Read Life Together and Prayerbook of the Bible (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Vol 5) by Dietrich Bonhoeffer Online

life-together-and-prayerbook-of-the-bible-dietrich-bonhoeffer-works-vol-5

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the most influential Christian martyrs in history, bequeathed to humanity a legacy of theological creativity and spirituality that continues to intrigue people from a variety of backgrounds. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, a sixteen volume series, offers a fresh, critical translation of Bonhoeffer's writings, with introductions, annotations, and inteDietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the most influential Christian martyrs in history, bequeathed to humanity a legacy of theological creativity and spirituality that continues to intrigue people from a variety of backgrounds. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, a sixteen volume series, offers a fresh, critical translation of Bonhoeffer's writings, with introductions, annotations, and interpretations. The stimulus for the writing of Life Together was the closing of the preacher's seminary at Finkenwalde. The treatise contains Bonhoeffer's thoughts about the nature of Christian community based on the common life that he and his seminarians experienced at the seminary and in the "Brother's House" there. Bonhoeffer completed the writing of Life Together in 1938. Prayerbook of the Bible is a classic of Christian spirituality. In this theological interpretation of the Psalms, Bonhoeffer describes the moods of an individual's relationship with God and also the turns of love and heartbreak, of joy and sorrow, that are themselves the Christian community's path to God....

Title : Life Together and Prayerbook of the Bible (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Vol 5)
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780800683054
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 218 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Life Together and Prayerbook of the Bible (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Vol 5) Reviews

  • Chris
    2018-10-28 06:49

    1/11/09 I just reread this book for another class. I think it's my fourth reading now. All I want to add is that this book gets better each time. I'm amazed by Bonhoeffer's insight and the understanding of God that informs the whole work. It's small but packed with import. You'd think I would have learned its lessons in the first three readings, but I again found myself deeply challenged about my own behavior in Christian community. This one is worth coming back to again and again.------4/1/07 I re-read this book for the class I took on Bonhoeffer and found it even more enjoyable this time than the first couple of times. Bonhoeffer has some great practical advice about living in Christian community, as well as some challenging theological perspectives. It's easy to see the influences of Anglican monasticism on his view of communal life, which was particularly unique in protestant Germany at the time he wrote the book. The book is short and comprised of five chapters. Some of Bonhoeffer's insights are more helpful than others: his musings about the nature of community, confession, forgiveness, bearing, serving, etc. are all priceless. His thoughts on how prayer and worship ought to be conducted are interesting, but seem less universal. Even so, I highly recommend this challenging and thought-provoking book.

  • Ginger
    2018-10-30 07:02

    SO convicting! If the church truly looked like this, the world would have no choice but to look and see what this was all about.My pastor said a few weeks ago in Sunday service that we come together not as a judge on "The Voice," deciding whether to turn around because we like the music or the person beside us or the sermon. For some reason that has stuck so closely with me for weeks now and has freed me tremendously. I think somewhere along the way I exchanged discernment (a good and necessary thing) for judgment, constantly trying to discern if this music or if this method was following after God as closely as it ought to be. He reminded me that that's not my job. I'm not the head of the church and so while I don't accept just anything, the Holy Spirit is my filter.Life Together cemented so many of those things about my role in the body. I might need to reread this each time I've become part of a new fellowship. Because this book is so practically helpful, it would look different in every community. Because of my husband's job in the Navy, we move around a good bit and it was so fun to look at Life Together through the lens of every church we've been a part of and see the strengths of each congregation.This would also be an excellent read for any head of a body - whether that's a small family unit of marriage and family, a pastor, a Sunday school teacher, the head of a ministry team.One of the richest books I've read in a long time. I will certainly return to this again and again.

  • booklady
    2018-10-29 01:53

    In Life Together Bonhoeffer gives us penetrating definitions of human and spiritual love, just as he outlined the distinction between cheap and costly grace in The Cost of Discipleship. Listening to him give specific after specific, you get the decided impression he has lived the experience of which writes. Well could I get lost in his requirements, for often have I strayed down the paths of human love not realizing what a poor substitute it was for the real thing—not speaking for anyone but myself. And Bonhoeffer doesn’t seem to be ‘judging the other’ so much as speaking to the self: this is what you must do to love spiritually and not as a mere human. His concern is with the giving of love, not the being loved, so much the preoccupation of today. He goes on to describe Christian communal prayer, ministry, reading of Scripture, proclaiming, meditation, and individual prayer, concluding with one of the best rationales of one-on-one confession I’ve yet heard. Not so good as the The Cost of Discipleship, but certainly a Christian mainstay and well worth reading.

  • Kevan
    2018-10-22 05:47

    Whenever I read how-to books, I "skip to end" the consider the actual bio of the person. Does the person have a life narrative I admire? Would I actually want to be like them? If so, perhaps I'll take their advice. So here's Bonhoeffer. Nazi-resister, Gandhi liaison, secret super spy pastor. An amazing spirit, executed in a concentration camp, after laying a foundation for modern hearts to follow Christ. What a dude. I want to be like him, but maybe not in the exact manner he lays out here. This book is essentially "German engineering for Christian communities." A theologically-rooted how-to manual for living life with other Christians, following a very precise order. What would happen if you applied principles of theology AND utter efficiency to living life together? This book. It is highly prescriptive and slightly antiquated, with many many "musts" and "shoulds." But in Bonhoeffer's words, "It's not legalism, it's fidelity and orderliness." The passages on doing the "day with others" and "the day alone" give me pause: the schedule seems indeed a product of the 30s-50s, Germany, from a male perspective; lots of time for Orderly Pursuit of Structured Things (reading scripture, singing hymns, praying together, etc.), and it makes me evaluate my own chaotic household of boisterous kids, and I wonder where Bonhoeffer would find room for Playing Loudly With Preschoolers. I don't mean that dismissively: I think I could defend my schedule a little better against the chaos of the day in order to make time for meditation and solitude, and how I might invite my immediate family into more structured aspects of faith. Right now, Bonhoeffer's crew we ain't. The section on ministry is gorgeous. With its emphasis on listening, service, meekness, holding one's tongue, it calls people towards quite a powerful, quiet life of love. The passage on confessing was unexpectedly beautiful, and something I'll keep thinking about. This book has a few rough patches: the page where he rants about how NOT to do unison singing is quirky and adorable (those pesky basses and altos, always showing off their "astonishing range").

  • Eric Chappell
    2018-11-16 02:53

    Read 2013-2014Technically, my third time reading this book. First time solo; second with wife; third with community group. Friends, I cannot overstate how good this book is. My marginal notes exponentially increase with every read. If you haven't read this classic on Christian community, please read it this year. I can think of few other books that will be a help in marriage, humble you in relationships, increase your love for the church and your appreciation of the grace of community like Bonhoeffer's short, but epic, reflection. So, so good. Read 2012: Most likely this will be my favorite book of 2012. So rich. Chapter 1: Communitythe Word of God, the gospel, grounds community and creates it. The gospel takes us out of ourselves and points us to the other in Jesus Christ. Chapter 2: the Day with OthersHow to do, lead, participate, and enjoy family/community worship in the AM and PM. It should consist of reading, singing, praying. Chapter 3: the Day AloneThe importance of silence and solitude, as well as private meditation. Chapter 4: MinistryOfficial word ministry most important. However, we all have ministry of holding our tongue, meekness, listening, helping, bearing, and proclaiming to and for the other. Ministry of authority comes through service. Chapter 5: Confession & CommunionThe importance and benefit of private confession of sin, especially before Lord's Supper. What I'd really like to do is assign this as reading for anyone who was engaged, thinking about starting small groups, needed encouragement, tips, or grounds for family worship, wanted to find out how to do private devotions. Recording all the gems of quotes in this book would take way too long.

  • Holly
    2018-11-15 06:05

    1. There is value in disillusionment with fellow Christians so to avoid seeing fellowship as an "extraordinary social experience."2. "God has willed that we should seek and find His living Word in the witness of a brother, in the mouth of a man."3. "The Psalter is the vicarious prayer of Christ for His church...the new Humanity of Christ, the Body continues to pray His prayer...that is why the prayer of the Psalms belongs...to the fellowship."4. "Only in the infiniteness of [Scripture's] inner relationships, in the connection of Old and New Testaments...will the full witness to Jesus Christ the Lord be perceived."5. The Ministry Chapter, first two sections: "The Ministry of Holding One's Tongue" and "The Ministry of Meekness." This is what I like to call, conviction. Ouch!

  • Seth Comfort
    2018-11-12 10:12

    In my book club, we finished reading Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It is a fantastic book that I will probably return to and read again (hopefully each year). It is a short read, my version has 147 pages, but it is filled with wisdom and biblical truth's. The book is about living life together in Christian community. The chapters breakdown the different aspects of life together.The book starts with an introduction that gives a background on Bonhoeffer and his life. He was born in 1906 and was martyred at the hands of the Gestapo in 1945. It is amazing, to me, to know that he wrote this book while living in a concentration camp, yet he writes with a peace that can only come from God.Chapter 1: Community - talks about the importance of the Christian community and how it is not only an essential but a tremendous blessing to our lives. He explores how we should serve one another as Christ served the church and how it is only because of Christ's love that we can love our neighbor.Chapter 2: The Day with Others - this chapter lays out, almost hour by hour, what a typical day could/should look like in a Christian community. He talks about prayer life in the morning and evening. He also address the importance of reading Scripture on a daily basis. He doesn't forget the fact that people have to work too. He says we all need to work and do the job God has set before us. I love this part, he says "Without the burden and labor of the day, prayer is not prayer, and without prayer work is not work." It's like prayer gets us through the work day and work makes our prayer life significant.Chapter 3: The Day Alone - this chapter addresses silence and solitude. Bonhoeffer explains how even when we live in community, we still need times of solitude, prayer, silence, meditation and intercession. He hits on this but at the end of the chapter he again reminds us that we are apart of the body and that after a time alone, we should again be joined in community.Chapter 4: Ministry - this chapter is about the ministry of serving each other. I learned a lot in the chapter as he talks about the ministry of holding one's tongue, the ministry of meekness, of listening, of helpfulness, of bearing, of proclaiming and of authority. He address these in the context of sharing our lives with each other.Chapter 5: Confession and Communion - this chapter is just what the title explains, confessing to one another and then celebrating communion.Overall, this book is a great read and I would highly recommend it. He definitely challenged my thinking of community and how I can serve those around me. Bonhoeffer writes with such wisdom but also with humility. He really addresses how important it is to live in community. A final quote "In a Christian community everything depends upon whether each individual is an indispensable link in a chain. Only when even the smallest link is securely interlocked is the chain unbreakable."

  • Rebekah Courter
    2018-10-17 08:09

    What an amazing little book. I believe every Christian should read this at least once if not every year. It is definitely a must read."A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner. . . To make intercession means to grant our brother the same right that we have received, namely, to stand before Christ and share in His mercy." - p. 86

  • Andy Hickman
    2018-11-03 05:49

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 'Life Together' (London: SCM Press, 1962)- - - A bold and penetrating book challenging Christians to the life of community, which is to say, a life of Cross-centred living. - - - Chapters:1.Community.2.The Day with Others.3.The Day Alone.4.Ministry.5.Confession and Communion.- - - Memorable quotes include:Ch.1 - Community."It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian brethren is a gift of grace, a gift of the Kingdom of God that any day may be taken from us...""One who wants more than what Christ has established does not want Christian brotherhood. He is looking for some extraordinary social experience which he has not found elsewhere; he is bringing muddled and impure desires into Christian brotherhood. ...Christian brotherhood is threatened most often at the very start by the greatest danger of all, the danger of being poisoned at its root, the danger of confusing Christian brotherhood with some wishful idea of religious fellowship, of confounding the natural desire of the devout heart for community with the spiritual reality of Christian brotherhood." (p16)"Innumerable times a whole Christian community has broken down because it had sprung from a 'wish/dream. The serious Christian, set down for the first time in a Christian community, is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what Christian life together should be and try to realize it. But God's grace speedily shatters such dreams...” (p16)By sheer grace, God will not permit us to live even for a brief period in a dream world. He does not abandon us to those rapturous experiences and lofty moods that come over us like a dream... A community which cannot bear and cannot survive such a crisis, which insists upon keeping its illusion when it should be shattered, permanently loses in that moment the promise of Christian community. Sooner or later it will collapse. Every human wish/dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves his dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even thought his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial. (p17)God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The man who fashions a visionary idea of community demands that it be realized by God, by other, and by himself. He enters the community of Christians with his demands, sets up his own law, and judges the brethren and God accordingly. He stands adamant, a living reproach to all others in the circle of brethren. He acts as if he is the creator of the Christian community, as if his dream binds men together. When things do not go his way, he calls the effort a failure. When his ideal picture is destroyed, he sees the community going to smash. So he becomes, first an accuser of his brethren, then an accuser of God, and finally the despairing accuser of himself." (p17-18)- - - - Ch.2 - The Day with Others.“The Fellowship of the Table”“Ever since Jesus Christ sat at table with his disciples, the table fellowship of his community has been blessed by his presence.” (p56)“The Scriptures speak of three kinds of table fellowship that Jesus keeps with his own: daily fellowship at table, the table fellowship of the Lord;s Supper, and the final table fellowship in the kingdom of God.” (p56)“The fellowship of the table teaches Christians that here they still eat the perishable bread of the earthly pilgrimage. But if they share this bread with one another, they shall also one day receive the imperishable bread together in the Father's house. 'Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God” (Luke 14:15). (p59)- - - Ch.3 - The Day Alone.“Solitude and Silence”“Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. … Let him who is not in community beware of being alone.” (p67)- - - “But perhaps we do not think enough about the fact that no Christian community ever comes together without this argument appearing as a seed of discord.” (p93) - - - Ch.5 – Confession and Communion.“The day of the Lord’s Supper is an occasion of joy for the Christian community. Reconciled in their hearts with God and the brethren, the congregation receives the gift of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and, receiving that, it receives forgiveness, new life, and salvation. It is given new fellowship with God and men. The fellowship of the Lord’s Supper is the superlative fulfillment of Christian fellowship. As the members of the congregation are united in body and blood at the table of the Lord so will they be together in eternity. Here the community has reached its goal. Here the joy in Christ and his community is complete. The life of Christians together under the Word has reached its perfection in the sacrament.” (p112)- - -

  • Peter B.
    2018-11-06 01:46

    I have now read this book three times, and I continue to benefit from the practical wisdom contained in it. I don't give out five star ratings very often, but this one deserves it. Bonhoeffer's directions for life in Christian community, including family life, are biblical and convicting. I don't necessarily endorse Bonhoeffer's theology as a whole or his other writings (I understand that he was Neo-Orthodox, so do be aware of that influence), but I do recommend this book. I will likely re-read this book again in the future.

  • Jeremy
    2018-10-18 05:04

    This is an excellent book about what it means to live in Biblical community. There is an abundance of wisdom in this work that can be applied in any context of community. At the same time, there is also an abundance of dogmatic prescriptions of how to go about every aspect of devotional life, at a level that is obviously excessive. It is important to read with discernment, and when recommending the book to others, to be wise in the maturity of the one to whom you recommend it.

  • Katie Bliss
    2018-11-16 07:48

    Really, really good stuff here. At times it was a little over my head and I wished he'd had some more specific instructions regarding some issues and situations, and at other times I was like, whoa, way too specific! But for the most part, it was just solid theology about how Christians should be living with and supporting each other.

  • abby
    2018-11-16 05:45

    This is one of the most encouraging, eye-opening books I have read during my christian walk. It was such an encouragement and very convicting, especially the Ministry chapter. A must read for every christian!

  • Brad
    2018-11-10 01:58

    The last chapter is worth a reread every month as a devotional, especially before partaking in the Lord's Supper. He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy Pr.28;13

  • Kristin
    2018-10-21 10:01

    Solid teaching!I zipped through this & am now rereading each morning as part of my devotions.

  • Uri Brito
    2018-11-04 07:02

    A remarkable journey through life in the community, its necessity, and its supreme need for the individual. I will re-read this book next year.

  • Josh Hopping
    2018-10-31 07:43

    Born in 1906, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor and theologian who opposed the rise of Hitler and his Nazi government when the majority of church leaders voted to support the new regime. At age 27 Bonhoeffer fled Germany and became the pastor of two German speaking churches in London, England. Two years later in 1935 he returned to Nazi controlled Germany to help established an underground, illegal seminary for pastors. Bonhoeffer also got caught up in the shifting political winds of the country and ongoing war, becoming a spy for the Allied forces against Hitler and the Nazi. In the spring of 1943, eight years after returning to Germany, Bonhoeffer was arrested and placed in prison where he was died at 39-years of age on April 9, 1945.His book “Life Together” was originally published in 1938 and was rooted in the experience of living with his students and running the underground seminary. The book focuses on five key elements of the life together following Jesus: being in community with others, daily worship and devotions with others, personal spiritually, walking our calling with God, and confessing sins and living in forgiveness. Each one of these elements takes up an entire chapter wherein Bonhoeffer unpacks them in a matter that reflects someone who has lived the words on the page and not merely thought about them. In this way, the pages of “Life Together”, while not long, are incredible valuable to the greater Christian world, calling the followers of Jesus to live life together rather than as independent rafts adrift at sea. The first element of life together that Bonhoeffer tackles is quite simply community; that is, walking out life together as a people of Jesus. All too often people, especially in the United States of America or any other country with a long heritage of Christianity, take for granted the “privilege of living among other Christians” (pg 17). Bonhoeffer rightly points out that Jesus himself lived among his enemies and called his followers to do the same. Christians do not belong to the “seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes” (pg 17) so that the message of Gospel of the Kingdom of God may shine forth and souls may be deviled from the bonds of evil.From there, Bonhoeffer then moves on to describe what it means to start off the day within a community. Each day, Bonhoeffer suggests, should start with a common devotion shared by all members of the community during which the word of Scripture is read, the hymns of the Church are sung and the prayer of the fellowship prayed (pg 44). Each item in this list is of the upmost importance as they feed off each other and prepare the community for living life together amid their enemies. The third element of life together that Bonhoeffer expounds upon is personal spiritually. As valuable as the community can be for the individual, it can also be damaging as the individual ceases to find time to be alone with God. To counteract this, Bonhoeffer encourages each member of the community to set aside a portion of their day to sit in silence with Jesus in meditate on the Scriptures, prayer and intercession (pg 81). Afterwards, the individual is to come back into the greater community, bringing with them the “blessing of his aloneness” while, at the same time, receiving “anew the blessing of the fellowship” (pg 89).Walking out our calling with God through ministry is the fourth element that Bonhoeffer tackles. Only instead of talking about ministry in the typical manner of reaching outside of the community, Bonhoeffer talks about ministry to each other. It is the ministries of holding one’s tongue, meekness, listening, helpfulness, bearing, proclaiming, and authority that hold Bonhoeffer’s attention. The focus behind each of these ministries is to tackle the primary threat to the Christian community, which is the discord caused by community members trying to determine who is the greatest among them (pg 90). The fifth and final element of life together deals with confessing sins and living in forgiveness. A pious fellowship will, as Bonhoeffer noted, “permit no one to be a sinner” (pg 110). Therefore, seeing how each believer came to relationship with God through grace, it is of upmost importance that each follower of Jesus breaks the power of sin through confession. This confession does not have to be in front of the entire community; rather it can be done in fellowship with a trust brother or sister. It is enough that the sin is brought out “into the light” (pg 112). Bonhoeffer ends the books with some brief but powerful comments on the sacrament of communion. Specifically he calls out the need for each brother or sister to seek out “forgiveness of the others for the wrongs committed” (pg 121) before partaking the Lord’s Supper. “All anger, strife, envy, evil gossip, and unbrotherly conduct” (pg 121) is to be settled and removed from the community before receiving the grace of God through the sacrament. When this happens, all the members of the congregation become “united in body and blood at the table of the Lord” (pg 122). In conclusion, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book “Life Together” is a siren call to all Jesus followers to move beyond surface relationships and really live together under the grace of God. Believers are to embrace the community of other believers, worshiping daily with each other while respecting the need for individual communion with God as well as corporate worship. Furthermore, Bonhoeffer calls people forward to the ministry of serving others while living a life of forgiveness and confession. It is a tough call made all the more sharp by the knowledge that if Bonhoeffer and his students could live this way in the middle of Nazi Germany, then those in more peaceful times should be able to rise to the challenge.

  • Phil Brandvold
    2018-10-31 05:58

    Bonhoeffer's thoughts on Christian community are made even more poignant when you recognize the time and place from which they were penned (Nazi Germany), and yet they have a lot to say to the current state of Christianity particularly in America. Bonhoeffer illustrates a christo-centric way of life, lived out together in community with one another. While I disagree with his desire for a more monastic community in general (not necessarily explicitly mentioned in this book), this is basically a blueprint on what "Church" should look like. It is a heavier read, so be prepared to spend some time digesting the concepts, rereading passages, and underlining half pages ;)

  • Mad Russian the Traveller
    2018-11-12 04:43

    (July 27, 2011AD)This short book has only an introduction and five chapters, but oh how profound are the thoughts contained therein. I have only just finished through the first chapter (Community) and found numerous passages to quote. Many of the reviews on this book quote copiously from the text, but I will still add to the din. I will be reading this again periodically as I try to internalize these ideas. This passage reminds me to pray for my brothers around the world, it is also a comfort to me in my place as second class member of my church:"So between the death of Christ and the Last Day it is only by a gracious anticipation of the last things that Christians are privileged to live in visible fellowship with other Christians. It is by the grace of God that a congregation is permitted to gather visibly in this world to share God's Word and sacrament. Not all Christians receive this blessing. The imprisoned, the sick, the scattered lonely, the proclaimers of the Gospel in heathen lands stand alone. They know that visible fellowship is a blessing. They remember, as the Psalmist did, how they went "with the multitude...to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday" (Ps.42:4). But they remain alone in far countries, a scattered seed according to God's will."I will add more quotes to this review as I have time; for now: Novo VisumNeue Ansicht.Here are two more quotes on Community:(07/28/2011 update):"But God has put this Word into the mouth of men in order that it may be communicated to other men. When one person is struck by the Word, he speaks it to others. God has willed that we should seek and find His living Word in the witness of a brother, in the mouth of man. Therefore, the Christian needs another Christian who speaks God's Word to him. He needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged, for by himself he cannot help himself without belying the truth. He needs his brother solely because of Jesus Christ. The Christ in his own heart is weaker than the Christ in the word of his brother; his own heart is uncertain, his brother's is sure.And that also clarifies the goal of all Christian community: they meet one another as bringers of the message of salvation. As such, God permits them to meet together and gives them community. Their fellowship is founded solely upon Jesus Christ and this 'alien righteousness.' All we can say, therefore, is: the community of Christians springs solely from the Biblical and Reformation message of the justification of man through grace alone; this alone is the basis of the longing of Christians for one another."(07/29/2011 update):"When the way of intellectual or spiritual selection is taken the human element always insinuates itself and robs the fellowship of its spiritual power and effectiveness for the Church, drives it into sectarianism. The exclusion of the weak and insignificant, the seemingly useless people, from a Christian community may actually mean the exclusion of Christ; in the poor brother Christ is knocking at the door. We must, therefore, be very careful at this point."On scripture (a discipline of each day):(07/30/2011 update):"We must learn to know the Scriptures again, as the Reformers and our fathers knew them. We must not grudge the time and the work that it takes. We must know the Scriptures first and foremost for the sake of our salvation. But besides this, there are ample reasons that make this requirement exceedingly urgent. How, for example, shall we ever attain certainty and confidence in our personal and church activity if we do not stand on solid Biblical ground? It is not our heart that determines our course, but God's Word. But who in this day has any proper understanding of the need for scripture proof? How often we hear innumerable arguments 'from life' and 'from experience' put forward as the basis for most crucial decisions, but the argument of Scripture is missing. And this authority would perhaps point in exactly the opposite direction. It is not surprising, of course, that the person who attempts to cast discredit upon their wisdom should be the one who himself does not seriously read, know, and study the Scriptures. But one who will not learn to handle the Bible for himself is not an evangelical Christian."Well anyway, you get the idea; there is much to mine in this small book.

  • Maya
    2018-11-07 07:11

    Life Together, published in German in 1938, then translated into English in 1956, is Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s prescriptive for disciplined fruitful Christian life as it is lived in community, whether as the typical family unit or in a more communal setting.Bonhoeffer had been living and working in London as pastor of two congregations as he had chosen to leave Germany due to what, translator, John W. Doberstein explains was his conviction that German-Christian relations had been compromised in their relationship with the Third Reich.However, the Confessing Church requested that he return to his homeland and lead an underground seminary to train young pastors. At great risk, Bonhoeffer returned, living in common with twenty-five vicars in Germany while equipping other ministers. While in this living and work situation, he continued to write and Life Together is one of the works that grew out of this experience.Bonhoeffer’s theology is decidedly Christocentric in nature, so for those of us who do not subscribe to this type of exegesis, the book may initially be off-putting, however, his thoughtful treatment of what it requires from each individual to live out Christian-based communal life in the healthiest possible manner is strong, consistent, biblical and compassionate. His devotion to G-d is found within every single line and so is his deep desire for others to experience it as well.The book becomes all the more profound due to the life-circumstances that Bonhoeffer finds himself in. He began as a pacifist, but then was challenged by the question of whether he should take part in an effort to assassinate Hitler. The translator writes:“The man who felt all the force of the pacifist position and weighed the “cost of discipleship” concluded in the depths of his soul that to withdraw from those who were participating in the political and military resistance would be irresponsible cowardice and flight from reality. “ (pg. 11) “Here he acted in accord with his fundamental view of ethics, that a Christian must accept his responsibility as a citizen of this world where God has placed him.” (pg. 12)Bonhoeffer was arrested in April of 1943 and placed in a military prison where he continued to minister. He was transferred to various prisons from October 1944 onward and on April 8, 1945 at the concentration camp of Flossenburg, shortly after teaching and praying with fellow prisoners, he was removed from his cell and was led to the gallows the following day. Not long after, the camp was liberated by allied forces.Bonhoeffer’s passionate recommendations regarding both daily life and the arc of a community’s obligations over time seem daunting even to me, a deeply committed believer, and I wonder if this is either because of Bonhoeffer’s own radical commitment to Christ which might very well supercede the experience of most or if this is due to my own relatively relaxed and informal Christian experience in American culture which, at the present time, doesn’t put a high premium on discipline.In any case, Life Together not only gives a firm outline for living a truly Christian daily life where G-d is at the center, but gives a coherent, loving rationale for even the strictest discipline. I highly recommend this book, for if even a few of his recommendations were to be put into practice, one could not help but experience a profoundly changed and deepened relational experience with G-d and others.

  • John
    2018-10-22 06:58

    "Life Together" might be Bonhoeffer's most practical book; theology with its work clothes on. He was addressing Christian community. It surprised me that he addressed some sections specifically to Christian families, although it shouldn't have. After all, that is a form of community most Christians will be involved in for at least a portion of their lives. He is quite specific in suggesting how families should live, not only saying that they should sing but what they should sing (first Reformation chorales, then hymns of the Bohemian Brethren, then hymns of the ancient church).And none of this harmony stuff. Bonhoeffer thought singing should be strictly in unison:There is the bass or the alto who must call everybody's attention to his astonishing range and therefore sings every hymn an octave lower. There is the solo voice that goes swaggering, swelling, blaring and tremulant from a full chest and drowns out everything else to the glory of its own fine organ.Oh, dear. What would Bonhoeffer think of the music in the church I go to?We might dismiss some of Bonhoeffer's observations on singing, but there is much content in this short book that we won't so easily evade. I find myself especially wrestling with his thoughts on confessing our sins to our brothers. Bonhoeffer also employed a phrase that is commonly used today (particularly in letters to the editor): He loves the sinner but He hates sin. I wonder if Bonhoeffer coined that phrase?I borrowed "Life Together" from our church library after our pastor mentioned it in sermons two weeks in a row. (He is preaching a series on Christian community.) If it were my own book, it would have a lot of highlighted passages after one reading.

  • James
    2018-10-29 06:06

    A little book that should be read slowly. Not all that Bonhoeffer says could be universally applied to every form of Christian community. But he is thoughtful and certain things he says makes you aware that he has walked with Christ in community into deep waters.

  • Ryan
    2018-11-07 08:50

    Bonhoeffer on the Christian community: “We have one another only through Christ, but through Christ we do have one another, wholly, and for all eternity. That dismisses once and for all every clamorous desire for something more. One who wants more than what Christ has established does not want Christian brotherhood. He is looking for some extraordinary social experience which he has not found elsewhere; he is bringing muddled and impure desires into Christian brotherhood. Just at this point Christian brotherhood is threatened most often at the very start by the greatest danger of all, the danger of being poisoned at its root, the danger of confusing Christian brotherhood with some wishful idea of religious fellowship, of confounding the natural desire of the devout heart for community with the spiritual reality of Christian brotherhood. In Christian brotherhood everything depends upon its being clear right from the beginning, first, that Christian brotherhood is not an ideal, but a divine reality. Second, that Christian brotherhood is a spiritual and not a psychic reality.”– Not an Ideal but a Divine Reality – “Innumerable times a whole Christian community has broken down because it had sprung from a wish dream. The serious Christian, set down for the first time in a Christian community, is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what Christian life together should be and to try to realize it. But God’s grace speedily shatters such dreams. Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and, if we are fortunate, with ourselves. By sheer grace, God will not permit us to live even for a brief period in a dream world. He does not abandon us to those rapturous experiences and lofty moods that come over us like a dream. God is not a God of the emotions but the God of truth. Only that fellowship which faces such disillusionment, with all its unhappy and ugly aspects, begins to be what it should be in God’s sight, begins to grasp in faith the promise that is given to it. The sooner this shock of disillusionment comes to an individual and to a community the better for both. A community which cannot bear and cannot survive such a crisis, which insists upon keeping its illusion when it should be shattered, permanently loses in that moment the promise of Christian community. Sooner or later it will collapse. Every human wish dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves his dream of a community more than the Christian community its4elf becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial. God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others, and by himself. He enters the community of Christians with his demands, sets up his own law, and judges the brethren and God Himself accordingly. He stands adamant, a living reproach to all others in the circle of brethren. He acts as if he is the creator of the Christian community, as if his dream binds men together. When things do not go his way, he calls the effort a failure. When his ideal picture is destroyed, he sees the community going to smash. So he becomes, first an accuser of his brethren, then an accuser of God, and finally the despairing accuser of himself. Because God has already laid the only foundation of our fellowship, because God has bound us together in one body with other Christians in Jesus Christ, long before we entered into common life with them, we enter into that common life not as demanders but as thankful recipients. We thank God for what He has done for us. We thank God for giving us brethren who live by His call, by His forgiveness, and His promise. We do not complain of what God does not give us; we rather thank God for what He does give us daily. And is not what has been given us enough: brothers, who will go on living with us through sin and need under the blessing of His grace? Is the divine gift of Christian fellowship anything less than this, any day, even the most difficult and distressing day? Even when sin and misunderstanding burden the communal life, is not the sinning brother still a brother, with whom I, too, stand under the Word of Christ? Will not his sin be a constant occasion for me to give thanks that both of us may live in the forgiving love of God in Jesus Christ? Thus the very hour of disillusionment with my brother becomes incomparably salutary, because it so thoroughly teaches me that neither of us can ever live by our own words and deeds, but only by that one Word and Deed which really binds us together – the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. When the morning mists of dreams vanish, then dawns the bright day of Christian fellowship.” P26-29 *** On moving others: “Thus the spiritual love will speak to Christ about a brother more than to a brother about Christ. It knows that the most direct way to others is always through prayer to Christ and that love of others is wholly dependent upon the truth in Christ.” P36-37 *** On fellowship and loneliness: “Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. … Alone you stood before God when he called you; alone you had to answer that call; alone you had to struggle and pray; and alone you will die and give an account to God.” … “But the reverse is also true: Let him who is not in community beware of being alone. Into the community you were called, the call was not meant for you alone; in the community of the called you bear your cross, you struggle, you pray. You are not alone, even in death, and on the Last Day you will be only one member of the great congregation of Jesus Christ.” P77 *** On our daily meditation with God, Bonhoeffer distinguishes 3 parts: 1. meditating repeatedly on a single piece of scripture to discern personal meaning, 2. Prayer, which he mentions praying about the objects that come to mind when your mind wanders (incorporating those thoughts into prayer), and 3. Intercession, praying specifically for those around you, repeatedly day after day, and especially for those for whom you hold ill will or have disagreements with. *** “Every Christian community must realize that not only do the weak need the strong, but also that the strong cannot exist without the weak. The elimination of the weak is the death of fellowship.” P94*** Bonhoeffer on the desire for charismatic preachers: “Ultimately, this hankering for false authority has at its root a desire to re-establish some sort of immediacy, a dependence upon human beings in the Church. Genuine authority knows that all immediacy is especially baneful in matters of authority. Genuine authority realizes that it can exist only in the service of Him who alone has authority. Genuine authority knows that it is bound in the strictest sense by the saying of Jesus: “One is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren” (Matt. 23:8). The Church does not need brilliant personalities but faithful servants of Jesus and the brethren. Not in the former but in the latter is the lack. The Church will place its confidence only in the simple servant of the Word of Jesus Christ because it knows that then it will be guided, not according to human wisdom and human conceit, but by the Word of the Good Shepherd.“ P109

  • Emily Koopmann
    2018-11-15 01:48

    A book that cost you less than $1:The language is of it's time so it can feel dry and boring, but the message (and the man it is coming from) is powerful in truth, hope, and practicality.

  • Autumn Klepper
    2018-11-09 04:00

    I loved this little book. It's a quick read, and full of profound thoughts on living in community. This is one I hope to revisit from time to time.

  • Trice
    2018-11-16 07:52

    [having realized now that I wrote in this review the words "an advisory of suggestions" I feel I should mention that I'm in a post-intense-writing-class-teaching-day state, which means, though I may feel rather hyped at the moment, my brain is not necessarily at its clearest. I shudder to think what I will notice and think a blatantly obvious mistake when I reread this later]I have mislaid my hard copy - which I read in 2006 or 2007 - in a box of books somewhere on the other side of the world, so grabbed a downloadable audio copy for a reread - I remember being disappointed by it last time but I don't remember why exactly, and it's strongly possible that I wasn't clear on why at the time. As I'm listening to/reading it now, I think I get what my issue/s could possibly have been, though I also think I like it more this time. The beginning feels very solid; but then he gets into what now seems like a laying out of a daily life plan - something of an advisory or collection of suggestions for how to apply the concepts he drew from the Bible earlier in the book. The first part feels much stronger to me; this advisory portion... well, I'm going back and forth on that. I think my overall sense is that it's weaker, but there have been some extremely helpful as well as convicting portions of it. I think I would recommend this one, though perhaps with a cautionary description so a future reader will know what to expect - it's not all theological concepts and insight, though he builds his application on a really good sample of such.Minor notes: loved his comments about the need for the church to sing the Psalms! Yes, we need to be doing this, and, no, I don't just say this because I grew up with it. Even the more solid... er... "man-written" hymns and spiritual songs just don't measure up to the "prayer book of the Bible" which Bonhoeffer steps further to call "Jesus' prayer book" with a beautiful description that I hadn't previously heard - I'll try to grab the quote at a later time if I can. Thought it was a bit strange how he went on from this discussion, though. The next section made me think of what I've heard about John Calvin's views - interesting to hear from a Lutheran, btw - on singing during a worship service, i.e. that it should be in unison because harmony distracts from the meaning of what you're singing and the Person to Whom you're singing. Bonhoeffer follows this by talking a need to review the various selections from the hymnal to find which could be adapted to this unison singing, and while I'm sure the Lutheran hymnal must contain some Psalms - Old Hundredth at least one would think - it seems to have lost any sense of the section on Psalm singing that went before.Perhaps, though, this points out a weakness in the application part of the book, that each point seems separate from the ones before and after, some more than others. They're all attached to a general sub-topic of one part of living life together, but there don't seem to be real transitions between sections - rather reminiscent of a handbook actually.This does make me wonder if this is simply how the audiobook comes across or if maybe it's been altered for audio format? But I don't have access to a hard copy to compare.I'm presently in the middle of the 3rd section of this, and looking forward to continuing.

  • Tim Hoiland
    2018-10-25 02:06

    "We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly crossing our paths and cancelling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions. We may pass them by, preoccupied with our more important tasks, as the priest passed by the man who had fallen among thieves, perhaps — reading the Bible. When we do that we pass by the visible sign of the Cross raised athwart our path to show us that, not our way, but God’s way must be done. It is strange fact that Christians and even ministers frequently consider their work so important and urgent that they will allow nothing to disturb them. They think they are doing God a service in this, but actually they are disdaining God’s “crooked yet straight path” (Gottfried Arnold). They do not want a life that is crossed and balked. But it is part of the discipline of humility that we must not spare our hand where it can perform a service and that we do not assume that our schedule is our own to manage, but allow it to be arranged by God."- See more at: http://tjhoiland.com/wordpress/2012/0...

  • Peter N.
    2018-10-26 06:52

    Bonhoeffer reminds me of C.S. Lewis in that there are things I wish he had said, but didn't and at times things I wish he hadn't said, but did. However, there is so much wisdom, so many paragraphs that bring us back to the essentials of Christian community, such a great understanding of human nature and sin, that Life Together was well worth the read. Several parts greatly impressed me.First, his discussion of Christian community as a grace and work of Christ was excellent. Second, his section on common prayer/worship changed the way I did my family worship and gave numerous reasons on why the Psalms are central to all worship. Third, his focus on listening before proclaiming was a good reminder for those of us proclaim for a our vocation. But it is a good reminder for all Christians. We cannot truly bring the word to people if we do not listen to them. Our applications will fall short. Finally, he really pushes confessing our sins to one another. This is a much neglected Christian discipline.

  • Chrissy Johnson
    2018-10-31 03:47

    5 stars for the first and fourth sections "Community" and "Ministry" for the beauty of the writer's use of biblical truth in outlining why we live in community and how to do it in a way that shines God's truth on our lives together. 1 star for middle sections "The day with others" and "The day alone" in which Bonhoeffer declared in no uncertain terms exactly how the structure of prayer and fellowship with one's community should go down to the final detail. Example: "the free prayer at the close of the devotion will be said by the head of the family... in order to safeguard the prayer from being the object of the wrong kind of scrutiny and from false subjectivity, one person should pray all over an extended period of time" (p. 63) and other VERY specific declarations of necessary action that is entirely his own creation with no room for variation. 50% of this book had me saying wtf dude? Good thing it ended with confession and the Lord's table. 50% goodness :)

  • Laurén
    2018-11-02 04:55

    "Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we *are* sinners!" (Pg 110) So how do we, as sinners saved by grace, live and grow in community with each other?Life Together is a collection of Christian indicatives and imperatives sorted by Dietrich Bonhoeffer for the purpose of outlining what the structure of Christian community can/should look like. While there are not a ton of Scripture references to support many of the sub points within each chapter (the necessity of community, spending time alone, ministry, confession & communion), the book as a whole gives sound advice for aligning our lives with God's Word.