Scripture (כּתָב, kethtab, Da 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 SCRIPTURES, HOLY. 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 Ex 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 Da 10:21 (בִּכתַּב 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. Ps 139:16; Re 5:1). SEE BOOK. This first appears in 2Ch 30:5,18 (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 (Mt 4:4,6; Mt 21:13; Mt 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 כּתוּבִים(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 (מִקרָא Ne 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. (Mr 12:10; Joh 7:38; Joh 13:18; Joh 19:37; Lu 4:21; Ro 9:17; Ga 3:8, et al.). In Ac 8:32 (ἡ περιοχὴ τῆς γραφῆς) it takes a somewhat larger extension, as denoting the writing of Isaiah; but in ver. 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 (2Ti 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, Eph 2:21; πᾶσα Ιεροσόλυμα, Mt 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 (2Pe 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 ὁ 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 (Ro 15:4), ἡ παράκλησις τῶν γραφῶν is the counsel, admonition, drawn from the Scriptures. Λόγος παρακλήσεως appears in Ac 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 (Mt 21:42; Mt 22:29; Joh 5:39; Ac 17:11; 1Co 15:3). Sometimes πᾶσαι αἱ γραφαί (Lu 24:27). The epithets gigtat (Ro 1:2), προφητικαί (Ro 16:26), are sometimes joined with it. In 2Pe 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 Ro 16:26 with Eph 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 ὁ προφητικὸς λόγος (comp. 2Pe 1:19),and that in the 1st Epistle (ch. 23) the same is quoted as ἡ γραφή. Looking to the special fulness of the prophetic gifts in the Church of Corinth (1Co 1:5; 1Co 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 (2Ti 3:15) answers to "The Holy Scriptures" of the A.V. Taken by itself, the word might, as in Joh 7:15; Ac 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.