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Jesus Christ's Trust in the Authority of Scripture

Jesus Christ's trust in the authority of Scripture is evident throughout His teachings and actions as recorded in the New Testament. This trust underscores His view of Scripture as not only authoritative but also as the infallible Word of God.


Scriptural Foundation of Jesus' Teachings


Jesus frequently cited the Old Testament Scriptures, affirming their divine authority and relevance. For instance, during His temptation in the wilderness, Jesus responded to Satan’s provocations with direct quotations from Deuteronomy, stating, "It is written," before each reply (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). This phrase, "It is written," signifies Jesus’ acknowledgment of the Scripture as the final authority on matters of faith and conduct. These references to Deuteronomy include affirmations that man shall live by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Deuteronomy 8:3), should not put God to the test (Deuteronomy 6:16), and must worship and serve only Jehovah (Deuteronomy 6:13).


Upholding Scripture in Teaching and Life


Throughout His ministry, Jesus used the Scriptures to explain and assert His mission. For instance, in the synagogue at Nazareth, He read from the prophet Isaiah, declaring, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing" (Luke 4:21), thus identifying Himself as the Messiah foretold by Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1-2). This act not only shows His reliance on Scripture to explain His identity and mission but also His trust in its prophetic authority.


Furthermore, Jesus consistently used Scriptures to correct misunderstandings and to settle disputes. When questioned about marriage and divorce, Jesus referred to the accounts of Genesis, reaffirming the scriptural precedent for marriage and its indissoluble nature as instituted by God (Matthew 19:4-6; Genesis 1:27, 2:24). His reference to the creation account as a basis for understanding marital relationships underscores His trust in the Scriptures as the ultimate authority on moral and ethical issues.


Fulfilling the Scriptures


Jesus frequently spoke of His actions and experiences as fulfillments of Scripture, thus showing His view of the Scriptures as prophetic and authoritative. Before His arrest, Jesus mentioned that the events to come would happen "that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled" (Matthew 26:56). Even in His final moments on the cross, Jesus’ actions were in alignment with Scripture. His statement, "I thirst," was a direct fulfillment of Psalm 69:21, and His declaration of completion of His earthly work, "It is finished," before His death, aligns with several messianic prophecies (John 19:28-30).


Scriptural Authority in Ethical Teachings


Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is rich with references to Old Testament law, yet He deepened the understanding and application of these laws. By saying, "You have heard that it was said... But I say to you," Jesus affirmed the authority of the Mosaic Law while extending its meaning to include not only outward compliance but also inward righteousness (Matthew 5:21-48). This teaching not only upheld the Scriptures but also emphasized their depth and the comprehensive nature of God’s commandments concerning heart attitudes and intentions, not merely external behaviors.


In Defense of Scriptural Truth


Lastly, during disputes, Jesus often countered challenges by asking, "Have you not read?" or "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?" (Matthew 12:3, 5; Luke 10:26). These questions illustrate that Jesus expected His listeners to know the Scriptures and to recognize their authority. By pointing back to the Scriptures as the basis for truth and correcting erroneous interpretations, Jesus showcased His unwavering commitment to the Scriptures as the foundation of knowledge and authority.


Quote, Paraphrase, and Refers to Scripture


Through these methods, Jesus Christ clearly demonstrated His trust in the authority of Scripture. His life and ministry were deeply embedded with Scriptural references and fulfillments, showing His respect for and adherence to the Scriptures as the Word of God.


Jesus Christ's dialogues and teachings, as recorded in the New Testament, deeply embed Scripture through direct quotes, paraphrases, and references. Scholars estimate that Jesus directly quotes the Old Testament Scriptures approximately 78 times across the four Gospels. Additionally, many of His teachings indirectly reference or are based on scriptural principles and laws, indicating a pervasive use of Scripture even beyond direct quotations.


Regarding the duration of Jesus' recorded words, it's a fascinating observation to consider how much of this would amount to if spoken in a single setting. While it's challenging to calculate the exact length of time His recorded words would take to speak, considering the typical pace of speech and the content covered, your estimate of about two hours aligns reasonably well with academic guesses. This estimate would certainly depend on the speed and manner of the delivery, but it gives a useful perspective on the density and depth of scriptural integration in Jesus' teachings.


If we consider this two-hour span as a sermon, it's remarkably rich with scriptural grounding. This not only underscores Jesus’ extensive knowledge of the Scriptures but also His intent to affirm and fulfill the Hebrew Bible. His method of teaching, with such a high density of scriptural references, illustrates a profound respect for the Scriptures' authority, presenting a model for His followers to emulate in their own study and application of biblical text. His teachings, then, are not just moral or philosophical guidances but are deeply rooted in the scriptural tradition, reinforcing the idea that true wisdom and guidance come from God’s Word.


About the Author

EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is the CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored more than 220 books and is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).


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