The term which the Christian Church has generally employed from earliest times to denote the collected writings of the Old and New Testaments. The word Scripture, which means writing, is derived from the Latin scriptura, and has grapha and mikra for its Greek and Hebrew equivalents. In the Old Testament, Scripture is used in the general sense of writing (Exodus 32; 2 Para. 36), though at times it denotes a private (Tobit 8 ) or public (1 Esdras 2; 2 Esdras 7) written document, a catalogue, or index (Psalm 86), or, finally, portions of the Scriptures (Ecclesiasticus 14). The Apostles and their disciples called the Old Testament simply “the Scripture” (Luke, 4; John, 2), or “the Scriptures” (Mathew 21; Luke 24; Acts 17); or, referring to its divine origin “the Holy Scriptures” (Romans 1), and “the Sacred Letters” (2 Timothy 3). These terms, however, were not confined to the Old Testament exclusively, for we find that Saint Peter extends the designation “Scripture” to the Pauline espistles (II Peter 3), and that Paul himself seemingly refers by the same expression (1 Timothy 5) to both Deuteronomy 25:4 and Luke 10:7. It was undoubtedly because the Apostles themselves employed these and cognate expressions to designate the writings of the Old and New Testaments that the term “Sacred Scripture” gained so wide a currency in the early Church.
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