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What is the Scripture? 1 Wonderful Book or 66 Episodes?

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What is the Scripture? 1 Wonderful Book or 66 Episodes?
Scripture is the basis of Christian theology, doctrine, and worship. All 66 books tell the story of Jesus, as Creator, Savior, and King.

What is the Scripture? 1 Wonderful Book or 66 Episodes?

What does "Scripture" mean?

“Scripture” comes from the same Latin word as “script,” and we all know that means handwriting. In the Middle Ages, monks infused the idea that scripture was “sacred” or “holy” writing.

When we talk about Scripture today in Christendom, we mean the Holy Bible. That is the main reference of our title, but it is worth noting that the word “scripture” is also used to describe the writing of other religions.

It is proper and licit to refer to the sacred writings of non-Christian religions as being the “scriptures” of those religions. However, it is not proper or licit for Christians to refer to them as “inspired” scriptures, or to quote them as if they were equal to the Bible.

There is little danger of this with the scriptures of the Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs whose path is clearly different that the Bible’s, but some, like the Koran, the Book of Mormon and Science and Health, use the Bible as a basis for their additions to give the idea that their more recent ideas share the Bible’s inspiration. They do not!

Scripture is one wonderful Book

All of Scripture resides in one book, the Holy Bible. It is huge:
783,137 Words. It deals with one subject, God’s plan of salvation.

It tells the story of the world and God’s people in it from Creation “in the beginning” to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, 4074 years using James Ussher’s date for its beginning.

It is one long story, a prolonged battle between good & evil. It starts with God creating us good, the devil deceiving us into sin and death, and ends with Jesus* taking our sin upon Himself on the Cross and opening the door to eternal life!

It begins and ends with a marriage! In a garden!

It starts and ends with the victory of love over hate and life over death, with just wrath poured out on the wicked and then we, the righteous, shining as the sun!

Praise God.

Scripture unfolds in 66 Episodes.

The first episode of is the Creation simply defined as “in the beginning.” We find it in the first book of the Bible, Genesis, written by Moses* around 1500 BC. (Names with an asterisk following are included in the 200 short biographies of SPIRITUAL LIVES.)

He may have written it during the forty years the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land.

More likely, it was during the time he spent with Jethro, his father-in-law, who was a priest of Midian, a son of Abraham* by his second wife Keturah.

This book of “beginnings” sets the stage for the other sixty-five episodes to follow. It covers 2500 years, including the repopulation of the earth, the call of Abraham,* and the formation of the children of Israel, God’s Chosen People, ending with them living in Egypt with Joseph the governor.

The last episode appeared around 1600 years later by St. John the Apostle,* son of Zebedee, “the disciple Jesus loved.

By then, Jesus’ work of salvation was complete, He had ascended into heaven, and His church was established.

Jesus here appears to John as the Lamb, the Son of God, the Alpha & Omega, and instructs him to warn the seven churches in Asia about the wrath of God, Jesus’ Second Coming, the new heaven and earth, and the bridal feast of the Lamb and His Church and the establishment of His never-ending kingdom.

The Scripture Jesus and His disciples used was the Old Testament

Moses* wrote the first five books of scripture around 1500 BC, and there would be thirty-four more books to follow over the next thousand years. While the first seventeen books or episodes are presented chronologically as history, the rest of scripture is not. It is divided into groupings of poetry (5 books) and prophecy (17 books, five major prophets and twelve minor)

It is important to note that all this Scripture was written, i.e., in script by public figures. Moses* was the first of these, but there were many more.

Most of these men trained in the School of the Prophets, founded by Samuel*(1130-1055 BC) and later refreshed by Elijah* and Elisha*.

Written at different times, in different places, and by different people, these books of Scripture were not put together until Ezra*(floruit 480-440 BC) organized them in the order we have them today. This occurred about 450 years before Jesus* was born.

When Jesus referred to the scripture, He was talking about the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament. He expounded all there was about Him in the scripture to the two on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24: 13-31) and taught His disciples to do the same.

The New Testament did not become scripture until 397 AD

The Old Testament writers were public figures, accomplished, educated men. They knew they were writing for posterity and the Jewish religion. The New Testament came to be differently. Jesus left no writings, and His disciples were not literate men. We have the testimony of the Jewish religious council on this:

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John*, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. – Acts 4:13

Jesus Himself was a carpenter, His disciples’ fishermen, a tax collector, and other working-class people. Luke alone was a professional person, a doctor, and Paul* a tentmaker although educated by the best teachers in Jerusalem.

The Gospels were the earliest accounts of Jesus, composed before Luke wrote this about 60 AD:

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word;

It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,

That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.Luke 1:1-4

Luke wrote this to a single person, no doubt a patron who had not seen anything like Luke’s Gospel. It also tells us that these “declarations” were not Scripture, i.e., written accounts, but recollections of those who had seen Jesus’ ministry unfold and/or heard His ministers preaching.

The first written contribution was the letter of James, the brother of Jesus and head of the Church of Jerusalem, to the early churches in 45 AD. The letter of James is one of seven “general epistles” written by James, Peter, John, and Jude to a general audience, i.e., not addressed to a church or specified group of believers.

The Apostle Paul’s 14 epistles account for most of the doctrine in Scripture, with the 4 Gospels, Acts and Revelation making up the total history we have of Jesus and His disciples.

All of these were completed during the lifetime of the Apostles.

There were certainly more Gospels and Epistles written and circulated during the first and second centuries, some of these referred to in the books we have, but all the churches did not accept them while they did approve the twenty-seven authorized books we have.

Each of these books contributes to the fullness of Scripture by affirming that Jesus is the Messiah of the Old Testament and Savior of the world.

Southern Baptist theologian Frank Stagg has identified ten principles, basic presuppositions, tenets, and concerns common among the New Testament writers, giving to the New Testament its “unity in diversity.”

Scripture is the basis of Christian theology, doctrine, and worship

The New Testament uses the word “Scripture” or “Scriptures” 53 times (24 by Jesus) even though it was not Scripture itself at the time. But some of its writers knew it would be. Peter refers to the epistles of Paul as part of the Scriptures (2 Peter 3:16), and Paul himself taught this to one of his bishops:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2 Timothy 3:16

And this understanding of the role and importance of Scripture is codified into all Christianity via the Nicene Creed which says of Jesus:

He suffered and was buried, and the third day He rose again ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES; and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father, and He shall come again with glory to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And so, throughout the church’s long history, the Scripture has been its final authority for theology, doctrine, teachings, and worship. This continues to be true today, and the faithfulness of churches to the authority of the Bible is a decisive test we must apply before worshiping with them.

It is also our final standard for living for Jesus day by day. We must abide by Scripture, and read it every day. As we do we hear Jesus’ voice and interact with the Holy Ghost. His teaching here applies to all of Scripture:

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. – Jesus in John 6:63

The Bible is life to me and to everyone who loves it. Here is what a poet my father knew had to say about this life-giving book of life:

The One Book…

The Only Book….

The Great Book…….

God’s Book….

Your Book for eternity…

The Book you must have….

The Book you badly need….

Oh, if you miss this Book, you miss everything.

If you keep out of this Book, you keep out of the life of God.

If you fail to devour it….

If you fail to understand it….

You will fail in everything that is worth having.

God is in this Book.

It is the Book of all books.

It is the necessity of every soul.

Get into this Book,

Pray over it.

Get it into your mind.

Live it, obey it,

And it will deliver you from the world, the flesh, and the devil.

It will be your passport into glory.

—-Martha Wing Robinson

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