[In reading the Old Testament] you have learned that there is balm in Gilead, that there is a great Physician there; He has checked your fearful, mortal malady, and you shall live. You have looked to the brazen serpent, you are healed. You have sprinkled your door post with the blood of God’s atoning Lamb, and the angel of destruction will pass you by. You have fled to the city of refuge, and the destroyer cannot come near you. You have laid your sins by faith on your substitute and He has borne them away into the wilderness. You have bathed in the fountain that was opened in the house of King David for sin and for uncleanness, and the defilement of guilt has been washed away. You have brought to Jesus the writing that bound you as a servant of sin, and He has annulled it by nailing it to His cross.
Note what Christ taught about the inspiration of the Old Testament:
1. Its entirety; the whole of the Bible is inspired (Matt. 4:4; 5:17-18). In Matthew 4:4, Jesus responded to Satan’s temptation by affirming verbal plenary inspiration when He said, man is to live by every word (plenary) that proceeds out of the mouth of God (inspiration). In Matthew 5:17-18, Christ promised that the entire Old Testament, the Law and the Prophets, would be fulfilled, not abolished. In fact, He declared that not even the smallest Hebrew letter, the yodh, which looks like an apostrophe (‘), or stroke of a letter, a small distinguishing extension or protrusion of several Hebrews letters (cf. the extension on the letter R with it absence on the letter P), would pass away until all is fulfilled. Christ’s point is that it is all inspired and true and will be fulfilled.
2. Its historicity; He spoke of the Old Testament in terms of actual history. Adam and Eve were two human beings, created by God in the beginning, who lived and acted in certain ways (Matt. 19:3-5; Mark 10:6-8). He spoke of Jonah and his experience in the belly of the great fish as an historical event (Matt. 12:40). He also verified the events of the flood in Noah’s day along with the ark (Matt. 24:38-39; Luke 17:26-27). He verified God’s destruction of Sodom and the historicity of Lot and his wife (Matt. 10:15; Luke 17:28-29). These are only a few illustrations; many others exist.
3. Its reliability; because it is God’s word, the Scripture must be fulfilled (Matt. 26:54).
4. Its sufficiency; it is sufficient to witness to the truth of God and His salvation (Luke 16:31).
5. Its indestructibility; heaven and earth will not pass away until it is all fulfilled. Nothing can stop its fulfillment (Matt. 5:17-18).
6. Its unity; the whole of the Bible speaks and witnesses to the person and work of Christ (Luke 24:27, 44).
7. Its inerrancy; men are often in error, but the Bible is not; it is truth (Matt. 22:29; John 17:17).
8. Its infallibility; the Bible cannot be broken, it always stands the test (John 10:35).
Jesus never challenged the accuracy or veracity of a single Old Testament passage. In fact, He never even broached the subject of an errant Scripture because the integrity of the text was always assumed and repeatedly affirmed. Christ never once indicated the slightest need to correct any statement in the Old Testament. Rather, He affirmed its truthfulness to the smallest details (Matt. 5:18; John 10:35).
God’s Word by John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue taken from Biblical Doctrine by John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue, copyright 2017, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org. Page 110.
Jesus came to a growing understanding of his Messianic calling by reading the Scriptures. He had to learn the Bible just as we must. Of course, He is the greatest theologian who has ever lived. His reading of the Bible would have been free from the problems that beset Christians who wrongly interpret passages and bring their own sinful dispositions to the text. Nevertheless, we must not imagine that Christ had all of the answers as a baby and merely waited to begin His ministry at the age of thirty without putting in hard yet delightful work on a daily basis in obedience to His Father’s will. As Christopher Wright notes, the Old Testament enabled Jesus to understand Himself. The answer to His self-identity came from the Bible, “the Hebrew scriptures in which he found a rich tapestry of figures, historical persons, prophetic pictures and symbols of worship. And in this tapestry, where others saw only a fragmented collection of various figures and hopes, Jesus saw His own face. His Hebrew Bible provided the shape of His own identity.” …He had to study to know what to do. While He was never ignorant of what He needed to know at any stage of His life, He nevertheless was required to learn (Mark Jones).
The Lord Jesus regarded the Old Testament as a trustworthy, authoritative, unerring guide in our quest for enduring happiness. Therefore we who submit to the authority of Christ will also want to submit to the authority of the Book He esteemed so highly.