Did Jesus Use The Septuagint (What Bible Version Did Jesus Use)?

Ever wondered what the first-known version of the Bible was? Scholars and Christians agree that the Septuagint was the first Bible translation used by the Jewish scribes from the first century. This version of the Bible was first translated to Greek from Hebrew and was the standard Bible during Jesus’ time. But did Jesus use the Septuagint?

Jesus likely used the Septuagint. The Septuagint is the first translation of the Hebrew Bible, written in Greek. The Jewish Scribes used it. Also, the Jews who lived before and during the time of Jesus used the Septuagint Bible; Jesus likely used the Septuagint Bible.

So, who wrote the Septuagint? Did the apostles use this Bible version to create the Greek versions of the epistles and Gospels? How many books are in a Septuagint Bible? Read on to find out more.

What does Septuagint mean in the Bible?

Septuagint, abbreviated as LXX, refers to the Hebrew Bible and other related documents and texts in an old version of Greek called Koine Greek. The word Septuagint is a word borrowed from the Latin language to mean seventy. This is significant because the Septuagint version of the Bible is believed to have been created by 70 or 72 Jewish scholars. While there are different legends regarding the book’s origin, many modern scholars agree that the Septuagint version of the Bible was created in Alexandria, Egypt and that the first complete Septuagint Bible was completed during Ptolemy Philadelphus’ reign.

This Greek translation forms the oldest bible translation from Hebrew, and this Bible translation was the primary Bible version used by the early Christians and the church. Jewish scribes created this bible translation in the 3rd century BC. These scribes are said to have been the direct descendant of the Jewish scribes who’d been trained in Jerusalem in Ezra’s Great Synagogue. These scribes were well-educated text experts but well-versed and fluent in Greek and Hebrew.

One of the primary reasons for this translation is the fact that the Jews from the 1st and 2nd centuries BC didn’t understand much Hebrew since their ancestors deserted Israel many centuries before, and this meant that after many generations, the Jews couldn’t read Hebrew scripture. So, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint, made sense. The early Christians used the Septuagint.

It is also worth noting that the Septuagint bible often includes books present in the Hebrew Bible, as well as additional texts found in the Apocrypha.

How many books are in the Septuagint?

What Bible Version Did Jesus Use?
Septuagint books. Source: Pinterest

The Septuagint features 39 books, most of which are the Old Testament Canonical books. It also features a category of books called apocryphal books. Note that the Apocrypha is a term created by Jerome, a biblical scholar from the 5th century. Jerome came up with this set of books that represent some of the ancient Jewish writings from the time between the writing of Malachi (the last book in Jewish Scripture) and the birth and life of Jesus Christ.

The apocryphal books include the books of Baruch, Tobit, Judith, Ecclesiasticus or Sirach, 1st and 2nd Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Books of Esdras (2 books), Prayer of Manasseh, as well as additional sections to the Books of Esther and Daniel. These books were incorporated into the Septuagint for religious and historical reasons. Even so, the apocryphal books aren’t regarded as canonical books by the Orthodox Jews and Protestants. The reformed teachers also don’t teach from these books. Only the Orthodox and Toman Catholic Churches include and use the apocryphal books.

What bible version did Jesus use?

Since it was the main version of the Bible that existed at the time and was used by the Greek-speaking Jews, Jesus also used the Septuagint or the LXX Bible. Both Jesus and the apostle Paul used the Septuagint as the primary Bible.

Like the modern Bible, the Septuagint Bible was their primary Bible. Also, it wasn’t the original Hebrew Bible’s Old Testament version but the Greek translation of the original Hebrew Bible. The Septuagint translation was, however, based on the same inspired and original words, much like the Bible used today. Only some of the translations may not have been as refined as they are in the Bible versions used today.

Following the translation of the Bible from Hebrew to Greek, the version of the Bible that Jesus used is believed to have some differences or inaccuracies compared to the original Bible. There were moral, scientific, historical, and perhaps some theological inaccuracies, but this isn’t the version of the Bible that He used. In Matthew 5:17-19, it is implied that the version of the Bible that Jesus used featured some differences from what the prophets used or the first Hebrew Bible, and though it may have seemed that He came to earth to destroy some of the Laws or words by the Prophets, that wasn’t the case. If anything, these verses infer that Jesus only came to fulfill the prophecies and uphold laws that fit the society in which He was born. He did all these and taught crowds using the Septuagint.

How often did Jesus quote the Septuagint?

Jesus used the Septuagint Bible. But he didn’t just use or refer to it occasionally; Jesus and the apostles took time to study, read, and memorize the Septuagint all the time. 

In the Gospel of Matthew, it appears that Matthew intended to convince the Jewish people that Jesus of Nazareth was, in fact, the Messiah who had been promised to them in the Bible (Old Testament). Jesus also quoted the Old Testament scripture throughout his teachings, albeit in the Septuagint. He only used the Hebrew texts for 10% of the teachings, opting for the Greek Septuagint 90% of the times he taught.

In Which Passages Does Jesus Quote the Septuagint?

Here are some of the passages that represent Jesus quoting the Septuagint. But it’s worth noting that as many as 300 quotes from the Old Testament are found in the New Testament Bible, and about 2/3 of these quotes were from the Septuagint. Some of these quotes were from the apocryphal or deuterocanonical books, which the protestants don’t use. Jesus used these quotes because He considered the apocryphal books part of the Old Testament canonical books.

Some of the suggested verses or passages where Jesus quoted the Septuagint are as follows:

  • Isaiah 7:14, quoted in Matthew 1:23
  • Hosea 6:6 is quoted in Matthew 12:7 or 9:13
  • Isaiah 40:3 is quoted in Matthew 3:3/ John 1:23/ Mark 1:3
  • He quotes Isaiah 42:4 in Matthew 12:21
  • He quotes Isaiah 6:10 in Matthew 13:15
  • He quotes Isaiah 40:4-5 in Luke 3:5-6
  • He quoted Isaiah 29:13 (Septuagint) in Mark 7:6-8
  • Psalm 8:2 and Matt. 21:16
  • Psalm 78:24 and John 6:31
  • Isaiah 53:1 and John 12:38
  • Psalm 140:3/ Psalm 14:1,3 and Rom. 3:13

Does the New Testament quote the Septuagint?

Did Jesus Use The Septuagint?
New Testament and the Septuagint. Source: Pinterest

Yes, the New Testament quotes different passages from the Septuagint. This is true because the Septuagint Bible is technically the Old Testament Bible, and most of the quotes from the Old Testament are incorporated into the New Testament. Numerous passages in the New Testament are believed to have been quoted from the Septuagint. Additionally, the New Testament is essentially the Bible version that represents the events in Christianity after Christ came and His work with the apostles. Also, Christ’s life and the fact that He was the Messiah fulfilled the prophecies from the Old Testament and the Septuagint.

Some Christians believe, however, that the Septuagint quotes passages and scripture from the New Testament and not that the New Testament quotes from the Septuagint. The reasoning is that there weren’t any manuscripts that pre-dated the 3rd century AD, which would validate claims of Jesus and His Apostles quoting or reading from the Greek Septuagint. But many people don’t support this argument thanks to the existence of a translation from before Christ’s time – this is based on the Letter of Aristeas. Aristeas was believed to be one of the high officials at the court during King Ptolemy’s reign. In this letter, it is claimed that the royal librarian suggested having the Old Testament in Greek for the library. And the king sent some Jews who lived in Egypt to the Holy Land, seeking help. The response to this was 6 scribes sent to Egypt to translate the Old Testament to Greek, hence the Septuagint.

Did the apostles of Jesus use the Septuagint after Jesus’ ascension to Heaven?

The apostles used the Septuagint when they preached and taught with Jesus. The Septuagint was a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, which is even older than the Masoretic texts, which most versions of the Old Testament are translated from today. After Jesus ascended into Heaven, the apostles continued using the Septuagint version of the Bible. 

For Jesus and the apostles, the Septuagint was the Old Testament, so they quoted from the Septuagint and the Old Testament when they wrote the New Testament. Unfortunately, some differences exist between some phrases in the New Testament believed to have been from the Old Testament. This difference concerns the Roman Catholic Church rather than the Apostles. The Roman Catholic Church switched from using the Septuagint and started using the Masoretic Texts, hence the differences, mainly because the reformers followed what the Catholic Church had done.


Septuagint Bible

Septuagint vs. New and Old Testaments

Septuagint Bible Phrases in New Testament

Bible used by Jesus

History of Septuagint


Books in Septuagint

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