Sunday, February 27, 2011

NT Use of OT Part 5: Categories of NT Usage of the OT

I now want to focus on the various ways that the NT uses the OT. Before offering my own categories I would like to mention Roy B. Zuck’s “10 ways the New Testament quotes the Old” from his helpful book, Basic Bible Interpretation.[1]

1.      To Point Up the Accomplishment or Realization of an Old Testament Prediction
2.      To Confirm that a New Testament Incident Is in Agreement with an Old Testament Principle
3.      To Explain a Point Given in the Old Testament
4.      To Support a Point Being Made in the New Testament
5.      To Illustrate a New Testament Truth
6.      To Apply the Old Testament to a New Testament Incident or Truth
7.      To Summarize an Old Testament Concept
8.      To Use Old Testament Terminology
9.      To Draw a Parallel with an Old Testament Incident
10.  To Relate an Old Testament Situation to Christ

You can reference Zuck’s book to see which passages he ties to each category. I have found Zuck’s “10 ways” to be helpful, yet as I have done my own study of the various uses of the OT in the NT, I have composed my own “ways” or “categories.” I will unveil these now. But in doing so I want to admit that my categories are not etched in stone in my mind and thus they may be revised. In fact, part of my motivation to mention these categories here is to receive feedback that affirms or challenges my views for the purpose of being more accurate. Here are my categories, which in later blogs will be fleshed out with scriptural examples:

1.      Literal Prophetic Fulfillment
2.      Restatement of an Old Testament Passage
3.      Correspondence between Israel and Jesus
4.      Correspondence between David and Jesus
5.      Application of a Timeless Moral Principle
6.      Summation of an Old Testament Principle
7.      Affirmation of an OT Prophetic Text Whose Fulfillment is Still Future
8.      Application of OT Language to a Current Situation
9.      Generational Fulfillment

I actually have another category or two that I’m mulling over right now, so be aware that the above list may undergo some changes. In my next blog I will discuss my first category—Literal Prophetic Fulfillment.

[1] Roy B. Zuck, Basic Bible Interpretation, (Victor Books, 1991), 260–70.


  1. Thanks for these posts Dr. Vlach. I'm really struggling to understand the continuity/discontinuity of the testaments. I will read them.

  2. Vimal, thanks for joining us. This is a tough issue so let's learn together.

  3. I wonder if you couldn't add a correspondence between Job and Jesus to your category of nine?
    Rhonda D.

  4. Sure Dr. Vlach.. Please teach.. :) Thanks