Karl Barth's interpreters often characterize him as a ‘christocentric’ theologian. This term, however, is subject to a variety of interpretations, ranging from the totalitarian and isolationist critiques of the ‘christomonist’ objection to the indeterminate and decentred approaches offered by various postmodern readings. The disparity between these two approaches suggests a level of ambiguity in the term that hinders its usefulness unless carefully qualified. Indeed, ‘centric’ terminology itself remains rather ambiguous until the substantive formal and material considerations that lie behind any given form of centricity are addressed. This article proposes to alleviate the ambiguity that has thus clouded the use of ‘christocentric’ as a description of Barth's theology by offering five formal and material qualifications; Barth's christocentricity must be understood in terms of (1) a veiling and unveiling of knowledge in Christ, (2) a methodological orientation, (3) a particular christology, (4) a trinitarian focus and (5) an affirmation of creaturely reality. Using these criteria, the article also argues that both the christomonistic and postmodern interpretations break down at certain points because they fail to appreciate fully these qualifications and thus the particular nature of Barth's christocentrism.