I just returned home from a talk given by Miroslav Volf at Eerdmans’ bookstore—and I want to relay a story he shared. Volf said that once he was having dinner with his dissertation supervisor, Jurgen Moltmann. Moltmann is widely held to be the second greatest living theologian, next to Pannenberg (note that “greatest” does not necessarily mean “orthodox; you can be significant and not be orthodox).
Moltmann was reflecting on his career, and he told Volf that if he had to do it again, he would spend more time with the Scriptures. That struck me as an odd omission for a theologian. Volf explained that Moltmann is a creative theologian who takes many of his cues from culture, and that is why he neglected the Bible.
There may be a reason for it, but it’s still remarkably sad. There are so many disciplines that theologians have to master—such as the languages, history, and philosophy—that it’s easy to overlook the Bible. But as Moltmann discovered a bit late, that is one regret which we cannot afford to have.