Karl Barth on the task of every Christian

‘Biblical study … is not merely the affair of a few specialists but fundamentally of all the members of the community. For none is infallible, and all need to be subject to the control of the rest. And again, it might some day be asked of any Christian to give an answer to those without concerning “the hope that is in you” (v. 15). For this no little knowledge of the Bible, and indeed some understanding and therefore study, are indispensable. The statement: “I am a mere layman and not a theologian” is evidence not of humility but of indolence … The Christian must also be in a position to see his way clearly and not to be constantly bewildered in the dramas, tragedies and comedies of the past and present history of the community … Hence there is need of the catechism and even of some memory work’. (CD IV/3, p. 870f.)

‘The task of every Christian … is his task as a bearer of the Gospel to the others who still stand without. To what end? To bring them into the Church, to make them Christians? In the event this too, but the real point is that to all those who by reason of their being outside demand an account of the living hope that is in him this account should be given by what he does and what he leaves undone, by his work and word. More restless than the most restless, more urgent than the most urgent revolutionaries in his immediate or more distant circle, he asks: “Where art thou, peace of all the world?” – and he asks it the more restlessly and the more urgently because he is sure of this future peace, because he consciously looks and moves forward to the future which is filled by it. To him who is thus endowed and blessed there applies the “go” of Mt. 28:19, not as a member of a Christian collective, but very personally. Here are the marching orders which are given directly and specifically to him’. (CD IV/4, p. 200f.)


  1. Thank you for this uplifting post! One of my rants is that all believers should be growing, seeking to know Him more, digging into the Bible, praying throughout the day, surrounding themselves with other Christians. This seems to be a concept that is foreign to many people in the church these days and it is disconcerting. Lovely blogsite, thanks!



  2. I love that quote from CD IV/3. Both have that wonderful verse in 1 Peter. It’s amazing how we fail to exemplify this urgent hope in the midst of such a cynical society.


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