Scripture

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People's Dictionary of the Bible [1]

Scripture, Writing, and Scriptures, Writings. The name given in the Bible to portions of the recorded will of God; called also "Holy Scriptures,"  Romans 1:2;  2 Timothy 3:16, and once "the Scripture of truth."  Daniel 10:21. The more common title in the Bible is "Law," and "Law of Moses." Christ refers frequently to passages in the Old Testament in this way, and once designates the entire collection by the three divisions known to the Jews, "the Law of Moses, and the Prophets, and the Psalms."  Luke 24:44. The term Scripture occurs 52 times in the A. V., only once in the Old Testament; but compare  2 Kings 22:13;  Psalms 40:7, and  Psalms 119:1-176. "Law," "Law of Moses," occur 426 times, and "Gospel" in the New Testament only 101 times. The prophets frequently used the phrase, "the word of the Lord."  Isaiah 1:10;  Jeremiah 2:4;  Ezekiel 12:17;  Daniel 9:2;  Hosea 1:1;  Joel 1:1. Scripture is called in the New Testament "the word of God," "oracles of God," and "God's words."  Acts 4:31;  Acts 6:7;  Acts 12:24;  Romans 3:2; and  John 8:47. In the New Testament Paul's epistles are classed with the Old Testament as "Scripture."  2 Peter 3:16. The term Bible comes from the Latin Biblia, and Greek Biblos or Biblion, meaning book. It was used by Josephus—70-100 a.d., and Philo, to designate single books of the Old Testament; and later by Chrysostom—350-407 a.d.—for the whole collection. "The Jews have the books— Biblia— "... "Provide yourselves with books,... at least procure the new, the Apostolos, the Acts, the Gospels." Hom. 2 and 9. He also called them "the divine books." It was applied to the Holy Scriptures by Chaucer—1400, and Wyckliffe—1384, and used as a title by Coverdale—1535. Since then the "Holy Bible" has become the common English title for the collection of 66 sacred books, accepted by all Christians as the authoritative word of God. The Bible is divided into the Old and the New Testaments, a name based upon  2 Corinthians 3:14; testament referring there to the old covenant. Thus we read of the "book of the Covenant,"  Exodus 24:7;  2 Kings 23:2, a phrase which was transferred in time to the entire Hebrew Sacred Scriptures, and the New Testament or Covenant to the Christian. There are 39 separate books in the Old Testament, and 27 in the New Testament, making 66 books in the Bible. They are called "holy" or "sacred" because they are the written revelations of God. "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of men; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."  2 Peter 1:21 A. V., or in R. V., "for no prophecy ever came by the will of man; but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Ghost." Comp.  2 Timothy 3:16, and  2 Peter 3:16. The Jews, besides dividing the Old Testament into the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, or the writings, as before noted, made other divisions in toe text of separate books for convenience in reading in public worship. For example, they divided the "Law, the five books of Moses, into 54 portions, and these were subdivided into smaller sections. From these grew the modern division of the Old Testament into chapters and verses. The New Testament was divided into chapters and verses by Stephens in 1551, and likewise first appeared in the Genevan English Bible in 1557-1560. The chronological dates were first inserted by Lloyd in 1701, and are from Ussher. The marginal references to facilitate finding texts on the same or similar topics, were greatly improved by Drs. Paris and Blayney, 1762, 1769. The Italics in the English versions do not indicate emphatic words, but are inserted by the translators to complete the sense and to show that there are no words in the original Hebrew or Greek to correspond with these English words in italics. The original text of the Old Testament is Hebrew (except a small portion in Chaldaic); the New Testament was written in Greek. The text of the Hebrew Bible has been carefully preserved by the labors of men who regarded it with great reverence. The Massoretic text of today is the work of a body of scholars living at Tiberias, in Galilee, and at Sora in the Euphrates valley, who added the vowel points. The oldest extant Hebrew Old Testament manuscripts date from the tenth century. The entire Hebrew Bible was first printed in 1488. Besides the Jewish Massoretes, able Hebrew scholars have carefully and conscientiously compared various Hebrew copies with the old Greek translations, to give us a more accurate Hebrew text than could be gained from a single ancient manuscript. The New Testament Greek text has received greater critical study than even the Old Testament text. Copies of the gospels and epistles were early multiplied in great numbers. These manuscripts are of two classes—uncials, written in capitals and with no division of words or sentences and very few marks of punctuation, and cursives, written in running band. The former are the older, dating from the fourth to the tenth century. The material used, the style of writing, and other peculiarities, enable experts to tell very nearly to what century any given manuscript belongs. The first printed New Testament text that was published was that of Erasmus in 1516. What is called the Received Text (Greek) is that of the Elzevir Edition, 1633. The toils of a long succession of scholars have sufficed to furnish a text that satisfactorily represents the original. Chief among these scholars were Beza, Mill, Bengel, and Bentley in the centuries that followed the Reformation. They were followed by Griesbach—1754-1812, Lachmann—1793-1851, Tischendorf—1815-1874, Tregelles—1813-1875, Westcott, and Hort, and through their labors we have a satisfactory and pure text of the Greek Testament.

Order Of The Books.— The order of the various books differs in Hebrew manuscripts, according as they are Talmudic or Massoretic. The Talmudic order is: the Law, or five books of Moses; the Prophets, viz., Joshua,  Judges 1:1-36 and  2 Samuel 1:1-27 and 2 Kings, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, the twelve minor Prophets; the Writings, viz., Ruth, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Daniel, Esther, Ezra with  Nehemiah 1:1-11 and 2 Chronicles. The Massoretes order is: the Law, the earlier Prophets, then Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel; and the KʿThubim or Writings are thus arranged: Psalms, Proverbs, Job, the five Megilloth , viz., Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, then Daniel, Ezra with  Nehemiah 1:1-11 and 2 Chronicles. The order in the Septuagint varies considerably from that of the Hebrew. The books of the New Testament may Declassed as historical, doctrinal, and prophetical. The historical, viz., the four Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles, always stand first. Of the doctrinal class, some leading manuscripts—including the Alexandrine and Vatican—make the catholic epistles precede those of Paul; the Hebrews following 2 Thessalonians. The Western church has generally placed the Pauline epistles first, namely, those to churches, then those to individuals, with the Hebrews last, the author being, according to many, uncertain. The prophetical book, Revelation, always closes the sacred volume. See Rice's Our Sixty-Six Sacred Books for further account of the text, versions, etc.

Ancient Translations.— 1. The oldest translation of the Old Testament is the Greek, made about two centuries before Christ. It is called the Septuagint— I.E., seventy, a round number for the more exact seventy-two—from a tradition that the work was executed by 72 Jewish scholars. It was in universal use among the Jews in Christ's day, and is continually quoted by the New Testament writers. This translation instead of the Hebrew was translated into Latin by the early Christian fathers, and is the authority in the Greek Church today. The Jews, however, abandoned it, and returned to the study and use of the original Hebrew. 2. A translation into Syriac was made by Christians, direct from the Hebrew, called the Peshittâ ( Simple), because it was literal, and not paraphrastic, was in common use in the fourth century. 3. Of Latin translations are the Itala, made from the Septuagint, and the translation by Jerome, the most learned Christian of his day, directly from the Hebrew, a.d. 385-405, which is called the Vulgate. All Roman Catholic versions must be conformed to it.

Modern Translations. —Only a few leading modern versions can be noticed: 1. German, by Luther, New Testament, in 1522, and Bible, 1534; revised version, 1892. 2. French, by Le Fevre, at Antwerp, 1530; Olivetan, 1535, and Segonds, 1880. 3. Dutch, synod of Dort, 1637, Staats Bibel. 4. Italian, Diodati, 1607. 5. Spanish, by Valero, and by San Miguel, 1602, 1794. 6. Arabic, by E. Smith and Van Dyck, 1866. Many translations have been made by missionaries.

English Translations.— Translations of portions of the Bible were made into Anglo-Saxon in the eighth century and into early English in the thirteenth or earlier. The chief translations are: Wyckliffe's New Testament, from the Latin in 1380, and his followers also translated the Old Testament; these were written. Tyndale's, from the Greek, first English New Testament, printed 1526. Coverdale's Bible, 1535, chiefly from the Latin. This was the first entire Bible printed in English, and probably at Zurich. Matthews' Bible, a fusion of the translations by Tyndale and Coverdale, and made by John Rogers, the martyr, under the name of Matthews. 1537. It was published with the English king's license, and hence was the first authorized version in English. Taverner's Bible was a revision of Matthews' issued in 1589. Cranmer's, or the Great Bible, was simply a new edition of Matthews', issued under the sanction of and with a preface by, Cranmer, also in 1539. The Genevan New Testament, 1557, and Genevan Bible, 1560, were made by English refugees at Geneva, during the persecution under the English queen, Mary, who was a Roman Catholic. It was the first complete English translation from the original Hebrew and Greek texts, and the first English Bible divided into modern chapters and verses. The Bishops' Bible, 1568-1572, a revision of the Great Bible, made by 15 scholars, eight of whom were bishops. The Rheims, New Testament, 1609, and Douai Bible, 1610, made by Roman Catholic scholars at Douai. The King James', or so-called Authorized Version, made from the Hebrew and Greek by 47 scholars, under sanction of James II., king of England, 1611. The Anglo-American revised Bible, New Testament, 1881, Old Testament, 1885. This is a revision of the so-called A. V. made by a company of 67 British and 34 American scholars appointed by a Committee of the Church of England, through the Convocation of Canterbury, in 1870.

Evidences Of Scripture. —Concerning the evidences, external and internal, of the truth of Scripture, it may briefly be said that no books have been subjected to such severe critical examination into every statement, and clause, and particular, as the Bible, and never have the arguments for its integrity and authority been as strong as they are today. The fulfillment of prophecy, the minute accuracy of descriptions, formerly supposed to be inaccurate, but which later and more thorough researches have found to be true, sustain the historic verity of the Scriptures. For instance, a searching examination of Paul's shipwreck has proved it to be minutely accurate. The explorations made of late years in Nineveh and Babylon, Egypt and Palestine, have tended to confirm the credibility of Scripture in many hitherto disputed points. It is true that we must receive the evidence so produced with care. Inscriptions and monumental records are more likely to exaggerate the successes than to chronicle the disasters of the people by whom they were made. We could not reasonably expect to find in Egyptian monuments any detail of the judgments which forced the release of Israel. Neither was it likely that Sennacherib would record the fatal overthrow of his vast army at Jerusalem. But much information has been obtained by incidental notices. Thus it had been questioned whether such a king as Nebuchadnezzar ever reigned. His name, it was said, did not appear in Herodotus: and objectors, if they did not deny the existence of the conqueror, at least insinuated that a petty satrap had been magnified into a great king. But now bricks in abundance have been found inscribed with Nebuchadnezzar's name, proving that he had built and adorned a magnificent capital.  Daniel 4:30. Yet more serious doubt was expressed in regard to Belshazzar; and consequently the narrative of his feast and the awful sign which interrupted it was pronounced a fable. But it is now distinctly proved by the discovery of unquestionable records that a sovereign of that name was associated in power with his father during the last days of Babylon's independence. These instances could be multiplied many times, from the discoveries at Tanis, Lachish, Nineveh, Memphis, and from the recovery of inscriptions and letters, and from the mummies of the Pharaohs, of priests, and princes, almost without number. The results of Christianity, its effects on individuals, families, nations; its wonderful missions, are an unanswerable proof of the verity of this one Book, the Bible. The Scriptures are the only written revelation of God, and the only authoritative record of his plan of salvation. The Old Testament was given specially at first to the Jews, and the New Testament to the disciples of Christ. The Old Testament is fulfilled in the New. There are not less than 265 direct quotations from the Old Testament in the New, and 350 further allusions in the New Testament to the Old Testament, which imply that the latter was the word of God. Again and again Christ and his apostles cited and approved of the Old Testament as the truth of God, and the New Testament expressly declares: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."  2 Timothy 3:16-17, A. V. (The E. V. modifies, but on the whole rather strengthens this, as a proof text on the subject.) God's word is not to be diminished, or added to, see  Deuteronomy 4:2;  Deuteronomy 12:32;  Revelation 22:19; nor is God's plan of salvation to be modified: "If any Man preach any other gospel unto you... let him be accursed." Gat 1:9. The Scriptures from the beginning to their end point to and reveal the living "Word made flesh," even the Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal life in him.  John 1:1-14;  Colossians 1:12-20;  Hebrews 1:1-3. From the Mosaic book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament Jesus quoted texts to withstand the awful conflict in the temptations of the devil.  Matthew 4:4. It was from the Old Testament books that Jesus talked on the way to Emmaus with two disciples, "beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself."  Luke 24:27. These scriptures are sufficient to guide and persuade any who will be reasonably persuaded to salvation. When the rich man in torment plead with Abraham for his five brethren, saying: "If one went unto them from the dead, they will repent," the answer was, "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."  Luke 16:30-31. They make a fatal mistake who do not so study the Bible as to find Christ in it from beginning to end, a personal Saviour through whom comes eternal, spiritual life.

Circulation Of The Bible. —The following statements are from Rice's Our Sixty-Six Sacred Books: The Bible and portions of the Scriptures are printed in 367 versions and 287 dialects, according to the American Bible Society reports (founded 1816). The reports of the British and Foreign Bible Society (founded 1804) show that over 60 new versions of the Bible were added to its list in eleven years, and that the Scriptures are now published in 510 versions in upwards of 300 languages. A conservative estimate is that the Bible, or portions, are now issued in 450 languages and dialects by the Bible and mission societies and private publishers of the world. It is computed that 60,000 copies of the gospels were circulated among Christians before the end of the second century after Christ. Over 100,000 copies of Luther's German version were sold within 40 years of its issue. Between 1524 and 1611 not less than 278 editions of English Bibles and Testaments wore printed. In the first 15 years of 18th century private publishers in America issued 131 editions of the Bible and 65 of the New Testament. Not less than 1000 editions, some having a very large circulation, were issued in the first 65 years of 19th century in America alone. The total circulation of the Scriptures and portions, for the nineteenth century, is placed at 300,000,000 copies. Never was the annual circulation greater than now. Bible and mission societies of the world circulate yearly about 6,500,000 copies, and private publishers swell tills number to more than 10,000,000 annually, The copies of the Scriptures circulated in heathen lands, in this century, are believed to exceed in number all that there were in the world from Moses to Martin Luther. "This word of God has held a thousand nations for thrice a thousand years spell-bound," says F. W. Robertson, "held them by an abiding power, even the universality of its truth." "Blessed are" they.. "who walk in the law of the Lord."  Psalms 119:1. Rice, Our 66 Sacred Books.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [2]

1. Terms. -The general designation for ‘Scripture’ is γραφή or plur. γραφαί, the former occurring some 30 times in the NT (Gospels 14, Acts 3, Paul 9, Catholic Epistles 5), the latter about 20 times (Gospels 10, Acts 4, Paul 5, Catholic Epistles 2). The terms are almost invariably preceded by the definite article, the only exceptions being in  John 19:37,  2 Timothy 3:16, where the article before γραφή is replaced by ἑτέρα and πᾶσα respectively,  1 Peter 2:6,  2 Peter 1:20, where γραφή has become a real proper name, and  Romans 1:2;  Romans 16:26, where the Scriptures are more explicitly characterized as γραφαί ἅγιαι and γραφαί προφητικαί, ‘holy Scriptures’ and ‘prophetic Scriptures.’ In one text,  2 Timothy 3:15, another designation is used, viz. ἱερὰ γράμματα, ‘sacred writings’ (a direct translation of the Hebrew phrase בִּתָבֵי חַקֹּדָשׁ), which we find also in Philo and Josephus.

2. Connotation of terms. -Both γραφή and γράμμα are derived from the verb γράφω, ‘draw,’ ‘inscribe,’ or ‘write,’ and thus suggest writing in the most general sense. Classical Greek shows the transition in each case from the rudimentary conception of written characters, or the art of alphabetic writing, to the higher thought of real literature. In the NT γράμμα alone shows any such variety of meaning. Here the word is applied, not merely to the ‘letter’ of the Law as contrasted with the living, life-giving spirit ( Romans 2:27 ff.,  2 Corinthians 3:6 f.), but in its plural form γράμματα to the elements of penmanship ( Galatians 6:11), literature as a subject of study ( John 7:15,  Acts 26:24), and documents of various kinds, such as the debtors’ bills reduced by the unjust steward ( Luke 16:6 f.), letters of commendation or the reverse ( Acts 28:21), the writings of Moses ( John 5:47), as well as the Sacred Scriptures (in the phrase cited from  2 Timothy 3:15). The parallel term γραφή is used only in the last sense. The question has been widely canvassed whether the singular γραφή applies to the Scriptures as a unified whole, or to some single section or ‘passage’ of Scripture. In his famous note on  Galatians 3:22 Lightfoot lays down the principle that ‘the singular γραφή in the NT always means a particular passage of Scripture,’ though in a subsequent comment on  Romans 4:3, while insisting that St. Paul’s practice ‘is absolute and uniform,’ he admits a doubt as to St. John’s usage. On the other hand, Warfield maintains that the prevailing classical application of γραφή to entire documents, carrying with it ‘a general implication of completeness,’ extends also to the NT,-that ‘in its more common reference’ the term ‘designates the OT, to which it is applied in its completeness as a unitary whole’ (Dict. of Christ and the Gospelsii. 586). In the present writer’s judgment the former contention vindicates itself, even in the Fourth Gospel and in the crucial text  Galatians 3:22 (the Apostle having in mind the passages of Scripture adduced either in  Galatians 2:16,  Galatians 3:10 or in the longer argument of  Romans 3:9 ff.). The only clear instances of γραφή applied to the Scriptures as a whole appear to be found in  1 Peter 2:6 and  2 Peter 1:20, where the word is already a proper name, the full development of the personifying tendency observable in  Galatians 3:8. As regards the significance of the plural γραφαί there is general agreement. Where the term is qualified by the adjectives ἅγιαι and προφητικαί (cf. above), the reference is to the character, not the scope, of the Scriptures. In  2 Peter 3:16 αἱ λοιπαὶ γραφαί are most probably to be understood of apostolic writings. But the technical phrase αἱ γραφαί undoubtedly denotes the body of Scriptural writings as an organic unity, with a spirit and character of its own.

3. Authority of Scripture. -The peculiar quality of the Scriptures is indicated by the three defining adjectives, ἅγιαι, ἰεραί, and προφητικαί, the notions of ‘holiness’ and ‘sacredness’ bringing the Books into direct relationship with God, and that of ‘prophecy’ leading forward to the revelation of the mystery of God in Christ. The high Jewish theory of the inspiration of Scripture is fully accepted in the NT. The term θεόπνευστος, ‘God-inspired’ (cf. Heb. בִּרוּחַ הַקֹּדָשׁ), applied to Scripture in all its parts (πᾶσα γραφή), is found indeed only in  2 Timothy 3:16; but the theory underlies the whole attitude of the NT writers to the older revelation. ‘No prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit ( 2 Peter 1:21). Thus the words of Moses, David, Isaiah, and the other prophets may be attributed directly to God ( Romans 9:25,  Hebrews 1:5 ff;  Hebrews 5:5 f.), or the Holy Spirit ( Acts 1:16,  Hebrews 3:7 ff;  Hebrews 10:15 ff.), or God speaking through the Holy Spirit ( Acts 4:25 f.,  Hebrews 4:3 ff;  Hebrews 8:8 ff.), or even the Messiah ( Hebrews 2:12 f., 10:5ff.), As the ‘living oracles’ of God, then, the Scriptures are the final norm alike of faith and of conduct. The true servant of God believes ‘all things which are according to the law, and which are written in the prophets’ ( Acts 24:14), and sets an example to others not, even in their estimate of the apostles, to go ‘beyond the things which are written’ ( 1 Corinthians 4:6). The appeal to ‘what is written’ (καθὼς γέγραπται or γεγραμμένον ἐστίν, the Christian rendering of the Rabbinic formula שָׁבָּאֱמַר or דִּבְתִיכ) is decisive, not merely in clinching a theological argument (esp. in Romans and Galatians), but in interpreting the mission and person of Christ, and the significance of His death, resurrection, and ascension ( Acts 2:25 ff.,  1 Corinthians 15:4,  Hebrews 2:6 ff.), with the subsequent outpouring of the Spirit, the persecution of the Church, the rejection of the Jews and mission to the Gentiles, the resurrection of the body, and the final salvation ( Acts 1:16 ff.,  Romans 2:24;  Romans 8:36;  Romans 9:25 ff.,  1 Corinthians 1:18 f.,  1 Corinthians 15:45 ff., etc.), and equally as the authoritative guide to Christian conduct (cf.  Acts 23:5,  Romans 12:19,  1 Corinthians 9:9,  2 Corinthians 4:13;  2 Corinthians 6:17 f.,  2 Corinthians 8:15,  Ephesians 6:2 f.,  1 Peter 1:16;  1 Peter 3:10 ff.); for ‘whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that through patience and through comfort of the scriptures we might have hope’ ( Romans 15:4), while the very quality of their ‘inspiration’ is tested by their helpfulness for teaching, for reproof, ‘for correction, for discipline which is in righteousness’ ( 2 Timothy 3:16). It must be admitted, however, that the new spirit of Christianity can move freely within the limits of the older Scriptures only by a frequent straining, and even ‘wresting,’ of their natural sense (see articleOld Testament).

4. Extent of Scripture. -The canon of the NT writers was that inherited from the Jewish Church, and thus corresponded to our OT. There is frequent reference to the canonical groups of the ‘Law’ and the ‘Prophets.’ Of the Hagiographa, the Books of Psalms, Proverbs, and Job (in  1 Corinthians 3:19) are explicitly cited as Scripture, while a phrase front  Ecclesiastes 7:20 is introduced in the remarkable conflate of OT texts in  Romans 3:10 ff., with the formula καθὼς γέγραπται. Though the remaining books are passed over in silence, there is no real reason to doubt that the writers knew and recognized the full Jewish canon. In the NT, too, there is no such sense of the inferiority of the Hagiographa as haunted the Jewish Rabbis. The whole book is of God, and bears witness to Him and His salvation. In addition to OT texts there are numerous allusions to apocryphal literature, such as the Wisdom of Ben Sira, the Wisdom of Solomon, 1 and 2 Maccabees, the Book of Enoch, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and the Assumption of Moses (see articleQuotations). It is remarkable, however, that the usual formula of Scriptural quotation is nowhere attached to apocryphal texts, the only approach to such canonical recognition being found in the ‘prophesying’ of Enoch in  Judges 1:14. Though the NT writers follow the Septuagint, they apparently regard the Palestinian canon as alone authoritative in the full sense of the term. Naturally their own writings have not yet attained to the dignity of Scripture; but a true feeling for the spiritual value of apostolic letters is already evident in  2 Peter 3:15 f., and the application to these writings of the technical term γραφαί shows how easy and inevitable was the extension of the Canon to cover both the OT and the NT.

Literature.-On the usage and significance of the terms, cf. the NT Dictionaries and Commentaries, esp. J. B. Lightfoot, Galatians, 1890, p. 147 f.; F. J. A. Hort, The First Epistle of St. Peter, I. 1-II. 17, 1898, p. 114 ff.; B. F. Westcott, Hebrews, 1889, p. 474 ff.; also D. M. Turpie, The New Testament View of the Old, 1872; G. A. Deissmann, Bible Studies, Eng. translation, 1901, pp. 112 ff., 249 f.; B. B. Warfield, article‘Scripture,’ in Dict. of Christ and the Gospelsii. 584 ff., with literature. On the formation of the Canon see F. Buhl, Kanon und Text des AT[Note: T Altes Testament.], 1891 (Eng. translation, 1892); G. Wildebcer, Het outstaan van den Kanon des Ouden Verbonds4, 1908 (Germ. translation, 1891, Eng. translation, 1895); H. E. Ryle, The Canon of the OT, 1892; K. Budde, article‘Canon (OT),’ in Encyclopaedia Biblica; F. H. Woods, article‘OT Canon,’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols). On Jewish theories of Inspiration, cf. F. Weber, Jüd. Theologie, 1897, p. 80 ff., and E. Schrüer, GJV[Note: JV Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes (Schürer).]4 ii. [1907] 363 ff. (HJP[Note: JP History of the Jewish People (Eng. tr. of GJV).]II. i. [1885] 306 ff.).

A. R. Gordon.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [3]

Is a word derived from the Latin scriptura, and in its original sense is of the same import with writing, signifying "any thing written." It is, however, commonly used to denote the writings of the Old and New Testaments, which are called sometimes the Scriptures, sometimes the sacred or holy Scriptures, and sometimes canonical Scriptures. These books are called the Scriptures by way of eminence, as they are the most important of all writings.

They are said to be holy or sacred on account of the sacred doctrines which they teach; and they are termed canonical, because, when their number and authenticity were ascertained, their names were inserted in ecclesiastical canons, to distinguish them from other books, which, being of no authority, were kept out of sight, and therefore styled apocryphal.

See Apocrypha Among other arguments for the divine authority of the Scriptures, the following may be considered as worthy of our attention: "

1. The sacred penmen, the prophets and apostles, were holy, excellent men, and would not artless, illiterate men, and therefore could not, lay the horrible scheme of deluding mankind. The hope of gain did not influence them, for they were self-denying men, that left all to follow a Master who had not where to lay his head; and whose grand initiating maxim was, Except a man forsake all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

They were so disinterested, that they secured nothing on earth but hunger and nakedness, stocks and prisons, racks and tortures; which, indeed, was all that they could or did expect, in consequence of Christ's express declarations. Neither was a desire of honour the motive of their actions; for their Lord himself was treated with the utmost contempt, and had more than once assured them that they should certainly share the same fate: above working as mechanics for a coarse maintenance; and so little desirous of human regard, that they exposed to the world the meanness of their birth and occupations, their great ignorance and scandalous falls. Add to this that they were so many, and lived at such distance of time and place from each other, that, had they been impostors, it would have been impracticable for them to contrive and carry on a forgery without being detected. And, as they neither would nor could deceive the world, so they either could nor would be deceived themselves; for they were days, months, and years, eye and ear-witnesses of the things which they relate; and, when they had not the fullest evidence of important facts, they insisted upon new proofs, and even upon sensible demonstrations; as, for instance, Thomas, in the matter of our Lord's resurrection,  John 20:25; and to leave us no room to question their sincerity, most of them joyfully sealed the truth of their doctrines with their own blood. Did so many and such marks of veracity ever meet in any other authors? "

2. But even while they lived, they confirmed their testimony by a variety of miracles wrought in divers places, and for a number of years, sometimes before thousands of their enemies, as the miracles of Christ and his disciples; sometimes before hundreds of thousands, as those of Moses. (

See Miracle "

3. Reason itself dictates, that nothing but the plainest matter of fact could induce so many thousands of prejudiced and persecuting Jews to embrace the humbling self-denying doctrine of the cross, which they so much despised and abhorred. Nothing but the clearest evidence arising from undoubted truth could make multitudes of lawless, luxurious heathens receive, follow, and transmit to posterity, the doctrine and writings of the apostles; expecially at a time when the vanity of their pretensions to miracles and the gift of tongues, could be so easily discovered, had they been impostors; and when the profession of Christianity exposed persons of all ranks to the greatest contempt and most imminent danger. "

4. When the authenticity of the miracles was attested by thousands of living witnesses, religious rites were instituted and performed by hundreds of thousands, agreeable to Scripture injunctions, in order to perpetuate that authenticity: and these solemn ceremonies have ever since been kept up in all parts of the world; the Passover by the Jews, in remembrance of Moses's miracles in Egypt; and the Eucharist by Christians, as a memorial of Christ's death, and the miracles that accompanied it, some of which are recorded by Phlegon the Trallian, an heathen historian. "

5. The Scriptures have not only the external sanction of miracles, but the eternal stamp of the omniscient God by a variety of prophecies, some of which have already been most exactly confirmed by the event predicted. (

See Prophecy "

6. The scattered, despised people, the Jews, the irreconcileable enemies of the Christians, keep with amazing care the Old Testament, full of the prophetic history of Jesus Christ, and by that means afford the world a striking proof that the New Testament is true; and Christians, in their turn, show that the Old Testament is abundantly confirmed and explained by the New. (

See JEWS, &4) "

7. To say nothing of the harmony, venerable antiquity, and wonderful preservation of those books, some of which are by far the most ancient in the world; to pass over the inimitable simplicity and true sublimity of their style; the testimony of the fathers and the primitive Christians; they carry with them such characters of truth, as command the respect of every unprejudiced reader. "They open to us the mystery of the creation; the nature of God, angels, and man; the immortality of the soul; the end for which we were made; the origin and connexion of moral and natural evil; the vanity of this world, and the glory of the next. There we see inspired shepherds, tradesmen, and fishermen, surpassing as much the greatest philosophers, as these did the herd of mankind, both in meekness of wisdom and sublimity of doctrine.

There we admire the purest morality in the world, agreeable to the dictates of sound reason, confirmed by the witness which God has placed for himself in our breast, and exemplified in the lives of men of like passions with ourselves.

There we discover a vein of ecclesiastical history and theological truth consistently running through a collection of sixty-six different books, wtitten by various authors, in different languages, during the space of above 1500 years.

There we find, as in a deep and pure spring, all the genuine drops and streams of spiritual knowledge which can possibly be met within the largest libraries.

There the workings of the human heart are described in a manner that demonstrate the inspiration of the Searcher of hearts.

There we have a particular account of all our spiritual maladies, with their various symptoms, and the method of a certain cure; a cure that has been witnessed by multitudes of martyrs and departed saints, and is now enjoyed by thousands of good men, who would account it an honour to seal the truth of the Scriptures with their own blood.

There you meet with the noblest strains of penitential and joyous devotion, adapted to the dispositions and states of all travellers to Sion.

And there you read those awful threatenings and cheering promises which are daily fulfilled in the consciences of men, to the admiration of believers, and the astonishment of attentive infidels. "8. The wonderful efficacy of the Scriptures is another proof that they are of God. When they are faithfully opened by his ministers, and powerfully applied by his Spirit, they wound and heal, they kill and make alive; they alarm the careless, direct the lost, support the tempted, strengthen the weak, comfort mourners, and nourish pious souls. "

9. To conclude: It is exceedingly remarkable, that the more humble and holy people are, the more they read, admire, and value the Scriptures: and, on the contrary, the more self-conceited, worldly- minded, and wicked, the more they neglect, despise, and asperse them. "As for the objections which are raised against their perspicuity and consistency, those who are both pious and learned, know that they are generally founded on prepossession, and the want of understanding in spiritual things; or on our ignorance of several customs, idioms, and circumstances, which were perfectly known when those books were written.

Frequently, also, the immaterial error arises merely from a wrong punctuation, or a mistake of copiers, printers, or translators; as the daily discoveries of pious critics, of ingenious confessions of unprejudiced enquirers, abundantly prove." To understand the Scriptures, says Dr. Campbell, we should,

1. Get acquainted with each writer's style.

2. Inquire carefully into the character, the situation, and the office of the writer; the time, the place, the occasion of his writing; and the people for whose immediate use he originally intended his work.

3. Consider the principal scope of the book, and the particulars chiefly observable in the method by which the writer has purposed to execute his design.

4. Where the phrase is obscure, the context must be consulted. This, however, will not always answer.

5. If it do not, consider whether the phrase be any of the writer's peculiarities: if so, it must be inquired what is the acceptation in which he employs it in other places.

6. If this be not sufficient, recourse should be had to the parallel passages, if there be any such, in the other sacred writers.

7. If this throws no light, consult the New Testament and the Septuagint, where the word may be used.

8. If the term be only once used in Scripture, then recur to the ordinary acceptation of the term in classical authors.

9. Sometimes reference may be had to the fathers.

10. The ancient versions, as well as modern scholiasts, annotators, and translators, may be consulted.

11. The analogy of faith, and the etymology of the word, must be used with caution. Above all, let the reader unite prayer with his endeavours, that his understanding may be illuminated, and his heart impressed with the great truths which the sacred Scriptures contain. As to the public reading of the Scriptures, it may be remarked, that this is a very laudable and necessary practice. "One circumstance, " as a writer observes, "why this should be attended to in congregations is, that numbers of the hearers, in many places, cannot read them themselves, and not a few of them never hear them read in the families where they reside. It is strange that this has not long ago struck every person of the least reflection in all our churches, and especially the ministers, as a most conclusive and irresistible argument for the adoption of this practice. "

It surely would be better to abridge the preaching and singing, and even the prayers, to one half of their length or more, than to neglect the public reading of the Scriptures. Let these things, therefore, be daly considered, together with the following reasons and observations, and let the reader judge and determine the case, or the matter, for himself. "Remember that God no sooner caused any part of his will, or word, to be written, than he also commanded the same to be read, not only in the family, but also in the congregation, and that even when all Israel were assembled together (the men, women, and children, and even the strangers that were within their gates;) and the end was, that they might hear, and that they might learn, and fear the Lord their God, and observe to do all the words of his law,  Deuteronomy 31:12 . "Afterward, when synagogues were erected in the land of Israel, that the people might every Sabbath meet to worship God, it is well known that the public reading of the Scripture was a main part of the service there performed: so much so, that no less than three-fourths of the time ws generally employed, it seems, in reading and expounding the Scriptures. Even the prayers and songs used on those occasions appear to have been all subservient to that particular and principal employment or service, the reading of the law. "This work, or practice, of reading the Scripture in the congregation, is warranted, and recommended in the New Testament, as well as in the Old. As Christians, it is fit and necessary that we should first of all look unto Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith. His example, as well as his precepts, is full of precious and most important instruction; and it is a remarkable circumstance, which ought never to be forgotten, that he began his public ministry, in the synagogue of Nazareth, by reading a portion of Scripture out of the book of the prophet Isaiah;  Luke 4:15;  Luke 4:19 .

This alone, one would think, might be deemed quite sufficient to justify the practice among his disciples through all succeeding ages, and even inspire them with zeal for its constant observance. "The apostle Paul, in pointing out to Timothy his ministerial duties, particularly mentions reading,  1 Timothy 4:13 . Give attendance (says he) to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine, evidently distinguishing reading as one of the public duties incumbent upon Timothy. there can be no reason for separating these three, as if the former was only a private duty, and the others public ones; the most natural and consistent idea is, that they were all three public duties; and that the reading here spoken of, was no other than the reading of the Scriptures in those Christian assemblies where Timothy was concerned, and which the apostle would have him by no means to neglect. If the public reading of the Scriptures was so necessary and important in those religious assemblies which had Timothy for their minister, how much more must it be in our assemblies, and even in those which enjoy the labours of our most able and eminent ministers!"

On the subject of the Scriptures, we must refer the reader to the articles Bible, Canon, Inspiration, Prophecy and Revelation

See also Brown's Introduction to his Bible; Dr. Campbell's Preliminary Dissertations to his Transl. of the Gospels; Fletcher's Appeal; Simon's Critical History of the Old and New Test.; Ostervald's Arguments of the Books and Characters of the Old and New Test.; Cosins's Scholastic Hist. of the Canon of Scrip.; Warden's System of Revealed Religion; Wells's Geography of the Old and New Test.; The Use of Sacred History, especially as illustrating and confirming the Doctrine of Revelation, by Dr. Jamieson; Dick on Inspiration; Blackwell's Sacred Classics; Michael's Introduction to the New Test.; Melmoth's Sublime and Beautiful of the Scriptures; Dwight's Dissertation on the Poetry, History, and Eloquence of the Bible; Edwards on the Authority, Style, and Perfection of Scripture; Stackhouse's History of the Bible; Kennicott's State of the Hebrew Text.; Jones on the figurative Language of Scripture; and books under articles Bible, Commentary, Christianity and REVELATION.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [4]

SCRIPTURE . 1 . The word ‘Scripture’ (Lat. scriptura , ‘a writing,’ ‘something written’) is used for the Bible as a whole, more often in the plural form ‘Scriptures,’ and also more properly for a passage of the Bible. It appears as tr. [Note: translate or translation.] of the Greek graphç , which is used in the singular for a portion of the OT ( e.g.   Mark 12:10 ), and also for the whole OT (  Galatians 3:22 ), and more frequently in the plural ( haigraphai ). The specific idea of Scripture contains an element of sanctity and authority. Thus it becomes usual to refer to Holy Scripture, or the Holy Scriptures ( en graphais hagiais ,   Romans 1:2 ).

2 . This specific conception of Scripture as distinguished from ordinary writing is due to the reception of it as a record of the word of God, and is therefore associated with inspiration. The earliest reference to any such record is in the narrative of the finding of the Book of the Law by Hilkiah the scribe in the time of Josiah (  2 Kings 22:3 ff.). Since this book is now known to have been Deuteronomy or part of it, we must reckon that this was the first book treated as Scripture. Still greater sanctity was given to the enlarged and more developed Law in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, and from that time the whole Pentateuch, regarded as the Law given by God to Moses, is treated as especially sacred and authoritative. The special function of the scribes in guarding and teaching the Law rested on this Scriptural character attached to it, and in turn rendered it the more venerable as Scripture. Later the reception of the Hagiographa and the Prophets into the Canon led to those collections being regarded also as Scripture, though never with quite the authority attached to the Law.

The Rabbis cherished great veneration for Scripture, and ascribed to it a mechanical inspiration which extended to every word and letter. Philo also accepted plenary inspiration, finding his freedom from the bondage of the letter in allegorical interpretations.

Unlike the Jerusalem Rabbis, in this respect followed by most of the NT writers, who quote the various OT authors by name, Philo quotes Scripture as the immediate word of God, and in so doing is followed by the author of Hebrews. Thus, while St. Mark says, ‘as it is written in Isaiah, the prophet’ ( Mark 1:2 ), and St. Paul ‘David saith’ (  Romans 11:9 ), in Hebrews we read, ‘He ( i.e. God) saith’ (  Hebrews 1:7 ), ‘the Holy Ghost saith’ (  Hebrews 3:7 ), or, more indefinitely, ‘it is said’ (  Hebrews 3:15 ), which is quite in the manner of Philo. Still, the technical expression ‘It is written’ ( gegraptai ) is very common both in the Gospels and in St. Paul’s Epistles. As a Greek perfect, it has the peculiar force of a present state resulting from a past action. Thus it always conveys the thought that Scripture, although it was written long ago, does not belong to the past, but is in existence to-day, and its inherent present authority is thus emphasized as that of a law now in force. The impersonal character of the passive verb also adds dignity to the citation thus introduced, as something weighty on its own account.

3. No NT writings during the Apostolic age are treated as Scripture a title, with its associated authority, always reserved by the Apostles for the OT. There is an apparent exception in  2 Peter 3:15-16 , where the Epistles of ‘our beloved brother Paul’ are associated with ‘the other scriptures’; but this is a strong argument in favour of assigning 2Peter to a late period in the second century. Apart from this, we first meet with the technical phrase ‘It is written’ attached to a NT passage in Barn. iv. 4; but here it is a Gospel citation of a saying of Christ: ‘As it is written. Many are called but few chosen.’ Thus the authority of Christ’s words leads to the record of them being cited as Scripture. In Polycarp ( Phil . xii. 1) we have the title ‘Scripture’ applied to the source of a NT quotation, but only in the Latin tr. [Note: translate or translation.] ( his scripturis ). In 2 Clem. ii. 4 a saying of Christ is cited as Scripture. But, apart from these rare instances, no writer previous to the second half of the second century appeals to the NT as technically Scripture. Clement of Rome, Barnahas (with the one exception referred to), Hermas, and even Justin Martyr use the title for the OT only. Theophilus of Antioch ( c [Note: circa, about.] . 180) cites passages from St. Paul as ‘the Divine word’ ( ad Autol . iii. 14). Irenæus (180), on the other hand, constantly treats NT passages as the word of God and authoritative Scripture. For an explanation of this remarkable development, see Canon of NT.

W. F. Adeney.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [5]

1: Γραφή (Strong'S #1124 — Noun Feminine — graphe — graf-ay' )

akin to grapho, "to write" (Eng., "graph," "graphic," etc.), primarily denotes "a drawing, painting;" then "a writing," (a) of the OT Scriptures, (1) in the plural, the whole, e.g.,  Matthew 21:42;  22:29;  John 5:39;  Acts 17:11;  18:24;  Romans 1:2 , where "the prophets" comprises the OT writers in general; 15:4; 16:26, lit., "prophetic writings," expressing the character of all the Scriptures; (2) in the singular in reference to a particular passage, e.g.,  Mark 12:10;  Luke 4:21;  John 2:22;  10:35 (though applicable to all); 19:24,28,36,37; 20:9;   Acts 1:16;  8:32,35;  Romans 4:3;  9:17;  10:11;  11:2;  Galatians 3:8,22;  4:30;  1—Timothy 5:18 , where the 2nd quotation is from  Luke 10:7 , from which it may be inferred that the Apostle included Luke's Gospel as "Scripture" alike with Deuteronomy, from which the first quotation is taken; in reference to the whole, e.g.,  James 4:5 (see Rv , a separate rhetorical question from the one which follows); in  2—Peter 1:20 , "no prophecy of Scripture," a description of all, with special application to the OT in the next verse; (b) of the OT Scriptures (those accepted by the Jews as canonical) and all those of the NT which were to be accepted by Christians as authoritative,  2—Timothy 3:16; these latter were to be discriminated from the many forged epistles and other religious "writings" already produced and circulated in Timothy's time. Such discrimination would be directed by the fact that "every Scripture," characterized by inspiration of God, would be profitable for the purposes mentioned; so the RV. The AV states truth concerning the completed Canon of Scripture, but that was not complete when the Apostle wrote to Timothy.

 John 7:42 John 19:37 Romans 4:3 9:17 James 4:5  Galatians 3:8 Galatians 3:22  Galatians 3:10 Matthew 11:13

2: Γράμμα (Strong'S #1121 — Noun Neuter — gramma — gram'-mah )

"a letter of the alphabet," etc. is used of the Holy Scriptures in  2—Timothy 3:15 . For the various uses of this word see Letter.

Holman Bible Dictionary [6]

scriptura graphe

In the history of the church, the divine character of Scripture has been the great presupposition for the whole of Christian preaching and theology. This is apparent in the way the New Testament speaks about the Old Testament. New Testament writers often used formulas like “God says” and “the Holy Spirit says” to introduce Old Testament passages. For the New Testament authors, Scripture was the record of God speaking and revealing Himself to His people. Thus Scripture and God are so closely joined together that these writers could speak of Scripture doing what it records God as doing ( Galatians 3:8;  Romans 9:17 ).

Because of their belief in the Scriptures' divine origin and content, the New Testament writers described it as “sure” ( 2 Peter 1:19 ), trustworthy “of all acceptation” ( 1 Timothy 1:15 ), and “confirmed” ( Hebrews 2:3 ). Its word “endureth forever” ( 1 Peter 1:24-25 ). Those who build their lives on Scripture “will not be disappointed” ( Romans 9:33 NAS). The Bible was written for “instruction” and “encouragement” (  Romans 15:4 NAS), to lead to saving faith (  2 Timothy 3:15 ), to guide people toward godliness ( 2 Timothy 3:16 ), and to equip believers for good works ( 2 Timothy 3:17 ).

The purpose of Scripture is to place men and women in a right standing before God and to enable believers to seek God's glory in all of life's activities and efforts. It is above all a book of redemptive history.

Scripture is not only a divine Book, but a divine-human Book. It is important to recognize that the biblical writers employed the linguistic resources available to them as they wrote to specific people with particular needs at particular times. The human authors were not lifted out of their culture or removed from their contexts. They functioned as members of believing communities, aware of God's leadership in their lives.

Scripture, comprised of 66 books, written by over 40 authors spanning almost 1,500 years, reveals to God's people the unifying history of His redeeming words and acts. The ultimate focus of Scripture is the incarnation and redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the center to which everything in Scripture is united and bound together—beginning and end, creation and redemption, humanity, the world, the fall, history, and future. See Bible, Formation and Canon; Inspiration.

David S. Dockery

Morrish Bible Dictionary [7]

This word occurs but once in the Old Testament, where an angel speaks of 'the scripture of truth.'  Daniel 10:21 . In the New Testament the various parts of the Old Testament are referred to as 'the scriptures'; they are the 'holy scriptures,'  2 Timothy 3:15; they must needs be fulfilled; they cannot be broken.  John 10:35;  Acts 17:2,11 . Some erred because they did not know the scriptures.  Matthew 22:29 . And 'all scripture' is God-inspired, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, or complete, fully fitted to every good work.  2 Timothy 3:16,17 . It is in short a God-inspired and infallible revelation to man, and especially to those who are by grace in relationship with Him. As in a nation 'the records' are referred to as authority, so in the church, it is 'the scriptures' that bind the conscience, and should be an end of all controversy. To understand them the teaching of the Holy Spirit is needed, for "the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life."

King James Dictionary [8]

SCRIP'TURE, n. L. scriptura, from scribo, to write.

1. In its primary sense, a writing any thing written. 2. Appropriately, and by way of distinction, the books of the Old and New Testament the Bible. The word is used either in the singular or plural number, to denote the sacred writings or divine oracles, called sacred or holy, as proceeding from God and containing sacred doctrines and precepts.

There is not any action that a man ought to do or forbear, but the Scripture will give him a clear precept or prohibition for it.

Compared with the knowledge which the Scriptures contain, every other subject of human inquiry is vanity and emptiness.

Webster's Dictionary [9]

(1): ( n.) A passage from the Bible;; a text.

(2): ( n.) The books of the Old and the new Testament, or of either of them; the Bible; - used by way of eminence or distinction, and chiefly in the plural.

(3): ( n.) Anything written; a writing; a document; an inscription.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [10]

 2 Timothy 3:15,16 John 20:9 Galatians 3:22 2 Peter 1:20 Matthew 5:17 7:12 22:40 Luke 16:29,31

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [11]

See Authority Of The Bible; Canon Of The Bible; Inspiration Of The Bible

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [12]

a term most commonly used to denote the writings of the Old and New Testament, which are sometimes called The Scriptures, sometimes the sacred or holy writings, and sometimes canonical scripture. See Bible .

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [13]

Or SCRIPTURES, the writings, that is, by eminence; the inspired writings, comprising the Old and New Testaments. See Bible .

Smith's Bible Dictionary [14]

Scripture. See Bible .

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [15]

( כְּתָב , Kethtab,  Daniel 10:21 , Writing, as elsewhere rendered; in the New Test. Γραφή , of the same signification, but always rendered "Scripture"). The chief facts relating to the books to which, individually and collectively, this title has been applied, will be found under (See Bible); (See Canon); and (See Holy Scriptures). It will fall within the scope of this article to trace the history of the word, and to determine its exact meaning in the language of the Old and New Tests., with whatever elucidation modern researches and speculations have thrown upon the subject.

1. It is not till the return from the Captivity that the word meets us with any distinctive force. In the earlier books we read of the law, the book of the law. In  Exodus 32:16, the commandments written on the tables of testimony are said to be "the writing of God" ( Γραφὴ Θεοῦ ), but there is no special sense in the word taken by itself. In the passage from  Daniel 10:21 ( בִּכְתַּב אֶמֶת , Sept. Ἐν Γραφῆ Ἀληθείας ), where the A.V. has "the Scripture of truth," the words do not probably mean more than "a true writing." The thought of The Scripture as a whole is hardly to be found there: the statement there given was certainly not a quotation from any Biblical book. The allusion doubtless is to the divine purposes, which are figuratively represented as a book of destiny (comp.  Psalms 139:16;  Revelation 5:1). (See Book).

This first appears in  2 Chronicles 30:5;  2 Chronicles 30:18 ( כַּכָּתוּב , Sept. Κατὰ Τὴν Γραφήν , A.'' V "as it was written"), and is probably connected with the profound reverence for the sacred books which led the earlier scribes to confine their own teaching to oral tradition, and gave therefore to "the writing" a distinctive pre-eminence. See attunes. The same feeling showed itself in the constant formula of quotation, "It is written," often without the addition of any words defining the passage quoted ( Matthew 4:4;  Matthew 4:6;  Matthew 21:13;  Matthew 26:24). The Greek word, as will be seen, kept its ground in this sense. A slight change passed over that of the Hebrew, and led to the substitution of another. The כְּתוּבִים (kethublm =writings), in the Jewish arrangement of the Old Test., was used for a part, and not the whole, of the Old Test. (the Hagiographa [q.v.]), while another form of the same root (kethib) came to have a technical significance as applied to the text, which, though written in the MSS. of the Hebrew Scriptures, might or might not be recognised as keri, the right intelligible reading to be read in the congregation. Another word was therefore wanted, and it was found in the Mikra ( מִקְרָא  Nehemiah 8:8). or "reading," the thing read or recited, recitation. (The same root, it may be noticed, is found in the title of the sacred book of Islam [Koran=Recitation]. ) This, accordingly, we find as the equivalent for the collective Γραφαί . The boy at the age of five begins the study of the Mikra, at ten passes on to the Mishna (Pirke Aboth, v, 24). The old word has not, however, disappeared, and הַכָּתוּב , '" the writing, is used with the same connotation ( Ibid. iii, 10).

2. With this meaning the word Γραφή passed into the language of the New Test. Used in the singular, it is applied chiefly to this or that passage quoted from the Old Test. ( Mark 12:10;  John 7:38;  John 13:18;  John 19:37;  Luke 4:21;  Romans 9:17;  Galatians 3:8, et al.). In  Acts 8:32 ( Περιοχὴ Τῆς Γραφῆς ) it takes a somewhat larger extension, as denoting the Writing of Isaiah; but in  Acts 8:35 the more limited meaning reappears. In two passages of some difficulty, some have seen the wider, some the narrower, sense.

(1.) Πᾶσα Γραφὴ Θεόπνευστος ( 2 Timothy 3:16) has been translated in the A. V. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God," as if Γραφή , though without the article, were taken as equivalent to the Old Test. as a whole (comp. Πᾶσα Οἰκοδομή ,  Ephesians 2:21; Πᾶσα Ιεροσόλυμα ,  Matthew 2:3), and Θεόπνευστος , the predicate asserted of it. This is doubtless the correct construction. Even if we should retain the narrower meaning, however, we might still take Θεόπνευστος as the predicate. "Every Scripture sc. every separate portion is divinely inspired." It has been urged, however, that this assertion of a truth, which both Paul and Timothy held in common, would be less suitable to the context than the assigning of that truth as a ground for the further inference drawn from it; and so there is a large amount of authority in favor of the rendering, "Every Γραφή , being inspired, is also profitable..." (comp. Meyer, Alford, Wordsworth, Ellicott, Wiesinger, ad loc.). But this renders the latter clause unbalanced, and the Rag is evidently intended as a copulative, and not as :a mere expletive adverb. There does not seem any ground for making the meaning of Γραφή dependent on the adjective Θεόπνευστος (" every inspired writing"), as if we recognised a Γραφή not inspired. The Usus Loquendi of the New Test. is uniform in this respect, and the word Γραφή is never used of any common or secular writing.

(2.) The meaning of the genitive in Πᾶσα Προφητεὶα Γραφῆς ( 2 Peter 1:20) seems at first sight, anarthrous though it be, distinctly collective. "Every prophecy of (i.e. contained in) the Old-Test. Scripture." A closer examination of the passage will perhaps lead to a different conclusion. The apostle, after speaking of the vision on the holy mount, goes on, "We have as something yet firmer, the prophetic word" (here, probably, including the utterances of New Test. Προφῆται , as well as the writings of the Old Test.). So Προφητικὸς Λόγος is used by Philo of the words of Moses (Leg. Al-leg. iii, 14; i, 95, ed, Mango. He, of course, could recognise no prophets but those of the Old Test. Clement of Rome (2:11) uses it of a prophecy not included in the canons. Men did well to give heed to that word, They needed one caution in dealing with it. They were to remember that no Προφητεία Γραφῆς , no such prophetic utterance starting from, resting on, a Γραφή , came from the Ἱδία Ἐπίλυσις , the individual power of interpretation of the speaker, but was, like the Γραφή itself, inspired. It was the law of Προφητεία , of the later as well as the earlier, that men of God spake "Borne along by the Holy Spirit." So in the only other instance in which the genitive is found ( Romans 15:4), Παράκλησις Τῶν Γραφῶν is the counsel, admonition, drawn from the Scriptures. Λόγος Παρακλήσεως appears in  Acts 13:15 as the received term for such an address, the sermon of the Synagogue. Παράκλησις itself was so closely allied with Προφητεία (comp. Barnabas = Υἱὸς Προφητείας = Υἱὸς Παρακλήσεως ) that the expressions of the two apostles may, be regarded as substantially identical.

3. In the plural, as might be expected, the collective meaning is prominent. Sometimes we have simply Γραφαί ( Matthew 21:42;  Matthew 22:29;  John 5:39;  Acts 17:11;  1 Corinthians 15:3). Sometimes Πᾶσαι Αἱ Γραφαί ( Luke 24:27). The epithets Gigtat ( Romans 1:2), Προφητικαί ( Romans 16:26), are sometimes joined with it. In  2 Peter 3:16 we find an extension of the term to the epistles of Paul; but it remains uncertain whether at Αἱ Λοιπαὶ Γραφαί are the Scriptures of the Old. Test. exclusively, or include other writings then extant dealing with the same topics. There seems little doubt that such writings did exist. A comparison of  Romans 16:26 with  Ephesians 3:5 might even suggest the conclusion that in both there is the same assertion that what had not been revealed before was now manifested by the Spirit to the apostles and prophets of the Church, and so that the "prophetic writings" to which Paul refers are, like the spoken words of New-Test. prophets, those that reveal things not made known before, the knowledge of the mystery of Christ.

It is noticeable that in the 2d Epistle of Clement of Rome (ch. 11) we have a long citation of this nature, not from the Old Test., quoted as Προφητικὸς Λόγος (comp.  2 Peter 1:19),and that in the 1st Epistle (ch. 23) the same is quoted as Γραφή . Looking to the special fulness of the prophetic gifts in the Church of Corinth ( 1 Corinthians 1:5;  1 Corinthians 14:1), it is obviously probable that some of the spoken prophecies would be committed to writing; and it is a striking coincidence that both the apostolic and the post-apostolic references are connected, first with that Church, and next with that of Rome, which was so largely influenced by it.

4. In one passage, Τὰ Ἱερὰ Γράμματα ( 2 Timothy 3:15) answers to "The Holy Scriptures" of the A.V. Taken by itself, the word might, as in  John 7:15;  Acts 26:24, have a wider range, including the whole circle of Rabbinic education. As determined, however, by the use of other Hellenistic writers, Philo ( Leg. Ad Caium, ii, 574, ed. Mang.), Josephus ( Ant. Proem. 3, 10:10, § 4; Cont. Apion. i, 26), there can be no doubt that it is accurately translated with this special meaning.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [16]

skrip´t̬ū́r ( ἡ γραφή , graphḗ , plural αἱ γραφαί , hai graphaı́ ): The word means "writing." In the Old Testament it occurs in the King James Version only once, "the scripture of truth," in   Daniel 10:21 , where it is more correctly rendered in the Revised Version (British and American), "the writing of truth." The reference is not to Holy Scripture, but to the book in which are inscribed God's purposes. In the New Testament, "scripture" and "scriptures" stand regularly for the Old Testament sacred books regarded as "inspired" ( 2 Timothy 3:16 ), "the oracles of God" ( Romans 3:2 ). Compare on this usage  Matthew 21:42;  Matthew 22:29;  Mark 12:10;  Luke 4:21;  Luke 24:27 ,  Luke 24:32 ,  Luke 24:45;  John 5:39;  John 10:35;  Acts 8:32;  Acts 17:2 ,  Acts 17:11;  Romans 15:4;  Romans 16:26 , etc.; in  Romans 1:2 , "holy scriptures." See Bible . The expression "holy scriptures" in  2 Timothy 3:15 the King James Version represents different words ( hierá grámmata ) and is properly rendered in the Revised Version (British and American) "sacred writings." In  2 Peter 3:16 , the term "scriptures" is extended to the Eppistle of Paul. In  James 4:5 , the words occur: "Think ye that the scripture speaketh in vain? Doth the spirit which he made to dwell in us long unto envying?" The passage is probably rather a summary of Scripture teaching than intended as a direct quotation. Others (e.g. Westcott) think the word is used in a wide sense of a Christian hymn.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [17]

Scripture (Holy), or Scriptures (Holy), the term generally applied in the Christian Church since the second century, to denote the collective writings of the Old and New Testaments.

References