How to Instantly Spot NT Allusions to the OT

One of the most illuminating things that can happen in your Bible reading is when a few of your neurons fire as they pick up a subtle allusion a New Testament author makes to the writings of an Old Testament one. There’s great value in making a connection like that. It’s like what N.T. Wright once said about metaphors, “Metaphor consists in bringing two sets of ideas close together, close enough for a spark to jump… so that the spark, in jumping, illuminates for a moment the whole area around, changing perceptions as it does so.”

However, a computer’s “brain” has something yours doesn’t: perfect retention. And a memory never hovers on the tip of a computer’s tongue. So when your goal in study of biblical allusions is to cover the whole Bible, or to make a quick scan, or to make sure you didn’t overlook something—pick up the tools in your Logos toolbelt.

One of the Logos Pros will show you how:

It takes some effort and diligence to look through all the results Logos guides bring up on any given passage. To patiently scour the Parallel Passages section or OT Quotes and Allusions information is to take time away from watching funny YouTube clips. What will motivate you to do this extra work? Simply put: the excitement of understanding how the Bible fits together.

If the Bible, ultimately speaking, has one Author, it’s no surprise that it is full of intertextual connections. To understand the Bible is in large part to grasp those connections.

Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old TestamentSome of those connections are hard to grasp. The line between quotation and allusion isn’t always clear. NT authors sometimes did unexpected things with OT texts. That’s why D.A. Carson and G.K. Beale edited a Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament.

Beale HandbookBeale also wrote a helpful Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament: Exegesis and Interpretation.

Beale New Testament Biblical TheologyThis field has been a major focus of Beale’s study over the course of his career: for a macro look at how the Old Testament unfolds in the new, you’ll want to see his New Testament Biblical Theology. And for a collection of essays Beale edited with different perspectives on the issues, there’s his The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Text?: Essays on the Use of the Old Testament in the New.

I’m genuinely interested to hear what nuggets Logos users have turned up in their own study because they bothered to look at some of the tools tracking biblical allusions. Let me know in the comments.

Written by
Mark Ward

Mark Ward (PhD, Bob Jones University) is Senior Editor for Digital Content at Word by Word, the official Logos blog. He is the author of several books and textbooks including Biblical Worldview: Creation, Fall, Redemption (BJU Press, 2016), Basics for a Biblical Worldview (BJU Press, 2021), and Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible (Lexham Press, 2018), which became a Faithlife infotainment documentary. He is also a host for Logos Live and is an active YouTuber.

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Written by Mark Ward
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