Chapter 1: Definitions


The word Bible is derived from the Greek word biblos, which means book. Used as a title it means The Book, so called by the way came into use among believers after the Bible was completed.

The titles, Old Testament and New Testament, also came into use after the completion of the Bible. The books which pass under the latter title contain a new covenant which God made with men, while those under the former contain the old covenant which he made with the word for covenant is translated Testamentum; and from this, at a time when the Latin Bible was the most read in Europe, the title Testament came into its present use.

The title Scriptures, sometimes with the prefix Holy, is a New Testament title for the books of the Old Testament. In 2 Peter 3:16 it is also applied by implication to the Epistles of Paul; and it some came into use as a title for the whole Bible. The word means writings, and in its first sense it could be applied to any writings; but as the expression, The Book, came to mean one particular book, so the expression, The Scriptures, came to mean The Writings in the Bible. When the term Holy is prefixed, this still further distinguishes these writings.

The apostles Paul and Peter both use the title "Oracles of God," for the Old Testament books, and Stephen calls them "The Living Oracles" (Romans 3:2; Hebrews 5:12; 1 Peter 4:11; Acts 7:38). By oracles is meant utterances of God; and these books were so called, because they contain utterances of God through inspired men. They are called living oracles because of their abiding power in contrast with the deadness of heathen oracles. But if the Old Testament books are worthy of this title, still more are those of the New Testament; and consequently Papias, a Christian writer of the second century, applies it to Matthew's book, saying, "Matthew wrote the Oracles." This is especially true of Matthew, because more than half of his book is composed of speeches made by Jesus. It is entirely proper then to speak of the whole Bible as "The Oracles of God," or "The Living Oracles."