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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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QUOTATIONS (IN NT) . The NT writings contain quotations from four sources: (1) the OT; (2) non-canonical Jewish writings; (3) non-Jewish sources; (4) letters to which the author of a letter is replying, or other private sources. It is significant of the relation of the NT writings to the OT Scriptures and of the attitude of the NT writers to these Scriptures, that the quotations of the first class far outnumber all those of the other three classes. Swete counts 160 passages directly quoted from the OT by writers of the NT, including those which are cited with an introductory formula, and those which, by their length or accuracy of quotation, are clearly shown to be intended as quotations. Westcott and Hort reckon the total number of NT quotations from the OT at 1279, including both passages formerly cited and those in which an influence of the OT upon the NT passage is otherwise shown. Even this list is perhaps not absolutely complete. Thus, while WH [Note: H Westcott and Hort’s text.] enumerate 61 passages from Is 1 39, H. Osgood, in his essay Quotations from the OT in the NT , finds exactly twice as many 122. Against this large number of quotations from the OT there can be cited at the utmost only some 24 quotations by NT writers from non-canonical Jewish sources (see Ryle, art. ‘Apocrypha’ in Smith’s DB [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] 2; Zahn, Com. on Galatians 3:10 ; Galatians 5:3 ; Galatians 6:15 ; Woods, art. ‘Quotations’ in Hastings’ DB [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] ). Of quotations from non-Jewish sources the following are the only probable instances: Titus 1:12 , Acts 17:28 , 1Co 12:12-27; 1 Corinthians 15:33 . To this short list it should be added that Luke’s preface ( Luke 1:1-4 ) is perhaps constructed on classical models (cf. Farrar, Life and Work of Paul , Excursus 3; Zahn, Eînl . 2 i. p. 51). Of quotations from private sources there are several unquestionable examples in the Pauline letters; 1 Corinthians 7:1; 1Co 8:1; 1 Corinthians 11:2; 1 Corinthians 11:17 f., 1 Corinthians 12:1 , Philippians 1:3; Philippians 2:25 f., Philippians 4:14-18; cf. also Philippians 1:5-7 .

Of the numerous quotations from the OT by far the largest number are derived directly from the LXX [Note: Septuagint.] , even the freedom of quotation, which the NT writers in common with others of their time permitted themselves, in no way obscuring their direct dependence upon the Greek version. Among the NT books the Epistle to the Hebrews shows the strongest and most constant influence of the LXX. [Note: Septuagint.] According to Westcott ( Com . p. 479), 15 quotations agree with the LXX [Note: Septuagint.] and Hebrew, 8 with the LXX [Note: Septuagint.] where it differs from the Hebrew, 3 differ from LXX [Note: Septuagint.] and Hebrew, 3 are free renderings. Westcott adds that ‘the writer regarded the Greek version as authoritative, and … nowhere shows any immediate knowledge of the Hebrew text.’

The Gospel of Matthew, on the other hand, exhibits the largest influence of the Hebrew. In the quotations from the OT which are common to the Synoptic Gospels (occurring chiefly in the sayings of Jesus) the LXX [Note: Septuagint.] clearly exerts the dominant influence. But in those passages which are peculiar to this Gospel being Introduced by the writer by way of comment on events though the writer is not unacquainted with or uninfluenced by the LXX [Note: Septuagint.] , the Hebrew is the dominant influence; Matthew 1:23; Matthew 2:15; Matthew 2:18; Matthew 2:23; Matthew 4:15 f., Matthew 8:17; Matthew 12:18 ff., Matthew 13:35; Matthew 21:5; Matthew 27:9 f.; cf. also Matthew 2:6 . This difference in the two groups of quotations tends to show that while the common source of the Synoptic Gospels was, in the form in which it was used by the Evangelists, in Greek, and shaped under Hellenistic influence, the author of the First Gospel was a Christian Jew who still read his Bible in Hebrew, or drew his series of prophetic comment-quotations from a special source compiled by a Jew of this kind. The quotations in the Gospel of John and the Epistles of Paul, while derived mainly from the LXX [Note: Septuagint.] , show also an acquaintance of their authors with the original Hebrew. (On the singular fact that the NT quotations from the LXX [Note: Septuagint.] show a special similarity to the type of LXX [Note: Septuagint.] text found in Cod. A, cf. Staerh, Ztschr. f. wiss. Theol . Nos. XXXV, XXXVI, XXXVIII, XL; and Swete, Introd. to OT in Greek , p. 395.)

As regards the nature and extent of the Influence exerted by the OT in passages which may be called quotations in the broad sense indicated above, there are several distinguishable classes, though it is sometimes difficult to draw the line sharply. We may recognize: (1) Argumentative quotations . The OT passage is quoted, with recognition of its source, and with intention to employ the fact or teaching or prophecy for an argumentative purpose. Passages so quoted may be: ( a ) historical statements which are supposed to contain in themselves an enunciation of a principle or precept, or to involve a prediction, or to tend to prove a general rule of some kind; cf. Mark 2:25 f., Matthew 2:18 , John 19:24 , Matthew 15:7-9 , Hebrews 7:1-10; ( b ) predictions; cf. e.g. Acts 2:17 ff.; ( c ) imperative precepts, quoted to enforce a teaching; Mark 12:29 ff., 1 Corinthians 9:9; or ( d ) affirmations interpreted as involving a general principle of Divine action or a general characteristic of human nature; Mark 12:26 , Matthew 9:13 , Luke 4:11 , Acts 7:48 f., Romans 3:4; Romans 3:10-18 , Jam 1:10 f., 1 Peter 1:24 f., (2) Quotations made the basis of comment . In this case the language of the OT is not cited as supporting the statement of the speaker or writer, but is itself made the basis of exposition or comment, sometimes with disapproval of its teaching or of the teaching commonly based on It; Matthew 5:21; Matthew 5:27; Matthew 5:31 , etc., Romans 4:9 f., Acts 8:32 , (3) Quotations of comparison or of transferred application . The OT language is employed, with recognition of it as coming from the OT and with the intention of connecting the OT event or teaching with the NT matter, but for purposes of comparison rather than argument. The language itself may refer directly and solely to the OT event, being introduced for the sake of comparing with this event some NT fact (simile); or the OT language may be applied directly to a NT fact, yet so as to imply comparison or likeness of the two events (metaphor); Matthew 12:40-41 , Luke 11:29 f., Acts 28:26 f., Matthew 21:42 f., 1 Corinthians 10:7 f., Closely allied to these, yet perhaps properly belonging to the class of argumentative quotations, are cases of quotation accompanied by allegorical interpretation; cf. e.g. Galatians 4:21-31 . (4) Literary influence . In the cases which fall under this head the language is employed because of its familiarity, and applicability to the matter in band, but without intention of affirming any other connexion than this between the OT thought and the NT fact or teaching. The writer may be conscious of this influence of the OT language or not, and the interpreter often cannot determine with certainty which is the case; Matthew 5:5; Matthew 10:35 , Galatians 6:16 , Ephesians 1:20 , Revelation 5:1; Revelation 7:1; Revelation 9:14; Revelation 14:8; Revelation 21:11 .

As concerns the method of interpretation and the attitude towards the OT thus disclosed, there is a wide difference among the speakers and writers of the NT. It is an indirect but valuable testimony to the historical accuracy of the Synoptic Gospels that they almost uniformly ascribe to Jesus a method of interpretation quite different from that which they themselves employ. Jesus quotes the OT almost exclusively for its moral and religious teaching, rather than for any predicative element in it, and interprets alike with insight and with sobriety the passages which He quotes. The author of the First Gospel, on the other hand, quotes the OT mainly for specific predictions which he conceives it to contain, and controls his interpretation of the passages quoted rather by the proposition which he wishes to sustain, than by the actual sense of the original. The one quotation which is common to the first three Gospels, and not included in the teaching of Jesus, has the same general character (Mark 1:3 and parallels). In general it may be said of the other NT writers that they stand in this respect between Jesus and Matthew, less uniformly sober and discerning in their interpretation of the OT than Jesus, yet in many instances approaching much nearer to His method than Matthew commonly does. The Apocalypse, while constantly showing the literary influence of the OT, contains no explicit or argumentative quotation from it.

Ernest D. Burton.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Quotations'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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