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Asia Pacific Augistinian Conference

Laurence Mooney OSA: St Augustine and the Word of God

This article was written as a minor thesis in 1965, and is reproduced with permission of its author. A number in bold font at the end of a sentence or quotation refers to an endnote at the end of this article. Copyright © 1968 and 2012. It may be reproduced for private and non-commercial educational use. 
 
This article does not pose as an immediate answer to any pressing contemporary question. To study the theology of God's word is not, however, to sidestep the problems of present-day theologizing. On the contrary, such study is essential if the Gospel is to be allowed its full saying force in today's largely unbelieving world. There is a crisis in preaching in the church which must be met and resolved; the word of God itself must be restored to its rightfully central position among religious people; the question of God's word and man's response to it has to be discussed in the ecumenical arena; and, further, additional study by theologians is required to bring needed clarity to the important notion of God's word as efficacious and creative.
 

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Religious questions in our own day are far-reaching and penetrating. Generally they are urgent, relating to the individual quest for personal meaning. They are the questions which arise from an immediate and often painful experience of life itself.

The theologian, of whom so many contemporary questions are asked, must busy himself with answers, particularly to the precise questions actually asked. Yet to answer in any way satisfactorily he must speak from an awareness of life in this world and its problems, and literally have made his own the "concrete concerns of the man on the street." 1

“A recently-discovered image of St Augustine that was painted by Caravaggio in about the year 1600.”

This article does not pose as an immediate answer to any pressing contemporary question. To study the theology of God's word is not, however, to sidestep the problems of present-day theologizing. On the contrary, such study is essential if the Gospel is to be allowed its full saying force in today's largely unbelieving world. There is a crisis in preaching in the church which must be met and resolved; the word of God itself must be restored to its rightfully central position among religious people; the question of God's word and man's response to it has to be discussed in the ecumenical arena; and, further, additional study by theologians is required to bring needed clarity to the important notion of God's word as efficacious and creative.    

But why a study of the word of God according to Saint Augustine, a North African bishop of the fifth century? The choice is related to the writer's conviction of the modernity of St. Augustine in so many spheres. !t is especially, however, because Augustine, as will be shown,  offers a wealth of inspiration in his own preaching and use of the word of God, and has been characterized in this century as the "draughtsman of the doctrine of God's word.” 2
 

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