New Testament Use of the Old Testament

The New Testament doesn’t merely quote the Old Testament – the New Testament relies entirely on the Old Testament for its meaning.  I’ve listed below authors that will help you see this.

Closely related to this subject is seeing Christ in the Old Testament – a narrower and more specific focus on the same subject.

G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson

C. H. Dodd (1884-1973)  –  Wrote the classic According to the Scriptures: The Sub-structure of New Testament Theology (1952), and, in the same year, the pamphlet “The Old Testament in the New.”  Dodd and his book were cited as an important influence by Richard Hays in the introduction of Reading Backwards.

E. Earle Ellis (1926-2010)  –  Wrote Paul’s Use of the Old Testament (1957).  He wrote other books touching on this subject, but most were academic in nature and not easy to find.

Leonhard Goppelt (1911-1973)  –  Wrote Typos: The Typological Interpretation of the Old Testament in the New (1939).

Richard B. Hays (1948-)  –  Hays has written extensively on this subject, often using terms of literary criticism such as “intertextuality” (his B.A. was in English Literature).  Beginning with with Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (1989), he went on to write The Conversion of the Imagination: Paul as Interpreter of Israel’s Scripture (2005), and, most recently, Reading Backwards: Figural Christology and the Fourfold Gospel Witness (2014).  In the preface of this last book, he credits as influences for his approach to this subject C. H. Dodd, Barnabas Lindars, Nils Dahl, and Donald Juel.

Christ in the Old Testament

Here is a list of books which demonstrate how Jesus Christ is found in the Old Testament.  I have only read a few of them, and those varied widely in benefit.  I’ve made brief comments on some of them.  My main goal here is to simply indicate that my seeing Christ in the Old Testament is not an approach unique to me, nor is it even a new one.  Of course, you could know that simply by reading the New Testament (e.g. John 5:39-40; Luke 24:25-27; 44-48).

By the way, a somewhat broader focus which generally leads to the same conclusion (i.e. seeing Christ in the Old Testament) is New Testament Use of the Old Testament.  You can find a few more resources there.

Edmund P. Clowney, The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament, second edition, 2013.

Nils A. Dahl  –  I know his work mainly through the book by Donald Juel cited below.

R. T. France  –  Jesus and the Old Testament (1971)

Nancy Guthrie, The One Year Book of Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament, 2010.  I’ve not read any of Nancy’s work.  Her promotional literature indicates that her writing is for women but I don’t know if that means primarily or exclusively.

Nancy Guthrie has also written the following series of Bible studies (each one a 10-week outline) which together cover the entire Old Testament:

The Promised One: Seeing Jesus in Genesis, 2011.
The Lamb of God: Seeing Jesus in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, 2012.
The Son of David: Seeing Jesus in the Historical Books, 2013.
The Wisdom of God: Seeing Jesus in the Psalms and Wisdom Books, 2012
The Word of the Lord: Seeing Jesus in the Prophets, 2014.

Donald Juel (1942-2003)  –  Messianic Exegesis: Christological Interpretation of the Old Testament in Early Christianity.  In his introduction, Juel writes “The thesis of this book can be summarized in a two-part sentence: The beginnings of Christian reflection can be traced to interpretations of Israel’s Scriptures, and the major focus of that scriptural interpretation was Jesus, the crucified and risen Messiah.”  In this book, Juel has an excursus in which he interacts with C. H. Dodd (see New Testament Use of the Old Testament), crediting his book According to the Scriptures as having “had an enormous impact on the direction of NT scholarship.”

Brian Kachelmeier, “Christ in the Old Testament” (a podcast series)

Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., The Messiah in the Old Testament, 1995.  I’ve read this book and recommended it to those who are interested in it; Dr. Kaiser is an excellent teacher.

David Limbaugh, The Emmaus Code: Finding Jesus in the Old Testament, 2015.  Though I have not read this book, Limbaugh is a reliable Christian author.

Sally Lloyd-Jones, The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name, 2007.  This is a children’s storybook and I’ve heard Christian parents recommend it highly.

David Murray, Jesus on Every Page: 10 Simple Ways to Seek and Find Christ in the Old Testament, 2013.

J. Barton Payne, Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy: The Complete Guide to Scriptural Predictions and Their Fulfillment, 1973, see specifically “Prophecies with Personal Reference to Christ” in the Old Testament, p. 665-668.  The relevant material takes up only four pages of a 754-page book.

Stanley E. Porter, Editor, The Messiah in the Old and New Testaments, 2007.  The Amazon page for this book indicates that it is a transcription of a lecture series.  The reviews are few and less than glowing.

Michael Williams, How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens, 2012.  This book disappointed me because its focus on, and revelation of Jesus, did not meet my expectations…but perhaps my expectations were more the problem than the book.

Christopher J. H. Wright, Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament, second edition, 2014.

Did Moses Really Write About Jesus? A Look at Messianic Prophecy in the Torah by Eric Chabot

(14 min read; 3,410 words)

Did Moses Really Write About Jesus? A Look at Messianic Prophecy in the Torah | THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM.

(HT: The Poached Egg of Ratio Christi)

Resource for the Study of Messianic Prophecy | Eric Chabot

This is a bibliography, and the plan is to update and enhance it over time.


Joe Carter Tell Us Nine Things We Should Know About the Bible

Here are the nine things Joe Carter tells us.  To see what he says, click on the link to the full article below.

  1. Origin of the word “Bible”
  2. Meaning of the words “Old Testament” and “New Testament”
  3. Origin of the chapter and verse divisions
  4. Dissemination of Bibles in the Western Hemisphere
  5. Origin of “red-letter” Bibles
  6. The number of Bibles produced annually
  7. The most popular English translations of the Bible
  8. The common approaches to Bible translation
  9. Books of the Old Testament quoted in the New Testament

(3 min read; 652 words)

TGC | The Gospel Coalition.

(HT: The Poached Egg from Ratio Christi)

Where Is Jesus In The Old Testament? – Aaron Armstrong and Mark Driscoll

Aaron Armstrong (in a 2 min; 472 word post) and Mark Driscoll (in a 4:47 video clip) calll attention to the fact that the Old Testament is about Jesus.

Where Is Jesus In The Old Testament?

Craig Evans Rebuts Bart Ehrman

Craig Evans and others have written the book How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus’ Divine Nature—A Response to Bart Ehrman in order to refute Bart Ehrman’s most recent book How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee.  In this video clip, Craig Evans is interviewed about the two books by Jerry Johnston of 100 Huntley Street.

(ht: Michael Bird, one of Evans’ co-authors)


How Did Jesus Read the Old Testament?

You can cut your reading time and still get almost 100% of the value of this post by skipping the six preliminary paragraphs and jumping straight to the list of ten points.

The ten points show that the Bible is about Messiah (i.e. Christ).  Jesus understood it this way, and taught it this way.  Therefore, we should see it this way, lest He say this to us:  John 5:39.

(8 min read; 1,928 words)

How Did Jesus Read the Old Testament? | The Christward Collective.

Why Should We Keep Reading the Old Testament?

Q: Since we have the New Testament, and it’s about Jesus, why should we continue reading the Old Testament?

A: To better understand Jesus Christ. When we read about the apostles and all the disciples in the New Testament (NT) we should remember that the only Bible they had was what we call the Old Testament (OT). The apostles and disciples never expressed any dissatisfaction with the OT, and certainly didn’t wait for the NT to be written in order to proclaim Christ. By the Holy Spirit, they saw Christ from one end of the Old Testament to the other. And if our English Bibles capitalize OT quotes in the NT, we can see this for ourselves. Let us therefore keep looking for Christ in the Old Testament, for that is the ultimate purpose for which it was written.

This answer first appeared as a comment on a blog post titled “Three reasons to keep reading the Old Testament” by Aaron Armstrong, who writes at Blogging Theologically: Jesus, Books, Culture, & Theology.