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Life Together Study Questions | Discussion Week 2

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Life Together, Discussion Week 2
Chapter 2: The Day with Others 

 

BACKGROUND to Life Together

Refer to Discussion Week 1 for background. All quotations taken from: Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community. New York: Harper and Row, 1954. Reprint 2009.

 

QUESTIONS

Icebreaker question: This chapter discusses the fellowship a Christian has with other Christians in the day-to-day life. What was the most spiritually influential smaller group that you’ve been a part of? What made this group so influential?

1. There are three elements to daily, communal Christian worship that Bonhoeffer identifies: prayers, the reading of the Word, and the singing of songs. Of all elements found in Christian worship, why might he identify these three as necessary?

Prayer

2. Two types of prayer are mentioned by Bonhoeffer: free (spontaneous) prayer and rote prayer based upon the psalms. Why might both be vitally necessary?

3. About praying the psalms, Bonhoeffer says that “the psalms teach us to pray as a fellowship” (48). Let’s try doing so. Read together and, as you read, pray Psalm 1 antiphonally (back and forth). Have half the group pray the first half of a verse and have the other half of the group pray the second half of the verse. Begin with silence at first, and have the leader instruct the first group to begin prayer by saying, “Let us pray together.” Upon concluding the psalm, end with silence.

[1] Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
        nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
[2] but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
        and on his law he meditates day and night.
[3] He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,
        and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
[4] The wicked are not so,
        but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
[5] Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
        nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
[6] for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
        but the way of the wicked will perish.

4. Having prayed this together, what are your thoughts?

The Word

5. Briefly discuss the following: “Holy Scripture is more than a watchword. It is also more than ‘light for today.’ It is God’s revealed Word for all men, for all times” (50).

6. Have the leader read Psalm 1 to the group. After the reading, answer the following: what did you gain, if anything, from the reading of this psalm that you did not gain from praying the same psalm?

Song

7. “Why do Christians sing when they are together? The reason is, quite simply, because in singing together it is possible for them to speak and pray the same Word at the same time; in other words, because here they can unite in the Word” (59). In what way is singing together different from reciting scripture together?

 

Take prayer requests and pray. Close prayer by singing the Doxology together:

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; 
Praise Him, all creatures here below; 
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host: 
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.