We have seen so far that the Scriptures have the character of being “given by inspiration of God” and that this character of the Scriptures is true in all generations and languages, not being limited to the autographs or originals.
We’ll now take a look at how the Scriptures use the term “Scripture(s)” and take note that they rarely if ever refer to the autographs.
The Scriptures are readable:
- Mt 21:42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
- Mk 12:10 And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:
- Acts 8:32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
- Acts 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
- 2Cor 3:15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
The Scriptures—the entire body of canonical Jewish or Christian writings which are and have been properly regarded by believers as divinely inspired, holy and authoritative—were available for reading in Jesus’ day. Jesus’ reminded his listeners of the Scriptures that they had read, the Eunuch read the Scriptures. Jesus was not referring to the autographs. The Eunuch did not read the autographs, but he did read the Scriptures—the anthology of Canonical books recognized by a consensus of Spirit filled believers as the very word of God in written form true in all its parts – it is perfect, pure, infallible, etc. and the final authority in all matters of faith and practice.
Note also that Moses was being read in the times of the Apostles. The original autographs of Moses were not being read. Note also that each synagogue was reading the same book, Moses. Not each synagogue reading their preferred version of Moses, but rather: Moses was being read in the synagogues every sabbath day
The Scriptures are searchable:
- J 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
- Acts 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.
- Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
When Jesus commanded his listeners to “search the Scriptures” He was not exhorting them to “search for the autographs” or “search for the original reading”, but rather, “search the available Scriptures”, the Scriptures recognized as given by inspiration of God by a consensus of Spirit filled believers as the very word of God in written form true in all its parts – it is perfect, pure, infallible, etc. and the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. In the form available in that day.
The Scriptures are profitable:
- 2Tm 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
- Act 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
- Acts 18:28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.
The Scriptures are profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness. They can be pointed to, observed, and reasoned out of. Scriptures in this context was not a reference to non-extant autographs, nor were they referring to manuscripts scattered about in caves, trash dumps, museums, private collections, etc. waiting to be compiled. When the men of God in those days preached the Lord Jesus Christ from the Scriptures both the speaker and the listener had a common point of reference the common Scriptures recognized by a consensus of Spirit filled believers as the very word of God in written form (as opposed to unidentifiable writings with questionable authority).
The Scriptures speak today:
- Mt 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
- Rom 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
- Ga 4:30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
- 1Tm 5:18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
Note that the Scripture “are written”, not “were written”. “It is written” means that we don’t know exactly when the Scriptures were written, but we do know that they are at this very moment (now) in written form available for reading, searching, etc. “It was written” would mean that we don’t know exactly when the Scriptures were written, but we do know that at some time in the past they were written. We have no idea whether the Scriptures are still in written form today, nor the condition or state of the Scriptures in the present. Note also that the Scripture says, which is present tense, and not “said”, which is past tense. The Scriptures, “the very breath of God”, says…! Not the Scriptures said at one time, but we don’t know what they say now.
You can know and understand the Scriptures:
- Mt 22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
- Mk 12:24 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?
- Lk 24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures
- J 20:9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
Jesus’ rebuke of his listeners was not because they didn’t know the original languages or didn’t have possession of the autograph. They were rebuked because they had access to the Scriptures (given by inspiration of God), but neglected them and did not learn from them.
We now know that when we read our New Testaments and encounter the word Scripture or Scriptures we understand that reference is being made to the very breath of God. Timothy possessed the “very breath of God”. The Eunoch read the “very breath of God”. The Bereans searched “the very breath of God”. Jesus read in the synagogue “the very breath of God”. None of the above had the autographs!
It is getting very late on this side of the pond, so, unfortunately I must continue at some other time as the Lord permits.