There is no distinction of degree or value between these three forms. For to the extent that proclamation really rests on recollection of the revelation attested in the Bible and is thus obedient repitition of the biblical witness, it is no less the Word of God than the Bible. And to the extent that the Bible really attests revelation it is no less the Word of God than revelation itself. As the Bible and proclamation become God's Word in virtue of the actuality of revelation, they are God's Word: the one Word of God within which there can be neither a more nor a less. Nor should we ever try to understand the three forms of God's Word in isolation. The first, revelation, is the form that underlies the other two (CD I/1, 120-121).
Saturday, 7 June 2008
A Question concerning the "threefold Word of God"
Taken from Theopedia:
Barth held to what is known as the threefold Word of God. In other words, preaching (or proclamation), scripture, and revelation are considered to be three different, yet unified forms of the Word of God. Barth's analogy was the Trinity (see CD I/1, 121). Futhermore,
If someone could enlighten me as to what the following phrase in italics means, I'd be grateful: "As the Bible and proclamation become God's Word in virtue of the actuality of revelation, they are God's Word" (German: kraft die Aktualität der Offenbarung, whereby kraft actually means "by means of which," rather than "in virtue of.") Does that mean that in the moment when Bible or preaching is able to personally, existentially confront us with the relevance and truth of the incarnation (the content of the revelation), they are themselves God's Word? What does the "actuality of revelation mean"?
I find the collapsing of external referent and verbal communication difficult to get my head around.
Unless ... the external referent is not a static object but a person. Barth does say that the content of the revelation is Immanu-el. In which case the actuality of revelation can't be the truth of the incaration, but what ever it is the Incarnate One wants to say to us. But then that would dissolve the "once and for all" quality of the incarnation as something that happened ...
Hmm, just thinking in public.
This blog has a nice series of relevant quotes on preaching as the Word of God, along with a helpful summary of an essay on Karl Barth and preaching.
[And before you jump on me for this John P., Barth does believe in an external referent to which the proclamation must correspond. The collapsing isn't exhaustive, the referent is mediated via Bible and preaching. The parallel is with the Trinity: separate yet united].