2 Tim 3:16 - what Scriptures are included in "ALL"


#1

All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (2 Tim 3:16)

This is a rather famous and “well worn” verse in apologetic conversations and I am curious.

Is there a scholarly consensus on what Paul was including in the term “ALL”…

For instance - Paul was a Pharisee…what would a Pharisee consider “ALL” Scripture?

Paul was writing to Timothy - who was ministering to believers in the Greek Speaking cities outside of Palestine and so likely used the Septuagint - So was Paul referring to the Septuagint?

Would Paul be including the various letters that were beginning to circulate among the Churches - written by well respected Churchmen such as himself, Peter, James and others?

What do the Biblical Scholars think it most likely he meant when he told Timothy that
All Scripture is useful…"?

Peace
James


#2

At the time of the writing of Timothy, the only Scriptures would have been the Old Testament, thus confounding the claim of Sola Scriptura.


#3

devils advocate

the bible was written under the inspiration of the holy spirit and therefore is one word from one the living God and is therefore one book. this quote can be at least construed to count for the whole bible in this way…and GO


#4

Whether this verse is taken to mean only the Old Testament (as I believe it was), or the Old Testament and the complete New Testament (a severe stretch, in my opinion), what's more important than what this verse does say is what it does not say. It says, "All scripture is inspired . . . etc." It does not say, "Only scripture is inspired . . . etc."


#5

bravo well done there is no verse in the bible that says scripture in the pillar and bulwark of truth. the bible says the CHURCH is the pillar and bulwark of truth. WHICH CHURCH???

before you can even ask this question honestly you must meet the problem of the fact that the bible which is your sure foundation (ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ…some fart smeller…ah that is …smart fella said that) says that something other than the bible has the job of being the very pillar that holds up the truth. the bible says you should look somewhere else for an understanding of the truth that can hold itself up. this is a big consent that most people who jump to this very logical question are simply not willing to give you. Even though logically you have proven the case in plain English. but that is probably another question entirely.


#6

[quote="Ignatius, post:2, topic:311289"]
At the time of the writing of Timothy, the only Scriptures would have been the Old Testament, thus confounding the claim of Sola Scriptura.

[/quote]

Of all the answers so far this is the only one that really seems to attempt to answer the question I actually asked....for that I thank you Ignatius.

However - even in this there is no information beyond what is readily apparent...

I'm curious - since, as I understand it, there were various "canons" accepted among the Jews at the time, is there a consensus among Scholars as to where Paul would have stood on the matter and thus - what would have been in his view "All Scripture".

Peace
James


#7

[quote="JRKH, post:6, topic:311289"]
Of all the answers so far this is the only one that really seems to attempt to answer the question I actually asked....for that I thank you Ignatius.

Peace
James

[/quote]

well then no offense but forgive me for being an ignorant boob.

I only follow the conversation as I have had it in the Baptist belt. These are real objections that are usually made with some variation to the argument.
If you are looking for what peter would have thought was scripture then you have a large problem it took a long time for a general consensus on the old testament cannon to be agreed upon.
Another interesting question is what did Jesus refer to as scripture? he was the word from the father did he need to learn it or was it innate? there is some biblical suggestion that he did learn at least partially from teachers like the rest of us. (the finding at the temple comes to mind)I mention this because peter learned from Jesus directly and immediately.

definitely the to rah, probably the newer (forgive the spelling) Septuagint. Jesus Peter and the rest spoke Greek. so there scripture would be also in this language. but the actual cannon of scripture when this was written was rather fluid, particularly the old testament. Which begs the question, "When was 2 tim actually written ", if it was a later epistle then it could be that quite of few things were used as scripture which you would not use as scripture now (like 1st clement).

Sorry if I missed the point one more time, but I do truly hope there is something useful here.


#8

[quote="down_under, post:7, topic:311289"]
well then no offense but forgive me for being an ignorant boob.

I only follow the conversation as I have had it in the Baptist belt. These are real objections that are usually made with some variation to the argument.
If you are looking for what peter would have thought was scripture then you have a large problem it took a long time for a general consensus on the old testament cannon to be agreed upon.
Another interesting question is what did Jesus refer to as scripture? he was the word from the father did he need to learn it or was it innate? there is some biblical suggestion that he did learn at least partially from teachers like the rest of us. (the finding at the temple comes to mind)I mention this because peter learned from Jesus directly and immediately.

definitely the to rah, probably the newer (forgive the spelling) Septuagint. Jesus Peter and the rest spoke Greek. so there scripture would be also in this language. but the actual cannon of scripture when this was written was rather fluid, particularly the old testament. Which begs the question, "When was 2 tim actually written ", if it was a later epistle then it could be that quite of few things were used as scripture which you would not use as scripture now (like 1st clement).

Sorry if I missed the point one more time, but I do truly hope there is something useful here.

[/quote]

I don't think you are an ignorant boob....

I'm just surprised that people immediately got off on this tangent when I asked a very specific question twice in my OP....
*Is there a scholarly consensus on what Paul was including in the term "ALL"...
*

For instance - Paul was a Pharisee...what would a Pharisee consider "ALL" Scripture?

Paul was writing to Timothy - who was ministering to believers in the Greek Speaking cities outside of Palestine and so likely used the Septuagint - So was Paul referring to the Septuagint?

Would Paul be including the various letters that were beginning to circulate among the Churches - written by well respected Churchmen such as himself, Peter, James and others?

What do the Biblical Scholars think it most likely he meant when he told Timothy that
All Scripture is useful..."?

I thought the questions were pretty clear and straight forward...but then maybe I'm the ignorant boob...:shrug:

Peace
James


#9

[quote="down_under, post:5, topic:311289"]
bravo well done there is no verse in the bible that says scripture in the pillar and bulwark of truth. the bible says the CHURCH is the pillar and bulwark of truth. WHICH CHURCH???

before you can even ask this question honestly you must meet the problem of the fact that the bible which is your sure foundation (ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ..some fart smeller...ah that is ....smart fella said that) says that something other than the bible has the job of being the very pillar that holds up the truth. the bible says you should look somewhere else for an understanding of the truth that can hold itself up. this is a big consent that most people who jump to this very logical question are simply not willing to give you. Even though logically you have proven the case in plain English. but that is probably another question entirely.

[/quote]

Like


#10

[quote="JRKH, post:1, topic:311289"]
All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (2 Tim 3:16)

This is a rather famous and "well worn" verse in apologetic conversations and I am curious.

Is there a scholarly consensus on what Paul was including in the term "ALL"...

For instance - Paul was a Pharisee...what would a Pharisee consider "ALL" Scripture?

Paul was writing to Timothy - who was ministering to believers in the Greek Speaking cities outside of Palestine and so likely used the Septuagint - So was Paul referring to the Septuagint?

Would Paul be including the various letters that were beginning to circulate among the Churches - written by well respected Churchmen such as himself, Peter, James and others?

What do the Biblical Scholars think it most likely he meant when he told Timothy that
All Scripture is useful..."?

Peace
James

[/quote]

The Greek words for "all scripture" have 'scripture' in the singular and the term 'all' more accurately as "every". So what 2 Timothy 3:16 is most accurately saying in Greek is "Every individual [book/passage of] inspired writing," and less likely saying "All Scripture as a single collection of books."

But I would also say that the 'holy writings' mentioned of 3:15 would most likely be the Septuagint, since Timothy was only half Jewish, and his dad was Greek.


#11

[quote="Regina_Love, post:9, topic:311289"]
Like

[/quote]

thanks for the love (pun intended)


#12

This is in effect what I was trying to say but you put it much better than I. The quite standard protestant argument is that no matter what was scripture then for them this statement applies to us now for all scripture as the author of this statement was under the inspiration of the holy spirit making the bible 1 book essentially by one author (the aforementioned holy spirit).

so the same way the revelations quote (very end of) about not changing one word of “this book” applies to the whole bible, this quote applies to the whole bible. Note it still does not prove the standard protestant point they say it proves that being sola scriptora

perhaps this is not the context of the OP’s question but it is a logical point in the usual context in which this scripture comes up. Perhaps my natural bent to this argument is because I have never heard this scripture quoted to me in any other context and therefore I have limited exposure to it.

my full apologies if it goes completely around the OP’s point. I just don’t think it does.


#13

Down Under....
Yup - I too am aware of the usual arguments and the usual way in which the verse is brought up. My thread just happens to be an un-usual way of bringing up the Scripture and asking an un-usual question on it.

As relating to CatholicDude's post above, I agree and have used the argument that given who the letter is being written to as well as the fact that Paul's missionary field was primarily in the Greek speaking communities...the most likely candidate for "All Scripture" would be the Septuagint and that this would hold true even if Paul was including the NT writings - letters etc that were then (or shortly to be) in circulation.

The main thing that caused me to start thinking about it and caused me to ask the question is that I recall hearing that the pharisees held to a particular and limited canon and I wondered if this might have effected what Paul - (a trained pharisee himself) would have considered Scripture...
So far no one has addressed that aspect.

I'm still hoping someone will.

Peace
James


#14

If you are looking for a more scholarly opinion then I recommend ICSB (Ignatius Catholic Study Bible). If we back up a bit to verse 15 it says, "...from childhood you have been acquainted with the Sacred Writings."

This is our first clue - the Sacred Writings. For Ancient Jews these writings would be, " the law and the prophets and the other books of our fathers," (from Sirach Prologue)

The ICSB states:

"3:15 the Sacred Writings: I.e., the writings of the OT. The NT had not yet been written when Timothy was a young boy. Jewish children often began instruction in the Torah at age five (Mishnah, Aboth 5, 21)."

About verse 16 the ICSB states:

"3:16 All Scripture is inspired: Some prefer to translate this "All inspired Scripture", which is grammatically possible but contextually and statistically unlikely. For one thing, it would allow the possibility that some Scriptures might not be inspired, and neither Paul nor any other theologian in the early Church accepted such a proposition. Also, parallel constructions in Greek almost always treat the second modifier as a predicate (Scripture is inspired) rather than an attributive (inspired Scripture)."

There is nothing in the text that gives us the exact books of the OT that Paul may be referring to. If there was it would have made coming up with the OT canon a lot easier (and with less disagreement).


#15

The Sadducees accepted only the first 5 books of the bible - the Torah- because they were sad-u-see. :D

The Pharisees accepted more books. What they accepted is still debated to this day but in the writings of the Mishnah in the 2nd century we see them still debating or discussing which books should be accepted. So, they had no set canon, so it would be difficult to know exactly what Paul was referring to. There would have been those books that would have been accepted without question of course. But, also there were variances among which books would have been accepted in different areas.

Paul was a Greek citizen so he may have been referring to the Greek Septuagint. Over 300 quotes of the OT in the NT are from the Septuagint. So it is possible.


#16

And, when you think about it Paul also quotes books in scripture that we do not consider scripture. For instance, he quotes from the 'Ascension of Moses' and from 'Enoch'. Did Paul consider these to be scripture? Perhaps not, because he also quotes from secular Greek poets: Epimenides, Aratus, Cleanthes, and Menander.


#17

"2 Peter 3:15–16 (RSVCE)
15 And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures."

This scripture gives evidence that Paul's letters at the time of this writing were revered the same as the OT scriptures.

The ICSB states:
"the other Scriptures: Indicates that Paul's epistles were revered and credited with the same level of authority as the books of the OT. Concretely, this probably means they were being read aloud in the context of the Christian liturgy."


#18

[quote="fisherman_carl, post:15, topic:311289"]
The Sadducees accepted only the first 5 books of the bible - the Torah- because they were sad-u-see. :D

[/quote]

:D I should mention that while this is a common idea, it really has no foundation.

[quote="patrick457, post:49, topic:245068"]
It is 'generally believed', yes, but this 'general belief' has, as I mentioned, gone into some questioning recently. Josephus was once cited as proof for this idea, but what he actually says is (Antiquities 13.297 [10.6]):

περὶ μέντοι τούτων αὖθις ἐροῦμεν. νῦν δὲ δηλῶσαι βούλομαι, ὅτι νόμιμά τινα παρέδοσαν τῷ δήμῳ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι ἐκ πατέρων διαδοχῆς, ἅπερ οὐκ ἀναγέγραπται ἐν τοῖς Μωυσέως νόμοις, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ταῦτα τὸ Σαδδουκαίων γένος ἐκβάλλει, λέγον ἐκεῖνα δεῖν ἡγεῖσθαι νόμιμα τὰ γεγραμμένα, τὰ δ᾽ ἐκ παραδόσεως τῶν πατέρων μὴ τηρεῖν.

What I would now explain is this, that the Pharisees have delivered to the people a great many observances by succession from their fathers, which are not written in the laws of Moses; and for that reason it is that the Sadducees reject them, and say that we are to esteem those observances to be obligatory which are in the written word, but are not to observe what are derived from the tradition of our forefathers.

It doesn't say anything about canons of Scripture, but Sadducees rejecting Pharisaic traditions.

Some later Church Fathers (Hippolytus, Refutation of all Heresies 9.24; Origen, Contra Celsum 1.49; St. Jerome, Commentary on Matthew 22:31f.) did claim that the Sadducees accepted only the Torah as canonical, but this is a matter contemporary sources - that is, the New Testament or even Josephus - does not say anything (though admittedly, this is an argument from silence), and as a consequence, there are folks who advise against uncritical use of these sources.

I quote from The Law and the Prophets: A Study in Old Testament Canon Formation by Stephen B. Chapman:

The evidence that the Sadducees did not accept the prophetic books has long rested upon meager references by Origen and Jerome (Origen, Against Celsus, 1.49; Jerome, Commentary on Matthew, on 22:31), the nature of which might just as well indicate a later confusion (second or third century A.D.) of the Sadducees with the Samaritans (For references, LeMoyne, Sadducéen, 142-44. Cf. Sundberg, Church 77-78. The confusion may have arisen from the actual fusion of these two groups in this period).
Building on the work of J. Maier (J. Maier, Auseinandersetzung), Carr has concluded that despite this possible confusion, and the complete absence of any confirmatory evidence in the writings of Josephus, early Mishnaic regulations indicate that priestly circles including the Sadducees 'revered the Torah alone.' (Carr, Canonization, 36 n. 39. Carr terms this absence 'conspicuous', but explains it away as the consequence of Josephus' own goal of presenting a unified Judaism with a single canon. Contra Carr, it would seem a rather weak point for Josephus to make if it was so patently untrue.)
However, it is clear in Josephus' work that the issue of contention between the Pharisees and the Sadducees did not have to do with a different scriptural canon, but with the authority of oral law, which the Pharisees championed. (Josephus, Antiquities 18.16; cf. Antiquities 13.297. Carr admits this point (Canonization, 36 n. 39), which then provides another example of interpreting 'the law' too narrowly. Cf. the sound judgments of Beckwith, Formation, 74; and Bruce, Canon, 40-41.)
Thus, to argue that Josephus overlooked the disagreement between the two groups over the scriptural canon is also to argue that he created a controversy over the oral law where none existed, and that he retreated from his effort to present a unified Judaism in one instance, but not in the other. Surely it is more likely that Josephus simply meant what he said.

Jesus' debated with the Sadducees concerning the resurrection and the afterlife is also cited as proof, since Jesus quotes from the Torah. However, one could argue Jesus using Exodus at this point does not seem to automatically mean they solely rely upon the Torah if we look at the history of Biblical interpretation: after all, later Jewish (Deuteronomy 32:39; cf. Talmud, Tractate Pesachim 68a; Sifre Deuteronomy 306) and Christian tradition used passages from the Pentateuch in support of the resurrection. Also note Jesus' words: he does not criticize them for an ignorance of 'Moses' or the 'Law', but their misunderstanding of "the Scriptures [and] the power of God." His answer possesses force not because it is from pentateuchal tradition, and therefore authoritative, but because it uses Scripture to ground a belief in resurrection in God's own self, and thus makes resurrection an essenial tenet of a 'Scriptural' faith.

[/quote]


#19

The Pharisees accepted more books. What they accepted is still debated to this day but in the writings of the Mishnah in the 2nd century we see them still debating or discussing which books should be accepted. So, they had no set canon, so it would be difficult to know exactly what Paul was referring to. There would have been those books that would have been accepted without question of course. But, also there were variances among which books would have been accepted in different areas.

Josephus, writing in the late 1st century, says this in Against Apion (1.8):

For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, [as the Greeks have,] but only twenty-two books, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine; and of them five belong to Moses, which contain his laws and the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death. This interval of time was little short of three thousand years; but as to the time from the death of Moses till the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, who reigned after Xerxes, the prophets, who were after Moses, wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct of human life. It is true, our history hath been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession of prophets since that time; and how firmly we have given credit to these books of our own nation is evident by what we do; for during so many ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add any thing to them, to take any thing from them, or to make any change in them; but it is become natural to all Jews immediately, and from their very birth, to esteem these books to contain Divine doctrines, and to persist in them, and, if occasion be willingly to die for them.

He is our earliest reference to a 'fixed' collection of Jewish Scriptures. Per this quote, his 'canon' consisted of: (1) the Torah ("[Moses'] laws and the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death"); (2) the Prophets (Joshua, Judges-Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah-Lamentations, Ezekiel, Minor Prophets, Job, Daniel, Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah, Esther); (3) the "four books" (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs). This is almost identical to the later rabbinic categorization of twenty-four books (counting Ruth and Lamentations separately from Judges and Jeremiah, respectively) into the tripartite category of Law-Prophets-Writings. There might also be a reference to the tradition of reckoning twenty-four (as opposed to Josephus' twenty-two) books in a near-contemporary apocryphal work known as 2 Esdras (aka 4 Ezra):

And on the next day, behold, a voice called me, saying, "Ezra, open your mouth and drink what I give you to drink." Then I opened my mouth, and behold, a full cup was offered to me; it was full of something like water, but its color was like fire. And I took it and drank; and when I had drunk it, my heart poured forth understanding, and wisdom increased in my breast, for my spirit retained its memory; and my mouth was opened, and was no longer closed. And the Most High gave understanding to the five men, and by turns they wrote what was dictated, in characters which they did not know. They sat forty days, and wrote during the daytime, and ate their bread at night. As for me, I spoke in the daytime and was not silent at night. So during the forty days ninety-four books were written.

And when the forty days were ended, the Most High spoke to me, saying, "Make public the twenty-four books that you wrote first and let the worthy and the unworthy read them; but keep the seventy that were written last, in order to give them to the wise among your people. For in them is the spring of understanding, the fountain of wisdom, and the river of knowledge." And I did so.


#20

[quote="patrick457, post:18, topic:311289"]
:D I should mention that while this is a common idea, it really has no foundation.

[/quote]

That's really interesting but i wouldn't say the idea has no foundation. Fr. Mitch Pacwa and many other Catholic apologists teach this idea that the Saducees accepted only the Torah. I'm sure they wouldnt teach it if it had no basis.


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