New Testament Citations of the Old Testament

At the Logos Bible Software blog, they’ve been discussing power-law relationships of biblical citations. (In other words, the number of verse citations generally follows a smooth curve. See their post for more background.)

One of the commenters asked for data about how many citations of the Old Testament appear in the New Testament. Here it is:

New Testament Citations of Old Testament Books

In absolute terms, the New Testament writers cited Psalms and Isaiah most often.

Graph showing the absolute numbers. Psalms and Isaiah lead the way, followed by Deuteronomy and Exodus.

New Testament Citations of Old Testament Books When Controlling for Book Length

The above chart promotes long books over short books. (The Psalms gets cited more often in part because it’s a much longer book.) The below chart shows the number of New Testament citations per verse in the Old Testament book, giving you a different picture. Proportionally, Malachi and Habakkuk are cited most often.

Graph showing the absolute numbers. Malachi and Habakkuk lead the way, followed by Isaiah and Deuteronomy.

New Testament Citations of Old Testament Books Matrix

The below table shows how many times each New Testament book cites each Old Testament book. Books that aren’t listed don’t have any citations.

Book Matt Mark Luke John Acts Rom 1 Cor 2 Cor Gal Eph 1 Tim Heb Jas 1 Pet Total
Gen 1 3     3 7 2   3 1   3 1   24
Ex 7 4 3 1 4 4 1 1   1   3 2   31
Lev 3 1 2     1   1 2       1 1 12
Num       1                     1
Deut 8 2 5   4 6 1   2   1 3     32
Josh                       1     1
1 Sam         1                   1
2 Sam           1           1     2
1 Kgs           3                 3
Neh       1                     1
Job             1               1
Ps 7 3 5 6 8 14 3 2   1   18   2 69
Prov           3           1 1   5
Isa 8 3 5 4 5 13 5 2 1     1   4 51
Jer 1                     3     4
Hos 3         2                 5
Joel         1 1                 2
Amos         2                   2
Mic 1                           1
Hab         1 1     1     1     4
Hag                       1     1
Zech 3 1   2                     6
Mal 1 1 1     1                 4
Total 43 18 21 15 29 57 13 6 9 3 1 36 5 7 263
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