A Unified Whole

Scripture cross-referencing

It’s fascinating the way one passage in the Bible refers to another. For example, God encouraged Joshua, Moses’ successor, to give attention to what Moses had written (Joshua 1:7-8).

Centuries later, King Josiah listened as Moses’ writings were read (2 Chronicles 34:14ff.). And Daniel consulted the book of Jeremiah (Daniel 9:2).

In response to Satan’s temptations Jesus cited three passages from Deuteronomy (Matthew 4:1-11). In visiting His hometown synagogue Jesus took the scroll and read from Isaiah where His ministry was prophesied by Isaiah some seven centuries before (Luke 4:16-21; see Luke 24:25-27, 44-47).

As an Ethiopian court official was returning home from Jerusalem, he was reading from Isaiah 53. God sent Philip the evangelist to meet up with him, “and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him” (Acts 8:26-35).

The Gospel of Matthew cites passage after passage from the Old Testament, as do Paul, Peter, and the author of Hebrews.

What’s especially interesting is that we also find references in the New Testament to other parts of the New Testament. Peter refers to the letters of Paul as Scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16).

In 1 Timothy 5:18 Paul is apparently quoting from both the Old Testament and a book in the New Testament (Deuteronomy 25:4; Matthew 10:10 or Luke 10:7) and refers to both as Scripture.

So what’s the point?

Why all this cross-referencing? God’s word, written over many centuries, is a mosaic. Each part contributes to the Big Picture. In His sovereign wisdom God was directing the whole process of revealing and preserving His word for us.

The Holy Spirit empowered the forty or so authors of the Bible to write what God intended (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21). Therefore what we have is a unified whole and is God’s inspired word to us today.

If the Bible is simply a collection of human documents, then how can all this remarkable interconnectedness be explained?

glasses on Bible-tagged

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