In the study of the New Testament, a question arises about the use of the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, known as the Septuagint. One particular focus of inquiry is whether Jesus and the New Testament writers quoted directly from the Septuagint or if they instead used their own translations or paraphrases of the original Hebrew. This issue has implications for our understanding of the relationship between the Old Testament and the writings of the New Testament, as well as the accuracy and reliability of the Greek Scriptures.
Proponents of the view that Jesus and the New Testament writers quoted the Septuagint argue that this Greek translation was widely used and familiar to both Jews and Gentiles in the ancient world. They point to instances in which the New Testament quotes align with the wording and structure found in the Septuagint, suggesting direct quotation. This perspective suggests that the Septuagint was a recognized and authoritative version of the Hebrew Scriptures during the time of Jesus and the early Christian community.
On the other hand, some scholars argue that Jesus and the New Testament writers likely used their own translations or paraphrases of the Hebrew Scriptures rather than directly quoting from the Septuagint. They contend that the differences in wording and phrasing between the Septuagint and the New Testament quotes can be attributed to the writers’ individual styles and the presence of other Greek translations of the Hebrew Scriptures available at the time. This perspective highlights the potential for multiple Greek translations of the Hebrew Scriptures in the first-century context.
Regardless of the specific views on this issue, the examination of the New Testament’s use of Greek Scripture is crucial to our understanding of the text’s origins, interpretation, and theological implications. By exploring the extent to which Jesus and the New Testament writers relied on the Septuagint or other translations of the Hebrew Scriptures, we gain insight into how they interpreted and applied the Jewish scriptures in the context of the early Christian community. This investigation deepens our understanding of the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament and helps us better comprehend the world in which Jesus and the early Christians lived and ministered.
The Importance of Understanding Scripture
Understanding Scripture is of utmost importance for believers as it serves as a guide for their faith and spiritual journey. It provides them with the teachings, principles, and moral guidelines necessary to navigate through life. Here are some reasons why understanding Scripture is crucial:
- Revelation of God: Scripture reveals who God is, His character, and His plans for humanity. It helps believers develop a deeper relationship with Him and understand His desires for their lives.
- Wisdom and Guidance: Scripture contains timeless wisdom that provides guidance for making decisions and facing challenges. It offers practical advice on topics such as relationships, finances, justice, and morality.
- Spiritual Growth: Understanding Scripture is essential for spiritual growth. It helps believers mature in their faith, deepen their understanding of God’s truth, and develop spiritual disciplines like prayer, meditation, and worship.
- Discernment: Scripture acts as a compass in a world filled with conflicting ideas and beliefs. It enables believers to discern what aligns with God’s truth and what goes against it, empowering them to make righteous choices.
- Defending the Faith: Understanding Scripture equips believers to defend their faith and share it with others. It enables them to engage in meaningful discussions, answer questions, and provide a solid foundation for the hope they have in Christ.
However, understanding Scripture requires more than just reading it. It involves studying its context, language, historical background, and cultural references. It also requires the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who illuminates the text and opens the reader’s heart and mind to its truths.
In conclusion, understanding Scripture is vital for believers’ spiritual growth, discernment, and ability to live out their faith. It provides guidance, wisdom, and reveals the character of God. By investing time and effort in studying and meditating on Scripture, believers can deepen their relationship with God and navigate life’s challenges with faith and confidence.
Examining the New Testament’s Use of Greek Scripture
The New Testament, composed primarily in Greek, contains numerous references and allusions to the Greek Scripture, or the Septuagint. The Septuagint, a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, was widely used in the Hellenistic Jewish community and therefore had a significant impact on the writers of the New Testament.
One key aspect of examining the New Testament’s use of Greek Scripture is the question of whether Jesus Himself quoted the Septuagint. While there are instances where Jesus’ words align closely with the Septuagint, it is important to recognize that many of His quotations stem directly from the Hebrew Bible. This suggests that Jesus primarily relied on the original Hebrew texts rather than the Greek translation.
However, the New Testament authors, who were writing in Greek and targeting a predominantly Greek-speaking audience, often used the Septuagint in their own writings. This is evident in their choice of vocabulary and phrasing, which mirrors that of the Septuagint. Additionally, when referencing specific Old Testament passages, they frequently quote from the Septuagint rather than translating directly from the Hebrew Bible.
This usage of the Septuagint by the New Testament authors can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the majority of Jewish communities at the time were Hellenistic and primarily spoke Greek. Therefore, the Septuagint would have been more readily accessible to them compared to the Hebrew Bible, which was likely limited to the educated elite. Additionally, the Septuagint was utilized in the synagogues, making it the scriptural standard for the early Christian community.
It is also worth noting that the Septuagint played a significant role in shaping the language and concepts of early Christianity. The Greek Scriptures provided a foundation for theological discourse and influenced the development of Christian theology. The New Testament authors, being immersed in the Greek-speaking world, naturally drew upon the Septuagint’s language and ideas when formulating their teachings.
Overall, while Jesus Himself may have primarily relied on the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament authors extensively utilized the Septuagint in their writings. Their use of the Greek translation reflects the cultural and linguistic context in which they were writing, as well as the influence of the Septuagint on the Hellenistic Jewish community. Understanding the New Testament’s use of Greek Scripture helps provide insight into the historical and literary context of the early Christian movement.
The Septuagint: A Brief Overview
The Septuagint, also known as the LXX, is the earliest Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. The title “Septuagint” comes from the Latin word for seventy, referring to the tradition that the translation was done by seventy Jewish scholars.
The translation of the Hebrew scriptures into Greek began in the 3rd century BCE and was completed by the 2nd century BCE. The Septuagint played a significant role in spreading Judaism and later Christianity to Greek-speaking communities.
The reasons for the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek are not entirely clear. One theory is that it was initiated to serve the Hellenistic Jewish community in Alexandria, Egypt, where Greek was the common language. Another theory suggests that the translation was commissioned by King Ptolemy II Philadelphus to be housed in the Great Library of Alexandria.
The Septuagint contains the same books as the Hebrew Bible, but the order and arrangement of those books differs. Additionally, it includes several additional books known as the Deuterocanonical or Apocryphal books, which are not found in the Hebrew Bible.
Throughout the New Testament, there are numerous quotations and references to the Septuagint. Many scholars believe that the authors of the New Testament primarily used the Septuagint as their source when referencing Old Testament scriptures, rather than the original Hebrew texts.
The Septuagint played a crucial role in the development of early Christianity, as it provided a widely accessible Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures that could be used and understood by Greek-speaking Christians.
Did Jesus Quote the Septuagint?
When examining the New Testament’s use of Greek scripture, a question often arises about whether Jesus quoted from the Septuagint or the Hebrew Bible. The Septuagint, also known as the LXX, is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible that was widely used in the Hellenistic Jewish community.
There are several instances in the New Testament where Jesus quotes from the Old Testament scriptures, and it is a matter of interpretation whether he was quoting from the original Hebrew text or the Greek translation.
One example that is often discussed is Jesus’ quotation of Isaiah 61:1-2 in Luke 4:18-19. In this passage, Jesus reads from the scroll of Isaiah in the synagogue, saying:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
This passage closely resembles the Hebrew text but differs from the Septuagint’s version. Some scholars argue that Jesus would have been quoting directly from the Hebrew Bible, while others suggest that he may have been quoting from memory or using a version of the text that aligns with the Septuagint.
Another example is found in Matthew 4:4, where Jesus responds to Satan’s temptation in the wilderness by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3. Jesus says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” In this case, the wording of Jesus’ quote matches more closely with the Septuagint’s version.
It is important to note that the question of whether Jesus quoted the Septuagint or the Hebrew Bible does not diminish the authority or inspiration of the New Testament scriptures. The New Testament writers often used both the Septuagint and the Hebrew Bible in their citations and allusions, highlighting the continuity between the Old and New Testaments.
In conclusion, the question of whether Jesus quoted the Septuagint or the Hebrew Bible is a complex one. While it is possible that Jesus quoted from both sources, the exact source for each quotation may be difficult to determine definitively. Regardless, the teachings of Jesus and the words of the New Testament scriptures continue to inspire and guide believers today.
Evidence from the Gospels
The Gospels, which include the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, provide significant evidence for the use of the Septuagint in Jesus’ quotations. The Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, which was widely used and highly regarded by Jews in the first century.
One example of Jesus quoting the Septuagint can be found in Matthew 4:4, where Jesus responds to Satan’s temptation by saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” This quotation closely resembles Deuteronomy 8:3 in the Septuagint version, which reads, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word proceeding out of the mouth of God.” This indicates that Jesus was familiar with the Septuagint and intentionally quoted from it.
Another example can be found in Mark 7:6-7, where Jesus criticizes the Pharisees and scribes, saying, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'” This quotation combines Isaiah 29:13 and Isaiah 6:9-10 from the Septuagint, indicating that Jesus referred to the Greek version rather than the Hebrew original.
Additionally, in Luke 4:17-21, Jesus reads from the book of Isaiah in the synagogue. The passage Jesus reads closely corresponds to Isaiah 61:1-2 in the Septuagint, providing further evidence of his use of the Greek Scripture. Furthermore, Luke 24:44-49 records Jesus explaining to his disciples how everything written about him in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled. This suggests that Jesus recognized the authority and authenticity of the Greek Scripture, as these categories align with the structure of the Septuagint.
Overall, the evidence from the Gospels supports the hypothesis that Jesus quoted from the Septuagint. His use of specific passages from the Greek Scripture indicates his familiarity with and endorsement of this translation of the Hebrew Bible, highlighting its importance and influence in the first-century Jewish context.
Jesus’ Knowledge of Greek
There is ongoing debate among scholars about the extent of Jesus’ knowledge of Greek. While Jesus was likely fluent in Aramaic, the language spoken by most people in first-century Palestine, the extent to which he knew and used Greek is less certain. Here are some factors to consider:
Geographical Context: Jesus grew up in Galilee, an area where Aramaic was the primary language. Greek was more commonly spoken in urban areas and among the educated elite.
Education: It is unclear what type of formal education Jesus received, if any. Some scholars argue that he would have had a basic knowledge of Greek due to its widespread use in trade and commerce. Others believe that his education would have been primarily focused on Jewish texts in Hebrew and Aramaic.
Encounters with Greek-speaking individuals: There are instances in the New Testament where Jesus interacts with Greek-speaking individuals, such as the Greek woman from Canaan in Matthew 15:21-28. In this encounter, Jesus engages in dialogue with her, suggesting at least some degree of proficiency in Greek.
Quotations from the Septuagint: The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, which was widely used in the first century. Jesus often quotes from the Hebrew Bible, but it is uncertain whether he quotes directly from the Greek Septuagint or from the original Hebrew/Aramaic.
Disciples’ language abilities: Jesus’ disciples were likely bilingual, knowing both Aramaic and Greek. This would have facilitated communication between Jesus and Greek-speaking individuals.
Overall Conclusion: While the evidence is inconclusive, it is likely that Jesus had some knowledge of Greek. His encounters with Greek-speaking individuals and his disciples’ language abilities suggest that he was at least capable of engaging in conversations in Greek. However, the extent of his knowledge and usage of Greek remains a topic of scholarly debate.
The Apostles and the Septuagint
The apostles, who were the closest followers of Jesus and the authors of the New Testament, frequently quoted from the Septuagint in their writings. The Septuagint, also known as the LXX, is the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures that was widely used by Jews in the time of Jesus.
The apostles, being mostly Greek-speaking Jews, would have been familiar with the Septuagint and its Greek rendering of the Old Testament. They often relied on the Septuagint when referencing scripture and used it as the basis for their teachings and writings.
The use of the Septuagint by the apostles can be seen throughout the New Testament. In fact, many of the Old Testament quotes found in the New Testament align more closely with the Septuagint rather than the original Hebrew text. This suggests that the apostles were using the Septuagint as their primary source when quoting scriptures.
One example of the apostles quoting from the Septuagint can be found in the book of Acts. In Acts 15:16-18, James references the words of the prophet Amos, but his quotation of the passage differs slightly from the Hebrew version. James’ quote aligns more closely with the Septuagint rendering of Amos 9:11-12, indicating that he was using the Greek translation when referencing the prophet’s words.
The apostles’ use of the Septuagint serves as an important link between the Old Testament scriptures and the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament. By relying on the Septuagint, the apostles were able to make the Old Testament scriptures more accessible to the Greek-speaking audiences that they were teaching.
Furthermore, the apostles’ use of the Septuagint also supports the idea that the Greek translation was widely accepted and respected by the Jewish community at the time. Its use by the apostles suggests that the Septuagint was seen as a faithful rendering of the Hebrew scriptures and held authority in the early Christian community.
In conclusion, the apostles frequently quoted from the Septuagint in their writings, relying on its Greek rendering of the Old Testament scriptures. Their use of the Septuagint serves as a bridge between the Old and New Testaments and highlights the importance of the Greek translation in the early Christian community.
Paul’s Use of the Septuagint
Paul, one of the prominent figures in early Christianity, frequently referenced the Septuagint in his writings. The Septuagint, also known as the LXX, was a Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures that was widely used in the Hellenistic Jewish community.
Paul’s use of the Septuagint can be seen in various ways. First, he often quotes or paraphrases passages from the Septuagint to support his arguments or teachings. For example, in Romans 3:10-18, Paul combines several verses from the Psalms to show the universal sinfulness of humanity. These verses are a direct quotation from the Septuagint.
Furthermore, Paul’s use of the Septuagint suggests his familiarity with the Greek version of the scriptures. In his letters, he often uses specific phrases or terminology that are unique to the Septuagint. This indicates that Paul not only had access to the Greek scriptures but also relied on them as a source of authority.
Additionally, Paul’s audience would have been primarily Greek-speaking Gentiles. The use of the Septuagint would have allowed him to communicate effectively with this audience, as it was a familiar and widely accepted version of the scriptures. By referencing the Septuagint, Paul could appeal to his audience’s existing cultural and religious background.
It is important to note that while Paul relied on the Septuagint in his writings, he also made original statements and interpretations. He was not simply copying or regurgitating the content of the Septuagint. Instead, he creatively incorporated its teachings and language into his own theological framework.
In conclusion, Paul’s use of the Septuagint in his writings demonstrates his reliance on the Greek scriptures and his ability to engage with a Greek-speaking audience. The Septuagint provided him with a familiar and authoritative source of scripture that he could draw upon to support his teachings and connect with his audience.
The Septuagint in the Early Church
The Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, played a significant role in the early church. As the primary version of the Old Testament used by Greek-speaking Jews, it also became the version most commonly referenced by early Christian writers.
The Septuagint’s influence is evident in the New Testament, where many quotations and allusions closely align with the wording found in the Septuagint rather than the Hebrew original. This suggests that the early Christian authors were familiar with and often relied on this Greek translation when referring to the Old Testament.
One reason for the widespread use of the Septuagint in the early church was its accessibility. Greek was the lingua franca of the Mediterranean world, and many Jews and non-Jews alike could read and understand the Septuagint without needing to know Hebrew. This made it an ideal version to use in evangelistic efforts as it could be easily understood by a broader audience.
Additionally, the Septuagint was highly regarded and widely accepted among Greek-speaking Jews and early Christians. It was considered a faithful and authoritative translation, and its use by influential Jewish communities in Alexandria further bolstered its credibility. The Septuagint also played a crucial role in the development of early Christian theology and its understanding of the Old Testament.
In the early church, the Septuagint was used not only for scriptural references but also for exegesis, preaching, and teaching. Early Christian writers, including the Apostolic Fathers and early Church Fathers, frequently quoted from and referenced the Septuagint in their writings, demonstrating its integral role in their theological and doctrinal arguments.
Furthermore, the Septuagint’s influence extended beyond the Greek-speaking world. As the early church expanded, so did the use of the Septuagint in various translations and adaptations. It became influential in Latin-speaking regions and later served as the foundation for Jerome’s Vulgate, the authoritative Latin translation of the Bible in the Western Church.
Overall, the Septuagint’s widespread use in the early church highlights its importance as the primary version of the Old Testament for Greek-speaking Jews and early Christians. Its accessibility, fidelity, and authoritative status contributed to its adoption and ongoing influence in the development of Christian thought and theology.
Implications for Biblical Interpretation
The study of whether Jesus quoted from the Septuagint or the Hebrew scriptures has significant implications for biblical interpretation. By examining the New Testament’s use of Greek scripture, we can gain insight into the sources and methods used by the authors and the early Christian community.
1. Accuracy of Quotations: If Jesus and the New Testament writers primarily used the Septuagint, it suggests that this Greek translation was considered authoritative and reliable. This has implications for understanding the textual accuracy and transmission of the Old Testament.
2. Cultural and Linguistic Context: Understanding whether Jesus quoted from the Septuagint or the Hebrew scriptures helps us to better grasp the cultural and linguistic context in which these texts were written. It sheds light on the influence of Hellenistic Greek culture and the Jewish interpretation of scripture within a Greek-speaking world.
3. Interpretation and Application: The choice of quoting from either the Septuagint or the Hebrew scriptures can also impact the interpretation and application of biblical texts. Differences in wording or emphasis between the two versions may lead to different understandings of the meaning and significance of certain passages.
4. Authority of the Septuagint: If Jesus and the New Testament writers frequently quoted from the Septuagint, it raises questions about the authority and inspiration of the Septuagint as a valid translation of the Hebrew scriptures. This has implications for the canon of scripture and the determination of which texts are considered divinely inspired.
5. The Relationship between the Old and New Testaments: The study of whether Jesus quoted from the Septuagint or the Hebrew scriptures also helps us to better understand the relationship between the Old and New Testaments. It provides insight into how the early Christians viewed and interpreted the Jewish scriptures in light of the revelation of Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, examining the New Testament’s use of Greek scripture, specifically whether Jesus quoted from the Septuagint or the Hebrew scriptures, has wide-ranging implications for biblical interpretation. It impacts our understanding of textual accuracy, cultural context, interpretation and application, the authority of the Septuagint, and the relationship between the Old and New Testaments.
Question and answer:
Was the Septuagint the primary source of scripture for Jesus?
According to the article, while the Septuagint was widely used in Jesus’ time, it is unclear if it was the primary source of scripture for him.
Did Jesus quote directly from the Septuagint?
The article suggests that Jesus quoted scripture in Greek, which indicates he may have been using the Septuagint, but it is not possible to know for certain.
How did Jesus’ use of scripture compare to the Septuagint?
The article discusses that Jesus often interpreted scripture in his own way, even if the wording was similar to the Septuagint. So, while there may be similarities, Jesus’ use of scripture may not align perfectly with the Septuagint.
What evidence is there that Jesus used the Septuagint?
The article points out that some of the quotations attributed to Jesus in the New Testament closely resemble the Septuagint, which suggests he may have been using it. However, this is not definitive proof.
What other sources of scripture did Jesus have access to?
According to the article, Jesus likely had access to the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament) in addition to the Septuagint. He may have also used oral tradition and his own interpretations.
Was the Septuagint widely used in Jesus’ time?
Yes, the article explains that the Septuagint was widely used among Greek-speaking Jews in Jesus’ time, so it is possible that Jesus was familiar with it.
Did the New Testament authors quote the Septuagint?
According to the article, the New Testament authors often quoted scripture in ways that were similar to the Septuagint, but they also made their own interpretations and sometimes quoted directly from the Hebrew scriptures.