Rudolf Bultmann on God’s Word in Scripture

Rudolf Bultmann on how God speaks through the Bible

The question of how God speaks to us through the Bible has no sense unless we ask at the same time what God says to us through the Bible. [166]

[…] God’s voice sounds from beyond the world. If we wish to hear it, we must be prepared to let it challenge everything in us and everything in the world: our instincts and desires, our ideals and enterprises, all everyday and ordinary things, but also everything extraordinary and noble. If we wish to hear God, we must give up everything to which we are attached, everything that binds us. If we wish to come before God, we must be prepared to look into nothingness, into death. For God does not grant life except after first having demanded death. His word is the word of creation, creating out of nothingness; before him all that we ourselves are and have must be wiped out. The everlasting life, which God wishes to grant through his word, he grants to the dead and in doing so wakes them. Are we prepared to realize that without this word we are dead? That through this word we shall be “born again,” that we shall be “newly created”? Do we want to expose ourselves to this word that is sharper than a two-edged sword? [167]

[…] How does God speak to us through the Bible? As the sovereign Lord, who demands death and brings life, who claims our whole existence for his will, who sets us free to love. Are we ready to hear? [170]

from Existence & Faith: Shorter Writings of Rudolf Bultmann, (Living Age Books, 1960).