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

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  14,099 Ratings  ·  716 Reviews
A beautiful gift edition of Bonhoeffer's classic work on the meaning and importance of Christian community. This inspiring account of a unique fellowship in an underground seminary during the Nazi years in Germany reads like one of Paul's letters and gives timeless advice on how life together in Christ can be sustained in families and groups.
Hardcover, 147 pages
Published May 1st 1993 by HarperOne (first published 1939)
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Chris
Jun 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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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Ginger
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
Kevan
Jan 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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Holly
Aug 02, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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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Andy Hickman
Oct 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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Chapters:
1.Community.
2.The Day with Others.
3.The Day Alone.
4.Ministry.
5.Confession and Communion.
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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
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Seth Comfort
Jan 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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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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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Katie Bliss
Dec 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Abby
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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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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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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
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Ryan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily Koopmann
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.
Trice
[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, s
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Peter N.
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
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Chrissy Johnson
Oct 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Laurén
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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 th
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Troy Neujahr
Dec 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Life Together" is labeled a classic and, despite it's relatively young age, I concur. Bonhoeffer's unflinching exploration into the spiritual reality of the localized Christian community results in a relentless expectation to live with one another according to God's Law while nevertheless ensuring the forgiving, life-giving Gospel is the true animating force of the community. "Life Together" is intensely challenging, demanding a heart that is willing to be examined and ruthlessly convicted for ...more
Drew Saccenti
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book started off a bit slow for me. However as you pick up on his writing style, and pay close attention to what he is saying, you will find gold. I love the fact that what he is writing has stood the test of time. An added bonus to this book is the fact that he was writing it in the mist of extreme trial. It should be encouraging to all walks of faith. It should encourage the the stable christian that is in community, and challenge those that don't feel like they are in a place to plug int ...more
Ellen
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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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Deborah
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book on Christian community.
"He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone... The final breakthrough to community does not occur precisely because they enjoy community with one another as pious believers, but not with one another as those lacking piety, as sinners. For the pious community permits no one to be a sinner. Hence all have to conceal their sins from themselves and from the community. We are not allowed to be sinners. Many Christians would be unimaginably horrified if a real sinn
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Goodreads Librari...: ISBN 10/13 split between editions 4 19 Mar 11, 2015 11:38AM  
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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...

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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).” 295 likes
“We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.” 174 likes
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