here was an amazing man with an amazing point of view, who was passionate about justice and loving towards others, and who didn't need to scream the loudest in order to make a difference. Brilliant work. I had never heard any of his sermons or speeches before, besides the "I Have a Dream ...more
Symon Hill
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Too often Martin Luther King is treated as if he were simply a producer of random inspirational quotes with no context. In contrast, this short book gives a selection of his sermons and short writings that reveal both the depth of his ideas and their rootedness in concrete historical struggles. They also show how politics and theology cannot be separated when it comes to the ideas and life of Martin Luther King. If you've not read King before (and especially if you're coming from a Christian per ...more
Jan 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: country
These sermons are AMAZING.
Margo Kelly
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally copyrighted in 1963, the content of this book still applies significantly to our lives today.
James Klagge
A book everyone should read. I had read it before many years ago, but re-read it now for an adult Sunday School class at a small black church. Many people knew little about King's speaking beyond the few video clips you hear over and over--"I Have a Dream" and "I've been to the Mountaintop." These are sermons he preached in the late 1950's and early 1960's. The book was originally published in 1963, but this 2010 reprint is missing two of the original sermons, with no explanation.
The main thing
Tim Williams
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am very happy to have read this collection of sermons over the past few months. I did so slowly, at times when I felt greatest anger over the GOP and Trump's repudiation of social justice and disregard for civil discourse. These sermons indeed grounded me and helped me think productively about the question "what can I do?" In that regard, reading these sermons also complemented the political sermons I hear often at my own church, a small social-justice-oriented Episcopal church in western Oreg ...more
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Respect this book. So much goodness here that's relevant then and now. Every sermon is convicting. I also realized how optimistic he was. I felt conflicted by this. (given current state of where we are, I can't say I'm similarly optimistic but do we have any choice but to have hope and not despair?) Perhaps that's his intent.

Here are my favorite sermons and quotes.

"A tough mind and a tender heart"
"Transformed nonconformist"
"A knock at midnight"
"How should a Christian view communism?"
Mar 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many people assume they know something about Dr. King, they post his quotes on social media, and remember what they were taught in school, but I've said it for a long time; until you read him, you have only a snapshot, and that snapshot is likely to be inaccurate. I think this book is case in point. In current debates on race and race theory, people from both "sides" tend to quote King favorably, but I tend to believe that he would disagree with an awful lot of what he would see from all sides o ...more
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Let me start by saying I was raised with a very strong anti-MLK bias. I was taught to believe that he was basically a fraud and grifter so the only thing I ever read of his was his I Have a Dream speech & Letter from a Birmingham Jail. My understanding shifted when teaching about Black History to my kids but I still only knew the barest outline of MLK.

Fast forward twenty years to reading this book. I realized that though I’ve read extensively now on Black History I still had never read a comple
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
how relevant today? 4 32 Jul 26, 2012 07:15AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope
  • Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep
  • How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice
  • Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation
  • The Prophetic Imagination
  • Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom
  • Raise Your Voice: Why We Stay Silent and How to Speak Up
  • Fighting Forward: Your Nitty-Gritty Guide to Beating the Lies That Hold You Back
  • Letters and Papers from Prison
  • A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal
  • Trouble I've Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism
  • Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage
  • Dangerous Love: Transforming Fear and Conflict at Home, at Work, and in the World
  • Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America
  • Critical Race Theory, An Introduction
  • Jesus and the Disinherited
  • I Tried to Change So You Don't Have To: True Life Lessons
  • Mending the Divides: Creative Love in a Conflicted World
See similar books…
Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the pivotal leaders of the American civil rights movement. King was a Baptist minister, one of the few leadership roles available to black men at the time. He became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955–1956) and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1957), serving as its first president. His ef ...more

Related Articles

    Pulitzer Prize–winning literary critic Michiko Kakutani, the former chief book critic of The New York Times, is the author of the newly...
70 likes · 14 comments
“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” 214 likes
“One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying. A persistent schizophrenia leaves so many of us tragically divided against ourselves. On the one hand, we proudly profess certain sublime and noble principles, but on the other hand, we sadly practise the very antithesis of these principles. How often are our lives characterised by a high blood pressure of creeds and an anaemia of deeds! We talk eloquently about our commitment to the principles of Christianity, and yet our lives are saturated with the practices of paganism. We proclaim our devotion to democracy, but we sadly practise the very opposite of the democratic creed. We talk passionately about peace, and at the same time we assiduously prepare for war. We make our fervent pleas for the high road of justice, and then we tread unflinchingly the low road of injustice. This strange dichotomy, this agonising gulf between the ought and the is, represents the tragic theme of man's earthly pilgrimage.” 186 likes
More quotes…