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What did Jesus teach about

the Old Testament?


by Ryan Turner
Many people today do not believe in the authority of the Old Testament as Scripture. However, Jesus had some
quite different things to say regarding the Old Testament. Here is a brief list of some of what Jesus taught about
the Old Testament:
1. Source of Authority
A. When confronted by Satan, Jesus appealed to the Old Testament as a source of
authority by stating, "It is written," (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10).
2. Imperishability
A. "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or
stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished," (NASB, Matt. 5:18).
3. Unbreakability
A. "The Scripture cannot be broken," (NASB, Jn. 10:35).
4. Source of Doctrinal Authority
A. Jesus appealed to Scripture when correcting false doctrine stating, "You are
mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God," (NASB, Matt.
22:29).
5. Truthfulness
A. "Your word is truth," (NASB, Jn. 17:17).
6. Historical Reliability
A. Jesus affirmed the historical existence of Jonah (Matt. 12:40), Noah (Matt. 24:37-
38), and Adam and Eve (Matt. 19:4-6).
7. Scientific Reliability
A. Jesus affirmed that God created the world (Mk. 13:19; cf. Matt. 19:4).
8. Old Testament Canonicity1
A. Jesus made reference to the Law and Prophets as a unit, "Do not think that I came to
abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill," (Matt. 5:17).
B. Jesus explained the Scriptures, "Then beginning with Moses and with all the
prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures,"
(NASB, Luke 24:27).
C. Jesus referred to the entire Canon by mentioning all the prophets from Abel (from
Genesis, the first book and first martyr) to Zechariah (Chronicles, the last book, and
the last martyr) (Matt. 23:35).2

What does this mean?
Since Jesus is God in flesh, performed a life of miraculous healings, died and the cross, and was miraculously
resurrected three days later, what He taught on issues of doctrine are vastly important. Since He was God in
flesh, whatever He taught is true. This means that we can trust the accuracy of the Old Testament Scriptures on
issues of history, science, and moral instruction.
1. The word "canon" means basically "rule, st andard, or norm." In this cont ext , it refers to the accept ed books that were in the
Jewish Script ures. These books were the standard by which t he Jews t aught and lived.
2. In t he Jewish Canon of Script ure there were 24 books. They are exact ly equivalent to the Prot est ant 39 books of the Old
Test ament , but they were just arranged different ly. In t he Jewish arrangement , t he first book was Genesis and the last book was
Chronicles.