Friday, March 21, 2014

Blogging with Barth: CD 1.2 §19.2 "Scripture as the Word of God" pp. 473-537

The Leitsatz (thesis statement) for §19 states: "The Word of God is God Himself in Holy Scripture. For God once spoke as Lord to Moses and the prophets, to the Evangelists and apostles. And now through their written word He speaks as the same Lord to His Church. Scripture is holy and the Word of God, because by the Holy Spirit it became and will become to the Church a witness to divine revelation."

In section §19 ("The Word of God for the Church") and in subsection §19.2 ("Scripture as the word of God"), Barth (in a longish reading!) wants to answer the question of how it is that the human witness of the Bible can be more than a human witness - that it can be the revelation of God. How is this possible?
If what we hear in Holy Scripture is witness, a human expression of God’s revelation, then from what we have already said, what we hear in the witness itself is more than witness, what we hear in the human expression is more than a human expression. What we hear is revelation, and therefore the very Word of God. But is this really the case? How can it be? How does it come about that it is? (473).
Barth will address the answer to this question in the next two subsections. Barth begins in the first major part of this section with a discussion of the meaning and scope of what scripture is - concluding that it is (confessing this with the church)...canonical scripture.
If we say that Scripture is this witness, or if we say that this witness is Scripture, we say this in the Church and with the Church, i.e., we say it of that Scripture which the Church has discovered and acknowledged as Holy Scripture, of canonical Scripture. When we say it with this qualification and restriction, we say that it is not for us or for any man to constitute this or that writing as Holy Writ, as the witness of God’s revelation, to choose it as such out of many others, but that if there is such a witness and the acceptance of such a witness, it can only mean that it has already been constituted and chosen, and that its acceptance is only the discovery and acknowledgment of this fact. If in respect of what we regard as Holy Scripture we accept the qualification and restriction made in the Church’s Canon, this does not mean that although it is not for the individual Christian to-day to constitute or choose Holy Scripture, it was once the task of the Church to do it, round about the year 400 (pg. 473).
Thus, what we mean when we say "scripture" is canonical scripture. Interestingly, though we accept canonical scripture as scripture (with the Church), we accept it as canonical not because of the judgment of the Church because the witness of revelation has judged canonical scripture as scripture. It is only for the Church to confirm this testimony (see what Barth did there?).  Not only is scripture a witness to revelation, revelation is a witness to scripture.
Therefore we hear the judgment of the Church, but we do not obey its judgment, when we accept the settlement which the Church has, of course, made. In and with the Church we obey the judgment which was already pronounced, before the Church could pronounce its judgment and which the Church’s judgment could only confirm. Just as the question of the witness of revelation can only be a question of faith, so too the answering of that question can only be a knowledge of faith. When we adopt the Canon of the Church we do not say that the Church itself, but that the revelation which underlies and controls the Church, attests these witnesses and not others as the witnesses of revelation and therefore as canonical for the Church (474).
Barth acknowledges the complicated history and discussion around whether or not the canon is open or closed (476-481) and acknowledges that according to the witness of revelation the canon is closed. But because the Church's hearing is faulty, the topic is debatable, as history has demonstrated (476-478). A change in the constitution of the canon cannot take place by the action of an individual though (e.g. Zwingli didn't think Revelation should be included) but rather inclusion or exclusion is and should an action of the entire Church, with its confirmatory voice (don't miss Barth's scolding of the 16th and 17th century Protestants and the things they did to the canon, cf. 480-481).
Clearly a change in the constitution of the Canon, if it arises as a practical question, can take place meaningfully and legitimately only as an action of the Church, i.e., in the form of an orderly and responsible decision by an ecclesiastical body capable of tackling it. Individuals can think and say what they like on theological and historical grounds. But what they think and say can have only the character of a private and non-binding anticipation of the Church’s action. Whether it is genuinely of the Church will again depend entirely on the question whether it is a matter now as before of a necessaria susceptio, i.e., an actual instruction of the Church by writings which either prove or do not prove themselves to be canonical. As long as no decision is publicly reached in the Church, we have steadfastly to accept the force and validity of decisions already taken both in respect of the faith and also of the Canon. In the decisions already taken, the Church still tells us that this or that, this particular corpus, is Holy Scripture (478-479).
In a second major part of this section, Barth reminds us that what is meant by canonical scripture is the Old and New Testaments, which are both distinct and yet unified in their witness:
When we have to do with Scripture, i.e., canonical Scripture, the Scripture which the Church has defined and we in and with the Church have recognised as canonical, when we have to do with Holy Scripture as a witness, in fact the witness of divine revelation, we have to do with the witness of Moses and the prophets, the Evangelists and the apostles. What is meant (and in this formulation we are merely repeating certain biblical passages) is the witness of the Old and New Testament, the witness of the expectation and the recollection, the witness of the preparation and the accomplishment of the revelation achieved in Jesus Christ (481).
The unity of the scriptures is rooted in revelation itself, in scripture's witness to revelation, not in systems of doctrinal thought which are extracted from it, as Barth says:
Rightly understood, the unity of Holy Scripture gives rise to a conclusion and demand to which the Church must pay good heed. But this conclusion and demand is not that we should abstract from the Bible some concealed historical or conceptual system, an economy of salvation or a Christian view of things. There can be no biblical theology in this sense, either of the Old or New Testament, or of the Bible as a whole. The presupposition and the organising centre of such a system would have to be the object of the biblical witness, that is, revelation. Now revelation is no more and no less than the life of God Himself turned to us, the Word of God coming to us by the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ. But in our thinking, even in our meditation on the biblical texts, it is only improperly, i.e., only in the form of our recollection and expectation, that we can “presuppose” Jesus Christ and then add to this presupposition other thoughts, even those which are derived from our exposition of those texts. Properly, and that means, in living fact, revelation can only be presupposed to our thoughts, even to those based on exposition, that is, it can only be their organising centre, by revelation itself (483). 
In a third major part of the section, Barth tells us that what it means when we acknowledge scripture is that we follow what scripture says about itself. Of course, the primary witness, or rather Object of the witness, is the Word of God - Jesus Christ. This is scripture's implicit witness. But we then acknowledge the explicit human witness in scripture of those individuals who bore witness to revelation in ages past. As we absorb their witness in scripture, by the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit, we become witnesses too as humanity is represented by these first witnesses:
The Bible as witness of divine revelation comes to every man, all men, and in a measure includes them in itself. Rightly understood, all humanity, whether it is aware of it or not, does actually stand in the Bible, and is therefore itself posited as a witness of divine revelation. But that this is the case is made possible and conditioned by the fact that in the first instance not all men but certain specific men stand in the Bible: that is, the men who in face of the unique and contingent revelation had the no less unique and contingent function of being the first witnesses. Because there were and still are those first witnesses, there could and can be second and third witnesses. We cannot speak about Yahweh’s covenant with Israel without at once speaking of Moses and the prophets. Similarly in the New Testament, indissolubly bound up with Jesus Christ, there are the figures of His disciples, His followers, His apostles, those who are called by Him, the witnesses of His resurrection, those to whom He Himself has directly promised and given His Holy Spirit. The Church can say anything at all about the event of God and man only because something unique has taken place between God and these specific men, and because in what they wrote, or what was written by them, they confront us as living documents of that unique event. To try to ignore them is to ignore that unique event. The existence of these specific men is the existence of Jesus Christ for us and for all men. It is in this function that they are distinguished from us and from all other men, whom they resemble in everything else. Therefore the specific and explicit self-witness of Scripture consists in the fact that, from the standpoint of the form in which its content is offered and alone offered to us, it is the witness of the existence of these specific men (486).
These witnesses of scriptures were passively what they were - they witnessed what took place. But also, they were actively what they were - witnesses who bore witness to revelation.
Scripture not only attests to us the objective fact of the revelation which has taken place, its expectation and recollection. It also attests itself in the existence of these specific men, Moses and the prophets, the Evangelists and apostles. And in so doing—and this is what we now have to emphasise—it has in view the function in which passively and actively these men were what they were, and in their writings are what they are. Passively, as distinct from us and all other men, they were those who have seen and heard the unique revelation as such, and seen and heard therefore in a unique way, fashioning their historical environment (490).
But the function of these men has also and necessarily another and active side. As distinct from us and all other men, they were those who have to proclaim to others, and therefore to us and all other men, revelation as they encounter it (490).
Barth adds further, that the authors of scripture are authors only in this function: that they bear witness and discharge their duties as witnesses. They are not authors by any other virtue:
And now a necessary and self-evident delimitation: these men are holy men and the authors of Holy Scripture in this function, but only in this function, only in the exercise of this office. Not therefore as thinkers, not as religious personalities or geniuses, not as moral heroes, although they were these things too in the right sense and in varying degrees. What they were as witnesses to revelation, and therefore as those who saw and heard and were sent on a commission and empowered, was neither the greater nor smaller, the better nor the worse, for what they were from the intellectual or religious or moral standpoint (491).
In a fourth major part of this section, Barth reminds us that we are linked to the witness of scripture - there is a unity between scripture's form and its content of revelation. As he says, "we are tied to these texts."
As the witness of divine revelation the Bible also attests the institution and function of prophets and apostles. And in so doing it attests itself as Holy Scripture, as the indispensable form of that content. But because this is the case, in this question of divine revelation the Church, and in and with it theology, has to hold fast to this unity of content and form. The distinction of form and content must not involve any separation. Even on the basis of the biblical witness we cannot have revelation except through this witness. We cannot have revelation “in itself.” The purpose of the biblical witness is not to help us achieve this, so that its usefulness is outlived when it is achieved. Revelation is, of course, the theme of the biblical witness. And we have already seen that the perception of it is absolutely decisive for the reading and understanding and expounding of this biblical witness. But it always, is the theme of this, the biblical witness. We have no witness to it but this. There are, therefore, no points of comparison to make it possible for us even in part to free ourselves from this witness, to put ourselves into direct relationship to the theme of it. And it is in keeping with the nature of this theme that (in the form of the calling and enlightening and empowering of these specific men) it has been indissolubly linked with its witness, i.e., their witness. In this question of revelation we cannot, therefore, free ourselves from the texts in which its expectation and recollection is attested to us. We are tied to these texts. And we can only ask about revelation when we surrender to the expectation and recollection attested in these texts (492).
And he warns to against finding truths beyond the texts via historical criticism. This may be helpful for doing history, but in the process of doing it, one purports to have found revelation in these facts beyond the text, which is deeply problematic for doing theology.
“It holdeth God’s word,” is what Luther once said about the Bible (Pred. üb. Rom. 15:4f., 1522, W.A. 10l. 2 75, 6). It only “holds,” encloses, limits and surrounds it: that is the indirectness of the identity of revelation and the Bible. But it and it alone does really “hold” it: it comprehends and encloses it in itself, so that we cannot have the one without the other; that is why we have to speak about an indirect identity. The idea against which we have to safeguard ourselves at this point is one which has tacitly developed in connexion with modern theological historicism. It is to the effect that in the reading and understanding and expounding of the Bible the main concern can and must be to penetrate past the biblical texts to the facts which lie behind the texts. Revelation is then found in these facts as such (which in their factuality are independent of the texts) (492).
Barth is not suggesting that we reject the helpful work of biblical scholarship, but that we must
As I see it, this does not mean an annulling of the results of biblical scholarship in the last centuries, nor does it mean a breaking off and neglect of efforts in this direction. What it does mean is a radical re-orientation concerning the goal to be pursued, on the basis of the recognition that the biblical texts must be investigated for their own sake to the extent that the revelation which they attest does not stand or occur, and is not to be sought, behind or above them but in them. If in reply it is asked whether Christianity is really a book-religion, the answer is that strangely enough Christianity has always been and only been a living religion when it is not ashamed to be actually and seriously a book-religion. Expounding the saying in 2 Cor. 5:7 (“We walk by faith, not by sight”) and linking it up with I Cor. 13:12, Calvin coined the statement, videmus enim, sed in speculo et aenigmate; hoc est loco rei in verb acquiescimus (For we see, but in a glass darkly; that is, in place of the thing, we rest content with the word). (C.R. 50, 63). Biblical theology can be as critical as it will and must—but if it carries out the programme outlined in this statement, it will always do good work as ecclesiastical scholarship: better than that done in recent centuries in spite of all the seriousness and industry applied to it. And it will have an honourable place as scholarship in the general sense (494-495).
In a fifth major part of this section, Barth attributes to scripture, in analogy with the incarnation, a divine and a human element - which gives scripture a unique position. Granted, one cannot speak of a unity between God and the authors of scripture, nonetheless, the analogy is not without utility:
Even here the human element does not cease to be human, and as such and in itself it is certainly not divine. And it is quite certain that God does not cease to be God. In contrast to the humanity of Jesus Christ, there is no unity of person between God and the humanity of the prophets and apostles. Again, in contrast to the humanity of Jesus Christ, the humanity of the prophets and apostles is not taken up into the glory of God. It cannot independently reveal, but only attest, the revelation which did and does take place in the humanity of Jesus Christ. But at this remove and with this difference, as this word of testimony, as the sign of the revelation which has taken place and does take place, and indeed, as we saw, as the sign posited in and with revelation itself, as the witness of witnesses directly called in and with revelation itself, Scripture, too, stands in that indirect identity of human existence with God Himself, which is conditioned neither by the nature of God nor that of man, but brought about by the decision and act of God. It too can and must—not as though it were Jesus Christ, but in the same serious sense as Jesus Christ—be called the Word of God: the Word of God in the sign of the word of man, if we are going to put it accurately (499-500).
As the Word of God in the sign of this prophetic-apostolic word of man Holy Scripture is like the unity of God and man in Jesus Christ. It is neither divine only nor human only. Nor is it a mixture of the two nor a tertium quid (a third option) between them. But in its own way and degree it is very God and very man, i.e., a witness of revelation which itself belongs to revelation, and historically a very human literary document. As such it does not violate the majesty of the one God in His distinctness from all that is not Himself. On the contrary, in its existence, i.e., even in its form (which is, of course, entirely grounded in its content) as the only word of man distinguished and separated in this way, it attests the uniqueness of the divine Majesty. The fear that the holiness of Scripture might prejudice the holiness of God will always prove superfluous where the holiness of Scripture is believed in and respected. But in its uniqueness Scripture does not violate the dignity and significance of the other signs and witnesses of revelation (501).
In a sixth major part of this section in the span of about twenty pages, Barth writes about the ways in which scripture has priority over all other writings and itself is a witness to the Word of God:
We believe in and with the Church that Holy Scripture has this priority over all other writings and authorities, even those of the Church. We believe in and with the Church that Holy Scripture as the original and legitimate witness of divine revelation is itself the Word of God. The words “has” and “is” in these two sentences proclaim the same truth (502). 
Barth works through an exposition of 2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:10-21 (pp. 503-506) commenting on the dynamic nature of scripture. He concludes:
The decisive centre to which the two passages point is in both instances indicated by a reference to the Holy Spirit, and indeed in such a way that He is described as the real author of what is stated or written in Scripture. It should be noted that the expressions used in these passages merely confirm what we have already seen concerning the sending and authorising of the prophets and apostles. In their function as witnesses to revelation they speak in the place and under the commission of Him who sent them, that is, Yahweh or Jesus Christ. They speak as auctores secundarii. But there can be no question of any ignoring or violating of their auctoritas and therefore of their humanity. Moreover what we experience elsewhere of the work of the Holy Spirit on man in general and on such witnesses in particular, and our recollection of the conceptus de Spiritu sancto in Christology, does not allow us to suppose that we have to understand what we are told here about the authors of the Holy Scriptures, as though they were not real auctores, as though in what they spoke or wrote they did not make full use of their human capacities throughout the whole range of what is contained in this idea and concept (505).
As men, who lived then and there and not here and now, the prophets and apostles do, of course, exist for us only in what they have written. But in what they have written it is they themselves who do exist for us. In what they have written they exist visibly and audibly before us in all their humanity, chosen and called as witnesses of revelation, claimed by God and obedient to God, true men,   p 506  speaking in the name of the true God, because they have heard His voice as we cannot hear it, as we can hear it only through their voices. And that is their theopneustia. That is the mystery of the centre before which we always stand when we hear and read them: remembering that it was once the case (the recollection of the Church and our own recollection attest it) that their voice reproduced the voice of God, and therefore expecting that it will be so again. The biblical concept of theopneustia points us therefore to the present, to the event which occurs for us: Scripture has this priority, it is the Word of God. But it only points us to it. It is not a substitute for it. It does not create it. How can it, seeing it is only a description of what God does in the humanity of His witnesses? But as it occurs in these two passages, it points us to what Holy Scripture was and will be. Yet even by this circuitous route it points to what it is. Therefore if we are to read and understand and expound Holy Scripture as the Word of God, it will always have to be a matter of taking the road which Scripture itself lays down for us (505-506).
That we "believe" that the Bible is the word of God means this:
Believing does, of course, involve recognising and knowing. Believing is not an obscure and indeterminate feeling. It is a clear hearing, apperceiving, thinking and then speaking and doing. Believing is also a free human act, i.e., one which is not destroyed or disturbed by any magic; but, of course, a free act which as such is conditioned and determined by an encounter, a challenge, an act of lordship which confronts man, which man cannot bring about himself, which exists either as an event or not at all. Therefore believing is not something arbitrary. It does not control its object. It is a recognising, knowing, hearing, apperceiving, thinking, speaking and doing which is overmastered by its object. Belief that the Bible is the Word of God presupposes, therefore, that this over-mastering has already taken place, that the Bible has already proved itself to be the Word of God, so that we can and must recognise it to be such. But when and where there is this proof, it must be a matter of the Word of God itself. We must say at once, that of itself the mere presence of the Bible and our own presence with our capacities for knowing an object does not mean and never will mean the reality or even the possibility of the proof that the Bible is the Word of God. On the contrary, we have to recognise that this situation as such, i.e., apart from faith, only means the impossibility of this proof (506).
On the controversial topic of "inerrancy," Barth affirms the humanness of the scriptures (as well as the divine), meaning he does not insist on its inerrancy, but he warns of even trying to judge such a quality in scripture from any human standpoint or position. How can we who are errant judge something else's inerrancy or errancy? Because North American evangelicalism has been so harsh towards Barth on his views of scripture, I reproduce the small print section here in full.
Not for all ages and countries, but certainly for our own, it is part of the stumbling-block that like all ancient literature the Old and New Testaments know nothing of the distinction of fact and value which is so important to us, between history, on the one hand, and saga and legend on the other. We must be clear that we cannot attach any final seriousness to this distinction and therefore any final difficulty to the objections to which it gives rise. But if we cannot deny that this distinction is now part of our apparatus of apperception, we cannot try to suppress or artificially to remove the doubts arising from it. We have to face up to them and to be clear that in the Bible it may be a matter of simply believing the Word of God, even though it meets us, not in the form of what we call history, but in the form of what we think must be called saga or legend. 
But the vulnerability of the Bible, i.e., its capacity for error, also extends to its religious or theological content. The significance of a fact which was known to the early antiquity weighs on us more heavily to-day than formerly: that in their attestation of divine revelation (from the standpoint of the history of religion) the biblical authors shared the outlook and spoke the language of their own day—and, therefore, whether we like it or not, they did not speak a special language of revelation radically different from that of their time. On the contrary, at point after point we find them echoing contemporaries in time and space who did not share their experience and witness, often resembling them so closely that it is impossible to distinguish between them. Not only part but all that they say is historically related and conditioned. It seems to be weakened, and therefore robbed of its character as witness to revelation, by the fact that it has so many “parallels.” That they speak of Yahweh and of Jesus Christ, and not of other entities, is something we have laboriously to work out and prove from their usage as compared with that of their environment—and we can never do it with unimpeachable evidence, but in the last resort only on the presupposition of our faith. It amounts to this, that, as we see it, many parts, especially of the Old Testament, cannot be accepted as religious and theological literature, but only as documents of secular legislation and history and practical wisdom and poetry, although the Synagogue and later the Church claimed to find in them witness of revelation. It amounts to this, that not one of the biblical authors has done the Church and us the pleasure of giving his witness to divine revelation the form of a more or less complete and thorough-going theological system, that even in relation to the theology of a St. Paul and St. John we can only arrive later and by dint of much laborious construction at a certain hypothetical scheme. It amounts to this, that the biblical authors wrote with all the limitations imposed by their most varied possible historical and individual standpoints and outlooks, so that the content of their writing as a whole, for all the “harmony” upon which we touched earlier, does not in any sense constitute a system. But depending on how we can and want to look on them, there are distinctions of higher and lower, of utterances which are more central and peripheral, of witnesses which have to be understood literally and symbolically. There are obvious overlappings and contradictions—e.g., between the Law and the prophets, between John and the Synoptists, between Paul and James. But nowhere are we given a single rule by which to make a common order, perhaps an order of precedence, but at any rate a synthesis, of what is in itself such a varied whole. Nowhere do we find a rule which enables us to grasp it in such a, way that we can make organic parts of the distinctions and evade the contradictions as such. We are led now one way, now another—each of the biblical authors obviously speaking only quod potuit homo*—and in both ways, and whoever is the author, we are always confronted with the question of faith. Again, we must be careful not to be betrayed into taking sides into playing off the one biblical man against the other, into pronouncing that this one or that has “erred.” From what standpoint can we make any such pronouncement? For within certain limits and therefore relatively they are all vulnerable and therefore capable of error even in respect of religion and theology. In view of the actual constitution of the Old and New Testaments this is something which we cannot possibly deny if we are not to take away their humanity, if we are not to be guilty of Docetism. How can they be witnesses, if this is not the case? But if it is, even from this angle we come up against the stumbling-block which cannot be avoided or can be avoided only in faith. 
To all this, however, we must still add as an independent matter something the importance of which the Church has only begun to recognise in our own day, although it has actually exercised a definite effect in every age. The Bible as the witness of divine revelation is in its humanity a product of the Israelitish, or to put it more clearly, the Jewish spirit. The man who in these Scriptures has said quod potuit [what he could] is homo Judaeus [Jewish man]. This is true—and no devices can avail us, for it is so closely bound up with the content—of the whole of the Bible, even of the whole of the New Testament Bible. It is once and for all the case that the content of these writings is the story of the divine election and calling and ruling of Israel, the story of the founding of the Church as the true Israel. And it is Israelites—and since, as we were told, the witnesses of revelation belong to the revelation themselves, it is necessarily Israelites—who attest all this to us in these Scriptures. If we want it otherwise, we will have to strike out not only the Old but all the New Testament as well, replacing them by something else, which is no longer a witness of divine revelation. The cry of dismay which is heard so strongly to-day is quite justified: we and the men of all nations are expected by Jews not only to interest ourselves in things Jewish, but in a certain and ultimately decisive sense actually to become Jews. And we may well ask whether all the other offences which we may take at the Bible, and will necessarily take if we are without faith, are not trifles compared with this offence. We may well ask whether there is any harder test of faith than the one which we see here. For the Bible itself does not hide the fact, but shows relentlessly that this is a hard demand, that the Jewish people is a hard and stiff-necked people, because it is a people which resists its God, the living God. It is characterised as the people which in its own Messiah finally rejected and crucified the Saviour of the world and therefore denied the revelation of God. It is in this way that the Bible is a Jewish book, the Jewish book. What has later Anti-Semitism to say compared with the accusation here levelled against the Jews? And what can it do compared with the judgment under which they have been put at the hand of God Himself long ago? But in all its folly and wickedness Anti-Semitism, which is as old as the Jewish nation itself, is not based, as its liberal critics think, upon an invincible and therefore recurrent arbitrariness and caprice, which can be kept in bounds by occasional pleas for humanity. Anti-Semitism is so strong to-day that it can hammer out a whole racial theory which claims to be a science, but in the last resort is naively directed against the Jews. And on this basis, which is ultimately an anti-Jewish basis, it can fashion a state. But this Anti-Semitism sees and intends something real which liberalism has never actually seen. This real thing is not, of course, identical with what it accuses and attacks. If it knew what it is, it would not accuse and attack it, for it would know—this is not the only reason, but one reason—that no power in the world can match what confronts it here. Modern German Anti-Semitism is concerned about Jewish blood and Jewish race. At best, these are signs of the real thing which encounters humanity unperceived and uncomprehended. But the real thing itself is the one natural proof of God adduced by God in the existence of the Jewish nation amongst other nations. It is hardly seen by Anti-Semites and liberals, but here a part of world-history gives the most direct witness to the biblical witness of revelation, and therefore to the God who is attested in the Bible. To this very day Israel confronts us as the people of God rejected by God. To this very day Israel shows us that it is only in judgment that God exercises grace and that it is His free decision that He exercises grace in judgment. Israel reminds the world that it is the world, and it reminds the Church from what it has been taken. And because it is this people, the other nations are constantly enraged by its existence, revolting against it and wishing its destruction. Because it is this people, something hostile arises in all non-Jews against every Jew without exception, even the best and finest and noblest of Jews—and this quite apart from ethical or biological feelings and considerations. We cannot attribute the hostility simply to foreign blood and the like. If all the foreign blood which meets us every day in the welter of nations in the modern Western world were to give rise to this hostility, we could never escape it. By being hostile to Jewish blood, the world simply proves that it is the world: blind and deaf and stupid to the ways of God, as they are visibly before it in the existence of this people. And if the Church tries to co-operate in this hostility to Jewish blood, it simply proves that it too has become blind and deaf and stupid. In fact in the Jew, the non-Jew has to recognise himself, his own apostasy, his own sin, which he himself cannot forgive. And in the Jew he has to recognise Christ, the Messiah of Israel, who alone has made good his apostasy and pardoned his sin. Confronted in this way by the divine severity and goodness, he is necessarily alienated by the existence of the Jew, and it is devilish madness if instead he abandons himself to a biological and moral alienation, working out his perverted hostility—as all perversions necessarily work themselves out—in accusations and attacks upon the Jews because of their national alienation. In this way he persists in his own apostasy. He acts as though he could forgive his own sins. In rejecting the Jew he rejects God. But that means that in this perversion we have to do not only with a real thing, but with the most real thing of all. And it is no accident if at the point where we have to do with this most real thing, in the Bible, we are asked point blank whether we are guilty of this perversion or not. For the Bible as the witness of divine revelation in Jesus Christ is a Jewish book. It cannot be read and understood and expounded unless we openly accept the language and thought and history of the Jews, unless we are prepared to become Jews with the Jews. But that means that we have to ask ourselves what is our attitude to the natural proof of God adduced in world history by the continuing existence of the Jews, whether we are ready to accept it or to join the wolves in howling against it. And once we are clear that the liberal solution, i.e., the liberal evasion of the Jewish problem cannot help us, this question will necessarily be a very hard one. We may not always be alienated by the goodness and severity of God. But the Jew brings this alienation right into national and social life to-day, even in the Bible. Salvation means alienation, and “salvation is of the Jews” (Jn. 4:22). And because man will not be alienated, even for his own salvation, he rolls away the alienation on to the Jew. In that way it all becomes so simple. We can find so many grievances against the Jew. Once we have raised even our little finger in Anti-Semitism, we can produce such vital and profound reasons in favour of it, and they will all apply equally well to the Bible, not only to the Old but also to the New Testament, not only to the Rabbi Paul but also to the Rabbi Jesus of Nazareth of the first three Gospels. And we have to ask: What offence that we can take at the Bible is more pressing and goes deeper and is more general than the offence which it offers here? For if the liberal solution, which is no solution, collapses, how can we not be Anti-Semitic? At this point we need the miracle of the Word and faith if the offence is to cease, the perversion to be overcome, the Anti-Semitism in us all eliminated, the word of man, the Jewish word of the Bible, heard and accepted as the Word of God. 
We started with Luther’s saying: Duae res sunt, Deus et scriptura Dei [There are two entities, God and the scripture of God]. We have learned from Augustine the one reason why this is the case. Luther is right, because the Bible is vulnerable. At every point it is the vulnerable word of man. Luther did not stop at this saying. For faith, God and Holy Scripture are not two things but one. We believe that Scripture is the Word of God. But when we say that, we say more than we can say in view of our own present: in recollection and expectation we look to the present of an event which God alone can bring about. It is not only in regard to the ultimately harmless question of tradition, but at every point, that the saying is true which points us to the miracle of God which we cannot bring about: Doctrina sacra vi sua propria pollet et defectum organorum superat el licet per homines fallibiles praedicata, tamen plenam sui fidem in cordibus fidelium facit [Sacred teaching will be strong in its own power and will overcome the defect of its parts, and though it has been proclaimed by fallible men, nevertheless it makes in the hearts of the faithful full confidence in itself]. Nothing else, or less, can lead to the decision which has to be made here (509-512).
That we hear the human words of scripture as the word of God is itself a miracle of God:
In Holy Scripture, too, in the human word of His witnesses, it is a matter of this Word and its presence. That means that in this equation it is a matter of the miracle of the divine Majesty in its condescension and mercy. If we take this equation on our lips, it can only be as an appeal to the promise in virtue of which this miracle was real in Jesus Christ and will again be real in the word of His witnesses. In this equation we have to do with the free grace and the gracious freedom of God. That the Bible is the Word of God cannot mean that with other attributes the Bible has the attribute of being the Word of God. To say that would be to violate the Word of God which is God Himself—to violate the freedom and the sovereignty of God. God is not an attribute of something else, even if this something else is the Bible. God is the Subject, God is Lord. He is Lord even over the Bible and in the Bible. The statement that the Bible is the Word of God cannot therefore say that the Word of God is tied to the Bible. On the contrary, what it must say is that the Bible is tied to the Word of God. But that means that in this statement we contemplate a free decision of God—not in uncertainty but in certainty, not without basis but on the basis of the promise which the Bible itself proclaims and which we receive in and with the Church (513). 
Next, Barth turns to an exposition of 2 Corinthians 3:14-18 and 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 (pp. 514-516). He further surveys the early church writings on scripture (pg. 516-518), finding in these writings an emphasis on inspiration and a tendency to (when speaking of the issue) to slip into Docetism and to ignore the mystery inherent in how human and divine action form the scriptures. Turning to the Protestant reformers, Barth sees a tendency, as they reacted against Socinianism and the Roman Catholic Church, to value security so much that there is a very tight relationship between God's words and human words (520-522). There was an emphasis upon Christ as the content of scripture and the Holy Spirit as the ultimate author of scripture. This is good, however, in later Liberal Protestantism, this flattening of the divine and human elements led to the unhealthy (perhaps inevitable) reaction of Liberal Protestants to the perceived overly-human elements of scripture and the denial that scripture is the word of God (522-526).

To summarize Barth's position on scripture, he gives us eight propositions about scripture:
Instructed by our consideration of the ways to be taken and avoided, we will now try to state in the form of propositions what we can believe about the inspiration, the divine nature of the Bible and therefore about the statement that the Bible is the Word of God, more particularly in the light of the concept of Word (527).
1) To say “the Word of God” is to say the Word of God. It is therefore to speak about a being and event which are not under human control and foresight (527). It is under God's control.

2) To say “the Word of God” is to say the work of God. It is not to contemplate a state or fact but to watch an event, and an event which is relevant to us, an event which is an act of God, an act of God which rests on a free decision (527). The Word of God is an act or event.

3) To say “the Word of God” is to say the miracle of God (528).

4) But if we are speaking of a miracle when we say that the Bible is the Word of God, we must not compromise either directly or indirectly the humanity of its form and the possibility of the offence which can be taken at it (528). The Word of God takes a human form.

5) If, therefore, we are serious about the fact that this miracle is an event, we cannot regard the presence of God’s Word in the Bible as an attribute inhering once for all in this book as such and what we see before us of books and chapters and verses. Of the book as we have it, we can only say: We recollect that we have heard in this book the Word of God; we recollect, in and with the Church, that the Word of God has been heard in all this book and in all parts of it; therefore we expect that we shall hear the Word of God in this book again, and hear it even in those places where we ourselves have not heard it before. Yet the presence of the Word of God itself, the real and present speaking and hearing of it, is not identical with the existence of the book as such (530).

6) As to when, where and how the Bible shows itself to us in this event as the Word of God, we do not decide, but the Word of God Himself decides, at different times in the Church and with different men confirming and renewing the event of instituting and inspiring the prophets and apostles to be His witnesses and servants, so that in their written word they again live before us, not only as men who once spoke in Jerusalem and Samaria, to the Romans and Corinthians, but as men who in all the concreteness of their own situation and action speak to us here and now (530-531).

7) When we speak of the inspiration of the Bible or when we confess that the Bible is the Word of God, on the one side, in the sphere of time and sense, in the concrete life of the Church and of our own life as members of the Church, we have to think of a twofold reality. There is first the question of the text of the biblical witness: or rather of a definite portion of this text, which in a specific time and situation claims the attention of specific men or of a specific individual. If now it is true in time, as it is true in eternity, that the Bible is the Word of God, then according to what we have just said, God Himself now says what the text says. The work of God is done through this text (532).

8) But we must remember—and with this we can bring these considerations to a close—that the inspiration of the Bible cannot be reduced to our faith in it, even though we understand this faith as the gift and work of God in us. All that happens in the sphere of time and sense, in the concrete life of the Church and of our own life as its members, the eventuation of the presence of the Word of God in the human word of the prophets and apostles, can only be regarded as a repetition, a secondary prolongation and continuation of the once-for-all and primary eventuation of revelation itself (534).

To conclude:
Scripture is recognised as the Word of God by the fact that it is the Word of God. This is what we are told by the doctrine of the witness of the Holy Spirit. According to His humanity Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit, to be born of the Virgin Mary for us. Again, according to His humanity, Jesus is redemptively present by the Holy Spirit in the Lord’s Supper. And by the Holy Spirit the witnesses of His humanity became and are also the witnesses of His eternal Godhead, His revelation was apprehended by them and through them it is apprehended by us. When we say “by the Holy Spirit” we mean, by God in the free and gracious act of His turning to us. When we say “by the Holy Spirit” we say that in the doctrine of Holy Scripture we are content to give the glory to God and not to ourselves (537).