Karl Barth: The Work of the Theologian


“The theologian who has no joy in his work is not a theologian at all. Sulky faces, morose thoughts and boring ways of speaking are intolerable in this science. May God deliver us from what the Catholic Church reckons one of the seven sins of the monk—taedium [loathing]—in respect of the great spiritual truths with which theology has to do. But we must know, of course, that it is only God who can keep us from it.”

Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, II/1, p. 656.


4 thoughts on “Karl Barth: The Work of the Theologian

  1. Kathy

    LOL, Dustin.

    David, I think Barth’s comments apply not just to theologians, but to all Christ followers. Joy being a hallmark of the Kingdom (Romans 14:7, Galatians 5:22), if going to church, reading and studying Scripture, praying, etc. don’t bring us joy, in the words of a southern preacher “you ain’t doing it right!”.

    May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ fill you with all joy today! 🙂

  2. Dustin

    Point well taken, Kathy. I agree entirely.

    Though, I would say that there is often a wide gulf between what goes on in a “department of religious studies” and the “work of a theologian.” Sometimes we have to go through the former to get to the latter. In those cases the aspiring theologian might only have joy in faith and hope.

  3. We probably need to be reminded that Barth wrote this around 1940–in the midst of WWII!! If there was a time when joy may have been on short supply, I suspect this would have been one of those times!

Comments are closed.