Frequency of OT Quotes in the NT

In the New Testament, there are over 300 direct quotes from the Old Testament (depending on how you count the verses). If you count the allusions and possible allusions, the number jumps even higher: According to Blue Letter Bible, if you count the allusions, there are 799, and if you count possible allusions, there are 937.

Have you ever wondered which OT passages are most frequently quoted in the NT? See if the following list matches your guess:

Freq Passage Verse
7 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
6 Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
6 The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
5 And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
5 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
4 Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
4 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
4 A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God”.

Some of these are no-brainers and common themes in the Bible. But a couple of them ought to make us take note. What’s this business of “Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool” and “keep on hearing, but don’t understand” and the marvelous line of “the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone”? Even if you know what these passages are referring to, a worthwhile question is this: if the NT authors bothered to refer to these verses so much, certainly our preachers ought to refer to them equally as much, right? So when was the last time you heard a sermon on them? And if it’s been a long time (like ‘never’), then are your preachers preaching the same words with the same tone that the NT authors do?

For what it’s worth, Titus, Philemon, 2 John and 3 John do not directly quote the Old Testament.


18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. (ESV)


12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. (ESV)


110:1 The Lord says to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.” (ESV)


And he said, “Go, and say to this people:

“‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ (ESV)


22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes. (ESV)


16 “‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. (ESV)


24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (ESV)


A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (ESV)

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