6 Times Jesus Contradicted the Old Testament

A friend recently told me that Jesus would never contradict the Old Testament scriptures.

In response to that statement, I’d like to offer this list of specific contradictions that Jesus made against teachings found in the Old Testament:

1) According to Deuteronomy, God commands His people to swear in His name:
Old Testament: “You shall fear the Lord your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name.” – Deuteronomy 6:13But Jesus says that to swear by anything is “from the evil one”:

Jesus: “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” – Matthew 5:37

2) The Old Testament says that God’s people should show no mercy and practice an eye for eye form of justice:

Old Testament: “Show no pity: life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” – Deuteronomy 19:21But Jesus contradicts this directly:

Jesus: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” – Matthew 5:38–39

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:43-48
3) The Old Testament teaches that adulterers should be put to death without exception:

Old Testament: ‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.” – Leviticus 20:10

Jesus famously ignored this command when they brought the woman caught in adultery to him:
Jesus: “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground….”Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.’” – John 8:3-114) The Old Testament commands that no one do any work on the Sabbath:

Old Testament: “But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do.” – Deuteronomy 5:14

Truth be told, no one breaks the Sabbath more than Jesus does. There are dozens of examples but here’s just one:

Jesus: “Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath” – John 5:8–9

5) Right after healing this man on the Sabbath, Jesus goes one step further and He commands this man to break the Sabbath, too!
In Jeremiah 17:21–22 it says that no one should carry any burden on the Sabbath:
The Old Testament: “This is what the Lord says: Be careful not to carry a load on the Sabbath day or bring it through the gates of Jerusalem. Do not bring a load out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your ancestors.” – Jeremiah 17:21-22
Truthfully, the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day understood that this was in direct defiance of the specific OT command:

“…and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” – John 5:10

6) Not only this but when Jesus famously declares that “God sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:45) this is in direct contradiction to what Moses said in Deuteronomy 28 where he claims:

If you obey the Lord your God and faithfully keep all His commands…then He will send rain in season from his rich storehouse in the sky and bless all your work…But if you disobey the Lord your God and do not faithfully keep all his commands and laws that I am giving you today…No rain will fall, and your ground will become as hard as iron. Instead of rain, the Lord will send down dust storms and sandstorms until you are destroyed.” (Deut. 28:1-24)

So, does Jesus ever contradict the Old Testament Scripture? Yes! He most certainly does.
What does this mean? It means that:
*Jesus is the “Word of God” made flesh
*Jesus as the Living Word of God has the authority to correct the written Word as-needed
*The Old Testament Scriptures are modified by Christ because He is the reality they were always pointing to
*Jesus – His life, His teaching, His example – are the standard which everyone, and everything [including the Bible] must measure up to and align with [not the other way around]
This also means that the Old Testament Scriptures, which were written by men, were sometimes “inspired” and sometimes not so much.
How do we know the difference?
Simple: Whenever those Old Testament Scriptures accurately point us to Christ [as in prophecies about Jesus and His incarnation, ministry, identity, etc.] we know that those are truly inspired.
But, whenever we see verses that conflict with Jesus, or His teachings, or His character, or that don’t align with His revelation of the Father, etc., we can safely say that  Jesus was right and those men who write the Old Testament were wrong [at least in those cases].
Does this mean we can just make the Bible say anything we want?
No. Sorry. That’s not what it means. [Unless what you want the Bible to say is exactly in line with Jesus and His teachings and life, then, yes].
Please note: This is not an arbitrary realignment of truth in the Scriptures. It’s a Christ-centric alignment of truth, which sees Jesus as the standard.
Because Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Because Jesus is the exact representation of the Father.
Because no one has ever seen God at any time except for Jesus. [Which means that those other people who wrote the Old Testament did not see God clearly, and certainly not as clearly as Jesus does because He is God in the flesh].
For example: In the Old Testament Scriptures, it was said that God commanded His people to kill innocent women and children and even warned them not to hold back or to show any compassion on the infants or the toddlers.
“[God Almighty says] Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’” – 1 Sam. 15:2-3

“But in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, but you shall devote them to complete destruction…” – Deut. 20:16-18

Can you imagine Jesus turning to you and commanding you to go next door and kill every man, woman, child, and even the pets of your neighbors? Does that sound like something Jesus would say? Does that sound like something that the “Abba” revealed by Jesus would command His children to do?
Of course not. Therefore, we can conclude that verses like these are projections of God’s character made by men who sometimes heard from God prophetically and at other times [like these] did not.
How can we know this? Because we know that the God revealed to us by Jesus would not command this sort of violence against women or children, nor would He condemn someone for showing mercy and compassion on the weak and the helpless.
Jesus has shown us the Father. He is like the Father and the Father is like Jesus.
The Father that Jesus reveals to us does not command us to kill our enemies or their infants. Instead, He commands us to love our enemies, to bless them, to do good to them, and to pray for them.
He even tells us that when we do those things, we are also doing exactly what the Father does!
We have not yet fully embraced the idea that Jesus was the only one who has ever seen God.
We have not yet fully accepted the idea that Jesus reveals the Father to us better than anyone else does.
We have not yet completely believed Jesus when He tells us that God loves and even blesses His enemies and that’s why we should do it, too.

When Jesus Quoted the OT. . .And Why It Matters

Ever Wonder What Old Testament Verses Jesus Quoted More Than Any Other?

I take Jesus’ words very seriously. Very seriously. My understanding of Scripture tells me that those red letters in the Bible are the baseline framework of the counter-cultural principles from our Savior that change and transform not only our own lives, outlook and engagement with Church, culture and politics; but also our communities, cities and countries.

Matthew 5:17 says that Jesus came to fulfill the law; and it is for this reason that he quoted the Hebrew Bible so much (as well as the fact that he was engaging leaders and people within a Jewish religious context). Throughout my years reading the Bible I always wondered if Jesus quoted any Old Testament scripture more frequently than others?


In seminary I learned that parallel passages and repeated references to the same passage (especially when referenced in both Testaments) are there to drive points home more directly. I would presume, then, that if Jesus continued to reference a particular verse/passage/theme more than any other it must be of the utmost importance for his followers to pay attention to, and seriously adapt into their own lives in order to fulfill what it means to live a Jesus-shaped existence.

With that in mind I read all of the red letters in Scripture and charted all of the Old Testament references that Jesus made. You can see the chart below…

Recorded References that Jesus made to the Old Testament:
*Parenthesis are the parallel references to that particular quote in the other books of the New Testament
*Bold are the repeated Old Testament references from Jesus
*Italic is for Isaiah 29:13 which parallels the same theme as Hosea 6:6

4:4       Deut 8:3 (Luke 4:4)
4:7       Deut 6:16 (Luke 4:12)
4:10     Duet 6:13 (Luke 4:8)
5:21     Exodus 20:13
5:27     Exodus 20:14
5:31     Deut 24:1
5:38     Exodus 21:24, Lev 24:20, Deut 19:21
5:43     Lev 19:18
9:13     Hosea 6:6
10:36   Micah 7:6
11:10   Mal 3:1 (Luke 7:27)
12:7     Hosea 6:6
13:15   Isaiah 6:9-10 (Mark 4:12) (Luke 8:10 v9)
15:4     Exodus 20:12Deut 5:16 (Mark 7:10)
15:4     Exodus 21:17, Lev 20:9 (Mark 7:10)
15:9     Isaiah 29:13 (Mark 7:7)
18:16   Deut 19:15
19:4     Gen 1:27 (Mark 10:6)
19:5     Gen 2:24 (Mark 10:8)
19:19   Exodus 20:12-16, Deut 5:16-20 (Mark 10:19) (Luke 18:20)
21:13   Isaiah 56:7 (Mark 11:17) (Luke 19:46)
21:13   Jer 7:11 (Mark 11:17) (Luke 19:46)
21:16   Psalm 8:2
22:42   Psalm 118:22-23 (Mark 12:11) (Luke 20:17)
22:32   Exodus 3:6 (Mark 12:26) (Luke 20:37)
22:37   Deut 6:5 (v 4-5 Mark)  (Mark 12:30)
22:39:  Lev 19:18 (Mark 12:31)
22:44   Psalm 110:1 (Mark 12:36) (Luke 20:43)
23:39   Psalm 118:26 (Luke 13:35)
24:15   Daniel 9:27, 11:31, 12:11 (Mark 13:14)
24:29   Isaiah 13:10, 34:4 (Mark 13:24)
26:31   Zech 13:7 (Mark 14:27)
27:46   Psalm 22:1 (Mark 15:34)

9:48     Isaiah 66:24

4:18-19 Isaiah 61:1-2
22:37    Isaiah 53:12
23:30   Hosea 10:8

6:45     Isaiah 54:13
10:34   Psalm 82:6
13:18   Psalm 41:9
15:25   Psalm 35:19

2:27     Psalm 2:9

*Jesus references different individual parts of the Ten Commandments on four separate occasions (listed in order of Jesus referencing them):

Exodus 20:13/Deut 5:17 – You shall not commit murder (referenced twice)
Exodus 20:14/Deut 5:18 – You shall not commit adultery (referenced twice)
Exodus 20:12/Deut 5:16 – Honor your father and mother (referenced twice)
Exodus 20:15/Deut 5:19 – You shall not steal (referenced once)
Exodus 20:16/Deut 5:20 – You shall not give false testimony (referenced once)

*Jesus references Leviticus 19:18 twice:

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself, I am the Lord.”

*But there is only one exact theme that Jesus references on three separate occasions: Hosea 6:6 twice, and its parallel, Isaiah 29:13 once:

Hosea 6:6 – “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”


Isaiah 29:13 – “The Lord says: These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.”


I don’t see how it is any coincidence that Jesus separately quoted, more than any others recorded in all of Scripture the 1) Ten Commandments, 2) an expectation of love over judgment, and 3) a throw-down-the-gauntlet type of command to usher in a new paradigm of what it means to live an authentic, God-honoring faith.

Thus, if I was a Jesus-follower willing to bet my whole life and eternity on something, I would say that through these three not-so-subtly repeated messages of Jesus I have a pretty good idea of what overarching themes our Savior expects us to concentrate on. The question is, do his followers have enough bold faith to actually live out such principles to their fullest? And when we do, I know with everything I am that we will faithfully fulfill the Lord’s will to establish kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven as best as we possibly can.


Which Old Testament Book Did Jesus Quote Most Often?

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 time 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 4:1–11Luke 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…

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 1:27Matt 19:4Gen 5:2Mark 10:6) and that man and woman were to become one (Gen 2:24Matt 19:5Mark 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 . . .


Leviticus is about holy living. Jesus referenced it a number of times to teach about honesty and making vows (Lev 19:12Matt 5:33),  about the command to love thy neighbor (Lev 19:18Matt 5:43,19:1922:39Lev 19:18Mark 12:31), and about the law of retaliation (Lev 24:20Matt 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 6:13168:3Matt 4:4710Luke 4:4812).  He also quoted this book many other times.

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…

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 5:21Mark 8:18) and the purpose of God’s house and the people’s abuse of it (Jer 7:11Mark 11:17Luke 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 3:6Matt13:4250), of signs that will appear before He comes again (Dan 7:13Matt 24:3026:64Mark 13:26,14:62), of the abomination of desolation when the Antichrist is revealed (Dan 9:27Matt 24:15), and of what they should do in response (Dan 11:31Mark 13:14).

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

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

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

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

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

A Lesson for All of Us

  • Jesus was quick to wield His Sword, which is the Word of God.  (Eph 6:17Heb 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…”

Old Testament Passages Quoted by Jesus Christ

Scholars Crossing
The Second Person File Theological Studies
Old Testament Passages Quoted by Jesus Christ
Harold Willmington
Liberty University, hwillmington@liberty.edu
Follow this and additional works at: https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/second_person
Part of the Biblical Studies Commons, Christianity Commons, Practical Theology Commons, and the
Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion Commons
Recommended Citation
Willmington, Harold, “Old Testament Passages Quoted by Jesus Christ” (2017). The Second Person File.
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at Scholars Crossing. It has been accepted for inclusion in The Second Person File by an authorized administrator
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1. Matthew 4:4
Matthew 4:7
Matthew 4:10
Deuteronomy 8:3
Deuteronomy 6:16
Deuteronomy 6:13
2. Matthew 5:21
Matthew 5:27
Exodus 20:13
Exodus 20:14
3. Luke 4:18, 19 Isaiah 61:1, 2 HOMETOWN SERMON
4. Matthew 9:13
Mark 10:7, 8
Mark 12:29, 30
Matthew 15:7-9
John 8:17
Hosea 6:6
Genesis 2:24
Deuteronomy 6:4, 5
Isaiah 29:13
Deuteronomy 17:6
5. Luke 7:27 Malachi 3:1 TRIBUTE TO JOHN
6. Matthew 21:16 Psalm 8:2 TRIUMPHAL ENTRY
7. Luke 19:46 Isaiah 56:7 TEMPLE CLEANSING
8. Matthew 21:42, 44 Psalm 118:22, 23 PARABLE ABOUT ISRAEL
9. Mark 12:36 Psalm 110:1 TEMPLE QUESTION SESSION
10. John 15:25 Psalm 35:19; 69:4 LAST PASSOVER
11. Matthew 27:46
Luke 23:46
Psalm 22:1
Psalm 31:5
The Events and Individuals He Referred To
 The creation of Adam and Eve (Gen. 1:27; 2:24; Mk. 10:6-8)
 The murder of Abel (Gen. 4:10; Lk. 11:51)
 The corruption of Noah’s day and the flood (Gen. 6-7; Lk. 17:26-27)
 The corruption of Lot’s day and the fire (Gen. 19; Lk. 17:28-29)
 The worldliness of Lot’s wife (Gen. 19:26; Lk. 17:32)
 The faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Mt. 22:32)
 Moses and the burning bush (Ex. 3; Mk. 12:26)
 Moses and the heavenly manna (Ex. 16:15; Jn. 6:31)
 Moses and the brazen serpent (Num. 21:18; Jn. 3:14)
 David and some shewbread (1 Sam. 21:6; Mt. 12:3-4)
 Solomon and the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:1; Mt. 12:42)
 Elijah, a widow, and the famine (1 Kings 17:1, 9; Lk. 4:25-26)
 Naaman and his leprosy (2 Kings 5; Lk. 4:27)
 The murder of Zechariah (2 Chron. 24:20-21; Lk. 11:51)
 Daniel and the abomination of desolation (Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; Mt. 24:15)
 Jonah and the fish (Jon. 1:17; Mt. 12:40; 16:4)
 Jonah and the repentance of the Ninevites (Jon. 3:4-10; Lk. 11:30; Mt. 12:41)
The Passages He Quoted From
 During His temptations
1. The first temptation (in Mt. 4:4 He quoted Deut. 8:3)
2. The second temptation (in Mt. 4:7 He quoted Deut. 6:16)
3. The third temptation (in Mt. 4:10 He quoted Deut. 6:13)
 During His Sermon on the Mount
1. In Mt. 5:21 He quoted Ex. 20:13, the sixth commandment
2. In Mt. 5:27 He quoted Ex. 20:14, the seventh commandment; (also compare Mt. 5:31
with Deut. 24:1). (Note: He later quoted some of the same commandments during His
talk with a rich young ruler. See Mk. 10:19)
 During His hometown sermon (in Lk. 4:18-19 he quoted Isa. 61:1-2)
 During various confrontations with Jewish rulers
1. As He defended His associating with sinners (in Mt. 9:13 He quoted Hos. 6:6)
2. As He expounded on marriage (in Mk. 10:7-8 He quoted Gen. 2:24)
3. As He was asked concerning the greatest of the commandments (in Mk. 12:29-30 He
quoted Deut. 6:4-5)
4. As He rebuked their vain traditions (in Mt. 15:7-9 He quoted Isa. 29:13)
5. As the Pharisees questioned His authority (in Jn. 8:17 He quoted Deut. 17:6)
 During His tribute to John the Baptist (in Lk. 7:27 He quoted Malachi 3:1)
 During His Triumphal Entry Day (in Mt. 21:16 He quoted Psa. 8:2)
 During His cleansing of the temple (in Lk. 19:46 He quoted Isa. 56:7)
 During a parable about Israel (in Mt. 21:42, 44 He quoted Psa. 118:22-23; Isa. 8:14-15)
 During a question session in the temple (in Mk. 12:36 He quoted Psa. 110:1)
 During His last Passover night—predicting the world would hate the disciples as they
hated Him (in Jn. 15:25 He quoted Psa. 35:19; 69:4)
 On the cross
1. His fourth utterance (in Mt. 27:46 He quoted Psa. 22:1)
2. His seventh utterance (in Lk. 23:46 He quoted Psa. 31:5)
In summary, our Lord said the Law would be fulfilled (Mt. 5:18) and the Scriptures could not be
broken (Jn. 10:35). It has been estimated that over one-tenth of Jesus’ recorded New Testament
words were taken from the Old Testament. In the four Gospels, 180 of the 1,800 verses that
report His discourses are either Old Testament quotes or Old Testament allusions.