Exactly what is “Scripture”??


tattered torah scroll

In light of Paul’s admonishment about the “Holy Scriptures” (Rom. 1:2, 2 Tim. 3:15) and, in light of Andy Stanley recently advising the church to “unhitch” from the “Old Testament” perhaps it is good to revisit exactly what the New Testament declares as “scripture.”  (Note: this is not in ANY WAY to indicate that the writings of the apostles are NOT inspired of Yah; but rather to make clear that they wholly relied upon the torah, the writings, and the prophets as the Word of Elohim.)  What was earth-shaking to me when I completed this study a few years ago is that there is only ONE verse in the New Testament which is not a reference to the Tanach. You might be shocked, as I was, to see what it was.

This document has been compiled with the use of E-Sword to demonstrate that when the New Testament writers made use of the words “SCRIPTURE” or “SCRIPTURES” they were speaking of the Old Testament. 

When, for example, Paul instructed Timothy, “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Ti. 3:16-17), he was  writing a letter in a mentoring capacity, urging his beloved Timothy how to live his life with no regrets. That is not to dispute that Paul’s words are Scripture; rather, to make it clear that the Scripture that Paul exhorted Timothy to learn and do is what we commonly call the Old Testament–the Hebrew Scriptures–know to Jews as the Tanach [tah-knock]. There was no New Testament in Paul’s day.

Likewise, when Jesus/Yeshua taught the disciples on the road to Emmaeus, he taught from the Hebrew Scriptures.  “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).

After He left them, they said, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures? (vs. 32)

Later, in Jerusalem, when He again appeared to them, He said, “These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. ” Then He opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:44-45)

Jesus/Yeshua and his disciples always taught from the Old Testament! There was no other “Scripture.” When you read their words from this perspective, it  changes everything!

We do not doubt the New Testament writers were inspired and that we should consider their words as Scripture. However, if we fail to see the Tanach as the focus of the writers, we completely miss their message. The 250+ direct quotations and references to the Hebrew Scriptures by New Testament writers accounts for a full one-quarter of the New Testament itself, not including the many passages which endeavor to expound upon Moses and the prophets. Click here for a list of quotations and references. As one Hebrew Roots teacher is fond of saying, “There is nothing NEW in the New Testament, there is only TRUE.”

In addition, at the bottom of this page you will find a list of all of the New Testament verses which contain the word Scripture or Scriptures. All but one refer to the Hebrew Scriptures. The one exception is actually a warning from Peter that Pauls’ writings contain “hard things to understand” (2 Peter 3:13-18), which can lead to lawlessness. On the surface, Paul seems to value the law of God in one place and yet oppose it in another.

To understand Paul correctly, it is necessary to be aware of the influence of the extra-biblical laws of the Pharisees and rabbis, known as the Oral Torah or Jewish Law.  For example, it is to this “law” that Peter refers in Acts 10:28, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.”  Nowhere in the books of Moses does God tell Israel not to associate with foreigners. In fact, if you will take the time to check it  out, you will find that God plainly forbids the oppression of foreigners and frequently instructs Israel to go out of their way to help “the strangers.” This is part of loving our neighbor as yourself, which, by the way, is not a New Testament idea. It originates in, of all places, the book of Leviticus (19:18).

It is also helpful to understand why Jesus/Yeshua is so angry with the religious leaders and why He warned His disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Please click here.

I hope I have succeeded in whetting your appetite sufficiently to read through the LIST BELOW of New Testament verses which contain the word “Scripture” or “Scriptures” and study this out for yourself.

For a short video regarding Peter’s vision, click here.



Verse list: SCRIPTURE

Mark 12:10 Have you not read this SCRIPTURE: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” [quoting Psalm 118:22 “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” ]

Luke 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. [17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, [18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,[19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” [20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. [21 And he began to say to them, “Today this SCRIPTURE has been fulfilled in your hearing.” [Our Lord  is quoting Isaiah 61:1-2a “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; [2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor…”]

Luke_22:37 For I tell you that this SCRIPTURE must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” [quoting from Isaiah 53:12 “Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.”]

John_2:22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the SCRIPTURE and the word that Jesus had spoken.

John_7:38 Whoever believes in me, as the SCRIPTURE has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” [referencing Jer 17:13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you shall be put to shame; those who turn away from you shall be written in the earth, for they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living water.”]

John_7:42 Has not the SCRIPTURE said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” [referencing Micah 5:2 “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”]

Joh_10:35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and SCRIPTURE cannot be broken” [referencing Psalms 82:6 I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you.”]

Joh_13:18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the SCRIPTURE will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ [Psalm 41:9] “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.”]

Joh_17:12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the SCRIPTURE might be fulfilled.

John 19:24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the SCRIPTURE which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did these things.” [ Psalm 22:18 “they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”]

John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the SCRIPTURE), “I thirst.” [Psalm 69:21 They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink. “]

John_19:36 For these things took place that the SCRIPTURE might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” [Psalm 34:20 He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.]

John_19:37 And again another SCRIPTURE says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.” [Zec_12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.]

John_20:9 for as yet they did not understand the SCRIPTURE, that he must rise from the dead. [Mat_12:39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.

Acts 1:16 “Brothers, the SCRIPTURE had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. [Psa_41:9 Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.]

Acts 8:27 And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship [28 and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. [29 And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” [30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” [31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. [32 Now the passage of the SCRIPTURE that he was reading was this: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. [33 In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.” [34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” [35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this SCRIPTURE he told him the good news about Jesus.

Romans 4:3 For what does the SCRIPTURE say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” [Gen_15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.]

Romans 9:17 For the SCRIPTURE says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” [Exo 9:16 But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.]

Romans 10:11 For the SCRIPTURE says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” [Isa_45:17 But Israel is saved by the LORD with everlasting salvation; you shall not be put to shame or confounded to all eternity. ]

Romans 11:2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the SCRIPTURE says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? [1Ki 18:36 And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 1Ki 18:39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God.”[ I Kings 18:37-39]

Gal_3:8 And the SCRIPTURE, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” [Gen 12:1 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Gen. 12:1-3]

Gal_3:22 But the SCRIPTURE imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Gal_4:30 But what does the SCRIPTURE say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” [Gen 21:10 So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.”]

1Tim_4:13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of SCRIPTURE, to exhortation, to teaching.

1Tim_5:18 For the SCRIPTURE says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”[ Deu_25:4 “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain.” “Lev_19:13 Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.” ]

2Tim_3:16 All SCRIPTURE is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

James_2:8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the SCRIPTURE, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. [Lev_19:18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.]

James_2:23 and the SCRIPTURE was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. [Gen 15:6 And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” “Isa 41:8 But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend.”]

James_4:5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the SCRIPTURE says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? [Isa_26:9 My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.]

1Peter_2:6 For it stands in SCRIPTURE: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” [Isa_28:16 therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’]

2Peter_1:20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of SCRIPTURE comes from someone’s own interpretation.

Verse list: SCRIPTURES

Mat_21:42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the SCRIPTURES: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? [Psa_118:22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.]

Mat_22:29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the SCRIPTURES nor the power of God.

Mat_26:54 But how then should the SCRIPTURES be fulfilled, that it must be so?”

Mat_26:56 But all this has taken place that the SCRIPTURES of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.

Mar_12:24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the SCRIPTURES nor the power of God?

Mar_14:49 Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the SCRIPTURES be fulfilled.”

Luke_24:27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the SCRIPTURES the things concerning himself.

Luke_24:32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the SCRIPTURES?”

Luke_24:45 Then he opened their minds to understand the SCRIPTURES,

John_5:39 You search the SCRIPTURES because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,

Acts_17:2 And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the SCRIPTURES,

Acts_17:11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the SCRIPTURES daily to see if these things were so.

Acts_18:24 Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the SCRIPTURES.

Acts_18:28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the SCRIPTURES that the Christ was Jesus.

Rom_1:2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy SCRIPTURES,

Rom_15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the SCRIPTURES we might have hope.

1Cor_15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the SCRIPTURES,

1Cor_15:4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the SCRIPTURES,

2Peter_3:13-18 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other SCRIPTURES. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.



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