Septuagint Quotes in the New Testament

It is many times assumed that the first century Christians used the Septuagint (often referred to as LXX), and that the New Testament writers often quoted from the Septuagint; others claim that the Septuagint, as we know it, did not exist until after Christians had edited earlier Greek manuscripts to produce what we today know as the Septuagint. Thus, some claim that the LXX, in effect, quotes the New Testament writers, not the other way around. Very few quotes of the Old Testament in the NT are “direct quotes,” but are what would today call “indirect quotes.” Likewise, many quotes of the Old Testament in the New Testament are not worded exactly as we find them in the Septuagint. At any rate, the evidence that first century Christians used the Septuagint, or that the New Testament writers  quoted from the Septuagint, is not as strong as many assume, and there are many Bible scholars that do not agree with the assumption that the New Testament writers quoted the Septuagint.

Nevertheless, there are some Greek Old Testament manuscript fragments from the first and second centuries BC of what many consider to be earlier versions of the Septuagint, or at least forerunners of the LXX.

At any rate, we cannot conclude that the New Testament writers quoted from the Septuagint. More than likely they did not. It seems probable that often the Old Testament quotes in the New Testament were not “direct” quotes, as we are used to in our modern English, but were indirect, paraphrased quotes or quotes adapted to the context. Thus, we tend to agree with the theory that when Christians later edited the “Septuagint” into what we have today as the “Septuagint”, they often brought these quotes from the New Testament into the Septuagint, which many have assumed to have been quotes from the Septuagint. In other words, more than likely the Septuagint editors simply adopted quotes from the New Testament texts that they had, which would mean that the New Testament writers would not have been quoting the Septuagint, but rather that the Septuagint (as we have it) is quoting the New Testament writers.

Note: We do not necessarily agree with all conclusions by authors on the links provided.

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The Septuagint

Published: 09/12/2009; Updated and republished: 09/13/2014