‘Scripture’ is a word spoken and heard time and time again in our churches, synagogues and meeting places. According to dictionaries, it is ‘any sacred book or writing, a passage from any sacred book or writing; The Bible;’ We also refer to The Bible – Scripture – as ‘The Word’.
Where does the term ‘The Word’ come from ? The phrase “the Word of the Lord came’ appears almost one hundred times in the The Old Testament, and most of those appearances are followed by this phrase, ‘and said’. So ‘The Word of the Lord came and said . . .’ John tells us this ‘Word’ was in the beginning and took on flesh and walked among them . . .’ It tells us Yeshua is the Word made flesh. He is the living, breathing version of the written Word. Yeshua is not only He that spoke from Mt. Sinai but also that which was spoken.
The title, ‘The Bible’ comes from first century common greek (ta biblia) and literally means ‘The Books’, which is an apt title, understanding the Bible to be not just a book but a collection of books written by numerous authors from different backgrounds and educational levels over a period of more than four millennia. And in all this it is not only a collection of books in which there is no contradiction but that all carry the same theme and thread and point to the same culmination – the last days and the Salvation of Israel.
One thing we seem to lose sight of is the fact that the Bible as we know it today and the ‘Bible’ in Yeshua’s day is not the same collection of books. Don’t hang up yet. What we mean by that is in Yeshua’s day the only Scripture that existed is that which we refer to as the Old Testament. The New Testament ( also called ‘Apostolic Writings’) did not exist in His day. Yeshua, the Apostles, and the others were ‘living’ the NT but it was not compiled as a ‘collection of letters’ and added to the canon of The Bible for another 200 years or more.
“Yes”, you say, “we know all that”. Well, with that understanding, ponder this concept. Paul spoke this admonition in 2 Timothy 3:15 “ . . . from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 4:1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” “. . . in the volume of the book it is written of me.” (Hebrews 10, Psalm 40)
So the question ? What ‘Scripture’ and ‘Word’ was Paul referring to in his letter to Timothy if the NT did not exist at that time ? Well, the only Scripture that existed was that which we call the Old Testament. Paul is telling Timothy not only are the Law and the Prophets not done away with but they are the ‘Word’ we are to be ready to preach in and out of season. How can we be sure this is what Paul means ? Because it lines up with what Yeshua says in Matthew 5 . . . 16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. 17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill . 18 “For truly I say to you, heaven and earth shall pass away, but not the slightest stroke of the pen shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished (and when will all be accomplished?…at the end of the millineum). 19 “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” The keeping of His ways is not a matter of salvation but of obedience.
So are we saying ‘the Old does away the New’ ? Not at all. We are saying ‘the Old is the foundation for the New’.
“This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths where the good way is, and when you find it walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But the people said, We will not . . .”” Jeremiah 6:16
May that not be said of us in these days . . . Shalom –