7. Realize that most New Testament quotations of the Old Testament are taken from the Septuagint (LXX).
On occasion someone will cross-reference from the New Testament, where they have just read the Biblical writer quoting from the Old Testament, to the Old Testament reference being cited. They will notice that the quotation may not match exactly what their Old Testament records for that verse. What is going on? We need to realize that the New Testament writer may well have been quoting from the Septuagint. The Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament that was completed in the mid 200’s B.C. This translation of the Hebrew Scriptures was widely used at the time the New Testament documents were being written. So the author of Scripture in the New Testament may have been quoting form a Greek translation of the Old Testament and when we compare that with our English translation of the Hebrew Old Testament it may not be phrased exactly the same.
Beyond that, it is more than possible that the New Testament writers did not always attempt to quote verbatim when they referred to the Old Testament. Suppose we would make a tape recording of the conversations taking place during a small group Bible study and then compare what we quoted as Scripture with what our actual English versions say. Would the differences invalidate what we said in the Bible study? Would we be found to be liars when we heard ourselves say, “Psalm 35:4 says …” and then discovered it did not match exactly with our version of that passage? No.
8. Realize that when the New Testament quotes from the Old Testament, God, as the ultimate Author, has the right to give His own meaning or interpretation of what He wrote in the first place.
Scripture makes clear that it is of divine origin. This means that God has the freedom to explain what He has said. “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:20-21). “All Scripture is God-breathed …” (2 Timothy 3:16).
9. Use the fuller of two accounts to explain the shorter account.
Consider the Biblical accounts that describe the conversation of the Apostle Paul. The actual event is described for us in Acts 9:10-19. Paul’s testimony of it before the Jews in Jerusalem is recorded in Acts 22:12-16. Upon reading the two accounts it becomes clear that 9:10-19 is the fuller account and 22:12-16 is an abbreviated account (little wonder Paul abbreviated it, read Acts 22 for the context in which he gave this testimony!). It would only make sense to allow the fuller of the two accounts to explain the shorter one.
If we go to the movie theater and see a film and then try to relate it to someone who later asks us to tell them about it, we don’t tell them the entire story. We give them the bits and pieces of the movie that will explain the basic story line. Although we have only reported small portions of the plot, when that person goes to see the movie they find us later and say, “It was just like you described it!”