Preaching in Reflection: God’s Word in the Midst of Christ’s 1rst and 2nd Advents

God’s Word comes to us as God reveals Himself time and again in the pages of Holy Scripture which is itself God’s Word because it not only witnesses to revelation but is itself used by God to be revelation. Preaching is the expounding and repeating of this revelation attested to in Holy Scripture which also itself becomes revelation. Throughout this process God remains free, sovereign, and gracious; His work is grace from beginning to end, in His initial revealing of Himself, revealing Himself again in Scripture, and finally revealing Himself once more in preaching which is the link between God’s Word in revelation and God’s Word in the Bible. Preaching only takes place between Christmas and Christ’s return.

Let us hear Karl Barth’s take on preaching and revelation:

Preaching must conform to revelation. First, this means negatively that in preaching we are not to repeat or transmit the revelation of God by what we do. Precisely because the point of the event of preaching is God’s own speaking (Deus loquitur), there can be no question of our doing the revealing in any way. in all circumstances we must respect the fact that God has revealed himself and he will reveal himself as the one who comes again. All the action that takes place in preaching, which lies between the first advent and the second, is the action of the divine Subject. Revelation is a closed circuit in which God is both Subject and Object and the link between the two. (Karl Barth, Homiletics, pg.47)

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