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Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  18,582 ratings  ·  920 reviews
In Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, renowned Christian minister, professor, and author of The Cost of Discipleship recounts his unique fellowship in an underground seminary during the Nazi years in Germany. Giving practical advice on how life together in Christ can be sustained in families and groups, Life Together is bread for all who are hungry for the real life of Ch ...more
Paperback, 122 pages
Published October 25th 1978 by HarperOne (first published 1939)
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4.27  · 
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 ·  18,582 ratings  ·  920 reviews


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Chris
Jun 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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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Kevan
Jan 03, 2014 rated it liked it
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
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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
Ginger
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: church-life
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
...more
Jerry
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I rarely give five stars to anything, but this book definitely deserves it. An excellent look at Christian community and the Christian life, this is full of thoughts that everyone who follows the Way needs to hear. Mr. Bonhoeffer may be long gone from this world, but his words still impact lives; they sure did mine!
Seth Comfort
Jan 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Eric Chappell
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-reading
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
...more
Holly
Aug 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
...more
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,
...more
Andy Hickman
Oct 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
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..."

"On
...more
Katie Bliss
Dec 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
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.
Ross Blocher
Dec 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Life Together is a short work by Dietrich Bonhoeffer sharing his thoughts on how Christians should function as a community. As a former Christian, I am not the target audience, but I was interested in hearing some of Bonhoeffer's writings more directly (though still in translation from the orginal German) after reading a biography of his life (review here). Life Together was published in 1939, right as World War II was getting started and Bonhoeffer had already begun speaking out against the Thi ...more
Becky Pliego
So many wonderful gems in this book. Love this book so much!
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
Jeremy
May 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-life
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.
abby
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Solid teaching!
I zipped through this & am now rereading each morning as part of my devotions.
Uri Brito
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
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Joshua Jenkins
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Can’t believe I haven’t read this sooner, although it surely came at the right time. The one word that kept coming to mind as I turned each page was “profound.” That is how to describe Bonhoeffer. Life together is densely theological while at the same time incredible helpful and practical. I guess that is how it should be. It also should be that one does not waste words; and Bonhoeffer does not. Thus it is not a laborious read, but one that I wish each and every Christian would read. One of the ...more
Rebecca
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Small but mighty book full of riches for the Christian. Glad I finally read it.
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
...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
...more
John
Oct 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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 Reformati
...more
Peter Jones
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 o
...more
James
Jan 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read, church
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
Apr 08, 2011 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ryan Pickwick
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have heard a lot about Bonhoeffer but had never read any of his works. “Life Together” has been continually mentioned by others so I decided to look into it further especially as I will be preaching Eph 2:11-22 in a couple weeks. What stood out to me was his mentioning of destroying a “wish dream” church community where not everyone is how you wish they would be - essentially encouraging us to love and serve the church we have not the one we wish we had. I also enjoyed how Bonhoeffer targeted ...more
David Bowick
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have never read a book that explains Christan fellowship so thoroughly. This will definitely be on my read again list.
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920 followers
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
“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).” 332 likes
“We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.” 197 likes
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