Book Review: Bonhoeffer

I finished Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy last week. I have one word to describe this book and this man.


Anyways. What a fantastic read. It’s definitely the longest book I’ve read in a while coming in just under 550 pages. It was fast paced, historical, hilarious and inspiring all at the same time.

First, Bonhoeffer was a beast. An absolute beast. He was all of the things in the subtitle of the book and more often than not he was all of those things at the same time. He loved children, inner city children specifically. He studied theology. Hated lazy or “nominal” Christians. He believed being Christian should permeate every aspect of your life and we, as Christians, should stand up for the disenfranchised. Furthermore, he lived it out, even playing part in an assassination attempt on Hitler because of the atrocities his regime were carrying out against those less fortunate.

Bonhoeffer should give all Christians a nice kick in the pants to be more active in the world and in their own personal devotional lives.  He lived in the biblical text. It was his source of strength and inspiration and hope and care and the motivation for all of his acts.

I love history and this book definitely touched my historical side. Metaxas took us into the second world war and gave us a picture of what was going on in the life of Bonhoeffer and how the world around him was affecting that. It was well done and helped me to put together a lot of pieces in a puzzle I had of that decade.

I was inspired to read my Bible more. I was inspired to look around me and see if there was something I could be doing to help those less fortunate. I was inspired to take the Bible seriously and I was inspired to live a life in community. How many books do all of those things?

If you want your passion for any of those to grow, I would recommend reading this book.

If there would be one negative about this book it would be in the life that Bonhoeffer was born into. The man did fantastic things and was able to do so because he was born into such an affluent family. He traveled, met influential people and could take time off to write and think in a way that others without his status couldn’t. Bonhoeffer isn’t to blame for this, but it didn’t help contribute to who he was.

Anybody else read it? Got any other great biographies out there?

*Ok, so I didn’t come up with the word, Andy Gordon did.  But, it still stands.



Filed under Book Review

5 responses to “Book Review: Bonhoeffer

  1. Joshua Wade

    If you’re really inspired, check out Bethge’s bio of him.

  2. fastest comment ever. and i’ll have to add that one to my list!

  3. It was one of the best books I’ve ever read. So inspired I actually named my German Shepherd Bonhoeffer, the greatest tribute of all time ;0)

    Right now I’m reading Mataxes’ other biography on William Wilberforce. Not as long, almost as awesome. REALLY worthwhile.

  4. Chris Johnson

    Right on! Read this over the winter. Great read. Also loved how Bonhoeffer held so strongly to his convictions but had a way of showing such mercy to others. Love how metaxis describes the support he gave to friends going off to the German army at least on a human level. Just started his other biography of William Wilburforce… will let you know when that one is done. Though an interesting early comparison: Wilburforce too was from an influential family and had the privilege to do a lot of traveling and thinking.

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