170 C.S. Lewis Quotes

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Clive Staples Lewis was a British writer and lay theologian. These eloquent C.S. Lewis quotes explore God, man, and spirit in a fascinating way.

Best known for his works of fiction, including The Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters, and The Space Trilogy, Lewis held positions at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge and was a close friend of J.R.R. Tolkien.

After abandoning his faith in adolescence, C.S. Lewis returned to Anglicanism at age 32.

Christianity had a deep impact on his work, leading him to write the non-fiction apologetics Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain. During wartime, Lewis gained considerable acclaim for his Christian radio broadcasts, which brought comfort to many.

Whether you know him as a children’s author or find inspiration in his religious writings, here are the best C.S. Lewis quotes in one place.

C.S. Lewis Quotes

CS Lewis quote "Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again"
“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” – C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe

Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness.

Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.

Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say ‘infinitely’ when you mean ‘very’; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.

It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.

You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.

C.S. Lewis quote “One road leads home and a thousand roads lead into the wilderness”
“One road leads home and a thousand roads lead into the wilderness.” – C.S. Lewis

Suspicion often creates what it suspects.

If you love deeply, you’re going to get hurt badly. But it’s still worth it.

It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of His presence.

A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.

The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.

There is no uncreated being except God. God has no opposite.

C.S. Lewis quote “Things never happen the same way twice”
“Things never happen the same way twice.” – C.S. Lewis

No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.

Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.

Good English’ is whatever educated people talk; so that what is good in one place or time would not be so in another.

Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.

We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.

“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts”
“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.” – C.S. Lewis

It’s so much easier to pray for a bore than to go and see one.

Free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.

With the possible exception of the equator, everything begins somewhere.

There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him.

Thirty was so strange for me. I’ve really had to come to terms with the fact that I am now a walking and talking adult.

C.S. Lewis quote “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind”
“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” – C.S. Lewis

I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.

Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.

Adventures are never fun while you’re having them.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.

If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.

“If God had granted all the silly prayers I’ve made in my life, where should I be now?”
“If God had granted all the silly prayers I’ve made in my life, where should I be now?” – C.S. Lewis

You must ask for God’s help. After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again.

Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.

What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.

To walk out of His will is to walk into nowhere.

When Christ died, He died for you individually just as much as if you’d been the only man in the world.

“Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn”
“Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.” – C.S. Lewis

I think that if God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.

Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that’s the whole art and joy of words.

Write about what really interests you, whether it is real things or imaginary things, and nothing else.

The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That’s the deal.

C.S. Lewis quote “You can't know, you can only believe - or not”
“You can’t know, you can only believe – or not.” – C.S. Lewis

A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.

How incessant and great are the ills with which a prolonged old age is replete.

Joy is the serious business of Heaven.

Spiteful words can hurt your feelings but silence breaks your heart.

History isn’t just the story of bad people doing bad things. It’s quite as much a story of people trying to do good things. But somehow, something goes wrong.

C.S. Lewis quote “Though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not”
“Though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not.” – C.S. Lewis

Some people write heavily, some write lightly. I prefer the light approach because I believe there is a great deal of false reverence about. There is too much solemnity and intensity in dealing with sacred matters; too much speaking in holy tones.

Once a King in Narnia, always a King in Narnia. But don’t go trying to use the same route twice. Indeed, don’t try to get there at all. It’ll happen when you’re not looking for it.

The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe

Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you do, and you will presently come to love him.

The real problem is not why some pious, humble, believing people suffer, but why some do not.

“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”
“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” – C.S. Lewis

Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.

There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.

Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.

Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else.

If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.

C.S. Lewis quote “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less”
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” – C.S. Lewis

The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become – because He made us. He invented us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be.

Do not let us mistake necessary evils for good.

It is not your business to succeed, but to do right; when you have done so, the rest lies with God.

You have not chosen one another, but I have chosen you for one another.

The Four Loves

I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…Come further up, come further in!

The Last Battle
C.S. Lewis quote “Nothing you have not given away will ever really be yours”
“Nothing you have not given away will ever really be yours.” – C.S. Lewis

We regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it’s there for emergencies, but he hopes he’ll never have to use it.

The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.

Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing moods.

For you will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.

The Problem of Pain

We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God. The world is crowded with him. He walks everywhere incognito.

We do not want merely to see beauty… We want something else which can hardly be put into words – to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.

“All get what they want; they do not always like it”
“All get what they want; they do not always like it.” – C.S. Lewis

We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.

Now is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It won’t last forever. We must take it or leave it.

If you’re thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you, you’re embarking on something, which will take the whole of you.

It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.

I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for joy.

“I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once”
“I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.” – C.S. Lewis

This is one of the miracles of love: It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.

A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.

Eros will have naked bodies; Friendship naked personalities.

Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

The Screwtape Letters

It cost God nothing, so far as we know, to create nice things: but to convert rebellious wills cost him crucifixion.

“Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably”
“Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.” – C.S. Lewis

Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.

He died not for men, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, He would have done no less.

Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear.

If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.

Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning…

C.S. Lewis writing quote “You can make anything by writing”
“You can make anything by writing.” – C.S. Lewis

Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.

Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man… It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition is gone, pride is gone.

Mere Christianity

Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.

God has infinite attention to spare for each one of us. You are as much alone with him as if you were the only being he had ever created.

Of all the bad men, religious bad men are the worst.

C.S. Lewis quote “We are what we believe we are”
“We are what we believe we are.” – C.S. Lewis

It is a very funny thing that the sleepier you are, the longer you take about getting to bed.

The Silver Chair

God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want.

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

The sun looks down on nothing half so good as a household laughing together over a meal.

To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself?

“You can never get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me”
“You can never get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.” – C.S. Lewis

But one of the worst results of being a slave and being forced to do things is that when there is no one to force you any more you find you have almost lost the power of forcing yourself.

The Horse & His Boy

There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious. It is too good to waste on jokes.

Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is.

Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.

A Grief Observed

In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that-and, therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison-you do not know God at all.

“A woman's heart should be so close to God that a man should have to chase Him to find her”
“A woman’s heart should be so close to God that a man should have to chase Him to find her.” – C.S. Lewis

What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.

The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.

I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.

The Silver Chair

When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world.

Readers are advised to remember that the devil is a liar.

Each day we are becoming a creature of splendid glory or one of unthinkable horror.

“The truth is, of course, that what one regards as interruptions are precisely one’s life”
“The truth is, of course, that what one regards as interruptions are precisely one’s life.” – C.S. Lewis

I think that all things, in their way, reflect heavenly truth, the imagination not least.

A pleasure is not full grown until it is remembered.

All shall be done, but it may be harder than you think.

The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.

Let’s pray that the human race never escapes from Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere.

C.S. Lewis quote “Forgiveness does not mean excusing”
“Forgiveness does not mean excusing.” – C.S. Lewis

Miracles do not, in fact, break the laws of nature.

I gave in, and admitted that God was God.

Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.

Mere Christianity

Real joy seems to me almost as unlike security or prosperity as it is unlike agony.

Reason is the natural order of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning.

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear”
“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” – C.S. Lewis

Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.

Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.

Miracles

The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.

The Last Battle

Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.

Being in love” first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one”
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” – C.S. Lewis

God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain.

Thirst was made for water; inquiry for truth.

We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.

The Weight of Glory

Do not dare not to dare.

The Horse & His Boy

You may forget that you are at every moment totally dependent on God.

“If a man thinks he is not conceited, he is very conceited indeed”
“If a man thinks he is not conceited, he is very conceited indeed.” – C.S. Lewis

The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career.

We are mirrors whose brightness is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us.

Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.

I was with book, as a woman is with child.

Til We Have Faces

Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…

C.S. Lewis quote “To love at all is to be vulnerable”
“To love at all is to be vulnerable.” – C.S. Lewis

It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to.

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen – not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.

If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.

Mere Christianity

In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s, we do not accept them easily enough.

Human history is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.

“We meet no ordinary people in our lives”
“We meet no ordinary people in our lives.” – C.S. Lewis

No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.

The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.

If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.

The death of a beloved is an amputation.

A Grief Observed

Courage, dear heart.

She’s the sort of woman who lives for others – you can tell the others by their hunted expression.

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you”
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” – C.S Lewis

Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness.

A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.

When you are arguing against God you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all.

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for a bird to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.

Mere Christianity

We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.

“When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place”
“When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.” – C.S. Lewis

Gratitude looks to the Past and love to the Present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.

The Screwtape Letters

God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.

There would be no sense in saying you trusted Jesus if you would not take his advice.

Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.

The Joyful Christian
“The heart never takes the place of the head: but it can, and should, obey it”
“The heart never takes the place of the head: but it can, and should, obey it.” – C.S. Lewis

Whether you love Narnia or have been inspired by his devotional work, we hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of C.S. Lewis quotes! Is your favorite missing? Share it with us below.

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Natalie Seale

Natalie Seale is a writer, researcher, and editor for keepinspiring.me. She holds an MA, MSc, and PhD in History from the University of Edinburgh, and has started two businesses since 2011. Natalie is an avid reader, a keen traveller, and enjoys cooking and walking with her English Spaniel. Her posts focus on inspiring others to live healthy, happy, and active lives.