Analysis Of Life Together By Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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For this paper, I read and analyzed the Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I focused specifically on his writing regarding ‘Christian Community’. Bonhoeffer uses Psalm133, verse 1 as the diving board for his exposition on community, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (KJV). Bonhoeffer’s writing centers on the truth that everything given to Christians is a gift of grace. This paper will explore Bonhoeffer’s exposition on the nature of Christian community in his book, Life Together and compare it to daily life of a Christian. Bonhoeffer distinguishes between the “human ideal and God’s reality” of community and “between spiritual and human community” (39).
Bonhoeffer begins by claiming that Christian community needs to be recognized purely as a gracious gift of God. Too often, this privilege is taken for granted by those who experience it daily or often. However, to those who are missionaries or in lonely places, the physical presence of a Christian brother or sister alone is a “source of incomparable joy and strength” (19). To them, the words of a Christian are those of God, they receive them with “reverence, humility, and joy” (20). They treat and love their brothers as they would Christ so how much greater is the blessing of those privileged the daily Christian fellowship. Bonhoeffer defines Christianity as “community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ”; it is no “more or less than this” (21). From this truth, flow a couple streams of thought: first, we “need others because of Jesus”, and second, a “Christian comes to others only through Christ” (21). Throughout the chapter, Bonhoeffer develops and further expounds each of the streams.
Why is that we “need others because ...

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...emselves from the high expectations imposed by human love and live in the freedom Christ purchased on their behalf on the cross.
Bonhoeffer’s writing concerning community in Life Together sheds a great deal of light and marks boundaries for Christians on how to relate with each other. It is of utmost importance to remember that community is nothing but a gracious gift of God. When this understanding is grasped, love flows between brothers and sisters under the guidance of the Spirit and life is lived in the freedom of redemption and under the Word and “fruits that grow healthily in accord God’s good will in the rain and storm and sunshine of God’s outdoors” (37) will grow. Finally, it is always a good reminder, in the words of Bonhoeffer; “we are bound together by faith, not by experience” (39) so let us love and live through faith in the redeeming work of our Lord
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