Some Christians who do not hold a high view of scripture hold that Jesus is the Christ and at the same time proclaim that the Old Testament of the Bible is not trustworthy. These people ignore the fact that Jesus and numerous New Testament writers testify to the reliability of the Old Testament.
Jesus referred over and over and over again to the Old Testament in his teaching. He refers to the Old Testament as an authority 56 times as recorded in the New Testament. He quotes the Old Testament 81 including scriptures from 20 different books. When we look at the quotes based on the Old Testament organization of Jesus’ day, he actually quoted from all but four books. He verifies the details of scripture and reality of stories included in the Old Testament by referring to them in his teaching. Indeed Jesus emphasized the accuracy of scripture to the minutest detail:
For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. [Matthew 5:18 ESV]
Indeed, Jesus clearly had a high view of scripture and referred to the Bible in several different ways during his teaching:
- Jesus refers to the Bible as the Word of God (Mark 7:13, John 10:35)
- Jesus refers to the Bible as Scripture (Luke 4:21, John 5:39, John 10:35)
- Jesus refers to the Bible as the commandment of God (Mark 7:8)
Furthermore, Jesus accepted several of the most “controversial” stories of the Old Testament as part of his teaching. In Matthew 19:4-5, he confirms the creation of man and woman by God. In Matthew 24:37-39, Jesus confirms the account of Noah and the flood. In Luke 10:12, Jesus refers to the account of Lot and the destruction of Sodom. Finally, in Matthew 12:39-41, Jesus confirms the reality of the story of Jonah. Jesus never hedged or discounted the truth of scripture presented in the New Testament. These are just some of the aspects of the Old Testament confirmed by Jesus’ teaching and action:
- Authority (Matthew 22:43)
- Reliability (Matthew 26:54)
- Finality (Matthew 4:4, Matthew 4:7, Matthew 4:10)
- Sufficiency (Luke 16:31)
- Indestructibility (Matthew 5:17-18)
- Unity (Luke 24:44)
- Clarity (Luke 24:27)
- Historicity (Matthew 12:40)
- Inerrancy (John 17:17)
- Infallibility (John 10:35)
Of all the things they disagreed on, Jesus and the Pharisees never had an argument on the reliability and accuracy of the Old Testament. Indeed, on many occasions Jesus cited scripture in defending himself. In Matthew 22:32, Jesus utilizes scripture to question the Pharisees about their lack of belief in the Christ.
- Jesus wasn’t the only writer to confirm the accuracy and reliability of scriptures. Here are some other facts:
- There are over 212 references to the Old Testament in just 17 books of the New Testament.
- Daniel relied on the prophecy of Jeremiah in writing his own prophecy (Daniel 9:2)
- Peter accepted that the Old Testament was inspired by God (2 Peter 1:21)
- Peter accepted Paul’s writings as scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16)
- John said that his writings, and those of the other apostles were inspired by God (1 John 4:6)
- Various Bible writers specifically indicated that they were recording the Word of God. These include Isaiah (Isaiah 1:2), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:4), Ezekiel (Ezekiel 3:11) and Paul (Galatians 1:11-12, Thessalonians 2:13)
- Paul accepted the legitimacy of the scriptures taught to Jewish children (2 Timothy 3:14-15).
- Paul viewed the apostolic writings as foundational (Ephesians 2:19-20)
Finally, further proof for the supernatural inspiration of the New Testament is found in the fact that the early church almost universally accepted the letters written by the apostles as scripture. All of this taken together provides further support for belief in the supernatural origin of the Bible. It is impossible to have a high view of Jesus and at the same time hold a low view of the Scriptures which he gave us.