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2 Peter 3:16

He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

I mean, when Peter said "his letters" ---> Did Peter mean [his Scriptures] ?


As I'm from a non-English speaking country, this is quite confusing for me. Because in our language words, a Scripture is a Bible - while a letter is not a Bible. And of course, in this modern time - no one will say "I'm writing a Bible" :).

Illustration :
Suppose Peter is writing for his fellow Christians.
Someone phone him "Hi Peter, what are you doing ?".
Peter answer "I'm writing a scripture".

What will be in the caller's mind ?
A. Peter is writing a Bible
B. Peter is writing a letter (not a Bible)

Thank you.

  • Some scriptures are letters, others are songs, others are poems, and others are historical records. At the time Peter was writing the letter, he may not have known if what he was writing would be included in the Scriptures. He did know that what he was writing was from God. – 4castle Jun 18 '17 at 19:28
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    Off topic? This seems to be more of an English language question than one for here, is it not. – Sola Gratia Jun 18 '17 at 22:34
  • @SolaGratia, I don't know if this question is off topic. Anyhow, different interpretation I think might exist. For example, me - after brasshat explanation that the meaning of "scripture" in English is "something written" - reading the verse "other Scriptures" to my interpretation is not "his other Bibles" but "his other writings". So, the ignorant and unstable people distort Paul's other writing (not Paul's other Bible) because it's hard to understand. – karma Jun 19 '17 at 4:24
  • Just thinking another possibility, "other Scriptures" could it mean "some parts of the Bible ?". His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do to [some parts of the Bible], to their own destruction. (???) – karma Jun 19 '17 at 4:51
  • To me, the last comment from brasshat below is the correct answer. Thank you. – karma Jun 19 '17 at 5:16
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In English, the literal meaning of the noun "scripture" is "something written". When Peter uses the word in the passage you cite, he probably is using "Scripture" to refer to a specific set of writings accorded esteem as "holy", but in Peter's case, he is not referring to the Christian Bible, but to the books considered Holy by the Jews, that is, the Word and the Prophets. In your illustration, Peter would be more likely, if someone came to his door and asked what he was doing, to answer simply "I'm writing."

Now in the case of the passage you cite, "letter" refers to a particular type of writing, a written message intended to communicate a message to a person or group of people, in the same sense that one today might write a letter to an individual who is distant, and for whom communication by other methods is not desired or feasible. Paul's letters are particular kinds of writing, but are still scripture. Peter here is drawing a particular kind of equivalence between the letters Paul wrote, with the Hebrew Bible.

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  • Thank you for your respond, brasshat. I wonder, when Paul wrote the letter (which Peter "equalized" Paul's letter to Scriptures), was Paul's mind "I'm writing a Scriptures" ? And also, during that time, is a Scriptures a book ? or just like a letter (on a piece of paper). – karma Jun 18 '17 at 18:04
  • In my opinion, when Paul wrote his letters, he intended to write to a particular group at at a particular place and a particular time. One, for example, he wrote to the Church at Ephesus, two others he wrote to the Church at Corinth. I do not believe that Paul necessarily intended the letters for wider dissemination. It was later that others found letters he wrote to the Church at Galatia, who found usefulness in them for Churches in other places and other times.. So I think Paul was "writing a letter", not necessarily writing a "Sacred text". – brasshat Jun 18 '17 at 18:09
  • The word "scripture" meant something written, whether a recipe, a communication like a letter, or a business inventory. It did not mean "book" in the sense we use it today, as books were uncommon in those days; most writings, including the Jewish Bible (the Old Testament in the Christian Bible), was hand copied onto scrolls. – brasshat Jun 18 '17 at 18:13
  • Oke. Thank you for your explanation, brasshat. – karma Jun 19 '17 at 4:26
  • I should have mentioned in a previous comment that while "scripture" can mean anything written, in some contexts, and Peter's epistle is one of them, it probably means the Hebrew Bible *the Old Testament"), so what Peter is saying is, that while some of the Hebrew Scriptures are hard to understand, and have their meanings twisted, so to with the writings (letters) of Paul. – brasshat Jun 19 '17 at 4:48

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