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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary


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(sscrihp tyoore) Historic Judaeo-Christian name for the specific literature that the church receives as divine instruction. Scripture means “a writing” rendering the Latin scriptura and the Greek graphe . The term is used some fifty times in the New Testament for some or all of the Old Testament.

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

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Scripture'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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