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Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community [Paperback]

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 25 1978
After his martyrdom at the hands of the Gestapo in 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer continued his witness in the hearts of Christians around the world. His Letters and Papers from Prison became a prized testimony to Christian faith and courage, read by thousands. Now in Life Together we have Pastor Bonhoeffer's experience of 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 practical advice on how life together in Christ can be sustained in families and groups. The role of personal prayer, worship in common, everyday work, and Christian service is treated in simple, almost biblical, words. Life Together is bread for all who are hungry for the real life of Christian fellowship.


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Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community + The Cost of Discipleship + Ethics
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Review

"When I think of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, some words Gorky used of Tolstoy come into my mind--'Look what a wonderful man is living on the earth.'" -- Malcolm Muggeridge, author of Jesus

From the Back Cover

After his martyrdom at the hands of the Gestapo in 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer continued his witness in the hearts of Christians around the world. His Letters and Papers from Prison became a prized testimony to Christian faith and courage, read by thousands. Now in Life Together we have Pastor Bonhoeffer's experience of 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 practical advice on how life together in Christ can be sustained in families and groups. The role of personal prayer, worship in common, everyday work, and Christian service is treated in simple, almost biblical, words. Life Together is bread for all who are hungry for the real life of Christian fellowship.

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First Sentence
"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What you need to know about church! July 8 2004
Format:Paperback
Life Together was written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer while he was in a Nazi Gestapo prison during WWII. The book's Introduction is a 6 page mini-bio of Bonhoeffer, which will inform the reader as to why he was in a Nazi Gestapo prison. He was executed by the Nazi's just weeks before the end of the war.
Life Together was written while Bonhoeffer was being held by the Nazi's. It is his short treatise on Faith in Community - what it means to be the Body of Christ. During his time in prison, Bonhoeffer undoubtedly had interaction with Christians of many denominations. This probably led to contemplation of what it meant for all of them to worship together, even in a prison camp.
The book is just five chapters:
1. Community
2. The Day with Others
3. The Day Alone
4. Ministry
5. Confession and Communion
Amazingly enough, Bonhoeffer thinks seriously and deeply about what it should be like for Christians to experience Life Together as the Church. Few current authors are packing so much in so little a book.
In the first chapter he looks at relating to one another as Jesus would have us relate to one another. He distinguishes between the worldly and the biblical concepts of living in community. His observations are astounding and would do many churches a great deal of good today.
In chapters 2 and 3, he looks at one's relationship with God as it should be lived both corporately and individually. He even gives us a glimpse of what family worship was expected to look like at that time. Again, his observations would do Christians much good today.
The chapter on ministry is outstanding, but one really cannot do it justice in just a few sentences. The final chapter on confession and communion was a mixed bag for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some of our deepest soul searching came from WWII April 13 2004
Format:Paperback
The entire world was embroiled in a battle for the existance of the human race. Where was God? Several sharp minds wrestled with that most difficult part of faith where the rubber meets the road. One of those was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In this short, but extremely profound, work, he wrestles with the Christian's relationship to the Christian community. I'll throw out a couple of my favorite quotes from this book. If you find them challenging, buy the entire book and get a lot more like them:
"LET HIM WHO CANNOT BE ALONE BEWARE OF COMMUNITY. He will only do harm to himself and to the 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."
"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."
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5.0 out of 5 stars relationship Dec 19 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love the idea of any help in living "right relationship". I will enjoy this one in the New Year. The book arrived in perfect condition
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, Good Service Oct. 5 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Life Together" is a Christian classic. We are using it for a community book study. The sellers were efficient and expeditious. I would recommend both the book and Amazon.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful insightful little book Sept. 25 2012
By Hsiang
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having read Dietrich Bonhoeffer's biography and seeing how my housemate is raving about the profoundness of The Cost of Discipleship (which I also wanted to purchase) I decided to purchase this little book so that there will not be overlap in our little library collection and we can later exchange books. I was quite surprised how line-by-line there is so much depth of content that this is certainly a book that requires devouring and careful digestion. I could just imagine Dietrich reflecting upon the Christian community experiences he had with fellow seminarians at their clandestine Finkenwalde seminary and wanting to share the incredible experiences he had there. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is committed to finding out what it means to have genuine Christ-centered Christian fellowship.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Life Together April 3 2010
Format:Paperback
Best part of book of "Life Together" by Bonhoeffer is the chapter on "Being Alone and in Community" which sets the tone of how one can and should live in a Christian Community.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Needed Message for the Church Feb. 2 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Bonhoeffer is brilliant in his understanding of the church's lifeblood, which is the cross. Where other ecclesiologies become distracted by secondary issues, Bonhoeffer cuts right to the foundational elements of life in Christ. The Church of today would do well to rediscover Bonhoeffer, and not only this book but his others as well. Sanctorum Communio takes a more theological look at these same issues, but Life Together is probably the best book to start with for someone wanting to break into Bonhoeffer's works. Its theme sets everything else that he writes into perspective.
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Format:Paperback
Satan is the accuser, the Bible says. But Christ, with the Spirit, intercedes for us, as the Apostle Paul says in Romans 8:26 "with sighs too deep for words".
A beautiful book, my copy freely given me by a Lutheran pastor who shared my love for Bonhoeffer. I wanted to lead a Bible study, he said if he ever led one he would use this book!
I first heard of Bonhoeffer from someone at my church. I discovered Bonhoeffer for myself when I watched the documentary Hanged on a Twisted Cross, the life and times of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which I highly, highly recommend.
The parts of the book which spoke to me most were the sections in chapter 1 entitled through and in Jesus Christ and in chapter 3, the section on intercession. Here are some excerpts I love:
"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......Intercession means no more than to bring our brother into the presence of God, to see him under the cross of Jesus as a poor human being and sinner in need of grace....His need and his sin become so heavy and oppressive that we feel them as our own, and we can do nothing else but pray: Lord, do Thou, Thou alone, deal with him according to Thy severity and Thy goodness."
I do believe Bonhoeffer has " the mind of Christ" on that one.
Beautiful, beautiful book.
P.S. I challenge you to examine and compare the lives of Noah, Daniel, and Job
to find out what was so pleasing to God about them. How do their lives reflect Christ's and what about everyone else's?!!! Please see Ezekiel 14:14-23. So I leave you with some homework, I just couldn't resist!
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