One of the best ways I have found to summarize this view is to say that in the neo orthodox view of Scripture is to say the Bible is the word of God but does not contain the ‘the words of God”. There is also an element in this view the Scriptures do not becomes the word of God until it becomes the word of God to the person reading the text. Karl Barth, one of the founders of this view used the idea of the ‘ah ha’ moment. That is the moment that the text touches a person and changes their point of view is when the Bible becomes the Word of God for them.
The strength of this view is that it recognizes the discrepancy between what people read in the Bible and what they put into practice may very well depend on the personal inspiration the person receives while reading it. This aspect of the ability of the Bible to inspire action is very strong in this view and often this aspect of biblical inspiration is missed in other views.
The weakness of this is that it misses the aspect of inspiration where the Bible still may be God’s Word without a person having that ‘ah ha’ moment. For instance, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’ Is this commandment only applicable to those to whom it has become the Word of God or is it the Word of God and reflects his expectations whether or not a person has the ah ha moment or not? Ultimately this creates a kind of selective authority of Scripture that is relative to the person.
This in my mind undercuts why a person has the ‘ah ha’ moment in the first place if there is not inherently inspired about the Bible to inspire those moments. Thus I like the concept of how the Bible can inspire and makes its inspiration more real to a person but for the most part I reject the rest of this view as being too weak to really give value to the Bible itself.
Next: Illumination Theory