Ten quotes from Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Life TogetherI recently finished reading Life Together, a classic work from Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Christian community. It’s made it onto my list of titles I need to re-read every couple of years. Here are just ten quotes that challenged and encouraged me.

  1. Where the heart is not singing there is no melody, there is only a dreadful medley of human self praise.
  2. Holy Scripture is more than a watchword… more than “light for today.” It is God’s revealed word for all men, for all times.
  3. Holy Scripture does not consist of individual passages; it is a unit and is intended to be used as such.
  4. We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.
  5. “Seek God, not happiness” – this is the fundamental rule of all meditation. If you seek God alone you will gain happiness: that is its promise.
  6. Self-justification and judging others go together, as justification by grace and serving others go together.
  7. Life Together - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  8. Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him, and the more deeply he becomes involved in it, the more disastrous is his isolation. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness of the unexpressed it poisons the whole being of a person. This can happen even in the midst of a pious community. In confession the light of the Gospel breaks into the darkness and seclusion of the heart. The sin must be brought into the light. The unexpressed must be openly spoken and acknowledged. All that is secret and hidden is made manifest. It is a hard struggle until the sin is openly admitted. But God breaks gates of brass and bars of iron (Ps. 107:16).
  9. Since the confession of sin is made in the presence of a Christian brother, the last stronghold of self-Justification is abandoned. The sinner surrenders; he gives up all his evil. He gives his heart to God, and he finds the forgiveness of all his sin in the fellowship of Jesus Christ and his brother.
  10. Pastoral authority can be attained only by the servant of Jesus who seeks no power of his own, who himself is a brother among brothers submitted to the authority of the Word.
  11. Once a man has experienced the mercy of God in his life he will henceforth aspire only to serve. The proud throne of the judge no longer lures him; he wants to be down below with the lowly and the needy, because that is where God found him. “Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate” (Rom. 11:16).

Life TogetherDid you enjoy these quotes from Life Together? Grab a copy of this book for yourself from Amazon.com or Westminster Bookstore.