Barth affirms God's deeds within history as well as the reality of historical and cultural conditioning within Scripture. He rejects the contention that the Bible is a fully historical and/or literary document as fundamentalism holds to, "Barth readily acknowledges that the Bible participates in the contingency and relativity of the history and culture which it was a written and compiled" (101).
As one can imagine, Barth chooses not to use words like infallibility and inerrancy in relation to the "truth" of the text. He does us the term infallibility in relation to the information given relative to our concerns of ourselves and our relationship, questions, concern and needs, "For him (Barth) the bible is essentially truthful and authoritative, whatever its external flaws" (101) and again, "Barth would not affirm that inspiration guarantees the entire truthfulness and trustworthiness of Scripture, but it does assure us of finding the truth in Scripture. For Him there are two moments of inspiration: the enlightenment of the writers and the illumination of the readers" (102).
It is this illumination of the readers where critique of Barth has been leveled. For Barth, it is possible that readers of
Scripture are not illuminated. This means that the Scripture is merely words and not the "Word" of God. It is only the Holy Spirit that illuminates the Scripture and the Holy Spirit doesn't do this with everyone.
Bloesch's purpose is to introduce readers to Barth, not explicate him completely. Readers are left wondering about the role of the Holy Spirit as well as the relationship between God's written word, however culturally and historically conditioned, the preached word, and the Word revealed in Christ.
Time for more investigation. George Hunsinger edited a volume entitled "Barth and Scripture." This is my next stop on understanding Barth's position.