Paul Regularly Used the Old Testament as the Authority for His Teaching
In many Bible versions it can be difficult to tell when a New Testament writer is quoting from the Old Testament. Some, however, like the Complete Jewish Bible, make those references obvious.
This version points out 183 Old Testament passages that Paul quotes or paraphrases in his writings. And this figure doesn't include his additional dozens of references to people, places and events in the Old Testament.
Curiously, two of the books that misguided theologians quote from the most in arguing that Paul dismissed the Old Testament are those with the highest number of quotes from it: Romans (with quotes or paraphrases of 84 Old Testament passages) and Hebrews (which many scholars believe was written by Paul, with 83).
Paul's other books, with the number of references to Old Testament passages, are as follows: 1 Corinthians (26); 2 Corinthians (18); Galatians (14); Ephesians (12); Philippians (6); Colossians (3); 1 Thessalonians (1); 2 Thessalonians (7); 1 Timothy (4) and 2 Timothy (9). Only Paul's two shortest epistles, Titus and Philemon, contain no quotes from the Old Testament.
It's obvious from these figures that Paul used the Hebrew Scriptures to support his teaching. In fact, he constantly used the Old Testament as the authority for his teaching!
What did Paul expressly say about those same Scriptures?
• In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 he writes: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God [literally 'God-breathed'], and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." The "Scripture" here, known to Timothy since childhood (verse 15), could only have been the Old Testament.
• In Romans 3:2, referring to the Old Testament, Paul says that the Jewish people "have been entrusted with the very words of God" (NIV).
• Referring to various incidents recorded in the Old Testament, he tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:11 that "all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come."
• In Hebrews 3:7 he speaks of the Holy Spirit directly inspiring the words of the Old Testament.
• In Hebrews 4:12, referring to the Old Testament, he writes: "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Do these passages sound like the statements of a man who taught that the Old Testament was obsolete or no longer necessary? The answer is obvious!
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