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Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community
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Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  8,575 ratings  ·  436 reviews
After his martyrdom at the hands of the Gestapo in 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer continued his witness in the hearts of Christians around the world. In his book Life Together we learn of Pastor Bonhoeffer's experience within Christian community. This story of a unique fellowship in an underground seminary during the Nazi years reads like one of Paul's letters. It gives practic ...more
Paperback, 122 pages
Published October 1978 by HarperOne (first published 1939)
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Chris
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.
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4/1/07 I
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booklady
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 mys ...more
Holly
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 r
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Eric Chappell
Read 2013-2014
Technically, 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 Bonho
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Peter B.
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 ...more
Brad Heterick
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
Seth Comfort
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 an
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Rebekah Courter
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,
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Katie Bliss
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
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!
Mad Russian the Traveller
(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
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Ryan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Josh Hopping
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 c ...more
Maya
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 thei
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Brian Zhang
While helping to pack boxes in the HCFA office this summer, I stumbled across Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together in the shelves. One look at the esteemed author on the cover, its short length, and the topic convinced me that this was a book worth getting to. I took an extra copy home with me and finished it in a few sittings that weekend.

Community was a topic that I was just beginning to think deeply about. A few weeks earlier, I had read a fascinating article about Greg Epstein, Harvard’s Huma
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Nick
When I started this book I wondered what was so great about it. Most people I encountered loved it, and many of my colleges at seminary made it required reading for their church leadership. So, when I picked it up, I had high hopes.

In the first chapter I found some good insights but some equally frustrating remarks. One sentence I'm highlighting and rejoicing in and the next I'm ready to strike through. Upon discussing this first chapter with a friend, he assured me that many phrases that struck
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Ellen
Thanks to Laura V. for recommending this fabulous book to me.

It's often been difficult for me to know how to put Biblical relationship principles into practice -- things are never quite as cut-and-dried in real life as they are on paper or in my head -- but the teaching in this little book was very helpful to me in clarifying how I need to be thinking about relationships, in the first place, and then how I can handle issues as they arise in a Christ-exalting way. A lot of very practical wisdom f
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John
Now that is the way we should do "church".
DB writes from the perspective of someone living their faith underground (Nazi Germany). His experience clarifies what it really means to be Christians in fellowship, to be Christ's body, to be "the Church". There is no "mega" in true spiritual fellowship. Never heard anyone say, "I go to a mega-body-of-Christ". The Beatles said they would be bigger than Jesus...now we have mega-churches with a "cult of personality"...hmmm, that's interesting. Life toge
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Matt Cromartie
It has been a few months since I finished reading the book and I can't remember that many specifics. Usually that isn't a good sign and this book is no exception. I'd love to hear from anyone out there that loved this book as to why you loved it.

Through the first three chapters this book was headed for two stars. To me it seemed like Bonhoeffer had a very specific view of out the Christian life should be lived and didn't allow for much deviation from it. I'm sure his prescription would work grea
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Fariba
It is written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Need I say more? Everything he writes makes you get out of your comfort zone and act on your faith. This is a fantastic book on community and prayer. Bonhoeffer wrote Life Together for the students of an underground seminary he founded at Finkenwalde. But the book also includes chapters on family and individual prayer and worship. No Christian community is perfect. It is made up of sinners. The reader is taught to acknowledge this.

"Even when sin and misunde
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Oliver Schnusenberg
This little book packs a lot of punch! I found it to be a great exploration of what a daily Christian life could and should be and found myself questioning a lot of things I rarely stop to think about and maybe should more often.

Other reviews have already commented on this, but the differentiation between human love and spiritual love was spot on. I also thought Bonhoeffer did a great job of indirectly addressing vanity versus actual love by that distinction (this may just be my interpretation)
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Jeremy
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.
JoséMaría BlancoWhite
A precious little book, with wonderful advice for Christians on how to live a fully-fledged Christian life, in community, as it corresponds to the Body of Christ, His church.

Advice on prayer, specially when we are not in the spiritual mood to do so; on the importance of fellowship and solitude, each one at their right time, complementing each other. Even the smallest details are here, and very welcome ones: "when our thoughts wander (...) quite calmly to incorporate into our prayer the people an
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Emily
Although not always an easy read, this short book did have some real gems of wisdom and insight. Unlike many of today's writers, Bonhoeffer doesn't give examples from real life, which is refreshing but makes the density of his information quite intense. I didn't agree with everything he suggests in the middle chapters, but maybe more reflection and -- dare I admit it -- maturity will change my mind. I will likely come back to this book, which is unusual for me.
Gloria Yafen
This is a deep n rich book on Christian communal life. Not so much abt the happy n joyous aspects but it brings us to the reality of how our human nature/desires/goals cld hv played a part in 'obstructing' God's wonderful plan of fellowship life. It talks abt spiritual disciplines as well as the importance of being alone n with the community. You would be able to find some nice n impt quotes for your teaching on Christian community n fellowship life.
Julee
What an excellent book! I learned many things of the working of my own family and of the community of believers that I fellowship with. The depth of community and accountability and strengthening one another in the faith spoken of here is not what I am reading in other books on community. Some of the ideas are dated and seem an impossibility in our present age, but the principles and depth behind them are not.
Nathan
This is the most insightful book on Christian community & brotherhood that you will read. There are so many aspects of community that Bonhoeffer addresses that seem to be absent from our modern discussions. Read everything you can from Bonhoeffer. His life and work are excellent alone, but the fact of his martyrdom adds incredible weight to his words.
Anthony Rodriguez
Bonhoeffer's vision of community transcends merely being together with people you may like. It is fixated on and possible only through Jesus. There are several passages that will continue to haunt and challenge me for a long time. I highly recommend this little book. It will kick you in the gut in the best way possible.
Joostnixon
Where Bonhoeffer is good, he is really, really good. I especially found his chapters on ministry insightful (for example, the ministry of not speaking--very good for those whose vocation is speaking). I also found his chapter on confession intriguing and convicting--though there are parts I am still processing.
Lee
If you approach Life Together as Bonhoeffer's educated suggestion on how a Christian community should exist, you'll gain some great insights into relational living. But if you take his description as the only model of a Christian community, then you'll most likely end up frustrated. Bonhoeffer competently explores important concepts - such as confession, prayer, Scripture readings - that make for a healthy community of faith, but I found myself disagreeing with some of his "musts" and "have-tos. ...more
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Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian. He was also a participant in the German Resistance movement against Nazism, a founding member of the Confessing Church. His involvement in plans by members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office) to assassinate Adolf Hitler resulted in his arrest in April 1943 and his subsequent execution by hanging in April 1945, sho ...more
More about Dietrich Bonhoeffer...
The Cost of Discipleship Letters and Papers from Prison Sanctorum Communio Ethics (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Vol. 6) Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible

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“Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him. On the Cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers. For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God. So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes. There is his commission, his work. 'The kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been spared' (Luther).” 188 likes
“We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.” 114 likes
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