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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
March 17, 2006 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Biblical Studies,ESV,General,Life & Doctrine,The Bible,The Christian Life | Author: Crossway Staff @ 1:44 pm | (14) Comments »

14 Comments

  1. [...] Over at the ESV Bible Blog, there is an interesting article. The article contains information about the use of Old Testament Citations in the New Testament. Being a visual learner, I especially appreciate the charts that are located there. The article goes on to state that as a book on the whole, the Psalms and Isaiah are quoted most. However, on a count of verses, there are two Minor Prophets that are most frequently quoted. This should make one reflect at how much time they spend in understanding how the New Testament writers use the Old Testament. I include myself in this group. I enjoy New Testament Epistles very much, but if I speak honestly, I probably do not spend as much time reading the Bible they read! Check out the blog, it provides some great information and some great exhortation to make sure the Christian is well rounded in Bible knowledge. [...]

    Pingback by Dwayne H. Ewers, Sr. » Blog Archive » Interesting Article on the Quotation of OT Passages in the NT — March 18, 2006 @ 2:48 pm

  2. [...] …Not unless you care that the New Testament quotes the Old 263 times, according to the ESV Bible Blog. It’s a sad fact that some Christians believe that the Old Testament is no longer relevant for today’s believers. Walking through today’s Evangelical churches, one is bound to hear catch phrases such as, “That’s just Old Testament.” Or, “Since we’re New Testament believers under grace now, we don’t need all of that Old Testament law stuff.” [...]

    Pingback by The LOdown » Blog Archive » Should New Testament Believers Care About the Old Testament? — March 19, 2006 @ 12:55 am

  3. The New Testament in the Old Testament

    Pingback by SmartChristian.com » Blog Archive » — March 19, 2006 @ 10:14 am

  4. [...] This is really neat. We must learn how the writers of the New Testament used the Old Testament if we want to know how to use the Old Testament ourselves. [...]

    Pingback by New Testament Citations of the Old Testament at The Sky Cow Blog — March 20, 2006 @ 4:51 pm

  5. On Friday we listed direct quotations of the Old Testament from the New Testament. We drew this data from the Classic Thinline edition of the ESV, which has footnotes pointing out such citations. (We found 263 direct quotations in the

    Trackback by Using Cross References to Show Biblical Interrelations — January 18, 2007 @ 4:22 pm

  6. There has been some discussion on the Logos blog as well as on the ESV blog about comparing graphing the density of quotations of the Old Testament in the New Testament. It’s interesting to see a comment on a blog turn into useful data.

    Trackback by OT in the NT — January 18, 2007 @ 4:22 pm

  7. Can believers be Bible scholars? Let not many of you become teachers…. Not your ordinary teen blog. On quoting the old in the new. Scalia and judicial modesty. Grabar on “higher learning.”

    Trackback by Flotsam & Jetsam (3.20.06) — January 18, 2007 @ 4:22 pm

  8. MP3elf – advanced network audio system. Welcome to Mr. McGroovy`s. New Testament Citations of the Old Testament. Google Maps API Basic Tutorial.

    Trackback by links for 2006-03-19 — January 18, 2007 @ 4:22 pm

  9. How many citations of the Old Testament appear in the New Testament? The folks over at the ESV blog have nice charts of “New Testament Citations of Old Testament Books” Note, of. “…the number of New Testament citations per verse in

    Trackback by The Unity of Scripture — January 18, 2007 @ 4:22 pm

  10. Steve Smith has compiled some helpful data regarding the citations of the Old Testament in the New Testament. This is a difficult issue, and Stephen’s chart helps one to see some of the broad patterns of source citation.

    Trackback by The OT in the NT — January 18, 2007 @ 4:22 pm

  11. Jim is suggesting that the same Power Law relationship that exists between a corpus of “biblical studies literature” and Bible passages could also be observed between the New Testament and the Old Testament. In response to Jim’s response (don’t you love the blogosphere?), the folks over at the ESV Bible Blog crunched the data to explore this in detail…

    Trackback by Power Law Redux — February 1, 2007 @ 7:33 am

  12. Here is an interesting site that has some good info on Old Testament passages that are quoted in the New Testament. Since this whole subject mounts the central challenge to “scientific” hermeneutics in the evangelical camp, I would encourage all evangelicals everywhere to pursue this subject diligently…

    Trackback by Scriptural Hermeneutics — February 1, 2007 @ 10:35 am

  13. Here is an interesting site that has some good info on Old Testament passages that are quoted in the New Testament. Since this whole subject mounts the central challenge to “scientific” hermeneutics in the evangelical camp, I would encourage all evangelicals everywhere to pursue this subject diligently…

    Trackback by Scriptural Hermeneutics — March 1, 2007 @ 7:38 am

  14. At least I found it interesting. Go HERE to see the numbers…

    Trackback by Interesting - OT Citations in the NT — March 1, 2007 @ 7:38 am

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