Jesus’ View of the Old Testament 

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23

Estimated reading time: 4 min.

For his forum presentation, Mr. Kenneth Frank detailed how Jesus quoted the Old Testament and how He confirmed its authority. 

Scripture after scripture, precept upon precept, Mr. Frank went through the numerous times that Jesus referred to the Old Testament, showing both specific implications from Christ’s words and also His general perspective. Mr. Frank proved this truth: if you believe in Jesus Christ, you must believe in the authority and accuracy of the Old Testament. 

The Old Testament Is Scripture

Mr. Frank turned to a few passages in which Christ referred to the Old Testament. First, he mentioned John 5:39, where Christ calls the Old Testament scripture. In Matthew 5:17, Christ refers to the Scriptures as the Law and the Prophets, a division of the Old Testament that was common in the first century. And to alleviate any remaining doubt, Christ also referred to the Old Testament as the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, which refers to the Writings section of the Old Testament (Luke 24:44-46). 

These divisions cover all the books in the Jewish canon. In fact, Christ quoted directly from 14 of the 22 Old Testament books (by the Hebrew reckoning), and never once challenged the canon, though it was well-established and defined by that point. 

Old Testament Characters Are Real People

Efficiently and effectively, Mr. Frank presented the instances wherein Christ referred to the people in the Old Testament as real. In Mark 2:25, Jesus cites David eating the showbread to the Pharisees to justify His disciples’ actions. He also challenges those around Him by stating that the queen of Sheba “came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here” (Matthew 12:42). 

Christ treats these individuals as real, not as characters in a story or allegory. After all, would not this statement undermine Christ’s greatness if the queen of Sheba who visited Solomon was just a myth? Countless times, Christ refers to characters from the Old Testament, from Abel to Lot’s wife, and never once does He insinuate that they are only fictional characters. 

Old Testament Stories Are Real

What does Christ say about controversial stories like those of Jonah and Noah? Mr. Frank pointed out that Christ compares His own resurrection to Jonah being spewed out of the whale’s belly (Matthew 13:40). Christ refers to the flood (Matthew 24:39) and other stories doubted by many in the world today, even professing Christians. 

Old Testament Prophecy Will Come to Pass

Mr. Frank then pointed to the scriptures that show that Christ verified Old Testament prophecy. Christ referred to a prophecy He was fulfilling, “and He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing’” (Luke 4:21). He confirmed John the Baptist coming as Elijah (Mark 9:12-13), and He spoke of future fulfillments of prophecy with certainty (Matthew 24:15; Luke 21:21-22). 

Christ’s Personal Relationship with the Old Testament

Before concluding, Mr. Frank covered the passages highlighting Christ’s personal relationship with the Old Testament. Summarizing, Christ understood that the Messianic prophecies were referring to Him (John 5:39), and He personally submitted to the Old Testament. Christ made the law full and did not do away with even a single word (Matthew 5:17-19). Mr. Frank pointed out that Christ even set the example of using scripture to justify His disciples (Matthew 12:3-5), showing Christ’s reverence for the Old Testament.

Trust the OT because Jesus Did

Mr. Frank concluded that Christ unilaterally presented the Old Testament as factual, binding, and important. He validated characters and stories, and His continuous uplifting of Scripture leaves no doubt: Christ trusted and revered the Old Testament. In fact, it was about Him. As Mr. Frank eloquently stated, “Both Testaments are primarily about Him. It was only natural that He quoted and referred to the OT so often, to substantiate that He fulfilled the many OT prophecies.”

“Both Testaments are primarily about Him [Jesus Christ].”

Mr. Frank

Kaleb Johnson is a student in the Living Education-Charlotte Program. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in the spring of 2022. In addition, Kaleb enjoys writing, video-making, trying new activities (anything and everything), playing chess, and debating (it’s not arguing!) with people. He currently works in the Living Education department producing written content & videos and helping with a variety of other projects.