New Testament Objections
“The New Testament misquotes and misinterprets the Old Testament. At times it manufactures verses to suit its purposes.”
Answer: “There is no truth to this claim. You must remember that all the New Testament authors were Jews—with one probable exception—and they were sometimes writing to Jewish readers who knew their Scriptures well. To manufacture, misquote, or misinterpret verses from the Tanakh would be absolutely self-defeating. The fact is, these authors spent much time meditating on the Tanakh, and you would be amazed to see just how insightful their quotations and interpretations are, not to mention how much they are in keeping with the ancient Jewish methods of scriptural hermeneutics.” (See Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, vol. 4, pp. 3-21.)
“According to Matthew 2:15, when the little boy Jesus, along with Joseph and Mary, fled to Egypt to escape from Herod, this “fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’” But Matthew only quoted the second half of the verse in Hosea. What the prophet really said was this: “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.” The verse has to do with Israel, not Jesus, and it is recounting a historical event, not giving a prophecy. And you claim that Matthew was inspired. Hardly!”
Answer: “When Matthew quoted the second half of Hosea 11:1, he took for granted that his Jewish readers would know the whole verse. (Remember that many of Matthew’s intended readers knew large portions of the Hebrew Scriptures by heart, and quoting just part of a verse was a common Jewish practice of the day.) What he was saying was clear: Just as it happened to Israel, God’s national “son,” so also it happened to Jesus, God’s Messianic Son, and the ideal representative of the nation. Both were called out of Egypt in their childhood.” (See Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, vol. 4, pp. 21-24.)”
“Matthew 2:23 says that when Jesus moved to the town of Nazareth, this “fulfilled what was said through the prophets: ‘He will be called a Nazarene.’” There’s only one problem. The prophets never said this! Matthew actually made it up.”
Answer: “If you’ll look closely at the text, you’ll see that Matthew does not use his normal quotation formula for citing verses from the Hebrew Bible. Normally he would say something like, “to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet,” making reference to a specific text in a specific prophetic book. In 2:23 he says, “so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled,” indicating that he is dealing with a theme (or play on words) that occurs in several prophetic books as opposed to only one text in a specific prophetic book. With this in mind, it’s not difficult to see the sections from the Tanakh that Matthew had in mind. As always with Matthew, his insights are deep.” (See Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, vol. 4, pp. 24-27.)
“Matthew 27:910 is totally confused. First Matthew quotes part of a prophecy from Zechariah, then he says it comes from Jeremiah, and then he takes the whole thing totally out of context. What a mess!”
Answer: “Allow me to respond to your objection with a question of my own: If you were a traditional Jew and found a similar citation in the Talmud not with reference to Yeshua, but with reference to some halakhic or haggadic subject would you say that it was “totally confused,” or would you say that it was a difficult passage but one that could certainly be resolved through careful study? No doubt, you would say that it could be resolved. In fairness, then, let me show you how these verses in Matthew can also be explained through careful study, looking at the deeper themes of his book and not just at this one passage in isolation. Once again, you will see that Matthew is anything but confused in his reading of the Tanakh.” (See Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, vol. 4, pp. 27-37.)
This material is reprinted with permission. Adapted from Dr. Michael L. Brown’s book series Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus.
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