How Jesus Used the Scriptures

January 22, 2009

Luk 6:46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

In keeping with our congregation’s theme this year of “Jesus is Lord”, we are taking a careful look at the things Jesus said. We can hardly justify calling Jesus our Lord if we don’t even know what he said — let alone, if we don’t do it.

Jesus had quite a lot to say about the scriptures. His example in using the scriptures, and his teaching about the scriptures, are fundamentally important to those who would call Jesus their Lord. Moreover, his example and teaching regarding the scriptures run counter to the current progressive culture. We need to focus on what Jesus said about the scripture, to avoid being swept away from the will of God by the current of our culture.

Jesus knew the scripture from childhood (Luke 2:46-47). As an adult, his knowledge of the scripture amazed his hearers (John 7:15). He rebuked and admonished those whose knowledge of the scriptures was not what it should be (Mark 12:10-11, Matt 22:29). Jesus expected his followers to know the scripture.

Jesus accepted the Old Testament personalities and events as historical facts. He acknowledged Abel (Luke 11:51), Noah (Matt 24:37-39), Abraham (John 8:56-58), Sodom and Gommorah (Luke 17:29, Matt 10:15), Lot (Luke 17:28-32), manna in the wilderness (John 6:31,49), Moses and the serpent in the desert (John 13:1-4), Jonah (Matt 12:39-41), the queen of Sheba (Matt 12:42), and others. In all these cases and more, he referred to the Old Testament accounts as describing people and events that actually existed as described.

Jesus confirmed the recognized authorship of many Old Testament books, including Moses writing the books of the Law (Matt 19:7-8, Mark 7:10, Luke 5:14); Isaiah writing the book of Isaiah (Mark 7:6-13); Jonah writing the book of Jonah (Matt 12:39); and Daniel writing the book of Daniel (Matt 24:15).

Jesus taught that the scriptures are the words of God, not man. (Matt 22:31-32, Matt 22:43). He taught that the scriptures contain the very words from the mouth of God (Matt 4:4). He insisted that every letter of every word was immutable and authoritative (Matt 5:18). He regarded the scriptures as the final word on any subject (Matt 4:4-11).

Jesus submitted to the scriptures, even when it was hard (Matt 26:53-54).

All the preceding examples show how Jesus used the Old Testament scriptures, as the very words of God. But he also promised additional “words from the mouth of God” through the apostles. (Luk 10:16, John 13:20, John 14:26, and:

John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

Note, if the Holy Spirit himself would not speak on his own, but only exactly what God instructed, what makes us think that the writers who received that precise instruction would be free to deviate from the delivered words?

And the apostles themselves testified that they were writing the words of God as they taught what became the New Testament scriptures (1 Cor 2:13, Gal 1:12, 1 Thess 2:13, 2 Pet 1:21, 2 Pet 3:15)

By his words and by his actions, Jesus firmly established the fact that the scriptures are the very words of God and carry the authority of God. Yet in our post-modern religious world, many are abandoning that solid foundation. More and more people today reject certain biblical teachings as outdated. They question whether Paul was correct when he wrote about topics like women, marriage, sexual morality, and other topics where the biblical teaching is unpopular in our culture. Despite the example of Jesus who submitted to the scriptures even to the extent of going to the cross, many today refuse to submit to biblical teachings that are difficult in our culture.

We cannot legitimately claim Jesus as our Lord without submitting to his teaching and following his example. In no area is this more important than in how we use the scriptures.


  1. I am always interested in stuff about the Jewish people and the Amish, so presently, I am reading, Your People Shall Be My People ‘How Israel, The Jews and The Christian Church Will Come Together in the Last Days’ by Don Finto. pg. 27″I was faced with a dilemma. What is to be taken literally in the Scriptures and what is mere symbolism? I decided that I would rather assume the Bible is literally true and then be proven wrong in that assumption than to assume it is symbolism and be wrong. I prefer to meet the Lord one day and say, “I took You at Your Word” than to meet Him and have to admit that I didn’t think that He meant what He said”I replaced the word ‘symbolism’ in the above with the word ‘cultural’ and felt convicted.

  2. Hi, Zombiemommy,That’s an excellent and profound point. Actually, it’s profound from both a “symbolism” and a “cultural” perspective. I think groups like the Amish and Mennonites can teach us a lot about the perils of adopting our culture, and the extent to which we ought to go to avoid those perils.

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