Comparing: New Testament / Hebrew Bible

The Hebrew Bible and the New Testament

What is the New Testament context of the citation or allusion? ... What is the Old Testament context from which the quotation or allusion is drawn? Even at its simplest, this question demands as much care with respect to the Old Testament as the first question demands of the study of the New Testament. Sometimes energy must be expended simply to demonstrate that a very brief phrase really does come from a particular Old Testament passage, and from nowhere else. Yet sometimes this second question becomes even more complex.

Under the assumption that Mark’s Gospel picks up exodus themes (itself a disputed point), is it enough to go to the book of Exodus to examine those themes as they first unfold? Or are such OT exodus themes, as picked up by Mark, filtered through Isaiah? How does the Genesis flood account get utilized in the rest of the Old Testament and in earlier parts of the New Testament before it is picked up by 2 Peter? Sometimes a New Testament author may have in mind the earlier Old Testament reference but may be interpreting it through the later development of that earlier text, and if the lens of that later text is not analyzed, then the New Testament use may seem strange or may not properly be understood.

They may show us how the OT texts were understood by sources roughly contemporaneous with the New Testament. In a few cases, a trajectory of understanding can be traced out, whether the New Testament documents belong to that trajectory or not. They sometimes show that Jewish authorities were themselves divided as to how certain Old Testament passages should be interpreted. Sometimes the difference is determined in part by literary genre: Wisdom literature does not handle some themes the way apocalyptic sources do, for instance. Wherever it is possible to trace out the reasoning, that reasoning reveals important insights into how the Scriptures were being read.