Why Christians Should Study the Old Testament

Quora is awesome. You can ask all kinds of stuff and get great answers. I spend a bit of time there, mainly reading. I came across a question that pushed me to answer: Why is the Old Testament included in the Christian Scriptures. It seems that followers of Christ have forgotten their roots. A Christian who does not know the Tanakh (The Old Testament), is like a ship without a rudder. A good example of Christians who did not know the Old Testament can be found in the Corinthian Church. The Church was out of control and abusing grace in the name of spiritual freedom. Just to be clear, the other end of the spectrum is a Church that forgets the Gospel by becoming legalistic – a good example of this can be found in Galatians.  The main reason why a Christian should read, know, and understand the Tanakh is because Jesus is Jewish. He relied heavily on the Tanakh – while he was tempted in the wilderness, and to clarify what was written in it, among other things.

Using data found in biblicalstudies.org, I made a chart showing how many times Jesus referenced the Tanakh in the Synoptic Gospels.  Directly means Jesus quoted directly from the Tanakh while indirectly means He referenced a person or place.


use of the OT by the Lord Jesus


A few observations:

  • Given that the Gospel of Matthew was written for a Jewish audience, it makes sense why there is more direct references to the Tanakh.
  • Since Luke was written for a Greek audience and non-Jewish people in general, there is less direct references to the Tanakh.
  • Mark was written for a Roman audience – people of action  and little to no knowledge of the Tanakh – Mark does not reference the Tanakh much.
  • All of the Synoptic Gospels still quote Jesus referencing the Tanakh



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