Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor, theologian, and was involved in plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler during World War II. He was arrested by the Nazis in 1943, imprisoned, and ultimately hanged in 1945.
This book was completed in 1938 while Bonhoeffer taught at an underground German seminary. It was published in 1939 under the German title of Gemeinsames Leben and first translated into English in 1954.
Bonhoeffer provides a beautiful guide for Christian fellowship. He discusses the role of personal prayer, corporate worship, Christian accountability and Christian service. We are directed to explore our life together as Christians under the grace of God and guidance of Scripture.
The reader is reminded that we as Christians have the privilege of living among other Christians. To and through each other we are able to express love, emulate Christ’s grace, practice forgiveness, grow from accountability, help each other mature and share a mutual bond found only in the blood of Christ. While we often act as if our fellow believer is a burden, it is through him that we truly see the gifts given by God.
Bonhoeffer investigates how we are to grow with our brothers and sisters. Common worship, prayer, study, sacraments, fellowship, confession and discipline are joys we are to feast upon.
The Christian community was dear to Bonhoeffer when he was living a secret life with his seminary students. Undoubtedly, he would want his readers to experience the Christian fellowship he longed for and was forced to experience in secret.