Scripture is inspired by God…" (II Timothy 3:16) What is all
Handbook to the Bible (1973) says:
first-century AD historian, acknowledged 22 books; the Apocalypse of
Ezra (about AD 100) acknowledged 24. If Josephus included Ruth with
Judges and Lamentations with Jeremiah the two agree. The 24 books of
the Hebrew canon are equivalent to the 39 books of the Greek canon
(since Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah and the twelve minor
prophets counted as only one book each in the Hebrew list). Most of the
books in our own Old Testament are quoted in the New Testament, which
suggests that the Old Testament canon which Jesus used was identical to
that generally used among the Jews and known to Josephus. (pp 71-72)
library (Dead Sea Scrolls) includes all the Old Testament
books (or commentaries about them) except Esther. Geza Vermes (2004) in
The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English supplies an
letters and the rest of the New Testament (NT) quote or refer to
the Old Testament (OT) about 300 times. "All Scripture" therefore
includes all the cited books.
quotations come direct from the Septuagint — the translation of
the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek completed about 150 BCE and used in
synagogues and Christian churches throughout the Greek/Roman world.
Septuagint sometimes differs from the Hebrew. The principle here is
that Christians use the translation available to them. Using the best
available in one's own language is better than nothing. If the
available version has known errors and a verse crucial to a doctrine is
mistranslated then the erroneous bit should be omitted or rephrased.
to the OT Moses regularly wrote in a "book". (Exodus 24:4, 7;
Numbers 33:1-2; Deuteronomy 31:24; Joshua 8:30-33; 23:6) Copies of the
book were regularly made (Deuteronomy 17:18), successors of Moses added
material (Joshua 24:26; I Samuel 10:25), and the book became known as
"the law of Moses" and "book of the law". (I Kings 2:3; II Kings 22:8;
II Chronicles 17:9; 25:4; Nehemiah 8:8; 13:1; Daniel 9:11)
references to "The Book of the Law" refer to the original version
kept in the Temple.
original version went missing when the Temple was destroyed and
what remained were hand-written copies. Similarly with other OT books —
the original versions or autographs went missing and eventually there
were only copies of copies.
strict sense only the original is "All Scripture" but in the
practical, useful sense the copies to hand are "All Scripture".
autographs are found, Bible translators have to translate
from later manuscripts. To establish as correctly as possible the
wording of the autographs is the work of textual critics, the guys who
compare all surviving ancient manuscripts. (See "Scripture
Transmission" debate #96-101 and #107)
the Jewish scholars/priests who decided which books belong in
the Hebrew Canon chose the proper books is a separate question. I
discussed that point in connection with the NT in #127, and similar
criteria would apply with the OT.
wrote of "All Scripture" the NT was not finalized but some of
what had already been written was considered "Scripture" by Christians:
are some things in them [in Paul's letters] hard to under stand,
which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they
do the other scriptures." (II Peter 3:15-16)
The phrase "the
scriptures" implies that Paul's letters were regarded as Scripture.
himself meant by "All Scripture" however, in II Timothy, is
the OT books accepted by most Jews as "inspired".
"Biblical Literature", Britannica
"Canon of the Old
Testament", New Bible Dictionary 2nd edition.