The Holy Scriptures

What were the Hebrew Scriptures in the Time of Jesus?

There is absolutely no doubt that the Jewish Scriptures were deeply woven into the fabric of the people of the New Testament. Jesus had quoted often from the Law, from the Psalms, and from the Prophets (Luke 24:44), the three divisions of the Hebrew Bible. He continually used them in His arguments and to substantiate His mission and identity.

John 10:34 "Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law.."

What did the Lord Jesus think about the Scriptures? The Word guided His every step, it was His food, and His strength. It was the weapon by which He could overcome every enemy. From beginning to end His life was the fulfillment of what had been written of Him in the "volume of the Book." Jesus constantly appealed to the Word. When He was tempted in the wilderness, He conquered Satan by saying, "It is written." When He was confronted by the Pharisees He would say, "What sayeth the Scripture?" "Have ye not read?" "Is it not written?" When His disciples questioned Him about His sufferings, He replied, "How otherwise can the Scriptures be fulfilled?" Even in His death, He quoted Scripture.

Throughout the Book of Acts and the Epistles the apostolic writers reveal their familiarity with the Old Testament by frequently quoting from the Hebrew text or the Greek Septuagint. Paul went so far as to say that the Scriptures were inspired or more literally "God breathed":

2 Tim 3:16-17 "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Paul also declared to Timothy that the Scriptures of the Old Testament were able to give salvation through Jesus:

2 Tim 3:15 "… the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

In fact the hope of the early church was so secure in the Hebrew Scriptures that a new Jewish version of the Old Testament in Greek was made, because the Septuagint had become to all intents and purposes a Christian book. It wasn't long before some Jewish scribes created at least one new translation in the early centuries to furnish a more literal rendering of the Hebrew text that would be less acceptable to Christian uses.