“In his personal life,” Bethge writes of Bonhoeffer after his return from New York, “something occurred during those months that is hard for us to perceive fully, though its effects are plain.  He himself would never have called it a conversion.  But a change occurred in him.”

Bonhoeffer himself later described this change as a turn from “the phraseological to the real.”

Its manifestations were quite visible to those who knew him: more regular church attendance, scriptural meditation, prayer, oral confession, and a pacifist interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount…

(Stephen R. Haynes and Lori Brandt Hale, Bonhoeffer for Armchair Theologians, 23).