Bonhoeffer: It Starts Again

It is the beginning of a new year and that means the beginning of another rereading of Bonhoeffer’s Life Together.  I am looking forward to this year’s reading more than others. I feel like after reading it so many times over the years I am at the place where I might understand it at a deeper level than perhaps ever before. I think part of the reason is that I long for a more connected vision and experience of genuine Christian community. Sometimes, desire and need combine to make us more teachable and open. That’s my hope for this new year’s reading of Bonhoeffer’s crucible-produced classic.

Bonhoeffer is not always orthodox. Some of his analysis of Scripture is influenced by an early 20th Century liberal sitz in leben. Nevertheless, the book is filled with gems of insight that powerfully challenge the shallowness of what we often call ‘fellowship’ and ‘community’ in our experience. Expect to see some Bonhoeffer quotes in the near future. 

Bonhoeffer Life Together

If you want to join with me in the journey, I would love to hear some of your insights as you read.

5 thoughts on “Bonhoeffer: It Starts Again

  1. Marty,

    What’s your reading plan for Life Together? I’ve been reworking my personal rule for the coming year and sensing a need to include something like this in the mix. Past readings of this book have always been in the context of leading a study; it would be a joy to delve into it with you. John Nunnikhoven

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t have a particular plan, just going to work my way slowly through the book over the next month. I am doing a close reading this year. I have three goals:
      1. to check each Scripture reference and comment on whether it is quoted in its proper context or not.
      2. to produce a Scripture index to the book (always frustrated by books without indices), and
      3. to produce an author index for the book.

      Aside: I have noticed a number of typos in the Kindle edition (dropped quotation marks and missing colons between chapter and verse references). The dropped quotation mark made the first citation of Luther indistinct. I had to go back to my paper edition to make sure where Bonhoeffer’s thoughts ended and Luther’s began.

      Would love to have you along for the journey.


  2. The Kindle edition is one with Hymns Ancient and Modern cited in the Kindle listing and has a modernistic cover.

    One statement that caught my attention this morning was “So between the death of Christ and the Last Day it is only by a gracious anticipation of the last things that Christians are privileged to live in visible fellowship with other Christians.” Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Life Together (Kindle Locations 56-57). Hymns Ancient and Modern Ltd. Kindle Edition.

    It emphasizes my conviction that my life must focus on His coming.


    1. Indeed, the Preface drew me in, in a blur. I look foword to following, and reading along…

      “We are not dealing with a concern of some private circles but with a mission entrusted to the church. Because of this, we are not searching for more or less haphazard individual solutions to a problem. This is, rather, a responsibility to be undertaken by the church as a whole. There is a hesitation evident in the way this task has been handled. Only recently has it been understood at all.”

      Liked by 2 people

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