There are people who want to focus on what the Bible actually says, in the way that it says it; and there are people who want to focus on what they think the Bible says according to their canons of extraneous criticism developed under the pressures provided by their peers. Karl Barth was a Dogmatic theologian and biblical exegete who wanted to focus on the former, on what the Bible actually says, according to its ordained conventions and reality found in Jesus Christ.
I have noticed, maybe you have too, a movement taking hold within a demographic of younger (as far as biological age) and even baby boomer Christians who in the past would have identified as evangelical Christians, but who are now more in step with what has loosely been called ‘Progressive’ Christianity. But it isn’t just this demographic, it is also the tribe I grew up in; dispensationalists are just as participatory in this process of reading the Bible through prefabricated rules developed from a historist approach toward the Bible. We could blame all of this on an uncritical (or maybe even a critical) appropriation of Enlightenment engagement of Scripture, which indeed, focuses on the formation of the canon of Scripture, and its text latent contours through criteria that are external to Scripture itself. One consequence of this is that those who follow this trajectory end up having ongoing discussions about the Bible, but never really engage with the material theological content of the Bible. The Bible gets reduced to a text that is useful for reconstructing the history of religions, but not useful for encountering the living God reported upon within its pages (and its special history relative to its reality found in Jesus Christ).
George Hunsinger, a Karl Barth scholar, professor par excellence at Princeton Theological Seminary has written about how Barth worked as a postcritical interpreter of Scripture; recognizing that the critical scholarship I was speaking about above has its place, but it really isn’t all that enlightening toward actually engaging with the text of Scripture – whose context is ultimately the Triune life of God revealed in Jesus Christ. Here is Hunsinger:
As understood by Barth, the function of biblical criticism was mostly preliminary (NS, 233). It pertained to history in them modern sense of the term. It allowed various elements of the texts to be distinguished, whether they be historical, or legendary, or conflations of past and present occurrences. Critical distinctions like these had to be made. But after they were made, wrote Barth, “they can be moved again into the background, and the whole [text] can be read, with this tested, critical naïveté, as the totality it professes to be” (IV/2, 479 rev.).
Historical and non-historical elements flow together at this point (cf. III/1, 80-81). Verifying the miracles historically ceases to be of great importance. What matters is the sort of events being reported: events that are incomparable and mysterious. “The ill-advised hunt for a historical truth supra scripturam [prior to Scripture] is called off,” wrote Barth, “in favor of an open investigation of the veritas scripturae ipsuis [the truth of Scripture itself]” (I/2, 494 rev.). What emerges as the sole object of exegesis, from a theological standpoint, is the texts themselves. No other option makes sense if the following is true: “Revelation stands, no, it happens, in the Scriptures,” wrote Barth, “and not behind them. It happens. There is no way around this in the biblical texts – in their actual words and sentences – given what the prophets and the apostles, as witnesses to revelation, wanted to say and have said.”
Theological exegesis is determined by this picture of the attested events (NS, 234). It tries to respect what it finds in the texts. It operates with a hermeneutic that allows them to correct our ordinary picture of what is and is not possible.
Scriptural exegesis rests on the assumption that the message which Scripture has to give us, even in its apparently most debatable and least assimilable parts, is in all circumstances truer and more important than the best and most necessary things that we ourselves have said or can say. In that Scripture is the divinely ordained and authorized witness to revelation, it entails a claim to be interpreted along these lines; and if this claim be not duly heeded, it remains at bottom inexplicable. (I/2, 719 rev.)
A baby boomer scholar who is very popular among the progressive Christians, Peter Enns, just recently wrote this on his Facebook wall: “If I hear one more Enlightened One claim that source criticism of the Pentateuch is dead and buried and has been replaced by literary analysis, I am going to file a lawsuit for academic slander.” Enns is someone who is doing a good job revivifying something that I think Barth believes should be in the background, and not at the forefront of how exegesis of the text of Scripture ought to proceed. I am with Barth.
Hey, if you want to spend your time engaging in the never ending process of source, form, and redaction criticism, when doing Bible study, done under a naturalist-historist mode of operation that is up to you! But if you want to actually encounter the living Word of God in Scripture, then I suggest you accept Barth’s invitation to feast at the banqueting table of Holy Scripture and its compelling and breathing reality found from the lungs of Jesus Christ. Let Scripture impose its special and strange, and even foolish reality upon you, instead of you imposing your reality upon it.
 George Hunsinger, “Postcritical Scriptural Interpretation: Rudolf Smend on Karl Barth,” in Thy Word Is Truth: Barth On Scripture (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012) ed. George Hunsinger, 42.