Word Study: Scripture

The Greek word “graphe” (pronounced gra-fay, Strongs 1124) is found 51 times in the New Testament (NT). “Graphe” is a noun. There are many of our modern English words that are derived from “graphe” such as photograph, graphics, etc. Graphe is translated scripture(s) 51 times in the NT. In its verb form, grapho (H1125) is found 209 times in the NT, 207 times it is translated “to write”; writing 1; describe 1. The word scripture(s) is itself is an anglicized Latin word derived from the word, scriptura, meaning “writing” also. The point being this is not a translated word, thus, there is the possibility that it can come to interpreted something that it does not mean, which is exactly what has happened. The word “scripture” has come to mean “the Bible”, Old and New Testament together. At the time of the writing of the NT there was “NO BIBLE” as we know it today. There was only the Old Testament (OT) or known by its Hebrew name, the Tanach. The Greek translation of the Tanach is called the Septuagint (LXX). The apostles after the death, the burial, the resurrection and ascension of Yeshua ha Mashiach wrote letters to assemblies, groups of believers and believers, that were eventually compiled and agreed upon and came to be called as a whole as the New Testament.

With this as a foundation if I quote the one true gospel as it is clearly expounded in 1 Cor 15:1-6, that the Mashiach died for our sins according to the SCRIPTURES, He was buried and He rose again the third day according to the SCRIPTURES, there can be”the  no doubt (at least in the true grace of the God), that when the word “scripture” is used, it is speaking of the Old Testament. Of the other 49 times scripture is found in the KJV NT of the Bible, there is only one time “scripture” does not mean “the Old Testament”, and that is in 2 Peter 3:15ff where Peter writes, “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation, even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you, as also in all the his letters (1 Corinthians was one of those letters), speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do other writings, unto their own destruction.”

Going back to the Greek word, graphe, its simple meaning is “a writing” which in the context of the NT with one exception refers to the Old Testament. Thus, to distinguish between any writing and the Old Testament writings, the writings of the OT  should be called “the writings”. For “the writings” are above all other writings, for the OT is the writing of God as he moved holy men by His Spirit to write down the prophecies concerning His Son. The Old Testament is a compilation of prophecies concerning Yeshua ha Mashiach first and foremost. For the author of the OT is the Spirit of prophecy, and the Spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Yeshua, and the testimony of Yeshua is the one true gospel. Paul’s writings and your writings are a “graphe” but are not the Old Testament. Paul’s writings are the understanding that comes from the OT in light of the Mashiach’s death for our sin, His burial and His resurrection the third day. Paul’s writings are to be judged by the one true gospel and not to be accepted as the gospel is by grace. Interspersed within Paul’s writings are repeated references to the Old Testament. His writing are to be judged by the one true gospel and must be judged by the one true gospel. Of course being able to judge right judgment by the gospel requires God’s continual provision of grace to the believer. The one true gospel is accepted as God gives grace to a person according to His will. GOD MAKES CHOICE! A person does not make a choice to follow “Jesus”. God makes all decisions in regard to His grace – when and where the place of conversion is and by whom the preaching of the one true gospel comes forth and upon whom that grace is received. It is the same for all conversions regardless of how often (many times) the grace of God is misunderstood, and  people inaccurately describe their conversion, if indeed they were converted. No, they were not always seeking truth. No, they did not decide to follow Jesus. No, they did not decide to get baptized or join a church. God either makes the decision or He does not. Amen and Amen! THERE IS NO FREE WILL, ONLY GOD’S WILL.

“Graphe” is found 27 times in the LXX. The first place is in Ex 32:16, “And the tables were the work of Elohiym, and the writing was the writing of Elohiym, graven upon stone.” The Hebrew word for writing in this verse is “mikathab” (Strongs 4385, italics I added because I do not think the Hebrew word is correctly transcribed in English). the word is found 9 times in the OT and translated “writing” 9 times (Ex 32:16, 39:30; Deut 10:4; 2 Chron 21:12, 35:4, 36:22; Ezra 1:1; Is 38:9). I actually think this word should simply be “kathab” and an extra letter was added to the word (see the italics I added above). In the context of the passages it is used, “mikathab” speaks primarily of God’s writings, and also a prophet’s writing and sometimes a king’s writing. Do not all the writings of the OT declare the Mashiach, Yeshua? Yes, of course! Another Hebrew word listed in the Strongs for the word “writing” is “kathab” (Strongs 3791) and has similar applications and meanings as “miktab”. I think Strongs 4385 and 3791 are the same Hebrew word and not two distinct words. “Kathab” is found 17 times in the OT, and translated writing 14 times, register 2, scripture 1. “kathab”, the verb (Strongs H3789) is found 223 times in the OT; “to write” 210, describe 7, subscribe 4, recorded 1, write up 1. Judge what I say for yourself by the true grace of God.

All said with the one exception of 2 Peter, and keeping in mind the context of the verses when the word “scripture(s)” is found in the NT, it should be translated “the writing” and clearly understood as having reference to the OT. To be most clear graphe should simply be translated Old Testament in the NT with the exception of 2 Peter. 🙂

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