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Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  24,114 ratings  ·  1,289 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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Ahmad Sharabiani
Gemeinsames Leben = Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, John W. Doberstein (Translator)

Life Together is a short work by the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, written while Bonhoeffer taught at an underground seminary.

He believed that God bestows brotherhood upon us because we are in fact our brother's keeper.

In his writing he expounds upon his premise, "Without Christ there is discord between God and man and between man and man . . . Christ opened up the way to God and to our brother".

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.

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.
4/1/07 I
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: All college-educated Christians
Published in 1939, two years after The Cost of Discipleship, this book shares the basic theological underpinnings of the earlier one, and is written in the same style --which is to say, earnest, serious, and academic-intellectual. The editors of the Afterword, interestingly, assert that here Bonhoeffer avoided "an academic style of language and a scholarly form of argumentation" to speak more directly to lay readers; and to be sure, this book originally didn't have the elaborate footnotes that c ...more
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!
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith, classics, audio
What an unexpected power punch! I should have expected it from Bonhoeffer after The Cost of Discipleship but this book looked so innocently short. He packs a lot into his 100+ pages.
I was surprised by how much I didn't immediately agree with, but whether I agreed or not I was challenged throughout.
Anyway, I think Jeremiah's review says it best so go check his review out. I couldn't say it better.
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
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
Brice Karickhoff
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
This was one of my favorite Christian books I have ever read! It was basically an overview of living the Christian life, particularly in Christian community. I have never read Bonhoeffer before, and I just couldn’t believe how well he meshed a heavenly perspective with earthly pragmatism. In spiritual books of any sort, even outside of Christian writing, authors always seem to struggle with this balance. Some books seem to compromise on truths from God, and others assert those truths in such a l ...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.
- - -
2.The Day with Others.
3.The Day Alone.
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..."

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
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
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 the fellowship."
4. "Only in the infiniteness of [Scripture's] inner r
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,
Jeremiah Lorrig
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazingly insightful. It carefully walks the line between "get your like in order" and "God's love is all you need."

In other words, it balances truth and love.

You have to be willing to get past some of his particular "this is the way it ought to be done" type phrases and understand them to be not legalistic commands, but rather advice for ways that the important principle can be applied.

In all, the book was powerfully convicting, inspiring, and written. If this book is not on you
Will Barbour
Dec 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I starting reading this book to learn more about the value of Christian community, and I received far more than I bargained for! Bonhoeffer is not only a master theologian but also paints a stunning picture of a Christian's personal and corporate devotional life. Personal challenges on praying, Bible reading, and fellowship dance together beautifully and intimately in this book. Bonhoeffer gives a helpful corrective to current tendencies to either lose yourself in a faction or be fiercely indivi ...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
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. ...more
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.
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
Talia DeBenedictis
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great read. Especially since it is only a little over 100 pages, I highly recommend!

As hilarious as it sounds, I would better title this book, Life. Bonhoeffer gives a practical guide/call/encouragement for the daily Christian life, which is a life together with other believers. A life together with other believers includes time alone and time with non-believers, time resting and time working.

Bonhoeffer really challenged me to consider my walk with God as being one in a community of Christian b
Richard Willsea
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I try to read this one every 10 years or so....
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short exploration of prayer, devotion, fellowship, and other aspects of the life of a Christian. Meant for those already a part of the Christian faith. This is my first Bonhoeffer, and I liked his voice.
Becky Pliego
So many wonderful gems in this book. Love this book so much!
Elizabeth A.G.
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is so much to try to grasp in this compact but deeply thought provoking book, that it demands at least a second reading. Bonhoeffer stresses that living in a Christian community is a grace from God, mediated through Jesus Christ, and not man-created. It is significant that to be part of the community, one must confess to our fellow member and must suffer painful humiliation that destroys the prideful, sinful person and brings new life just as Jesus suffered the public shaming of crucifixio ...more
Peter Bringe
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
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.
sophie.connects.the.dots (on hiatus)
"Each member of the community is given his particular place, but this is no longer the place in which he can most successfully assert himself, but the place where he can best perform his service."

A gem of a book, really, from an author with an amazing testimony. This book just reminds me of how important fellowship is for the believer...without it, anyone can fall.
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!
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
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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

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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).” 362 likes
“We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.” 213 likes
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