Tag Archives: Karl Barth

“The Bible reads me” by Karl Barth

“I have read many books, but the Bible reads me.”

–Karl Barth, quoted in Bill Hull, The Complete Book of Discipleship (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2006), 218.

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“Calvin is a cataract” by Karl Barth

“Calvin is a cataract, a primeval forest, a demonic power, something directly down from Himalaya, absolutely Chinese, strange, mythological; I lack completely the means, the suction cups, even to assimilate this phenomenon, not to speak of presenting it adequately. What I receive is only a thin little stream and what I can then give out again is only a yet thinner extract of this little stream. I could gladly and profitably set myself down and spend all the rest of my life just with Calvin.”

–Karl Barth, Revolutionary Theology in the Making, James D. Smart, trans. (Richmond: John Knox Press, 1964), 101. As quoted by Timothy George, Theology of the Reformers (Nashville: Broadman, 1988), 163.

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“He throws the furniture around” by Flannery O’Connor

“I distrust folks who have ugly things to say about Karl Barth. I like old Barth. He throws the furniture around.”

–Flannery O’Connor, The Correspondence of Flannery O’Connor and the Brainerd Cheneys, ed. C. Ralph Stephens (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1986), 180-1.

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“Exegesis, exegesis, and yet more exegesis!” by Karl Barth

“Two Scholars Disputing” (Peter and Paul?) by Rembrandt

Two Scholars Disputing (Peter and Paul?)
By Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
Oil on panel. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.

“We have been studying cheerfully and seriously. As far as I was concerned it could have continued in that way, and I had already resigned myself to having my grave here by the Rhine!… And now the end has come. So listen to my piece of advice: exegesis, exegesis, and yet more exegesis! Keep to the Word, to the Scripture that has been given to us.”

–Karl Barth, on the event of his formal farewell to his students in Bonn, just prior to his expulsion from Germany in 1935. Quoted in Gordon Fee, New Testament Exegesis (Louisville, KY.: Westminster, 2002), front matter. Fee cites Eberhard Busch, Karl Barth: His Life from Letters and Autobiographical Texts (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1976).

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