In doing some research for another article, I happened upon a quote from an article written in Spectrum magazine after I first shared my testimony six years ago.Read More
Do you enjoy reading ADvindicate? Do you like having a forum in which to discuss the religious issues of the day? Is it important to you to have a fresh, unique perspective on Adventist news? Is it important for you to have a conservative Adventist perspective on church events that is not the bland, official propaganda, and certainly not the corrosive cynicism of those who would transform the church?Read More
Last Saturday while attending my local church, I read a flyer in the bulletin that invited me to attend a soup and salad study by La Sierra University professors Kendra and Gil Valentine. The flyer said they would be considering "ways of reading the Bible that allow texts to live anew in our contemporary world and in our particular stories. Implications of this approach will be explored for the Theology of Ordination Committee, Ellen White, and the Fourth Gospel."Read More
On October 12, 2013, GYC Southeast held a conference at Southern Adventist University, Tennessee. On Sabbath, Pastor Steve Wohlberg exposed the dangers of spiritual formation and the emerging church. ADvindicate interviewed Wohlberg to learn how the conference was received and to learn more about the dangers the church is facing from these forms of spiritualism.
I was astonished that Spectrum would invite Brian McLaren, the leader of the emerging church movement who denies the blood atonement of Jesus, the authority of Scripture, a literal hell. He also keeps the Muslim Feast of Ramadan and promotes Ignatian Spiritual Formation.Read More
Last weekend I was invited to attend the Adventist Forum's Conference in Chattanooga, Tenn., through Southern’s History department. Ten of us were sent as part of the program’s attempt to broaden the education of their students through learning opportunities outside the classroom.Read More
In a couple of days, fewer than 100 people will determine whether the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America will hold onto any of its tertiary educational institutions. The constituents of La Sierra University have been called to a special session this Thursday, February 21, where they will be asked to approve radical changes to La Sierra's bylaws that will loosen the University's connection to the Church. Under pressure from WASC, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, a sub-committee of La Sierra's Board of Trustees has drafted proposed bylaw changes that dilute church representation on the Board of Trustees, weaken the position of the Board chair, and transfer most of the Board's governing power to the president of the University.
The proposed bylaw changes ensure that lay Trustees will always outnumber church official Trustees; in fact, the provision regarding Board quorums is amended so that there is no quorum unless lay Trustees outnumber church officials. The new bylaws would make the office of board chair an elected office, elected by the other board members, and would prevent the Pacific Union president from ever serving as chairman, or vice chair, of the Board of Trustees, assuming that he continues to serve as chairman of the PUC Board of Trustees. The proposed bylaws also strengthen the position of vice-chair and make that officially a lay position.
These changes are in response to WASC's expressed desire for greater board autonomy, by which WASC means greater independence from the official Seventh-day Adventist Church. But all of our union-affiliated colleges' governing boards are set up exactly like La Sierra's: the union president is ex-officio chairman of the board, and all affiliated conference presidents are board members. No other secular accrediting organization has ever taken issue with this arrangement. But you can expect that, if La Sierra knuckles under to WASC's demands and approves these bylaw changes, all the other regional accrediting bodies will try to enforce similar demands of our other colleges. If sound educational policy demands an autonomous board in Southern California, then sound educational policy demands it in Northern California, Washington, Nebraska, Texas, Tennessee, Michigan, and Maryland, as well. Eventually, and sooner than you think, all of our Adventist tertiary educational institutions will be Adventist in “heritage” only; they will no longer be governed by officers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
How did we get to this dangerous place?
We got here because some of “us” do not want our educational institutions to be governed by the Adventist Church, and are willing to go to great lengths to see that they aren't. This faction has long seen accreditation as a way to secularize Adventist tertiary education. They would love for the SDA Church to be forced to choose between a truly Adventist education, on the one hand, and secular accreditation with its prestige and government money, on the other. They constantly argue, on such blogs as Spectrum, that Adventist education cannot be truly Adventist and still maintain secular accreditation. Indeed, they argue that Adventist education cannot be real education, much less accredited education, unless it abandons the Adventist educational philosophy. For example, T. Joe Willey recently wrote at Spectrum:
Beyond governance issues and outside interference, how will Adventists come to terms with not just biology, but all of higher education? This will be problematic if the church’s traditionalists continue to maintain that Scriptural authority has absolute priority over history, science, psychology, social science, philosophy as well as theology — that it is infallible and cannot be circumvented and is above challenge by methodological naturalism or scientific data or evidence. If this policy is going to be used to cast off outside approvals or accreditation commissions . . . the church could then face closing down its academic colleges and universities [or] transforming them into unaccredited Bible colleges. Willey, “The Accreditation of La Sierra University: Tampering with Financial Consequences,” Spectrum, January 28, 2013.
So far, there is no real conflict between accreditation and upholding the Adventist philosophy of education, just a strong desire for such a conflict on the part of secularists within our midst. Secular accrediting associations understand that church schools exist to further the mission of the sponsoring denomination, which will sometimes include a different view of origins, among other things. Creationists in the Adventist Church and elsewhere want Darwinism taught and understood in our schools—indeed, we want our students to understand it better than students in state universities—but we want it taught and understood as a false theory of origins. The truth about our origins is set forth in the Word of God and in the inspired testimonies of Ellen White.
But although there is no genuine conflict between Adventist education and secular accreditation, certain ones so desperately want such a conflict to exist that they are willing to foment it. They are willing to make it actually happen. Which brings us back to the immediate situation at La Sierra.
Apparently, former La Sierra Trustee Lenny Darnell wrote to the WASC commission with responsibility for accrediting La Sierra and urged them to demand that the board structure be changed. Darnell managed to record himself saying, “And if there's any way that Lenny can figure out, there's gonna be a memo to the WASC commission that says that you need to demand that we dismantle this ex-officio structure, or these problems will never go away. And this needs to be . . . whatever language you want to use, you need to say that we're coming back in two years and it has to be different.”
Even if we didn't have a recording of Lenny Darnell planning to solicit WASC to demand the exact change to the structure of the Board of Trustees that WASC ultimately demanded, and that the constituents will be asked to vote on Thursday, it could easily be deduced that Randal Wisbey, or some intermediary working on his behalf, had contacted WASC and solicited bylaw changes, based upon the following facts:
- Denominational ownership has never before been seen as an impediment to secular accreditation.
- All of the union-affiliated Adventists colleges have governing boards set up exactly like La Sierra's: the union president is ex-officio chairman of the board and all affiliated conference presidents are board members. WASC is essentially decreeing that any sectarian school that is actually governed by the sect--as opposed to just loosely affiliated with a denomination--cannot receive secular accreditation. This is an astonishing position, and may well be a novel argument. As far as I am aware, no other secular accrediting organization has ever taken issue with our standard governing board structure.
- WASC would never say, “La Sierra, you're too tightly bound to your sponsoring denomination; make changes to your bylaws to loosen the connection” without knowing in advance that the suggestion would be agreeable. If the president, Board of Trustees, and the Pacific Union were all united on the present board structure, such a demand to re-structure the board would be expected to draw a lawsuit. Yet WASC made that demand of La Sierra because it had been assured that the administration wanted these board changes, and hence WASC would not be buying a lawsuit by demanding them.
- WASC would expect to lose such a lawsuit. When I've mooted this issue online, liberals argue that WASC has a free hand to bully colleges because accreditation is voluntary and a college can simply choose not to be accredited. This is a poor argument. Accreditation is effectively no longer voluntary; federal grant and loan aid depend upon accreditation, as does transferability of credits and use of a degree as a prerequisite for admission to graduate schools. Because accreditation is crucial to a college, it cannot arbitrarily be removed; an accrediting association cannot make unreasonable demands. If La Sierra sued, WASC would back down, but they never would have made this demand had La Sierra insiders not solicited it.
- Randal Wisbey resents efforts to interfere with La Sierra's inculcation of Darwinism. He allowed Louis Bishop to be disciplined three times for pointing out that La Sierra was undermining Seventh-day Adventist beliefs on origins, he demonizes those who, like the founders of Educate Truth, call attention to La Sierra's wrong teaching on origins, he has frustrated all efforts, internal and external, to address La Sierra's origins problem, he fired Lee Greer over Greer's rapprochement with Larry Blackmer on the origins issue, and he had three Trustees thrown off the Board for their efforts to address the problem. Wisbey wants these bylaw changes in order to put an end, once and for all, to any efforts by the Board of Trustees to address the origins issue. The proposed bylaw changes will put faculty, curriculum, and normal university operations far beyond the purview of the Board of Trustees.
- If the bylaw changes were really driven by WASC, they would address only WASC's stated concerns: the structure of the board and the close connection to the official Seventh-day Adventist Church. But the overwhelming majority of the bylaw changes take governing power away from the Board of Trustees and give it to the president. This is contrary to WASC's stated policy on governing boards. WASC intends for governing boards to have strong oversight and strong committees in such areas as finance and academic affairs, but these bylaw changes strip the Board of most of its power to in these areas. In fact, the bylaw changes strike out the committee names (Executive, Membership, Academic Affairs, Personnel, Student Life, Trusteeship, and Finance) because these Board committees will no longer be necessary—the Board will lose its governing authority in these areas. That most of the bylaw changes are contrary to WASC policies demonstrates that WASC was never the driving force behind the bylaw changes. This is a power grab. Randal Wisbey is seizing power from the Board of Trustees and from the Church.
Where do we go from here?
First, we go to California and defeat these bylaw changes. They will require a two-thirds majority to pass, and things are not so far gone that two thirds of the La Sierra constituency will vote for something that has the potential to divest the entire church in North America of its tertiary educational apparatus.
And make no mistake, we are playing for all the marbles. Some fourteen months ago, I was blogging with someone who seemed extremely knowledgeable about La Sierra, but who was using a pseudonym. He wrote:
Interestingly enough, the LSU bylaws are being rewritten under WASC's guidance as we speak. Presuming the "permanent" (ex-officio) board member positions including the automatic Chairmanship by the PUC President are eliminated or weakened would you expect the PUC to stand idly by and see their "ownership" of LSU diluted by a bothersome third party whom they see as the cause of their problems in the first place? Perhaps they will go to the courts to protect their investment and control.
On the question of how much WASC can interfere with curriculum and board structure, my answer is, not much. The strategy of using secular accreditation to effectively wrench La Sierra free of church control is too cute, and it won't work if the church is willing to sue WASC on First Amendment Freedom of Religion grounds. But, as I've said several times, if La Sierra even comes close to setting a bad precedent with WASC, we should close it down and sell the property.
As for how much WASC can interfere with board structure - isn't that what is happening[?] Quite a bit, it seems, if rumors are correct. WASC even visited the LSU campus a couple of months ago to lay out exactly the changes they are demanding. . . . In the end, I don't think the church will have the option of shutting down only LSU. I think it's going to be an all-in game. Accept accreditation and accept severe limits on church structural and functional control of the church's tertiary institutions in the U.S. or close them ALL down.
I have since come to believe that the person I was blogging with was Lenny Darnell, the same former La Sierra Trustee who said he would write WASC demanding that the ex-officio board structure be done away with. Lenny is wrong about La Sierra, and Adventist education, and Seventh-day Adventism, but he's right about one thing: This is an all-in game, one hand for all the chips on the table. We defeat these bylaw changes or we risk losing all of our colleges.
Depending on one's faith tradition, different images come to mind when one hears the word scripture. The fact is, we live in a religiously pluralistic world, and can’t assume that our definition of scripture is monolithic. For many, scripture applies to a set of words when and only when these words trace an intimate and ongoing relationship between a community and the transcendent (or one who is transcendent).”(1) For Hindus, scripture is the Bhagavad-Gita. For Jews, it is the Tanach; Buddhists, the Trip taka. Islam believes that the Holy Qur’an is sacred scripture. Christians consider the Holy Bible scripture, while Sikhs and the Baha’i believe that the Adi Granth and Kitab-I-aqdas are scripture. More examples could be listed, but the point is clear, the word scripture has many meanings. Historically, protestants viewed Scripture as the combination of the Old and New Testaments (excluding the Apocrypha). However, some denominations have developed a different locus for their definition. Latter-day Saints (LDS) accept the “general accuracy” of the modern day text of the Bible, but they also believe that it is incomplete and contains errors. In LDS theology, many of these lost truths were restored in the Book of Mormon, which Mormons hold to be “divine scripture and equal in authority to the Bible.”(2) Similarly, Catholics do not believe that God has restricted His authoritative communication and rule of faith to the Bible alone. They hold that “God's Revelation comes to us through the Apostolic Tradition and teaching authority of the Church [i.e. the Magisterium(3)].”(4)
Seventh-day Adventists have been accused of elevating the writings of Ellen G. White to the same authority as Scripture. While there are some within the church who have mistakenly done this, her own testimony and the official position of the church clearly state otherwise. She wrote: “The word of God is sufficient to enlighten the most beclouded mind, and may be understood by those who have any desire to understand it.”(5) “The Word of God [is] the rule of your faith and practice.”(6) “The Lord . . . has not given any additional light to take the place of His word.”(7) “The written testimonies are not given to give new light, but to impress vividly upon the heart the truths of inspiration already revealed.“(8) The Seventh-day Adventist Church officially teaches that “Her writings . . . provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested.”(9)
What is scripture as defined by the Bible? The word scripture (graphe) appears 52 times in the New Testament (in the KJV), and is found either in the singular or in the plural form.(10) The definition of scripture is fairly consistent in most concordances: “express by written characters--to write down,”(11) “that which is written, the writing,”(12) “a writing, book, epistle”(13) “to write.”(14) This meaning can be seen in a number of Bible versions:
- “Every scripture inspired of God . . .” (KJV; NKJV; NASB; ASV; etc.)
- “Every holy Writing which comes from God . . .” (Basic English Bible; Darby Bible)
- “Every Writing [is] God-breathed . . .” (Young’s Literal Bible)
- “All that is written in the holy writings comes from the Spirit of God. . .” (WE)
- “All scripture written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit . . .” (Lamsa)
- “Everything in the Scriptures is God's Word. . . (CEV)
Interestingly, scripture (graphe) in 2 Timothy 3:16 is a singular noun.(15) And in the singular, it “has reference to a particular passage (Mk 12:10; Lk 4:21; Jn 2:22; Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:8). Whereas, in the plural, it refers to the ‘whole’ (Matt. 21:42; John 5:39; Acts 17:11; etc.).”(16) Greek scholar J.W. Roberts concurs by saying, “[I]n every N.T. use the singular term means a single passage of scripture.”(17) Therefore, from a lexical standpoint, scripture in 2 Tim. 3:16 is very specific and refers to single, succinct and short written passages. This doesn’t negate that 2 Timothy 3:16 (by implication) also refers to the Scriptures in a broader sense as well. However, the significance of the singular in 2 Timothy 3:16 should not be overlooked. In combination with our first study (which showed that “pasa” means “every”), Paul narrows down the definition of scripture to short phrases, passages, and even individual words.(18) Why is this important? Some theologians have used phrases such as “Scripture as a whole,” or “the whole Scripture.” This has the tendency of diluting or weakening the directive of distinctive passages and doctrines.(19) The implication is, that if 2 Timothy 3:16 refers to “Scripture in general,” don't be too concerned with specifics. However, when Paul refers to scripture, he refutes this understanding, showing that even precise, concise passages and words can be trusted. How else could he go on to say that “Scripture . . . is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction”?
Here is an overview of the 52 references of graphe in the New Testament, revealing 15 significant points:
“Scripture” is used in a general sense, referring to the entire Old Testament (20):
Matt. 22:9 “You do err, not knowing the scriptures” John 5:39 “you search the scriptures . . .”
In one sense, scripture is used by New Testament writers to include the entire Old Testament. This definition of scripture(s) does little to help us narrow down what that includes. However, it does tell us that the scriptures are a collection of writings that are used to gain knowledge of God, salvation, etc.
“Scripture” is used in a more limited sense, but still covering large sections/themes:
Matt. 26:56 “all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Luke 24:2 Jesus expounded “in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”
There are times when N.T. writers used “Scriptures” to refer to general topics or themes. These sections would include the Messianic prophecies or other fulfilled prophecies. For example in John 20:9, the disciples did not understand yet the Scriptures concerning Christ’s death and resurrection. And in Acts 17:2-4, Paul reasoned out of the Scriptures concerning the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ.
“Scripture” is used in a special sense, quoting smaller, concise, individual passages:
Jn. 19:28 “that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith “I thirst . . . Vessel full of vinegar” Ps. 69:21 “in My thirst they gave me vinegar to drink”
Jn. 19:36 “the Scripture might be fulfilled, a bone of Him shall not be broken” Ps. 34:20 “He keepeth all His bones: not one of them is broken”
“In many instances “the Gospels restrict the meaning of 'Scripture' to individual passages within the OT with such terms as 'this' and 'another.' This restricted usage of Scripture is safeguarded by its contexts and special pronouns.”(21) In fact, “Scripture” can even mean one Greek word- “I thirst” (dipsao- Diyw; John 19:28 quoting Ps. 69:21). This reduction in meaning helps us see that scripture includes the very words and phrases that were written.
“Scripture” is referred to as the “word of God”:
Matt. 22:31, 32 “you err, not knowing the scriptures. . . which was spoken unto you by God saying . . .” John 10:35 “The word of God came, and the scriptures cannot be broken.”
Daniel recognized that the book of Jeremiah was the “word of the Lord” (Dan. 9:2) “David expressed the conviction that his words originated from the Holy Spirit (2 Sam. 23:2). . . When Joel the ‘prophet’ (Acts 2:16) spoke, it was ‘God’ speaking (v. 17). Likewise ‘God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time’ (Acts 3:21).”(22) More than 300 times the Old Testament uses phrases that “perceived itself as deriving from God . . . the ‘Word of God.’”(23) “When the New Testament writings were later included with the Old Testament as part of ‘all scripture’ [1 Tim. 5:18 quotes Lk 10:7; Peter refers to Paul’s epistles as “Scripture”- 2 Pet. 3:16], it was natural to conclude that they too were ‘inspired by God’.” (24)
“Scripture” includes the “writings of the prophets":
Rom. 1:2 ". . . by His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son" Rom. 16:26 "The Scriptures of the prophets" (25) 2 Pet. 1:20 "no prophecy of scripture . . ." (26)
The New Testament uses phrases like “it has been written by the prophet” (Matt. 2:5) or “all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man” (Lk 18:31). Paul speaks about the promise given “through His prophets in the holy Scriptures” (Rom. 1:2; see also Rom. 16:26). “The term ‘prophecy’ refers to that which was written by the inspired ‘prophets who prophesied’ (1 Pet. 1:10).
Jesus explained to His disciples on the road to Emmaus ‘all the Scriptures,’ namely, ‘Moses and the prophets’ (v. 27).“The phrase ‘all that the prophets have spoken’ seems to be identical with the phrase ‘all the Scriptures,’ expressing the totality of the Bible.”(27)
“Scripture” is referred to by the phrase “It is written”:
Lu. 24:45, 46 “That they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, ‘It is written . . .” Rom. 15:4 “written for our learning, that we through patience . . . Of the scriptures"
“It is written” (from the Greek grapho) is a verb of the word “Scripture” (graphe).(28) It basically stands for the same thing, and is usually seen referencing the “writings” of the Old Testament. “Jesus appealed to the Bible of His day, the OT, as the word of ultimate authority when He met the Devil’s temptation in the wilderness. Jesus resisted the Devil by stating, ‘It is written,’ quoting Scripture (Matt. 4:4,7,10). . . Jesus and the apostles repeatedly appealed to ‘Scripture’ as the Word of God which is 'written.'”(29) As already mentioned, “It is Written” refers to a number of specific subjects, and among these are:
- Geography (Matt. 2:5 quoting Micah 5:2- “Bethlehem in the land of Judah”)
- Marriage laws (Mark 10:4,5 quoting Deut. 9:6- “Moses wrote a bill of divorcement”)
- Conduct in God’s House (Mark 11:17 quoting Isaiah 56:7- “My house will be . . . A house of prayer”)
- Life, death and resurrection of Christ (Lk 1:3- “write unto you. . . That you may know of a certainty”)
- Historical narratives (1 Cor. 10:6-11- quoting Numbers- “they are written for our admonition”; Rom. 11:2 quoting 1 Ki. 19:10- “the scripture says of Elijah. . .”)
- Specific instruction about livestock (1 Cor. 9:9 quoting- “do not muzzle an ox while it is treading. . .")
- Condition of humanity (Romans 3:10- “as it is written: ‘there is no one righteous’. . .”)
“Scripture” points to and testifies of Jesus:
John 5:39 “Scriptures . . . testify of Me” John 20:31 “these are written (grapho) that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ”
The focus of the Bible is Jesus. While looking for writings that should be included in Scripture, the underlying theme will be Jesus Christ. There are some books where this is a bit harder to delineate, since there is no DIRECT reference to the Messiah (Esther, Nahum, Obadiah, Song of Solomon, to mention a few). However, we should see implied overtones of Jesus in all these books. The theme of “Scripture” points to a Messiah that will save humanity from sin, and restore the image of God in humanity. It points to His work in the redemption including His birth, death, resurrection and ministry in Heaven.(30)
“Scripture” is referred to as “the law”:
Luke 24:27 “Moses and all the prophets . . In all the Scriptures” Luke 2:23 “It is written (grapho) in the law of the Lord . . .” Luke 10:26 “what is written (grapho) in the law?”
The scripture(s) include the books of Moses- which are referred to as the “law”. There are a number of references that say “in the law and the prophets,” “in the law,” “the law of Moses,” etc. These phrases are called “Scripture”. It is interesting to recognize that Jesus understood the “Law” included even the smallest elements of the written language. Not “one jot or one tittle shall pass from the Law. . .” (Matt. 5:18).
“Scripture” is unified--doctrinally, thematically, historically and typologically:
John 10:35 - “and the Scripture cannot be broken” (31)
As one delves into the study of scripture, he or she is almost forced to confess the amazing unity that exists in the doctrines, themes and history within it’s pages. Theologian David Ewert has noted- “Since God is the Lord of history. . . We can expect His earlier revelations to anticipate the later. . . There are a great many prophecies in the OT that are fulfilled in the NT. . . The great truths of the Bible, such as sin, redemption, hope, and many others, take their rise in the OT and find their fuller development in the New. This is sometimes called ‘the-unity-of-ideas’ approach to the Scriptures. The thematic approach takes us even further and seeks to show the unity of the two Testaments by tracing their underlying themes.”(32) The Scriptures “though written generations apart. . . do not contradict each other.(33) The two testaments are one, as God is one. . . The Old Testament serves as foundation for the New. It provides the key to unlock the New, while the New explains the mysteries of the Old.”(34)
“Scriptures” great themes are the love of God and salvation of man through Jesus:
1 Cor. 15:3 “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures”
The under girding theme of Scripture is how God through Christ came to the rescue of fallen humanity, and bought him back through the plan of salvation. “The theme of God’s love, particularly as seen in Christ’s sacrificial death on Calvary--the grandest truth of the universe--is the focus of the Bible. All major bible truths, therefore, should be studied from this perspective.”(35)
“Scripture” provides comfort and hope through its written promises:
Rom. 15:4- “through patience and comfort of the Scriptures”
This is a more subjective element to our understanding of the word graphe. Obviously, there are many religious “holy books," whose adherents claim spiritual benefits through its writings. However, this is not an objective, externally verifiable reason to include a writing as “Scripture.” Nevertheless, it is a confirming reason, which can be known internally, and produces further assurance that the objective claims are valid.
“Scripture” records God’s providence's and supervision over the affairs of man:
Matt. 4:4 “it is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word . . . of God” Acts 17:26 "He hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation” Luke 4:10 “it is written (grapho), He will give His angels charge over you, to keep you.”
God is involved in the affairs of the nations, and in providential control of human affairs. The book of Daniel makes it clear that God sets up kings and removes them. He uses pagan rulers to overrule the sinful behavior of His people. The “scriptures” reveal God’s interaction with humanity as through a “wheel within a wheel”. Above the complex play and interplay of human events, ultimately God is working to further His will and His plans. Therefore, although there may not be a direct references to God in some of the Scriptures- we can clearly see His providence through the events that transpire.(36)
“Scripture” includes “the Psalms”:
Luke 24:44- “written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me.”
The book of Psalms is probably quoted more in the New Testament than any other Old Testament book. It is referred to over and over as scripture.
“Scripture” includes a gospel book:
1 Ti. 5:18 “The scripture says" Lk 10:7 quoted- “the laborer is worthy of his reward”
In 1 Tim. 5:18 Paul quotes Jesus in the book of Luke.(37) This is significant, because the scriptures include at least one gospel.
“Scripture” includes the writings of Paul (38):
2 Pet. 3:16 “in his [Paul's] epistles . . . As also in the other scriptures"
“Peter’s use of ‘Scriptures’ places Paul’s writings on a level with other inspired Scripture.”(39) “The manner of referring to Paul’s letters as ‘Scriptures’ alongside the OT indicates that they had been recognized as being on the same level. They were both viewed as being of divine origin and authoritative.”(40)
In conclusion, scripture (as used in the New Testament) is a multi-faceted word that has a broad range of meanings. It can refer to the entire Old Testament, smaller themes of prophetic fulfillment or in a special sense, quoting individual passages and small units of writing. Scripture is called “the Word of God,” the writings “of the prophets,” “the Law” (“law of Moses“) and is also designated by the phrase, “it is written." The Scriptures record God’s providence in the affairs of human history and present the great themes of the love of God through Jesus Christ for lost humanity. The history and doctrines of Scripture are seen as a “golden thread”(41) that unifies the writings into a single book. The focus of Scripture is Jesus Christ, and it includes the gospels and writings of Paul. While we have looked at scripture lexically, we haven’t yet shown how these different words, passages and phrases are connected together to create the whole. In the next article, we will discuss how the Scriptures are joined internally as a unit and thus become sola-prima scriptura (i.e. the canon).