Last Three Parts

In approaching the Bible, the conservative theologian begins with the self-testimony of Scripture. To find out what Scripture is, he sets himself to listen to what Scripture claims to be. In other words, the conservative theologian begins with an act of faith. This is often said to be reasoning in a logical circle, and we do not deny this. But we also maintain that it is inevitable. If the Bible is the Word of God, as it claims to be, then it is simply impossible to appeal to any other authority that stands above Scripture in order to obtain the right view of Scripture. If it is the Word of God, it is itself the highest authority; we can only submit to its claims.

No one in recent years has defended this more cogently than Karl Barth. Although we disagree with his doctrine of Scripture, we cannot but agree with the following statement, which describes his acceptance of this starting point:

What Barth means is that one cannot, by reasoning, work oneself up to this starting point, nor can one, once captivated by the Holy Spirit, get away from this starting point. It is simply a matter of faith, of being convinced by the Holy Spirit. Barth explains it with the following example. If you ask a boy, “Why do you call this woman among all others your mother?,” his only answer is: “Because, of course, she is my mother.” That is the fact upon which he proceeds. In the same way, all our statements about the Bible proceed upon the fact that the Bible is the Word of God. Here God speaks to us.

This, of course, is decisive for one’s whole view of Scripture. One can only begin with listening to what the Bible says about itself.

The Self-Testimony of Scripture

There can be no doubt about this self-testimony of Scripture. Take, ...

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