A Study in Hermeneutics: Matthew’s Use of the Old Testament -- By: Homer A. Kent, Jr.

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 121:481 (Jan 1964)
Article: A Study in Hermeneutics: Matthew’s Use of the Old Testament
Author: Homer A. Kent, Jr.


A Study in Hermeneutics:
Matthew’s Use of the Old Testament

Homer A. Kent, Jr.

[Homer A. Kent, Jr., Dean, Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, Indiana.]

The employment of the Old Testament by the New Testament is not restricted to any one portion of the New. On the contrary, the presence of Old Testament quotations or allusions throughout the New Testament is further indication, if any were needed, that both Testaments are organically related to one another, and that the Old Testament is indispensable to the understanding of the New.

However, even though the frequent appearance of Old Testament citations in the New is admitted by all, it is difficult to compute the totals. Not all will agree as to whether certain references are direct quotations or merely allusions to Old Testament language. In some instances, several Old Testament references may be combined with a certain amount of freedom so that the source is difficult to ascertain.

The employment of the Old Testament in the New is particularly prominent in Matthew’s Gospel. The audience to which Matthew’s appeal is especially directed makes this feature readily understandable. Westeott and Hort compute the Old Testament references in Matthew as 94, Mark 49, Luke 80, and John 20z.1 W. G. Scroggie, however, argues that these estimates are too low, and lists Matthew as containing 130 quotations and allusions.2

For this study of the hermeneutical principles used by Matthew, the writer has limited himself to the formal citations in Matthew’s Gospel, leaving out of consideration the many instances where a thought may be clothed with Old Testament language. The reason for this restriction is that only in the direct, formal quotations would it appear legitimate to form a judgment as to the hermeneutical principles

of the writer. Furthermore, the genealogy of Matthew 1, which is obviously derived from Old Testament sources but is not a direct quotation of any passage, has been omitted.

It has been helpful to divide the quotations into two categories: those made by Matthew in telling the narrative (including those that Matthew attributes to others), and those made by Christ. Much of the data ascertained in this study is incorporated in the accompanying tables. It is hoped that this inductive study with its tentative conclusions may help to lay a foundation and encourage further investigation. Scroggie’s lists have been used as a guide to the references but with certain adjustments, in some instances passages being re...

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