This page lists (most of) the Scriptures that Jesus referred to during his life on Earth. It is intended for reference and to assist further analysis. It is very interesting to see the spread of Scriptures he referred to, mainly by word but some by action, the diversity of purposes for which he referred to them, and the variety of ways he used them.
The Table has the following columns:
|Codes||The OT Scripture||Jesus' use||To / with whom?||Kind of argument||Purpose|
|Law (Torah): Genesis - Deuteronomy|
|l0mm-5||5 books of Moses||John 5:46, "Moses wrote about me"||To opponents||Generally||Claim about self|
|l0bm-5||5 books of Moses. Crowd say "Has not Moses given us the law?"||John 7:19 "Yes, but you do not keep it"||To hostile crowd||General||To rebuke|
|l0dg05||Genesis 1:27 "He made them male and female"||Matthew 19:4, Mark 10:6. In the beginning it was not like that: God made them male and femaile||To Pharisees who asked him a question of law, maybe to test him||A scriptural principle: statement of God's intention||To bring questioner back to first principles|
|l0dg05||Genesis 2:24 "a man shall leave parents, cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh"||Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:7-8. In the beginning it was not like that ... they shall become one flesh||To Pharisees who asked him a question of law, maybe to test him||A scriptural principle: statement of God's intention, which trumps Moses' law, which Pharisees used to defend divorce (v.4).||To bring questioner back to first principles, as God intended|
|l2uj+5||Genesis Noah||Matthew 24:37-40 "As in the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man||To disciples||Declaring a parallel||Telling disciples what to expect|
|l1kc-5||Genesis re Abraham||John 8:56 "Abraham rejoiced to see my day"||To opponents||Deduction from the character of Abraham?||To defend himself and also to explain|
|l0bv-5||Genesis. "Patriarchs gave us circumcision"||John 7:22||To hostile crowd||Inference from event||To show their inconsistency|
|l1ng-5||Exodus 3:6 "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob"||Matthew 22:32, Mark 12:26 God said this; He is not God of the dead but of the living.||To Sadducees who tried to trick him in argument||Deducing from God's state3ment about himself (from a part of Scripture they would accept, Torah) .||To challenge them to change their minds.|
|l2uj+5||Exodus. The Passover||Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22: Jesus celebrates Passover with his disciples, giving it new and prophetic meaning.||To disciples||Declaring a new and unexpected fulfilment||Telling his disciples that they are linked with one of the main events in the Jews' history, and that that event points to this and is fulfilled by it.|
|l0dj+5||Exodus 12:24, Lv 24:20, Dt 19:21||Matthew 5:38 "Eye for Eye, but I tell you ..."||To interested people||Using a given command as springboard||To stimulate to right mindset|
|l0ny+5||Exodus 20,12-15, Leviticus 19:18||Matthew 19:18-19, Mark 10:17-30, Luke 18:18-30, Jesus referred the rich young man to the commandments - interestingly, those commandments about relating to others, but not those that referred to God (I wonder why). Also Mark 10:19.||To an interested inquirer||Commandments||To help the inquirer to see his true state (what he lacked).|
|l0bg-5||Exodus 20:12, Deut 5:16 "Honour your father and mother"; Exodus 21:17, Lev 20:9 "If anyone curses his father or mother he must be put to death"||Mark 7:10 Scripture says "Honour your father and mother" and "Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death" but you override that with money||To Pharisees and Teachers of Law||Giving examples of laws they override||To show critics their hearts were not right|
|l0dj+5||Exodus 20:13 "Do not murder"||Matthew 5:21 "You have heard it said ..., but I say ..."||To interested people||Using a given command as springboard||To show people what is important to God: right attitude of heart|
|l0dj+5||Exodus 20:14 "Do not commit adultery"||Matthew 5:27 "You have heard it said ..., but I say ..."||To interested people||Using a given command as springboard||To show people what is important to God: right attitude of heart|
|l0bg-3||Leviticus 10:10 Caught in adultery, both the man and woman should be stoned.||John 8:6-8, When Pharisees brought Jesus a woman caught in act of adultery, and asked whether she should be stoned as the Law requires, Jesus bent down and wrote in the dust.||To Pharisees||Maybe Jesus' act drew attention to what the Law actually said: man as well as woman.||To rebuke, to show up hypocrisy?|
|l0dj+5||Lev 19:12, Num 30:2, Deut 23:21 "Keep oaths to God"||Matthew 5:33 "You have heard ... but I tell you ..."||To interested people||Using a given command as springboard||To show people what is important to God: right attitude of heart|
|l1dy05||Lev 19:18 "you shall love your neighbour as yourself", preceded by Deut 6:5||Matthew 22:37-39 Most important command is "Love the LORD your God" and second is "Love your neighbour as yourself"||To Pharisees who tested him||A direct answer to a direct question from the law||To point the learned to what is really important to God, not only love for Him but also love for others, in context of answer their question.|
|l0dj+5||Lev 19:18, Dt 23:6 "Love your neighbour, hate your enemy"||Matthew 5:43 "... But I tell you, love your enemy because God is like that."||To interested people||Using a given permission as springboard||To stimulate people towards the heart of God|
|l0iy+5||Leviticus 14:2-32||Matthew 8:4, Luke 5:12-14 "Go and offer the sacrifice Moses ordered"||To healed man||Instructing from a command||To ensure the man did things properly|
|l0uv+5||Moses lifted up snake||John 3:14||To an interested leader (Nicodemus)||Inference from event||To explain|
|l?ng-2||Numbers 28:9-10 This tells what offering to make.||Matthew 12:5 The priests desecrate the Sabbath and yet are OK.||To opponents||Arguing precedent from a law; showing surprising Scripture||An inference from what the law permits, showing that one law might obviate (strict interpretation of) another.|
|l0dy05||Deut 6:4-5 "One Lord; love Him", followed by Leviticus 19:18 "Love neighbour"||Matthew 22:37-39, Mark 12:29-30, Most important command is "Love the LORD your God" and second is "Love your neighbour as yourself"||To Pharisees who tested him||A direct answer to a direct question||Replies directly to a question, rather than turning the question around; maybe he knew the questioner was genuine. He also emphasised the heart attitude rather than surface actions.|
|l0kg-5||Deut 6:13 "Worship only Yahweh"||Matthew 4:10, Luke 4:8 "For it is written ..."||To the Devil||Arguing what to do from a given command||To counter temptation to wrong worship.|
|l0kg-5||Deut 6:14 "Do not test the Lord"||Matthew 4:7, Luke 4:12 "It is also written ..."||To the Devil||Arguing what to do from a given command||To counter temptation to presumption.|
|l0kg-5||Deut 8:3 "Man does not live on bread alone, but on words from God"||Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4 "It is written ..."||To the Devil||Arguing what to do from a given command||To counter temptation to wrong values, priorities and thinking.|
|l0dr05||Deut 12:1-4 "Give divorced wife a certificate"||Matthew 19:7-9 Why did Moses allow divorce? Because your hearts are hard. ...||To Pharisees who asked a question of law||To reveal the reality of situaton, from an event of law-giving||To show questioners the reason behind a law|
|l0ky-5||Deut 17:6 "Testimony of two men is valid"||John 8:17||To opponents (Pharisees)||Apply specific law||To defend himself|
|l0dj+5||Deut 24:1 "If a man ... writes a certificate of divorce ... he cannot remarry her"||Matthew 5:31 "It has been said ... but I tell you ..."||To interested people||Interpretating a command||To show people what is important to God: right attitude of heart|
|l2uy+5||Deut 29:4 / Jer 5:21, Ezek 12:2 "Though seeing you do not see"||Matthew 13:13-15 "Though seeing they do not see ..."||To disciples asking a question||God's statement about the people||To answer a question, showing parallel with OT|
|History: Joshua - Esther|
|h0kv-5||I Samuel . David got the priests to let his men have their special bread.||Mark 2:25-26 See Matthew 12:3-4||To opponents||Inducing from an event||To defend his followers, by showing God (Scripture) is less strict than the opponents are.|
|h0kv-5||I Samuel 21:6. David got the priests to let his men have their special bread.||Matthew 12:1-4, Mk 2, Luke 6:1-5. Disciples picking and eating corn on Sabbath.||To Pharisee opponents||Inducing from an event||To defend his followers, by showing God (Scripture) is less strict than the opponents are.|
|h0nv-5||I Kings 10. Queen of South visited Solomon||Matthew 12:39-44 The Queen of South will judge you because she sought God||To opponents (Pharisees, Teachers of Law) who refuse to believe||Inducing from an event||To challenge opponents for attitude|
|h0nv05||I Kings 17:8-16||Luke 4:25-26 "No prophet is accepted in his home town; Elijah was sent to a foreigner"||To surprised members of synagogue||Inferred principle from event||To challenge them to accept surprising ideas|
|h2-j01||II Kings 4. Elisha raises widow's son at Shunem.||Luke 7:11-16 Jesus raises widow's son at Nain, about half an hour's walk from Shunem.||With villagers.||(I believe it likely that Jesus did not intend to make the link with Elisha, but God the Father did, and it 'happened' that as Jesus entered Nain, the funeral came out. The people made the connection, and thought Jesus as great prophet. I have found God sometimes acts in this way.)||-|
|h0nv05||II Kings 5:1-14||Luke 4:27 "No prophet is accepted in his home town; Elisha healed a foreigner"||To surprised members of synagogue||Inferred principle from event||To challenge them to accept surprising ideas|
|Writings: Job - Song|
|w1dg+3||Psa 24:3-4 "Who can ascend the hill of the Lord ... he who has ... a pure heart"||Matthew 5:8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God"||To interested people||Possible allusion to Scriptural principle||To stimulate to right mindset|
|w1dy+3||Psa 37:11 "the meek will inherit the land"||Matthew 5:5 The meek will inherit the earth||To interested crowds||State a Scriptural principle||To stimulate to right mindset|
|w2?m04||Psalm 22:1 "My God, my God why have you forsaken me?"||Matthew 27:41, Mark 15:34, Jesus cries while dying "Eloi, Eloi Lama Sabachtani"||To the crowd||A statement of pain that might be a prophecy.||(a) to express his feeling of abandonment, (b) to direct listeners to the scripture that foretold this.|
|w2uy+5||Psalm 41:9 "He who shared my bread lifted up his heel against me"||John 13:18 About betrayer||To disciples||Second application: Jesus seems to be taking a text already fulfilled in David's life and giving it second application to himself.||To explain an event that will occur, so as to encourage|
|w2ey+5||Psalm 69:4 "Those who hate me without reason are many" (also Ps 35:19)||John 15:25 "This is to fulfil that"||To disciples||Second application: David's complaint, giving it a second application||To show that the current trouble is similar has meaning, by being a fulfilment of Scripture|
|w1nr-5||Psalm 82:6 "I said 'You are gods'"||John 10:34||To opponents||Show existence of unexpected statement||To explain his claim, And to challenge their inconsistency|
|w2rg-5||Psalm 8:2 "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise"||Matthew 21:16 The young proclaimed Jesus. Criticism. Then "Have you never read 'From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise'?"||To critics (Chief Priests and Teachers of Law)||A statement about God doing unusual things||To show how God can break our assumptions, and possibly also to defend himself.|
|w0nr-5||Psalm 110 "The LORD said to my lord, 'sit on throne until your enemies are under your feet'"||Matthew 22:44, Mark 12:36 "The LORD said to my lord ..."||To Pharisees||A messianic prophecy||To reveal to the intelligentsia that they had paradoxes to answer, and to get them thinking in new ways about Messiah.|
|w0rg-5||Psalm 118:22-23 "The stone which the builders rejected has become the capstone; this is God's doing, marvellous"||Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10-11 Have you never read 'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone'?||To chief priests and elders of the people, when they questioned by what authority Jesus acted.||A messianic psalm (whether the people of the time would have seen this as messianic, I cannot find out)||To show that (with the Messiah) God does surprising things; to challenged them to think and recognise.|
|Prophets: Isaiah - Malachi|
|p2uy+5||Isaiah 6:9-10 "The hearts of the people have calloused"||Matthew 13:14-15, Mark 4:12 "I speak in parables because / so that 'they might hear but not understand'"||To disciples, who asked Jesus why he used parables||Applying God's statement about the people||To answer a question; to show situation like Isaiah faced|
|p0uy+5||Isaiah 13:10 "The stars will not give their light, the sun will be darkened"; also ~ Isa 34:4||Matthew 24:29, Mark 13:24-25 The sun will grow dark, stars will fall||To disciples||Applying a prophecy||Telling disciples what to expect|
|p2by-5||Isaiah 29:13 "These people honour me with their lips but their heart is far from me"||Matthew 15:8-9, Mark 7:6-7 "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites ..."||To Pharisees and Teachers of Law who criticised disciples for not washing||Applying God's statement about the people||To defend his disciples, but also to challenge critics to see their spiritual state and the root of their problem.|
|p0my+5||Isaiah 34:5-6; 61 "The blind receive their sight" etc.||Matthew 11:5; Luke 7:22||To John the Baptist's followers||Applying a messianic prophecy||To point to evidence that will stimulate faith, in lieu of direct answer.|
|p1dc+3||Isaiah 55:1-2 "Come, all you who are thirsty ..."||Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; Luke 6: "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied."||To interested crowds||Possible allusion to Scriptural principle, but there is no mention of 'righteousness' in Isaiah||To stimulate to right mindset|
|p1dc+3||Isaiah 55:1-2 "Come, all you who are thirsty ..."||Luke 6: "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied."||To interested crowds||Inferring from the character of God||To encourage them|
|p1bg-5||Isaiah 56:7 "My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations", also Jer 7:11||Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:17, Jesus cites two scriptures as he upsets the money tables that were in the Place for Gentiles.||To people involved in a corrupt system||God's statement about His temple||To show how the what God intended (and how system had departed from that).|
|p1uy03||Isaiah 58:11 "You will be a well-watered garden, a spring that never fails"||John 7:38-39 Streams of living water shall flow from him||To worshipers in Temple||Apply a prophecy||To explain and encourage|
|p0um05||Isaiah 61:1-2 "the Lord has anointed me ... to comfort all who mourn"||Luke 4:18-19 Jesus chose and read this, said "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing"||To members in synagogue||Apply a Messianic prophecy||To announce a prophetic era, and probably who he was|
|p1dg+5||Isaiah 61:1-2 "the Lord has anointed me ... to comfort all who mourn"||Matthew 5:4, Luke 6:21 Those who mourn will be comforted; Blessed are you who weep nor, for you will laugh.||To interested crowds||Possible allusion to Scriptural principle||To stimulate to right mindset, possibly to announce a prophetic era|
|p0sg+5||Isaiah 66:24 "those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die ..."||Mark 9:48 "Better to lose an eye than be thrown into hell 'where their worm does not die ...'". Also Matthew 25:41||To disciples||Arguing from general description||To urge disciples to take it seriously|
|p2by-5||Jeremiah 7:11 "Has my house become a den of robbers!", preceded by Isaiah 56:7||Matthew 21:12-13 Jesus cites two scriptures as he upsets the money tables that were in the Place for Gentiles.||To people involved in a corrupt system||God's statement about His temple||To show the way in which the system had departed from God's intentions.|
|p0sy-4||Jeremiah 17:13 "Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust, for they have forsaken the LORD the spring of living water."||John 8:6-8, When Pharisees brought Jesus a woman caught in act of adultery, and asked whether she should be stoned as the Law requires (Lv 10:10), Jesus bent down and wrote in the dust.||To Pharisees||Action not word, applying the Scripture, maybe drawing attention to "It is written" that they should have brought the man too (Lv 10:10). (This assumes Jesus was aware of this verse when he acted.)||To rebuke, to show up hypocrisy? To defend the woman?|
|p0fm-4||Ezekiel 34:1-16 The self-serving shepherds of Israel; Yahweh will be their shepherd||John 10:11,14-15 "I am the good shepherd; I lay down my life for the sheep"||To critics||Claim fulfilment of a prophecy||To make his claim and to challenge his critics|
|p1um+3||Daniel 7:13 "Son of man"||John 1:51||To new disciples||A label||To explain current situation (himself)|
|p1nm03||Daniel 7:13 'Son of Man'||John 6:27,40||To ordinary people||A label||To challenge them to think|
|p1mm-5||Daniel 7:13||Mark 14:62 "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at right of Mighty One and coming with clouds"||To those trying him, judging him||Applying a prophecy||Jesus spontaneously quoted this to tell them his authority, and maybe to shock them.|
|p0em+5||Daniel 7:13-14 "like a son of man, coming in the clouds, approaching God, given authority, being worshipped"||Matthew 16:27 Mark 13:26 "You will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with power and glory"||To disciples||Claim a prophecy||To encourage, claim and give understanding|
|p0iy+5||Daniel 9,11,12 about the 'abomination of desolation'||Matthew 24:15 "When you see the 'abomination of desolation' ..."||To disciples||Applying a prophecy||To instruct his disciples what to do|
|p1ng-5||Hosea 6:6 "I desire mercy, not sacrifice"||Matthew 9:13 "Learn what it means ..."||To Pharisees criticising him for eating with sinners||Applying a statement by God about what he desires||To challenge those who were apt to condemn others, to take a different attitude, more like God's attitude.|
|p1bg-5||Hosea 6:6 "I desire mercy, not sacrifice"||Matthew 12:7 "If you had known what this means, you would not have condemned the innocent"||To Pharisees criticising his followers for eating without washing hands||A statement by God of what is important to him||To defend his followers and rebuke those who criticise them.|
|p2bv-5||Jonah||Matthew 16:4 "A wicked generation seeks signs, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. c.f. Mt. 12:39 (different people)||To Pharisees and Sadducees who asked for a sign||Giving an event a second application||To rebuke their attitude to miracles and understanding the times.|
|p2bv-5||Jonah, in fish||Matthew 12:39-44 "No sign will be given except resurrection" c.f. Mt 16:4||To Pharisees, Teachers of Law who wanted a sign||Event with a second application||To rebuke for wrong attitude|
|p0nv-5||Jonah, people of Nineveh repented||Matthew 12:39-44 Ninevehians will judge you because they believed the prophet||To opponents (Pharisees, Teachers of Law) who refuse to believe||Inducing from an event||To challenge opponents for attitude|
|p2ey+5||Micah 6:7 about conflict||Matthew 10:35-6 "I have come to turn 'a man against his father ...'"||To disciples who were being sent out||A claim to fulfil, and justify his strong message|
|p0my04||Zechariah 9:9. "Your king comes on a donkey"||Matthew 21:5, John 12:15 Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.||To the public||Apply a Messianic prophecy by deed rather than word.||Possibly to show who he was|
|p2uy+5||Zechariah 13:7 "I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered"||Matthew 26:31, Mark 14:27 "You will abandon me"||To disciples||Applying a prophecy||Telling disciples what to expect, and possibly to challenge their self-confidence|
|p0fy05||Malachi 3:1||Matthew 11:10; Luke 7:27 John the Baptist is spoken of in the prophets as precursor||To people||Applying messianic prophecy||To honour John, and perhaps also to set people thinking about himself.|
|p0ug+5||Malachi 4:6 "I will send Elijah"||Matthew 17:10-11, Mark 9:12-13 Yes, Elijah must come first, then I'll suffer||To disciples, asking question||Claiming a prophecy||To answer disciples' question, but also to show them the eschatalogical meaning of the situation they were in.|
|a0um+5||all||Matthew 5:17-18 "I have not come to abolish the Law and Prophets, but to fulfil them; not one piece will pass away"||To interested people||About entire Law and Prophets as bodies||To correct misunderstanding|
|a0mm-5||LPW All Scriptures||John 5:40||To opponents||Generally||Claim about self|
|?0fy*5||John 17:12 "only the son of destruction has been lost, so that Scripture may be fulfilled"||To God||?||To show that events were fulfilling prophecy|
|??ug+5||Mark 9:12 "Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected ..."||To disciples||?||To show them what will occur|
See also: Table in order of Gospel Books.
See also: Analysis of How Jesus Used the Scriptures.
1: I include only Scriptures that Jesus himself used or referred to deliberately. I do not include those where the gospel writers are commenting on Jesus' fulfilment of them (e.g. John 19:24, where the soldiers casting lots for Jesus' clothes is seen as fulfilling Psalm 22, but Jesus does not say so). However, where it also seems likely that Jesus was aware of fulfilling them, as in riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, it is included.
2: Mostly, Jesus referred to the Scripture in words, often citing it directly, sometimes speaking similar words. But I also include a few times where what Jesus did seems to refer clearly to a Scripture; an example is when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, obviously fulfilling the prophecy about it.
3: If the same Scripture is referred to in two different gospels, if it is the same incident, I put them together, but if they seem to be different incidents, or they seem to have different purposes or contexts, then I treat them separately.
4. I read the accounts in the gospels 'as written', as accounts by honest people to various readerships. I do not subscribe to the speculative hypotheses that they were written for purposes of power, politics or polemic, hiding what was inconvenient or bigging up what supported their views.
5: The entries in the Table contain the following information:
6: I sense that, nearly every time Jesus uses a Scripture to defend himself, it was not just to defend himself or argue with them, but to challenge them, giving them a basis they could reasonably accept on which to change their minds. To those who would know the Scripture, i.e. those educated.
I may have missed some references, and also duplicated some others; I crave your pardon; use your common sense.
The codes in column 1 are like "
l1kc-5". They are there to assist sorting and analysis. They are six characters (positions 1 - 6), each of which has a different meaning, and each of which can have certain values, as follows:
With Whom Jesus Used Scripture: Scriptures were used by Jesus equally towards those positive and negatively disposed (around 40% each), and about half that for those neutral. The latter were usually the crowds, and perhaps with them, Jesus gave direct teaching rather than Scripture-based.
How Jesus Took Scripture: In the majority of uses of Scripture, Jesus took it as it was written, without expansion or second meaning, though he might have used it to deepen or challenge people to new thinking. 'Second meaning' refers to the Jewish idea that Scripture can have multiple interpretations; for example, a prophecy might refer to something at the time of the prophet, but also to something in Jesus' life or times. The degree to which Scripture was taken as is, expanded or given second meaning, seems not to correlate with whether he was addressing those positive, negative or neutral to him.
About Purposes of Using Scripture: Jesus used Scripture for a wide range of purposes, from giving understanding to challenging, rebuking or defending against attack. He seems to have tried to give understanding mainly for those positively disposed to him (his disciples). As expected, he would used Scripture to rebuke and defend against attack with opponents. What is interesting is that he used Scripture to deepen a perspective with those postively disposed to him, while he challenged to new ways of seeing things mainly with those negatively disposed.
Ways Jesus Used Scripture: It is interesting the variety of ways Jesus used Scripture and the kinds of reasoning he employed. With those positively disposed to him, Jesus might simply apply Scripture, or use a Scripture as a starting point for other thoughts; that might be expected, because those people would be willing to listen. With those negatively disposed to him, Jesus seemed to use stronger kinds of logic, such as deducing something from a generic Scripture and induction from events. Again, perhaps that is to be expected. But it perhaps casts doubt on the way we use Scripture.
For full analysis, see Analysis of Jesus' Use of Scripture. The following summarises some of the findings:
This page is offered to God as on-going work. Comments, queries welcome.
Copyright (c) Andrew Basden at all dates below. But you may use this material subject to certain conditions.
Part of his www.abxn.org pages, that open up discussion and exploration from a Christian ('xn') perspective. Written on the Amiga with Protext.
Created: 6 July 2015. Last updated: 7 July 2015. 12 July 2015 better intro, links, description moved after table. 16 August 2015 Ezek 34:1-16; added re codes. 11 July 2016 Mk 10 God's intention trumps Moses' law.