Thy Word Is Truth: Barth on Scripture

Thy Word Is Truth: Barth on Scripture

Thy Word Is Truth: Barth on Scripture

Thy Word Is Truth: Barth on Scripture


Over the past two decades studies on Karl Barth have become increasingly technical. The ironic result is that although Barth wrote chiefly for preachers, scholars have become the primary gatekeepers to his rich theological thought.

This collection of essays introduces Karl Barth with both clarity and depth, providing pastors and other serious readers with a valuable overview of Barth's views on Scripture. George Hunsinger -- himself a recognized expert on Barth -- and eight other scholars cover such topics as Barth?'s belief that Scripture is both reliable and inspired, his typological exegesis, his ideas about time and eternity, and more. Reading this book will whet the reader?'s appetite to engage further with Barth himself.


It was once suggested by Calvin that the main reason for studying theology is to make us better readers of Holy Scripture. No one took this proposition more seriously than Karl Barth. the 150-page Scripture Index to his massive Church Dogmatics testifies impressively to his biblical engagement. Using the Scripture Index can be a good way of gaining access to his theology.

Barth’s scriptural interpretation was strongly christocentric. He believed that Jesus Christ is attested, directly or indirectly, by virtually any biblical passage, whether in the Old Testament or the New. He therefore read all of Scripture from a center in Jesus Christ. Scripture was to be interpreted with an eye toward Christ as the one who had become incarnate, was crucified, and was raised again for our sakes. Barth ingeniously discerned parallels in Scripture — both literary and theological — to the narrative of this saving history. Other biblical events and figures could be read as “types” for which Christ served as the “antitype.” How could it be otherwise if the entire sweep of God’s covenant, as attested in Holy Scripture, was fulfilled in him?

The narrative of Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection involved a deep structure that might be described as “affirmation,” “negation,” and “negation of the negation.” Since these structural or grammatical elements were essentially formal, their presence could also be discerned in other biblical stories. Insofar as the stories displayed some elements of the same pattern, they could be read as pointing to Christ at the center. They could be taken as attesting the uniqueness of Christ without losing their essential distinction from him.

Jesus Christ — fully God, fully human — was thus the mysterious . . .

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