This English word is drawn from the Latin verb scribere, meaning “to write.” The Greek word gra·pheʹ, “a writing,” from graʹpho, “to write,” as used in the Christian Greek Scriptures refers only to the sacred writings in God’s Word the Bible. There were other documents used by the writers of both the Hebrew and the Greek Scriptures, such as official public genealogical records, histories, and so forth, but these were not considered as inspired and/or on an equal level with the writings recognized as canonical. Even the apostles may have written other letters to certain congregations (for example, Paul’s statement at 1 Corinthians 5:9: “In my letter I wrote you,” implies that he wrote a previous letter to the Corinthians, one that is not now existent). Such writings evidently were not preserved by God’s holy spirit for the Christian congregation, because they were essential only to those to whom they were addressed.
Another Greek word, gramʹma, basically denoting a letter or character of the alphabet, is also drawn from the verb graʹpho. Used in the sense of ‘document,’ it is sometimes rendered “scripture” in some translations, “writing” in others. At John 5:47 and 2 Timothy 3:15 the word is used with reference to inspired “writings” of the Hebrew Scriptures.
APPEALED TO BY CHRIST AND APOSTLES
Jesus Christ and the writers of the Christian Scriptures often used the word gra·pheʹ in appealing to the writings of Moses and the prophets as their authority for their teaching or for their work, on the grounds that these writings were inspired by God. Frequently these Hebrew writings as a whole were designated “Scriptures.” (Matt. 21:42; 22:29; Mark 14:49; John 5:39; Acts 17:11; 18:24, 28) Sometimes the singular form “Scripture” was used where a certain text was cited, referring to it as part of the entire body of writings in the Hebrew Scriptures. (Rom. 9:17; Gal. 3:8) Again reference was made to a single text as a “scripture,” with the sense of its being an authoritative statement. (Mark 12:10; Luke 4:21; John 19:24, 36, 37) At 2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:20 Paul and Peter appear to refer to both the inspired Hebrew and Greek writings as “Scripture.” Peter classifies Paul’s writings as part of the “Scriptures” at 2 Peter 3:15, 16.
Since the Scriptures were recognized as inspired by God, as his Word, the living voice of God (God speaking, in effect), they were sometimes personified as though speaking with divine authority (just as God’s holy spirit or active force was personified by Jesus, and was said to teach and to bear witness [John 14:26; 15:26]). (John 7:42; 19:37; Rom. 4:3; 9:17) For the same reason the Scriptures are spoken of as though possessing the quality of foresight and the active power of preaching.—Gal. 3:8; compare Matthew 11:13; Galatians 3:22.
ESSENTIAL FOR CHRISTIANS
Since Jesus Christ constantly appealed to the Hebrew Scriptures to support his teaching, it is important for his followers not to deviate from them. The apostle Paul emphasizes their value and essential nature when he says: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”—2 Tim. 3:16, 17.