Skip to main content


For the past several months, in between reading books for seminary, books for church purposes, and books for reviews so that I can get more free books so that I can read more books for reviews, I've been reading a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and also Bonheoffer's book Discipleship. (I put links to these at the end.  They're affiliate links, so if you click and buy, I'll make a nickel or two. Go ahead, it won't hurt.)

What I've found has been challenging.  First of all, as a note for readers and people that want to learn: I highly recommend reading a biography of a person and one of their own works at the same time.  It gives some interesting insight, especially if you're dealing with an individual whose writings have been edited and footnoted with information about their life.  You can compare and contrast, and you can also see where certain ideas developed.

One of the ideas from Bonhoeffer's writings that I'm wrestling with is his idea that, basically, Christians are to have a relationship with Christ alone.  Not with any other person, place, or thing (anything noun-y), solely with the Savior.

I think I've often heard and even preached that we relate to all others based on who we are in Christ, but I'm seeing here something that's a step further.  It's more of the idea that we don't really relate to anything but Christ.  Then, Christ in us relates to the world around us.  I think of Galatians 2:20 with this:

Galatians 2:20 (NAS)

20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

The idea, as I'm seeing it presented, is that in a sense, a Christian is always alone, except for Christ.  That we are to be satisfied with Christ, and that this applies not only to the material but to people as well.

As I consider it, this makes sense.  What is the most common issue that hold Christians back from obedience? The real, passionate, sold-out "I don't care if it kills me or costs me everything I have" obedience?  Frequently, it's fear.  Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of the consequences.

Yet, if we are only focused on our relationship with Christ, what do we care if we are rejected by all around us?  If we are whole-heartedly alone with Christ, wherever we are, whoever we are with, will we not find ourselves more readily obedient?

A note of balance, which is present in Bonhoeffer's writings as well, is that: 1.)Christians ought not head to the hills in isolation; 2.)The Word of God controls our behavior.  My view on these? Let's remember that God is never self-contradictory: so, our steps to achieve this alone-ness cannot violate Scripture commands, like avoiding divorce, husbands loving their wives, and so forth.

This is a bit of a jumble of incomplete thoughts, but it's what I was wrestling with before the alarm went off this morning.  The question I woke up with was "Am I living as if all I see is Christ, so that when others look at me, all they see is Him?"

What do you think? About yourself, personally.  I'm wrestling with me enough for myself.




Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

Discipleship (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Vol. 4)


Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Curiosity and the Faithlife Study Bible

Good morning! Today I want to take a look at the NIV Faithlife Study Bible. Rather than spend the whole post on this particular Study Bible, I’m going to hit a couple of highlights and then draw you through a few questions that I think this format helps with.

First, the basics of the NIV Faithlife Study Bible (NIVFSB, please): the translation is the 2011 New International Version from Biblica. I’m not the biggest fan of that translation, but that’s for another day. It is a translation rather than a paraphrase, which is important for studying the Bible. Next, the NIVFSB is printed in color. Why does that matter? This version developed with Logos Bible Software’s technology and much of the “study” matter is transitioning from screen to typeface. The graphics, maps, timelines, and more work best with color. Finally, you’ve got the typical “below-the-line” running notes on the text. Most of these are explanations of context or highlights of parallels, drawing out the facts that we miss by …

Foolishness: 1 Corinthians 1

In Summary: 1 Corinthians opens with the standard greeting of a letter from the Apostle Paul. He tells who he is with (Sosthenes) and who he is writing to. In this case, that is the “church of God that is in Corinth.” He further specifies that this church is made up of those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints. 
He then expresses the blessing/greeting of “grace and peace” from God. From there, Paul reflects on his initial involvement with the Corinthian people and the beginning of the church. After that, though, there are problems to deal with and Paul is not hesitant to address them. He begins by addressing the division within the church. Apparently, the church had split into factions, some of which were drawn to various personalities who had led the church in times past. There is no firm evidence, or even a suggestion, that Paul, Cephas, Apollos, or anyone else had asked for a faction in their name. Further, the “I follow Christ” faction may not have been any le…