Kolb, Robert & Charles P. Arand. The Genius of Luther’s Theology: A Wittenberg Way of Thinking for the Contemporary Church. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008.
Chapter 9 “God’s Word Takes Form as His People Convey It” pp. 205-220.
Kolb and Arand now reflect on the active and living Word of God as it is spoken and believed. This is the word of the Gospel which gives life (Kolb & Arand 2008, 206). The Gospel is found effective in the pure biblical teaching and preaching which we can hear (Kolb & Arand 2008, 206). Since God wishes to speak to his people, he gives his word to be heard. The message must be preached and taught accurately, with no mixture of error. This is God’s wisdom speaking to his people.
Luther and Melanchthon also compared God’s Word to a body of truth, having various members which interact according to their own functions (Kolb & Arand 2008, 208). If the body is damaged in any of its parts it may collapse entirely (Kolb & Arand 2008, 209). Consideration of doctrinal nuances remains an important task.
Aside from the doctrinal aspects of God’s Word, the delivery of the message normally appears in two ways: proclamation and explanation (Kolb & Arand 2008, 210). Proclamation often is a claim of God’s nature or a declaration of the believer’s status in Christ, while explanation is aimed at helping the believer consider the implications of God’s nature in their lives (Kolb & Arand 2008, 211). The response to God’s Word takes place, both in good works, discussed in earlier chapters, and in prayer. Prayer is not considered a means of grace, being our work rather than God’s work (Kolb & Arand 2008, 212). Luther expected that prayer would spread into all our daily life and that God would work through our prayers (Kolb & Arand 2008, 213). This leaves the Christian with great confidence in prayer, as God’s will and work will always be for good. Kolb and Arand emphasize the varieties of ways in which Christians pray.
Another response to God’s Word is in liturgy, the life of Christians gathered together before God (Kolb & Arand 2008, 216). The worship practice of God’s people is a response to God’s word, not a means of man earning favor. It needs to be centered clearly on God’s Word, as well as reception of communion. In Luther’s practice, this was available not only weekly, but, in urban centers, daily (Kolb & Arand 2008, 216).
“The conversation between God and his people is often interrupted, however, because God and his people have an enemy who wants to destroy the relationship between Creator and human creature” (Kolb & Arand 2008, 217). The challenge we face is a spiritual battle, requiring regular repentance and new dependence on God. The strength to overcome in this battle is resident in the Gospel itself. Here is the life-giving promise which is true and lasting (Kolb & Arand 2008, 219).