Skip to content
Home » How Many Times Did Jesus Quote The Old Testament

How Many Times Did Jesus Quote The Old Testament

Jesus quoted the Old Testament more than 100 times, according to some sources. The Bible is full of references to the Old Testament—and it’s not just Jesus who did this. Moses and other prophets also quote the Old Testament.

It’s important to note that not all of these quotes are direct citations or exact copies. Sometimes Jesus or someone else will paraphrase or summarize what they’re quoting from the Old Testament.

There are also occasions when Jesus refers to a story from the Old Testament but doesn’t actually quote it word-for-word—instead, he just tells us what happened in broad strokes.

How many ‌times did‍ Jesus say “It is written”?

Jesus frequently referred to ⁤the authority of the Old Testament scriptures by saying “It is written,” followed by⁢ a direct quotation from the Hebrew Bible. While it is not possible to provide an exact count of how many times Jesus uttered this phrase, ⁣it is clear that he often relied⁣ on it to ⁤validate his teachings and demonstrate the fulfillment of prophecies. One significant example is when Jesus was tempted​ by Satan in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11).

In each temptation, Jesus responded​ with “It is written,” quoting from the book of Deuteronomy to resist the devil’s temptations and affirm his​ obedience to God. Another⁤ notable instance is in Matthew 21:13 when Jesus cleanses the temple and⁤ declares, ⁢”It ‍is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but‌ you make it a den of robbers.'”

This quote from⁤ Isaiah 56:7 emphasizes Jesus’ authority to cleanse the temple and his fulfillment of the divine purpose for the sacred space. By saying “It is⁤ written,” Jesus not only affirmed the authority of the Old Testament scriptures but also highlighted ⁤the continuity between his teachings and the prophetic promises they contained.

How Many Times Did Jesus Quote The Old Testament

Citing scripture proved to be a powerful tool while dealing with His detractors. Although Jesus cited passages from a number of Old Testament prophets—at least twelve—he most often cited passages from the books of Isaiah and Psalms.

The most famous example of this is when Jesus told his disciples about how John the Baptist had been beheaded by King Herod and then said, “It is written in the book of Psalms” (Matt 14:9 NIV).

In this case, Jesus didn’t actually say those exact words; instead, he was paraphrasing Psalm 118:22–23, which says, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.”

How Many Times Did Jesus Quote The Old Testament

Most people who call themselves Christians know that Jesus lived, taught, and died in Palestine as a Jew. They reflect on his birth as a manger baby. And they might even be familiar with the fact that Jesus was crucified at the order of Pontius Pilate. But how many people know that Jesus quoted from the Old Testament? The answer is: more than you think!

List Of Times Jesus Quoted The Old Testament

Jesus himself quoted the OT 7 times. He did this, however, not by simply quoting the words of the OT but rather by rephrasing them in his own words. This method can be seen in Matthew 24:32–33 and Mark 13:30–31.

Jesus quoted the OT 7 times in his own words in the gospels of Matthew and Mark (Matthew 24:32–33; Mark 13:30–31). He also quoted from it once in Luke 21:22, during his farewell discourse with his disciples at Bethany, and he cited it twice more during his travels throughout Galilee after that event (Luke 17:25; 21:25).

There are 7 direct quotations of the OT in Jesus’ speech on the cross.

Jesus’ last words on the cross are recorded in three of the four gospels (Matthew 27:46–50; Mark 15:34–37; Luke 23:46–49). Each of these passages begins with a direct quotation from Psalm 22:1. There are seven direct quotations of Old Testament texts in Jesus’ speech on the cross. In addition to this, Matthew 27:50 quotes Isaiah 53:12, which is also found in Luke 22:37, where it is cited by Peter as an allusion rather than a direct quote.

In addition to these seven direct quotations and one indirect quotation, there are many more instances in which Jesus uses language that echoes phrases or ideas found elsewhere in Scripture,

How Many Times Did Jesus Quote Scripture

The New Testament quotes the Old Testament 943 times.

The New Testament quotes the Old Testament 943 times.

This is more than any other book in the Bible. It’s also more than the Old Testament quotes themselves!

More than you think!

On a first reading, it might seem like Jesus only quoted the Old Testament on a few occasions. But that’s not actually true. In fact, Jesus makes direct quotations of the Old Testament more than you might think! The New Testament quotes the Old Testament 1,871 times (the King James Version numbers are in parentheses). That’s more than any other book except for Psalms (2,569).

As we’ve seen, there are many instances of Jesus and the apostles quoting the Old Testament. The New Testament also makes many allusions to it, which is how you can tell that certain passages were inspired by or echo specific verses in the Old Testament. That said, it may be difficult to analyze every single instance of a Bible quote in this post—there are so many! Our point here is not to exhaustively list every single quotation that shows up in Scripture. Instead, our purpose was to illustrate that there are a vast number of biblical quotes from the Old Testament—and to show some examples of what they sound like when read aloud in their context. We hope this has been helpful for you!

How Many Times Did Jesus Quote The Psalms

I came across an article [1] that shows the top books of the Bible that Jesus quotes throughout the four gospels. The top one, as you might have guessed, is the Book of Psalms!

Jesus quotes from Scripture a lot, giving us a great example of why memorizing and quoting Scripture is edifying for the believer. Here are just four times when Jesus quotes the Book of Psalms.

1.) Matthew 27:46

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

This question comes straight from Psalm 22:1.

In this gut-wrenching question, where on first reading it seems that our Savior is experiencing total despair, we soon see that He is as faithful to the Father as always. He is still quoting Scripture and still trusting in the power of God’s Word.

Jesus gives us an important example: we can trust the Psalms to help us articulate what we are feeling in our hearts and our souls. Jesus saw this psalm as fitting to express His suffering, and we should trust the psalms as fitting to express our longings, pains, and troubles.

2.) John 15:25

But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: “They hated me without a cause.”

This phrase comes from Psalms 35:19 and 69:4.

Among all the times Jesus quotes from Scripture, a common purpose is for Him to show how He is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and promises.

Jesus wanted His listeners to know loud and clear that the One that the Psalms promised, the coming Messiah, the Lamb who would take away the sin of the world, had arrived. Jesus is the Messiah!

3.) John 13:18

The Scripture will be fulfilled, “He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.”

This phrase comes from Psalm 41:9.

Jesus speaks with His disciples about the one who is going to betray Him, Judas Iscariot. This is an interesting moment because Jesus shows us that He understands His life through Scripture. Jesus knew that the entire Bible was about Him.

4.) Matthew 23:39

For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

This phrase comes from Psalm 118:26.

Jesus says these words during His lament over Jerusalem: “the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!” (Matthew 23:37). And verse 39 is the last verse in this lament. So in this lament, we see a summary of God’s people before and after Jesus’s death and resurrection.

We rejected Him, and He died for us. As Paul stated:

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Because of His death on the cross, we can approach Him in worship and say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” He has redeemed us to worship.

How Often Did Jesus Quote The Old Testament

A number of times during His earthly ministry, Jesus responded to questions with, “It is written.” (7 times in Matthew, 4 times in Mark, 5 times in Luke, 1 time in John). In the Bible, we also read of many times when Jesus quoted the truths of God from the Hebrew Scriptures, including:

The teachers in the Temple were astounded by His understanding and answers (Luke 2:42, 46–47).
Jesus used God’s Word to resist the devil (Matt 4:1–11, Luke 4:1–13) at the beginning of His ministry.
Jesus called upon God’s Word to respond to the Pharisees (Matt 22:41–46 et al.) at the end of His earthly life.
The Holy Scriptures give a record of Jesus quoting from every book of the Pentateuch and eight of God’s prophets. So which book was Jesus’ favorite? Or perhaps a better question, from which book did Jesus quote most often?

Many will be quick to suggest it was Deuteronomy because of their familiarity with Jesus’ responses to Satan with “it is written.” While it’s true that Jesus used the powerful words from Deuteronomy to silence the Devil, it was not the book that Jesus quoted the most. That distinction goes to the Hebrew song book.

The Book of Psalms.
The Book of Psalms is the most read book of the Bible (Read What is the Most Popular Book in the Bible? The Least Popular Book?) and it’s words were quoted more often by Jesus than the words from any other book. Jesus used the psalmists’ words when…

  • He was asked for a sign to show who He is (Ps 78:24, John 6:32-33)
  • the Jews wanted to stone Him for claiming to be God. (Ps 82:6, John 10:34).
  • He called Himself the chief cornerstone (Ps 118:22-23, Matt 21:42, John 2:10, Luke 20:17).
  • countering the Pharisees on several occasions (Ps 8:2, 110:1, Matt 21:16, 22:44, Mark 12:36, 14:62, Luke 20:42-43).
  • foretelling Jerusalem’s destruction (Ps 118:26; Matt 23:39, Luke 13:35).
  • talking about his betrayal (Ps 41:9, John 13:18).
  • telling that He would be hated without cause (Ps 35:19, 69:4, John 15:25).
  • Pilate asked if He is the son of God (Ps 110:1, Matt 22:44, Mark 12:36).
  • dying on the cross: (Ps 22:1; Matt 27:46, Mark 15:34).
  • committing his spirit to His Father (Ps 31:5, Luke 23:46).
  • speaking about those who try to work their way into the Kingdom (Ps 6:8, Matt 7:23).
  • speaking of the hate the world has for Him (Ps. 35:19; 69:4, John 15:25)
  • speaking of the sorrow of His soul (Ps 42:5,9-11, 43:5, Matt 26:38, Mark 14:34)
  • speaking of Man’s reward for his works (Ps 62:12, Matt 16:27)
  • speaking of the manna God gave to their forefathers (Ps 78:24, John 6:31)
  • telling about the time they will see Him again (Ps 118:25-26, Matt 23:39)

Other Books

Jesus knew the Hebrew Scriptures well. While He quoted most often from the book of Psalms, He also quoted from many other books. Deuteronomy comes in second for the book most often quoted, with Isaiah and Exodus ranking third and fourth respectively. Take a few minutes and review all the quotes of Jesus during the time He was preparing Israel to see Him as the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.

Jesus quoted from Genesis when speaking of God’s order and purpose in creation. First He affirmed that God made man, both male and female (Gen 1:27, Matt 19:4; Gen 5:2, Mark 10:6) and that man and woman were to become one (Gen 2:24, Matt 19:5, Mark 10:7-8).

Exodus ranks high on the quotes list of Jesus. The second book of the Torah, Exodus, is a very important book about the history of God’s people and repeatedly Jesus used words from this book to remind the people of His day of God’s faithfulness, deliverance, and provision. Jesus referenced . . .

the burning bush incident when explaining the resurrection (Ex 3:6, 15, Matt 22:32, Mark 12:26, Luke 20:37).
the Ten Commandments (Ex 20:3, Matt 4:10; Luke 4:8; Ex 20:7, Luke 4:16, 23:55-56; Ex 20:12, Matt 15:4-9; 19:19; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Ex 20:12-16, Matt 5:21-22, 27; 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Ex 20:14, Matt 5:27-28; 19:18; Mark 10:11-12, 19; Luke 16:18; 18:20; Ex 20:16, Matt 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Ex 20:17, Luke 12:15; Ex 21:17, Matt 15:4, Mark 7:10)
the importance of keeping a vow (Ex 30:7, Matt 5:33).
the well-known teaching of “eye for an eye” before telling his disciples to turn the other cheek (Ex 21:24; Matt 5:38).
Leviticus is about holy living. Jesus referenced it a number of times to teach about honesty and making vows (Lev 19:12, Matt 5:33), about the command to love thy neighbor (Lev 19:18, Matt 5:43,19:19, 22:39, Lev 19:18, Mark 12:31), and about the law of retaliation (Lev 24:20, Matt 5:38).

In speaking about keeping one’s oath Jesus quoted (Matt 5:33) from Numbers 30:2 as well as Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy.

Many are familiar with Jesus’ quotes from the book of Deuteronomy when He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness (Deut 6:13, 16, 8:3; Matt 4:4, 7, 10; Luke 4:4, 8, 12). He also quoted this book many other times.

When summing up the law and the prophets: love God, and love your neighbor as yourself (Deut 6:5; Matt 22:37; Mark 12:29-33; Luke 10:27).
When citing the Ten Commandments (Deut 5:7, 6:13, Matt 4:10; Luke 4:8; Deut 5:16; Matt 15:4-9; 19:19; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Deut 5:17; Matt 5:21-22; 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Deut 5:18; Matt 5:27-28; 19:18; Mark 10:11-12, 19; Luke 16:18; 18:20; Deut 5:20; Matt 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Deut 5:21; Luke 12:15; Deut 6:4-5, Mark 12:29-30; Deut 6:5, Matt 22:37)
When discussing divorce (Deut 24:1-3; Matt 5:31, 19:7; Mark 10:4).
When defining church discipline (Deut 19:15; Matt 18:16).
When telling that man is to fear God (Deut 6:13, Matt 4:10, Luke 4:8; Deut 6:16, Matt 4:7, Luke 4:12).
When telling that man is to live by the Word of God (Deut 8:3, Matt 4:4, Luke 4:4) and to keep his word (Deut. 19:16-19, Matt 5:33).
The Prophets
Jesus quoted from the writings of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Hosea, Jonah, Micah, Zechariah, and Malachi.

Isaiah has often been called “the evangelical prophet” because he says more about the coming of the Messiah and the redemptive work of Jesus than any other book of the Old Testament. Consequently, there are many important and favorite passages in this book, and it was clearly a favorite of Jesus as evidenced when…

He explained His reason for using parables to teach (Isaiah 6:9-10; Matthew 13:14-15; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10).
He rebuked the Pharisees and scribes for their lip service to God (Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:8-9; Mark 7:6-7).
He cleansed the temple by overturning the tables of the money changers (Isaiah 56:7; Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46).
He told the parable of the vineyard (Isaiah 5:1; Matthew 21:33, Mark 12:1, Luke 20:9).
He told the purpose of His earthly ministry (Is 61:1-2; Matthew 11:5; Luke 4:18-19, 7:22).
He told of the works He was doing (Isa 35:5-6, Luke 7:22).
He told of the beginning of sorrows (Isa 34:4, Luke 21:26).
He told of cosmic changes in end times (Isa 13:10, Matt 24:29, Mark 13:24-25)
He told of His death (Isaiah 53:12; Luke 22:37).
He told that His ministry will draw people to Him (Isaiah 54:13; Jn 6:45).
He told that salvation had come to them ( Isa 62:11, Matt 21:5).
Jesus quotes Isaiah to highlight the disconnect between God and the people, but he also quoted Isaiah to remind people of the comfort God will bring through Him as the Lamb of God and the reigning King.

Jeremiah: Jesus quoted the prophet Jeremiah when He spoke of the lack of understanding of the people (Jer 5:21, Mark 8:18) and the purpose of God’s house and the people’s abuse of it (Jer 7:11, Mark 11:17, Luke 19:46).

Daniel is an important book of end times prophesy and Jesus quoted from this book when speaking of judgment of the unredeemed (Dan 3:6, Matt13:42, 50), of signs that will appear before He comes again (Dan 7:13, Matt 24:30, 26:64, Mark 13:26,14:62), of the abomination of desolation when the Antichrist is revealed (Dan 9:27, Matt 24:15), and of what they should do in response (Dan 11:31, Mark 13:14).

Hosea: Jesus told that He came for sinners, not the righteous (Hos 6:6, Matt 9:13, Matt 12:7) and of calamity in the end times (Hos 10:8, Luke 23:30)

Jonah: Jesus told of the sign of His death and resurrection that would be given the people (Jonah 2:17, Matt 12:40)

Micah: Jesus told that He would bring division (Mic 7:6, Matt 10:35-36).

Zechariah: Jesus told that the disciples would desert Him (Zec 13:7, Matt 26:31, Mark 14:27).

Malachi: Jesus told that John was sent to prepare His way (Mal 3:1, Matt 11:10, Luke 7:27) and that He fulfilled (in type) the work of Elijah (Mal 4:5-6, Matt 17:11).

A Lesson for All of Us
Jesus was quick to wield His Sword, which is the Word of God. (Eph 6:17, Heb 4:12)
Jesus was able to answer questions posed to Him with, “it is written,” because He knew God’s Word.
Jesus was strengthened and empowered by God’s Word to face any situation, including death on the cross.
The question for all of us is, do we know the Word of God well enough to quickly recall it in any situation? Do we hide His Word in our hearts and allow it to fill our minds and direct our words and actions?

Commit to start reading your Bible, or to start reading it more often. We speak to God when we pray, but He speaks to us most directly and most clearly when we read His Word. The more we read, the more we learn about Jesus and His will and ways, His purpose and plan for our lives. Commit, today, to learn God’s truths so you can be ready always to give an answer that begins with “It is written…”

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *