Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Bonhoeffer (Student Edition), by Eric Metaxas

Those of you who have hung around this blog for a while know that Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one of my historical heroes. A brilliant theologian, friendly man, and committed Christian, his worship of God led him all the way to laying down his life for his convictions. He wrote many books, including The Cost of Discipleship, which I reviewed here. A biography released about him last year seeking rather poorly to prove he had a closet homosexual leaning.

But the biography I keep coming back to is Eric Metaxas' Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. This book encompasses his theology, his history, and the times he lived in a masterful mix. When a student edition of this book released, I had an opportunity to read it, and I grabbed at the chance.

The Book
[From BookLook Bloggers] In his New York Times bestseller Bonhoeffer, author Eric Metaxas presents the fullest account of Bonhoeffer's heart-wrenching 1939 decision to leave the safe haven of America for Hitler's Germany.

Now abridged and adapted in student-friendly language, Bonhoeffer, Student Edition tells the story of one of Christianity's most courageous heroes. The student edition will share Bonhoeffer's inspirational testimony with children in a compelling and relatable way. Young readers will enjoy learning about the fascinating life of the man who had the courage to follow his convictions into Nazi Germany and stand up for others because of his radical faith.

About the Author
Eric Metaxas is the author of the New York Times bestseller Amazing Grace, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God (But Were Afraid to Ask), Everything Else You Always Wanted to Know About God, and thirty children’s books. He is founder and host of Socrates in the City in New York City, where he lives with his wife and daughter. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, Washington Post, Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Marks Hill Review, and Fist Things. He has written for VeggieTales and Rabbit Ears Productions, earning three Grammy nominations for Best Children’s Recording.

My Thoughts
Bonhoeffer is always inspiring. In today's culture, even more so. This student edition captures his commitment to the integrity of the church in a time of government control. The editors still use his personal letters and lots of quotes from men during that time, going through Bonhoeffer's childhood, education, engagement, and imprisonment. Mostly it was a nice, compact view. The only part that suffered from the abridgment was his time in America, which provided a turning point for his relationship with Christ, making him "fall in love with Jesus." 

The student edition gives a fun code treasure hunt, definitions of long words, a glossary of important people and terms, and boxed paragraphs explaining different things such as what a political prisoner is,or hymns sung at Bonhoeffer's memorial service, or different points of theology he believed. Each chapter includes discussion questions at the end, which is a great resource for parents looking to continue the conversation throughout the day. Personally, I think they would be great to use at the dinner table, in the car running errands, and at other times. 

In this decade, I consider it more important than ever that every person meets Bonhoeffer. This book provides a great family read-aloud for all ages, and will inspire children to be that faithful, uncompromising witness of truth in the days to come. Whether you're a student, or just want a shorter view of his life, this edition fills a gap. I heartily enjoyed it, and can't wait to give it to my sister and other people I know.

I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more about the book, including purchasing information, here.

PS. More exciting articles in the works! Be sure to come back Friday for a review of Suzannah Rowntree's upcoming novella, The Prince of Fishes


  1. I bet this is really good! :) Did you like the student edition as much as the bigger one?

    1. I did, though for different reasons. Both were refreshing reminders of Bonhoeffer's life--and the student one I would recommend for a less intimidating introduction to him. :)


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