Bonhoeffer on becoming a Christian

From studying scripture to listening to scripture

"I plunged into my work in a very unchristian way, quite lacking in humility. I was terribly ambitious, as many people noticed, and that made my life difficult and kept from me the love and trust of people around me. I was very much alone and left to my own devices; it was a bad time. Then something happened which has tossed about and changed my life to this day. For the first time I discovered the Bible. Again, that’s a bad thing to have to say. I had often preached, I had seen a great deal of the church, spoken and written about it – but I had not yet become a Christian. Instead, I had been my own master, wild and undisciplined. I know that what I was doing then was using the cause of Jesus Christ for my own advantage, and being terribly vain about it. I pray God that it never happens again. Also I had never prayed, or only very little. For all my loneliness I was rather pleased with myself. Then the Bible freed me from that, in particular the Sermon on the Mount. Since then everything has changed. I have felt this plainly, and so have other people around me."

Bonhoeffer had written two dissertations and served as a pastor, yet he says he was using the cause of Christ.

For Bonhoeffer, the transition point happened when he discovered the Bible again.

When is the last time you listened to scripture, reading it not to further your causes and efforts, but as a Word from God? Do other people look at you and see how scripture has changed your life?

Our prayer is that in showing hospitality and giving people fresh questions, they will read scripture again as if for the first time, listening for the voice of the God who changes us.