Excerpt 1 from “On Doctrine De Scriptura Sacra (1950): Letters Addressed to Lutheran Pastors, No. 14” by Sasse

The doctrine concerning the Holy Scripture must first proceed from the statement, and is in face nothing else but an unfolding of the statement: The Holy Scripture is God’s Word, Sacra Scriptura est Verbum Dei. God’s Word exists also outside the Scripture; it existed before the Scripture as the Word of the Lord that came to the prophet, was given to him, and was written down only later; and it exists after the Scripture as the preaching in which the Scripture is expounded. God’s Word existed before human language and human writing existed, before a human ear could hear, before a human mind could understand a word. God’s Word existed before all created things: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Was was with God, and God was the Word.” “And the Word was made flesh.” But all other forms of the Word (God’s Word as it was received by a prophet, as it was preached, as it became flesh and, being the verbum incarnatum, it was even seen, 1 Jn 1:1) stand in right relation to the written Word, to the Holy Scripture. Even though God’s Word exists also alongside of, outside of, before the Scripture, no Holy Scripture exists, however, which is not God’s Word. What belongs to the Holy Writ, where are its boundaries, the boundaries of the canon––that is ofter uncertain. Israel, the synagogue, the ancient church, sixteenth century Christendom have often debated that. But one point was always clear: every writing that is God’s Word belongs in the canon of Holy Writ, and, conversely, no writing that is not God’s Word can have nay place there. The boundaries of the canon can be uncertain. But was far as what belongs basically to the canon––on that there is no uncertainty: everything is God’s written Word and nothing but God’s Word written! Of all that the church considers canonical it confesses: it is God’s Word That is an assertion made of faith. Only by faith can we recognize all portions of the Pentateuch, the entire Psalter, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon as God’s Word.

Scripture and the Church: Selected Essays of Hermann Sasse
edited by Jeffrey J. Kloha and Ronald R. Feuerhahn
p. 58-59


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