The Most Important Thing…

It’s always interesting to see how a theologian concisely answers life’s basic questions. Here’s Karl Barth’s one sentence answer to the question of “what is the most important and essential thing in the life of a man”.

Dear N.N,
You have put to me two questions inexhaustible in scope. Permit me to answer you briefly as follows:
1. What do you regard as the most important and essential thing in the life of a man?
That he should use his understanding in such a way as to learn to live responsibly. 2. What do you regard as the most important and essential thing in the life of a theologian?
That he should exercise his responsibility in such a way as to learn to reflect (think after).

With friendly greetings,

Yours,
Karl Barth

Geoffrey Bromily (trans.), Karl Barth Letters: 1961-1968, #299 (p. 310)

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