the weblog of Alan Knox

The Scriptures According to the Scriptures

Posted by on Aug 20, 2013 in scripture | 8 comments

The Scriptures According to the Scriptures

Or, more correctly, this post reflects what the New Testament Scriptures say about the Scriptures. But, let’s start with “Scriptures.” (This is the second post in a series that began with my post “The Scriptures, the Bible, the New Testament, the Gospels, and the gospel.”)

First, the term “Scriptures” is a transliteration of the Latin term that means “writings.” The Latin term translates the Greek term γραφή (graphe) which also means “writings.”

Historically, these “writings” (“Scriptures”) do not refer to just any writing, but to specific writings. The people of God – both before and after the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus – have disagreed about which writings are considered part of this special group of writings (what I’m calling “Scriptures”). These disagreements continue today among those who consider themselves followers of Jesus.

Although it is perhaps circular, in this beginning post, I’m going to start with the New Testament Scriptures (and assume – for the sake of this post – that the New Testament Scriptures consist of the 27 books beginning with Matthew and ending with Revelation). What do these books actually say about the “Scriptures”?

For the most part, the authors of the New Testament use the term “Scripture(s)” in quotations of what is commonly called the Old Testament. Here are a few examples from different authors:

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” (Matthew 21:42 ESV)

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38 ESV)

Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth.” (Acts 8:32 ESV)

For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” (Romans 4:3 ESV)

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.(James 2:8 ESV)

For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” (1 Peter 2:6 ESV)

In a few cases, the New Testament authors write about the Scriptures being “fulfilled” without a quotation or reference given. Here are some examples:

Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so? (Matthew 26:53-54 ESV)

Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled. (Mark 14:49 ESV)

In at least one instance (perhaps more) a saying is ascribe to Scripture which is not found in the Old Testament (at least, not as a quotation). Here is one example:

Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? (James 4:5 ESV)

In at least a couple of instances, the term “Scriptures” is used to refer to writings which are now considered part of the New Testament:

For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” (1 Timothy 5:18 ESV)

And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.(2 Peter 3:15-16 ESV)

(In the passage from 1 Timothy 5:18, while the first quotation is from the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 25:4, the second quotation is not found in the Old Testament. Instead, it is found in Luke 10:7.)

Besides these general passages, there are few places in which Scripture is not quoted, but is defined or described:

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:27 ESV)

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:45-47 ESV)

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (John 5:39-40 ESV)

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4 ESV)

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:19-21 ESV)

From these passages, what did the authors of the New Testament believe about the Scriptures?


8 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 8-21-2013

    What’s your understanding when it comes to different administrations concerning the scripture?

    For example, We have the Christ administration and the Grace administration, 2 different administrations.

    Books of the Bible Via Christ administration is Matt. Mark Luke and John–4 explaining Christ’s life and personal ministry. Simple so far.

    Books of the Bible Via The Grace administration in which we Live right NOW–Romans through Thess. 7 books written directly to the Born again Believer for his Doctrine and Practical Walk.

    And of course the other books for his or her’s learning in the OT and NT.

    Why do I ask the question? Well according to the structure of the Bible, I think this is vary important to understand the Bible for one, and also for this post on (what’s scripture and what’s not, what’s Gospel and what’s not?

    Jim

  2. 8-21-2013

    Jim,

    I’ve never heard the term “administrations” used in that way. Can you explain what you mean?

    Every book was written to a particular audience at a particular time and for a particular reason. The more we can understand about this, the more we can understand the author’s intended communication.

    -Alan

  3. 8-24-2013

    thanks Alan for responding,

    Sure I’ll explain and where I got “administrations”

    an important Biblical truth we must adhere to as workmen of the Word is to get “to whom” correct in regard to what period of time a particular section of the Word is addressed. The Greek word oikonomia, often translated “dispensation” in the King James Version, is more clearly understood as “administration.”

    WHAT IS AS ADMINISTRATION?

    Biblically, as administration is a period of time in God’s historical and spiritual timetable governed by certain policies and spiritual truths.

    And a lot what were talking about Alan is periods of time and getting our terms correct according to our Biblical understanding that we can have a simple way to speak God’s Word.

    Now I know you would understand the Greek word oikonomia, so let me expound on the scriptures how the Word is communicating this oikonomia.

    Eph.3:1,2
    “dispensation” = oikonomis–administration. The standards of the administration were given to Paul by revelation to share, to administer, to have carried out in doctrine and in practice.

    Col. 1:25
    “dispensation” = oikonomia–administration. (Oikonomos is a steward; one who administers the affairs of a household; e.g., Genesis 39:1-6; Luke 12:42-48; 16:1-13

    After really going through those sections of the word, let me explain this, e.g.

    Your the head of your Household, which is under your personal administration Alan. Ok, Your Dad, when you were a little fellow while under your Dad’s administration there may have been some different ways of life. Why? under a different administration. So does that mean your Father’s way, how he brought you up was wrong? NO and thousand times NO, it’s all about timetables governed by certain policies.

    As we understand these different administrations in the Bible, we come to an understanding of different policies, different cultures, different goals in expectation in mind. For example, Moses would expect the coming Messiah, Christ is the Messiah therefore change has been make and a different way to think and expectation. What about the Grace administration we live in now? Were waiting for the return of Christ the Messiah. Isn’t this cool stuff?

    The Bible is understood as SEVEN ADMINISTRATIONS, to the best of my studying I don’t see anymore, but these are the basic overviews of that timetable and policies in mind.

    1. Original Paradise
    2. Partiarchal
    3. Law
    4. Christ, or Gospel
    5. Grace, or church ekklesia literally meaning “the called-out.”
    6. Appearing, or Revelation
    7. final Paradise, or Glory

    And I could go into depth supporting these 7, But it’s not my blog to do so with out your response, out of respect.

    So you asked, what do I mean by administrations?

    Well e.g. THE LAW ADMINISTRATION

    LAW — this administration began when Moses went up to Mount Sinai and the initial ten commandments were given. Later in this administration other revelation was given (e.g., Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) and other aspects of the law were filled out in detail. John the Baptist was the last prophet of the Law Administration.

    Luke 16:16
    “John”–referring to John the Baptist

    GRACE Administration

    It was the accomplishments of Jesus Christ that then allowed God to initiate the Church of the Body, the administration of the grace of God, so that men and women could be born again of God’s spirit and the household could function in one accord. The Grace Administration that we live now began on the day of Pentecost and continues until the gathering together when the Church of the Bod will meet the lard in the air.

    I think this study would help because the subject of time and understandings of time are involved.

    Jim

  4. 8-24-2013

    Jim,

    Yes, as I said earlier, I’m familiar with dispensationalism. But, I also believe that God always dealt with his people in the same way: salvation was always by God’s grace through faith (trusting in God).

    I do not think “stewardship” in Ephesians 3:2 or Colossians 1:25 refers to different “periods of time.” Instead, they refer to Paul’s on stewardship as given to him by God, just as God gives each of us a stewardship.

    -Alan

  5. 8-24-2013

    So what does “stewardship” literally mean in context, in translation? Ephesians 3:2 and Col.1:25?

    Jim

  6. 8-24-2013

    Jim,

    The Greek term oikonomia (“stewardship”) refers to caring for something that belongs to someone else. Context tells us what the stewardship refers to. In Ephesians 3:2, Paul is the “steward” of proclaiming the gospel of God’s grace to the Gentiles (specifically the Gentiles in Ephesus). In Colossians 1;25, Paul is the “steward” of providing for the Colossians what they cannot get from Christ’s sufferings… that is, the example of his own sufferings. In 1 Corinthians 9:17, Paul is the “steward” of proclaiming the gospel.

    Interestingly, in 1 Timothy 1:3-4, Paul seems to indicate that ALL have a stewardship from God, and that we should not do anything that would hinder others from carrying out their stewardship from God.

    So, what is your stewardship?

    -Alan

  7. 8-25-2013

    Mine and everyone’s actually,

    But it’s the ministry of reconciliation, which is showing who Jesus Christ is, and what he came to do for us, and why, and how he did it by always doing the Fathers Will, and teach people the Word of God. And especially teach the Household the Word of God with Doctrine, Reproof, and correction, for (the reason, for me out of love) instruction in righteousness. Showing what Jesus Christ accomplished, showing how he thought and took on conversations at times and avoided them at times to teach the balance of life showing the heart of Jesus Christ. Show them how to live the Word in a practical way, instead of saying, “just go by faith”, o come on, just go by faith, man o man.

    Anyway, and show them how to rightly divide the Word so they get the Word. If We wrongly divide the Word we no longer HAVE the Word.

    God entrusted me with His Word, I have to and want to respect that Word He gave to me, I have access to a lot of people and help a lot of people and believers, it’s my stewardship to steward the Word of God and SHARE IT.

    JIM

  8. 8-26-2013

    Jim,

    Actually, I would never add the word “just” in front of “go by faith.” Living by faith (trusting God) is our call, which includes the things you list.

    -Alan