What are the “Scriptures,” According to “Scripture?”

The Bible, the entire Bible, is our guide-always.


Many today throughout the Christian world are under the assumption that “Scripture” = “New Testament” (NT). We see Bibles used commonly today that only contain the NT and even some that only contain the words of Christ in red, as if to say, “only the verbal words of Jesus are important.”

Are we adopting a view of the Bible that is “Biblical?” Are we truly studying the “scriptures,” according to what the Bible tells us? What does the Bible say about the term “scriptures” that we often use to describe it? What are the “scriptures?”

There are a total of 52-54 references to the word “scripture/scriptures” in the Bible, depending on which version is used. Can you guess how many of them refer to the Old Testament?…Would you believe…all but one?

Examples of Scripture in the Bible

Let’s look at a few examples of what the Bible calls “scripture.”

  1. Dan 10:21. The angel Gabriel, when helping Daniel interpret his visions, calls earlier prophecies that Daniel recorded “scripture.”
  2. Matt 21:42. Jesus quotes Psalms 118:22 and calls it “scripture.”
  3. Luke 4:21. Jesus quotes from the prophet Isaiah 61:1 and calls it “scripture.”
  4. Luke 24:27. Jesus tells the two men on the road to Emmaus that Moses and the prophets are “scripture,” and that these books concern Himself. (“Moses”= first 5 books of Old Testament; “the prophets”= all the other books of the Old Testament)
  5. Luke 24:44,45. Jesus, when speaking to the rest of the disciples after His resurrection, says that “the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms” are “scripture” and “[concern] me.”
  6. John 5:39. Jesus actually commands us to “search the scriptures!” in order to have eternal life, because it is the “scriptures” that “testify of me.” What was Jesus’ Bible? The accounts of His life weren’t recorded for several more years afterwards.
  7. 2 Pet 3:16. Peter is referring to the writings of Paul, and is expressing how so many people misunderstand and misread what Paul wrote, to their own demise. He says that the same people do that to the “rest of the scriptures,” implying that Paul’s letters are indeed “scripture.”

The Purpose of the Scriptures

In 2 Timothy 3:15,16, Paul encourages the young preacher, Timothy. He tells him,

“that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 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, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

Did you catch that? Paul teaches us the purpose of the “scriptures,” which are primarily, by the Bible’s definition, the Old Testament. They are supposed to:

  1. Make us wise unto salvation. They give us wisdom that leads to salvation.
  2. Teach us faith in Christ Jesus, since Jesus Himself told us the Old Testament was about Him.
  3. Show us about how God inspires men, however fallen they may be.
  4. Teach us proper doctrine.
  5. Describe to us where we’re wrong, and thus in need of reproof and correction.
  6. Instruct us on how to be righteous.
  7. Give us direction on how to attain perfection.
  8. Furnish us with what we need to accomplish good works in the world.

Where Are We Now?

What has the theology of “let’s throw out the Old Testament now that we have Jesus” wrought among the supposed followers of Christ? Should it be any surprise to us that it’s nearly impossible to get 3 Christians in a room and not get 3 different opinions on any particular doctrine? We have thrown the proverbial baby out with the bath water!

Let us get back to studying our Old Testament! We should strive to find Jesus in every page of the holy Scriptures. Through every story, in every foreshadowing, in the lives of every person who has had an encounter with the divine person of Jesus Christ, let us search for our Savior, from the first Adam to the “last Adam.” (Rom 5:14, 1 Cor 15:45)



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