Posted by Ascension

It’s been a while … but I did read something recently and
thought ‘very good’ and wanted to share so here goes …
Luther’s view of truth is inseparable from his doctrine of

the Word of God. Without entering into the various inter-
pretations of this doctrine that have been advanced in

recent years, it seems clear that his understanding of the
Word which God directs to [us] in Christ Jesus contains

just this element of involvement. Nineteenth-century lib-
erals who sought “freiere Stellung” [more liberal position]

in Luther’s attitude toward the Biblical canon misinter-
preted his thought precisely because they overlooked

this fact. The famous words in Luther’s prefaces about
the Christocentricity of the New Testament are to be

understood in the light of the fact that the God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ address-
es his Word to [us] through the Holy Scriptures, not to provide [us] with information about Himself

or [ourselves] but to give Himself to [us]. “Einen Gott haben” [to have a God] is Luther’s favourite
phrase of [humanity’s] religious disposition, an indication of the intensely personal character of
faith.
The Word by which God creates that faith is intensely personal, too. When the enthusiasts wanted
to use the Old Testament as a basis for civil law, Luther vehemently declared: “It is all the Word of
God, to be sure. But Word of God or not, I must know and make certain to whom that Word of God
is addressed … It must strike me” before God’s Word find its mark. That the Bible is God’s Word
even before I receive it Luther stoutly maintained; I do not make it God’s Word by believing it. But

in the relationship which God creates by His Word I am called into fellowship with Him, I am per-
sonally, yes, existentially involved. – Jaroslav Pelikan, From Luther to Kierkegaard: A Study in the History of

Theology (Concordia Publishing house, 1950), p.17,18 cited in Forum Letter Vol. 51, No 3, March 2022.
The Bible conveys Jesus to us which is why we believe the Holy Spirit guided the building of the

Church on the foundation of the prophets and apostles with Christ as the cornerstone. This under-
standing is critical for us who live nearly 2,000 years later, who read Scripture because it conveys

Christ who speaks to us and into our time and place. We do not follow a rule book but enter into a
relationship with Jesus who lives now and is with us (courtesy of Jesus’ ascension). And yet the
Bible sets the parameters which shape our belief and behaviour because it would also be easy for
us to say that my view of Jesus means I can say or do x or y – even if x or y are not spoken about
as God pleasing in the Bible. We should not be the final authority of our interpretation. Rather we

should interpret the Bible through Jesus, through his death for us, through the saving act we sum-
marise as ‘justification’, and through the presence of a holy God among sinners in this world now.

The Bible is God’s Word and each day when we engage with it, the question we should ask is
‘How is this God’s Word for me today?’.
The answers involve us not just ‘being told’ something – what to believe or what to do or not do –
but recognising who we are in the moment – child, parent, spouse, employee, employer, citizen,
ruler, congregational member, pastor or other church worker – and engaging with the Word of God
with that role (or vocation) in focus. When Jesus speaks to us, he isn’t speaking abstractly but to
us in a moment of time, in a situation, in a relationship or many relationship. Recognising who we
are in that moment helps us listen and follow Jesus on the day and plan for the future. Living with
Jesus is dynamic! GS