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G.K. Chesterton Quotes from One of the Greatest Writers of His Time

These G.K. Chesterton quotes show why he was known by some as being the greatest writer of the 20th century.

There is a lot to be said about G.K. Chesterton. In the simplest explanation, he was a writer. However, when you dive into who he really was and the accomplishments of his work, you quickly discover that G.K. Chesterton’s work made a big impact on people.

Chesterton wrote thousands of articles, hundreds of short stories and poems, plays, and even 80 books. His work is credited for helping C.S. Lewis become a Christian and for inspiring Michael Collins to work for Irish Independence.

Enjoy some of the words of one of the most impactful writers of the 20th century.

Inspirational G.K. Chesterson quotes

1. “The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.” – G.K. Chesterson

2. “There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.” – G.K. Chesterson

3. “When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” – G.K. Chesterson

4. “An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.” – G.K. Chesterson

5. “A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.” – G.K. Chesterson

6. “To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.” – G.K. Chesterson

7. “The simplification of anything is always sensational.” – G.K. Chesterson

8. “The man of the true religious tradition understands two things: liberty and obedience. The first means knowing what you really want. The second means knowing what you really trust.” – G.K. Chesterson

9. “Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.” – G.K. Chesterson

10. “I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.” – G.K. Chesterson

Wise G.K. Chesterson quotes

11. “Just going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.” – G.K. Chesterson

12. “To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.” – G.K. Chesterson

13. “And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.” – G.K. Chesterson

14. “The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.” – G.K. Chesterson

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15. “Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” – G.K. Chesterson

16. “Marriage is an adventure, like going to war.” – G.K. Chesterson

17. “Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.” – G.K. Chesterson

18. “People generally quarrel because they cannot argue.” – G.K. Chesterson

19. “A man does not know what he is saying until he knows what he is not saying.” – G.K. Chesterson

20. “Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers is another.” – G.K. Chesterson

G.K. Chesterson quotes about life

21. “The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally, they are the same people.” – G.K. Chesterson

22. “To be clever enough to get all that money, one must be stupid enough to want it.” – G.K. Chesterson

23. “A teacher who is not dogmatic is simply a teacher who is not teaching.” – G.K. Chesterson

24. “Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become theirs that they may more perfectly respect it.” – G.K. Chesterson

25. “The paradox of courage is that a man must be a little careless of his life even in order to keep it.” – G.K. Chesterson

26. “Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable.” – G.K. Chesterson

27. “A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.” – G.K. Chesterson

28. “A businessman is the only man who is forever apologizing for his occupation.” – G.K. Chesterson

29. “There is nothing the matter with Americans except their ideals. The real American is all right; it is the ideal American who is all wrong.” – G.K. Chesterson

30. “People who make history know nothing about history. You can see that in the sort of history they make.” – G.K. Chesterson

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G.K. Chesterson quotes that can teach a lesson

31. “Brave men are all vertebrates; they have their softness on the surface and their toughness in the middle.” – G.K. Chesterson

32. “The trouble with always trying to preserve the health of the body is that it is so difficult to do without destroying the health of the mind.” – G.K. Chesterson

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33. “The only defensible war is a war of defense.” – G.K. Chesterson

34. “We are justified in enforcing good morals, for they belong to all mankind; but we are not justified in enforcing good manners, for good manners always mean our own manners.” – G.K. Chesterson

35. “The word ‘good’ has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man.” – G.K. Chesterson

36. “The honest poor can sometimes forget poverty. The honest rich can never forget it.” – G.K. Chesterson

37. “Youth is the period in which a man can be hopeless. The end of every episode is the end of the world. But the power of hoping through everything, the knowledge that the soul survives its adventures, that great inspiration comes to the middle-aged.” – G.K. Chesterson

38. “What people call impartiality may simply mean indifference, and what people call partiality may simply mean mental activity.” – G.K. Chesterson

39. “Man seems to be capable of great virtues but not of small virtues; capable of defying his torturer but not of keeping his temper.” – G.K. Chesterson

40. “The most dangerous criminal now is the entirely lawless modern philosopher. Compared to him, burglars and bigamists are essentially moral men.” – G.K. Chesterson

Insightful G.K. Chesterson quotes

41. “I regard golf as an expensive way of playing marbles.” – G.K. Chesterson

42. “The man who throws a bomb is an artist, because he prefers a great moment to everything.” – G.K. Chesterson

43. “If you do not understand a man you cannot crush him. And if you do understand him, very probably you will not.” – G.K. Chesterson

44. “In matters of truth the fact that you don’t want to publish something is, nine times out of ten, a proof that you ought to publish it.” – G.K. Chesterson

45. “Science in the modern world has many uses; its chief use, however, is to provide long words to cover the errors of the rich.” – G.K. Chesterson

46. “What affects men sharply about a foreign nation is not so much finding or not finding familiar things; it is rather not finding them in the familiar place.” – G.K. Chesterson

47. “Some men never feel small, but these are the few men who are.” – G.K. Chesterson

48. “Large organization is loose organization. Nay, it would be almost as true to say that organization is always disorganization.” – G.K. Chesterson

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49. “The present condition of fame is merely fashion.” – G.K. Chesterson

50. “I was planning to go into architecture. But when I arrived, architecture was filled up. Acting was right next to it, so I signed up for acting instead.” – G.K. Chesterson

More G.K. Chesterson quotes and sayings

51. “The problem of disbelieving in God is not that a man ends up believing nothing. Alas, it is much worse. He ends up believing anything.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

52. “Jesus promised his disciples three things—that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

53. “God is like the sun; you cannot look at it, but without it you cannot look at anything else.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

54. “You’ll never find the solution if you don’t see the problem.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

55. “Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

56. “There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

57. “Truth can understand error, but error cannot understand truth.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

58. “A really great person is the person who makes every person feel great.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

59. “Right is Right even if nobody does it. Wrong is wrong even if everybody is wrong about it.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

60. “The most incredible thing about miracles is that they happen.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

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Which of these G.K. Chesterson quotes resonated with you best?

Many people have not heard of G.K. Chesterton before even though many can’t put their finger on why. Some believe it’s because he doesn’t fit into one category of writing and others believe it’s because he argued for and against some ideas that others didn’t agree with.

Whatever the reason is, G.K. Chesterton wrote some powerful pieces and should be recognized for the accomplished writer that he was.

If you’re interested in checking out some of his work, his best-known novel is The Man Who Was Thursday and he’s famously known for a priest-detective character that showed up throughout his short stories.

Which of these G.K. Chesterson quotes and sayings resonated with you best? Do you have any other inspirational quotes to add? Let us know in the comment section below.

Stephanie Kirby
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