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Old 04-12-2012, 07:56 PM
 
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Did the New Testament writers think of thier writing as Inspired Scripture anymore than we would if we repeated in a letter what was already written and preached?

I believe a good case can be made, from the Bible, that they did not.

Below are some preliminary thoughts. Enjoy! What say you?

If we look at the words used in the New Testament for ‘Scripture’, ‘writings’, and ‘epistle/s’ (graphe, grammata, and epistole) we can see that the writings and epistles of the New Testament were never considered Holy, Inspired, or Divine but were considered Tradition and to have wisdom useful for faith and practice. The word graphe refers to the Old Testament Writings and is modified by the terms ‘Inspired’,Holy’, and ‘Prophetic.’ This cannot be said of the epistole which were never describe by such terms but were describe by the terms ‘wisdom’ and ‘tradition.’

Grammata is used 14 times in the New Testament and never speaks of any New Testament writing. In Galatians 6:11 Paul is referring to the actual individual alphabetical letters of his epistle.

Graphe is used 50 times in the New Testament and only one time (II Peter 3:16) speaks of New Testament writings. Acts 17:11; Romans 16:26, and I Peter 1:20 are all referring to the Old Testament.

Epistole is used 24 times in the New Testament and mostly speaks of the letters of the New Testament and never of the Old Testament.

See II Peter 3:14-16 and II Tim.3:14-16 – both late letters. II Pet.3:16 refers to Paul’s letters as epistles (epistole) while referring to the rest[1] of the writings as (graphe) – both of which were subject to being twisted.

The term ‘Inspired’, used in II Timothy 3:16, is only used once which refers to the Old Testament not any New Testament writings. This is why the New Testament authors may have not thought of their writing as Holy Scripture.

Lastly, we must deal with the Book of Revelation as being considered Divine writings. It surely expresses itself as such but why this letter and no other New Testament writing. It is interesting that this book is both very late (the last to be written) and controversial. As such it is quite possible that the letters that had already been written, had at the time of this writing, been considered inspired even though none of the writers themselves thought that to be the case. Furthermore, this maybe a pseudo author who tried to pass himself off as John in order to give credence to certain events as being prophetic - specifically the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 C.E. – particularly if it was written in 95 C.E. Or it could have been written by a pseudo author who wanted to write a prophetic polemic statement against the Jewish people and Roman Rule for their treatment of Christ and his followers for which their destruction was about to come. It was supposedly a vision given to the writer by an angel from Jesus Christ to give his servants – Rev.1:1. It is considered written (grapho) prophecy (inspired utterances) – 1:3; 22:7, 10, 18-19. This is odd to say the least since no other New Testament writer says such things about their letters and most all of the Old Testament does.

The first term used in Revelation is Biblion or Book – that is a Scroll, Document, or Certificate itself - not necessarily the contents. This is not a Codex. It is used 34 times in the New Testament and 23 are found in the book of Revelation. It is used of a certificate of divorce, the Old Testament Scrolls, of general scrolls for writing, and the book of John. In II Tim.4:13 Paul request this and parchments which are scrolls made of animal skins. II Timothy is one of the latest books Paul wrote before his death, what letters that we have or do not have were written after this? In the Book of Revelation it is used of the Scroll itself: 1:11; 5:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9; 10:8; 22:7, 9, 10, 18(2x), 19(2x)[2]; a metaphor for the sky rolling-up 6:14; and the Book of Life and other Books 13:18; 17:18; 20:12(3x); and 21:27. In 10:2, 9, and 10 the angel had a little scroll (biblaridion) that was open and which John took and ate. This is the same scroll in verse 10:8.

The second term used in Revelation is Biblos – Book – that is a Scroll or Document primarily used of its content. It is used 10 times in the New Testament for the Book of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms, pagan books, the genealogy in Matthew, and the Book of Life. It is found twice in the Book of Revelation and used for the Book of Life and other books at the final judgment – 3:5; 20:15.

We must also deal with the sayings of Christ, the quotes of the Old Testament, and the gospel message which is referred to in the New Testament. Because they are found in the New Testament writings they are misunderstood, by most, to validate that the writings themselves are Scripture. This is not the case as will be seen by an examination of some of those passages. The gospel as preached was to be for salvation and as such was a very specific doctrine that Jesus Christ proclaimed and that the Old Testament writings foreshadowed. Since such a foundation was already considered Inspired or God breathed and that Christ was the messenger or prophet of God - the gospel was inspired as well. This is a very different concept than the the New Testament writings were Inspired and on the same level as that of the Old Testament. I can write the gospel message in a letter and that does not mean that the Letter was inspired it just means that it contains what was regarded as already written in the O.T. and preached by Jesus.

John 17:17 – this is either referring to God’s word in the Old Testament or the words of God spoken through Jesus himself v.14 – probably both - particularly that which sets a person apart – the gospel and ones belief in it. It is not talking about any of the writings of the New Testament.

Romans 10:8-10 – this is referring to the word of faith that one exercises in the gospel message which is referenced in the Old Testament v.11-21. Se Rom.1:16-17 where he refers to once again what is written in the Old Testament.

I Corinthians 2:13 – this is referring to what Paul speaks in referencing the Old Testament v.9. The Spirit is supposed to reveal these things to each man, they are discerned by the Spirit not by any particular letter per-se. This is why in Acts the apostles are always using the Old Testament as the ground for preaching the good news and showing how they believed Christ fulfilled those writings.

I Corinthians 14:37 – this is referring to the immediate writings of Paul in this chapter not any other New Testament writings. The context is clear that he is referring to things that have already been written in the Old Testament or spoken by Christ regarding the gospel that he preached to them. This is why he relates it to prophesying as a prophet. Paul is not saying that he is writing the word of God when he writes letters to them or any other congregation. When one prophesies they cannot contradict what has already been written in the Old Testament. See verse 34 when he references the law as justification for his teaching that woman are to be submissive and silent in the churches. Whatever things that Paul writes which are considered inspiration are things that he is restating and repeating from that which has already been stated elsewhere in the Old Testament.

Galatians 1:12 – this is referring to the gospel which he preaches not his letter. This was what Christ taught. Paul only records what is thought to be inspired doctrine taught by Christ, he is not saying that he is writing an inspired letter just because it contains these words – no more than if any man wrote a letter that contained them or its concepts. In fact Paul is not really quoting Jesus but explaining the concepts that the gospel entails.

Ephesians 5:26-27 – this is referring to once again the gospel message that sanctifies a person and the teachings of the Old Testament which Paul once again quotes in verse 31. Because the two shall become one flesh they should submit to one another so as to be without spot and so that Christ can present them to himself a glorious body. Paul is not talking about New Testament writings when he uses the phrase ‘the washing of water by the word.’ It is Christ who sanctifies and does the washing v.26 in order to present her to himself (v.27) - not the husbands.

I Thessalonians 2:13 – this is talking about the gospel again.

I Timothy 5:18 – this is referring to preaching and teaching the Old Testament and its derived doctrine. Paul once again quotes the Old Testament for his justification v.18.

Hebrews 4:12 – this is referring to the Old Testament Scriptures – particularly the ones the writer is quoting to justify his teaching about rest in Christ.

I Peter 1:23 – this is referring to once again the gospel and is justified by an Old Testament passage. This is the word that was preached to them v.24. In fact I Peter is written to Jewish Christians as seen in 1:1-2 – ‘…pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia ,Asia, and Bithynia…’ who were called ‘elect’ ‘for the obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Christ.’ This resulted in their ‘salvation’ v.9-10 of which the prophets have spoken about regarding the grace that would come to them (that is the Jews) v.10-12. This is further seen in chapter 2:11 where he wants their (the Jewish Christians) conduct to be honorable among the Gentiles.

It seems obvious that no New Testament writing or any of the writers themselves thought of their writings as Scripture on par with the OT nor did they think they would become so. This is even more clear when most all of the Old Testament writers state that their writings are the ‘word of God’, and use phrases such as ‘thus says the Lord’, or the ‘Lord spoke’, etc. The writings of the New Testament were probably thought of early on along the same lines that Peter thought of Paul’s letters – containing wisdom, traditions, and reminders of what was already spoken of in the prophets of old and of Christ – II Peter 3:1-2, 14-16. The only New Testament letter, as stated above, is the book of Revelation. Why is this so? Could it be its late date, genre, or a forgery by a pseudo author? I would venture to say all of them.

[1] Peter seems to be thinking of the general writings (graphas), not only of Paul but of any that have been written, up to that point, by the apostles. The epistles (epistole) are a subset of those writings as are the Gospels and Acts. The main point is not that they are inspired but that they were being twisted and distorted. Peter does not call them Holy, Prophetic, or Inspired. Finally, if we grant that Peter is making a statement about Inspiration and Holiness regarding these writings we are wise to remember that II Peter is a late writing and the only New testament book that would have done so other than another late writing - Revelation. This may reflect a trend towards regarding these letters as holy or inspired when in fact they were not thought of as such in the beginning. Most modern scholars regard it as pseudepigraphical writing. Even conservative scholars like Daniel B. Wallace affirm that this book is ‘extremely problematic’ yet tries to give it the benefit of the doubt with skillful argumentation – but with so much pseudepigraphical writings at this time it is not hard to find fault especially with the more weighty arguments against it. Now this is some coincidence that the most disputed book is also the only one that may hint at regarding the New Testament writings as inspired. One of the problems that scholars point out has to do with this very verse – Peter mentions the Corpus Paulinum. The last letters written by Paul, around 62 C.E., were the Pastoral epistles, which Wallace himself thinks are more problematic than II Peter, which were never gathered into some body of knowledge about ‘ all of Paul’s letters’ as Peter says, until much later. All of Paul’s letters were sent to different churches throughout different Roman Provinces, each specific to the local congregations in that area. It would have taken some time to get to know all of them and even more time to acknowledge them as a body of writing. What is also interesting in the epistle is that the writer addresses concerns about the delay of the Lord’s return. Some would suggest that this reflects a later date past the 1st Century and into the early 2nd for its date of writing since the eschatology of the early church was a soon return of the Lord.

[2] It is interesting that the Revelation (contained in the Scroll) was prophesied to happen soon and that the time was near – the Lord was soon to return. The contents of the Book were not to be sealed because of this nearness - 22:10. There was to be no more delay 10:6. Note that the book was open – that is unsealed ready to take place and be fulfilled.
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Old 04-12-2012, 08:21 PM
 
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Good post! Excellent job!

If I missed it and you mentioned it - forgive me, but mention might be made of the typical verse "all scripture is inspired of God and beneficial..." which was referring to the Septuagint (Greek) translation that the 1st Century Jews and Chistians were fond of using - not necessarily the Hebrew original. This is not to say that the writings of what became the Jewish Canon were not seen as inspired by many - just that the verse in Timothy is specifically addressed towards the inspired authority of the Septuagint.

As you say - if the New Testamental writers were not actively writing scripture in their minds, this would make this "proof" verse entirely inadmissable to apply to try to argue the "inspired" nature of the NT. Heck, if it only applies to the Septuagint, it limits the scope of that verse even more!

Good post..
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:41 PM
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2 Peter 3


15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

Also, 2 Cor. 12
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmiej View Post
2 Peter 3


15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
I dealt with this verse in the main body of the OP and footnote #1.

Quote:
1 Thess. 2

13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.
When Paul wrote this there was no NT and also note what he says 'you heard from us' - it was the preaching of the word which was based on the OT and Christs gospel. If I were to write a letter explaing that OT and the message of Christ would it then become Scripture. No. And I do not think Paul thought that he was writing 'Scripture'.

This all preleminary - and I am still working through it - discuss freely though.
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whoppers View Post
Good post! Excellent job!

If I missed it and you mentioned it - forgive me, but mention might be made of the typical verse "all scripture is inspired of God and beneficial..." which was referring to the Septuagint (Greek) translation that the 1st Century Jews and Chistians were fond of using - not necessarily the Hebrew original. This is not to say that the writings of what became the Jewish Canon were not seen as inspired by many - just that the verse in Timothy is specifically addressed towards the inspired authority of the Septuagint.

As you say - if the New Testamental writers were not actively writing scripture in their minds, this would make this "proof" verse entirely inadmissable to apply to try to argue the "inspired" nature of the NT. Heck, if it only applies to the Septuagint, it limits the scope of that verse even more!

Good post..
Good point! I am still digging into it - it is a fun study

Last edited by Shiloh1; 04-12-2012 at 10:08 PM..
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Old 04-13-2012, 08:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmiej View Post
2 Peter 3


15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

Also, 2 Cor. 12

If you read what Peter said before that?
You will see that Peter was talking about what
The Prophets said as to what Paul also wrote of in his epistles.

The Apostles considered the writtings of the Prophets
to be directly from God. "Thus Saith The Lord"
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Old 04-13-2012, 08:31 AM
 
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Even the Jews ask:
How does this Man (jesus) know Letters having never studied.

I find it interesting that even The Jews did not ask:
How does this Man know the word of God having never studied?
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Old 04-13-2012, 09:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by RevelationWriter View Post
Even the Jews ask:
How does this Man (jesus) know Letters having never studied.

I find it interesting that even The Jews did not ask:
How does this Man know the word of God having never studied?
Perhaps that learning is more a reflection of the Gospel writer's learning, rather than of Jesus'? It would go long way towards explaining why John's Jesus speaks so differently than Mark's Jesus, as one example.

Thucydides, in his History of the war between Athens and Sparta admitted that the speeches he puts in the mouths of his subjects are created wholesale by Thucydides, but that he attempted to get across the point which he thought they were making. As a result, the speeches all reflect Thucydides rhetorical and writing style.

So, the suggestion I made above is at least in the realm of possibility. Biblical scholars who analyze the Gospel writer's style would agree that it is more than just a possibility.
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Old 04-13-2012, 11:43 AM
 
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Some other points on II Peter 2

v.15-16

'Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.'

The word for 'others' or the 'rest' is 'loipas' and means remaining or left over. Let's look at 3 options.

A) This can refer to the rest of the epistles (of the NT but not Pauls -v.16) which is saying that all of Paul epistles (v.16) and every other NT epistle is 'Scripture' (the only time in the NT that calls the NT writings Scripture - a term otherwise always used for the OT). If so why not just use the the word epistle if comparing Paul's to other NT epistles?

Some of the problems with this are 1) The late writing of this epistle - most scholars think it a pseudpigraphical writing and even conservative scholars find it very problematic. 2) The reasons for this are that it would take some time to collect all the NT writings into a corpus that would have been understood as 'Scripture.' 3) As such, it is odd that nowhere else in the NT mention it's letter or letters as being 'Scipture', this, coupled with the above two points, makes a strong case against Peter being the author and the NT writings as being thought of 'Scripture' early on during the lifetime of the apostles.

B) It can refer to the OT writings with Peter as auhtor or with a later pseudo writer. The author is comparing Paul's epistles to the OT as being abused by unlearned men. In this case Paul's epistles are not seen as 'Scripture' but as abused and twisted by unlearned and unstable men. If the author was not comparing, in this manner, Paul's epistles to the OT why didn't he just say the rest of the epistles? At the time when II Peter is supossed to be written Acts, Revelation, and the Gospels were most likely not written and certainly not if it is a later writer. There are two catergories - the Sciptures and the epistles - both were being twisted but both were not thought of as Scripture. The writer just says that Paul was given wisdom in his writings but does not think of them as Scripture.

Note 3:1-2, where the writer purposes of the epistle is to 'stir up your minds by way of reminder that you may be mindful of the words that were spoken before by the holy prophets, and the commandments of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior.' Notice the two catergories - the holy prophets (OT) and the commandments of the apostles (NT). Notice also that the authors intent was to remind them of things already spoken.

C) It can refer to comparing Paul's epistles to the OT as Scripture. But as noted how rare is this in the NT and particularly with the late date of this book and it's suspects authorship.

So there are 3 options:

A) The writer is comparing NT epistles (Paul's and others) as Scripture.
B) The writer is comparing Paul's epistles (NT) to Scripture (OT) as being twisted and misunderstood.
C) The writer is comparing Paul's epistles (NT) to Scripture (OT) as Scripture.

This is why I take option B, with a later writer, as more probable. If Peter was the author then I still can take the B option. Option A and C seem the least likely for the various reason above mentioned.

Last edited by Shiloh1; 04-13-2012 at 11:52 AM..
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Old 04-13-2012, 11:47 AM
 
5,495 posts, read 4,402,563 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whoppers View Post
Good post! Excellent job!

If I missed it and you mentioned it - forgive me, but mention might be made of the typical verse "all scripture is inspired of God and beneficial..." which was referring to the Septuagint (Greek) translation that the 1st Century Jews and Chistians were fond of using - not necessarily the Hebrew original. This is not to say that the writings of what became the Jewish Canon were not seen as inspired by many - just that the verse in Timothy is specifically addressed towards the inspired authority of the Septuagint.

As you say - if the New Testamental writers were not actively writing scripture in their minds, this would make this "proof" verse entirely inadmissable to apply to try to argue the "inspired" nature of the NT. Heck, if it only applies to the Septuagint, it limits the scope of that verse even more!

Good post..
Another thought along these lines - if they were thinking of the LXX - is the probelm that the LXX was not recieved well by all. Itself was controversial and of course different than the Hebrew and DSS.
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