It is a fact that in quotations from the Old Testament the Greek text sometimes differs from the Hebrew. The difficulties found in connection with this subject arise from our thinking and speaking only of the human agent as the writer, instead of having regard to the fact that the Word of God is the record of the words which He Himself employed when He spoke “at sundry times and in divers manners”, and from not remembering (or believing) that “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”


Hebrews 1:1 God, Who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.


At Sundry Times: = in many portions.

In divers manners = In many ways.

In time past = of old.

App 95 The New Testament and the order of the Books. (Comp Bible page 137).


2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Holy Ghost = Divine power.

Compare Matthew 15:4 For God commanded saying, `Honour thy father and mother:’ and, `He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.’

Let him die the death = he shall surely die.

Commanded. Quoted from;

Exodus 20:12 The fifth commandment. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Honour. This completes the first five commandments, and ends with “promise” (Eph 6:2) These five, that relate to piety, are thus separated from the five that relate to probity. (Uprighteousness, honesty). The first and fifth begin and end the five with honour to God, and to our parents whom He honours. They had nothing to do with our “neighbours”.

Ephesians 6:2Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise).

Exodus 21:17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.


If we believe that throughout the Scriptures we have the words of God, and not of man, all difficulties vanish. The difficulties are created by first assuming that we are dealing with merely human documents, and then denying the Divine Speaker and Author the right that is claimed by every human writer for himself.

It thus seems that man may take any liberty he chooses in quoting, adapting, or repeating in a varied form his own previously written words; but that he denies the Divine Author of Holy Scripture the right to deal in the same manner with His own words. This is the cause of all the so-called “discrepancies”

and “difficulties” arising from man’s ignorance.

The Holy Spirit, in referring to words which He has before caused to be written in connection with the special circumstances of each particular case, frequently refers to them again in relation to different circumstances and other cases. He could have employed other words had He chosen to do so; but it has pleased Him to repeat His own words, introducing them in different connections, with other applications, and in new senses.

All these things are done,  and words are even sometimes changed, in order to bring out some new truth for our learning. This is lost upon us when we charge upon God our own ignorance, and the supposed infirmities of human agencies.

One great source of such difficulties is our failure to note the difference between what is said to be “spoken”, and what is said to be “written”. If we introduce the latter assumption when the former is definitely stated, we at once create our own “discrepancy”.

True, by a figure of speech we can say that an author has said a certain thing when he has written it; but we may not say that he spoke it when he distinctly says that he wrote it, or vice versa. Some prophecies were spoken and not written; some were written but not spoken; while others were both spoken and written.

There is, surely, all the difference in the world between to rhēthen= that which was spoken, and ho gegraptai = that which standeth written. If we deliberately substitute the one for the other, of course there is a discrepancy; but it is of our own creating. This at once disposes of two of the greatest and most serious of so-called discrepancies,


Matthew 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene,”

Spoken: It does not say “written”, It is not “an unsolved difficulty”, as alleged. The prophecy had been uttered by more than one prophet; therefore the reference to the Hebrew zer (= a branch) is useless, as it is used of Christ only by Isaiah (Isa 11:1; 60:21), and it was spoken by “the prophets” (plural).


Matthew 27:9  Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet,  saying, “ And they took the thirty pieces of silver, (the price of Him That was valued, Whom they of the children of Israel did value);

Spoken: Not “written”, either by Jeremiah or by Zechariah, but “spoken” by Jeremiah. Greek  to rhēthen, not ho gegraptai.

App 161 The purchase of “the Potter’s field” (Matt 27:6-8, Acts 1:18-19) and the fulfilment of the prophecy(Matt 27:9-10) The Companion Bible.


Matthew 27:6-8

6. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, “It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.”

7. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.

Bought: = purchased with money in the market. In Acts 1:18, the word is not agorazo, as here, but ktaomai = acquired as a possession by purchase. Acts 1;18 refers to quite another transaction. See App 161.1. There is no “discrepancy” except that which is created by inattention to the Greek words used.

To bury strangers in = A burying ground for foreigners.

8. Wherefore that field was called, “The field of blood,” unto this day.


Acts 1:18-19

18. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

This man = this one, indeed.

Purchased: = caused to be purchased.

Field = place or holding.

See note on Matt 26:36. Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, “Sit ye here while I go and pray yonder.” Then cometh: The structure D&D (page 1305) shows the correspondence between the Temptation in the Wilderness (Matt 4:1-11) and the Agony in the Garden (Matt 26:36-46). That both were an assault of Satan is shown in Luke 22:43.

Luke 22:43 And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him.

Gethsemane = an Aramaic word.

Reward = pay, Sin pays its wages Romans 6:23

Iniquity Ap128.vii.1. Unrighteousness, wrongdoing.

Compare 2 Peter 2:13, where the same Greek words are translated, “wages of unrighteousness”.

Burst asunder: Dr John Lightfoot (1602-75) writes: -- “The devil, immediately Judas had cast back his money into the temple, caught him up into the air, strangled him, threw him headlong  and dashed, him to pieces on the ground”. He refers to Tobit 3:8, and adds, “That this was known to all the dwellers at Jerusalem, and argues that it was no common and ordinary event, and must be something more than hanging himself, which was an accident not so very unusual in that nation.”

This requires that Matt 27:5 be read, “He was hanged, or strangled”, instead of hanged himself.

19. And it was known unto all dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.


Matthew 27:9-10

09. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, (the price of Him That was valued, Whom they of the children of Israel did value);

10. And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.


One other consideration will help us when the quotations are prophecies. Prophecies are the utterances of Jehovah (God); and Jehovah is he Who was, and is, and is to come—the Eternal. His words therefore partake of His attributes, and may often have a past and present as well as a future reference and fulfilment. (See Ap 103); and,

1.      A prophecy may refer to the then present circumstance under which it was spoken;

2.      It may have a further and subsequent reference to some great crisis which does not exhaust it; and

3.      It may require a final reference, which shall be the consummation, and which shall fill it full, and thus be said to fulfil it.

Certain prophecies may therefore have a preterite (past indicative, or past historic) reference, as well as a future fulfilment; but these are too often separated,  and the part is put for the whole, one truth being used to upset another truth, to the contempt of Divine utterance, and to the destruction of brotherly love.

The principles underlying the New Testament quotations were fully set out by SOLOMON GLASSIUS (A.D. 1623) in his great work (written in Latin) entitled, Philologia Sacra, chapter on “Gnomes”; and, as this has never been improved upon, we follow it here.


The notes on the N.T. passages must be consulted for further information, e.g. Luke 4:18 (ІІ.1, below).


І. As to their INTERNAL form: i.e. the sense, as distinct from the words:--


1. Where the sense originally intended by the Holy Spirit is preserved, though the words may vary.


Matthew 1:23 “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

A virgin. Quoted from Isaiah 7:13-15. See the notes there. Greek parthenos, which settles the meaning of the word in Isa 7:14. See Ap 103 & 107. І. i.

Isaiah 7:13-14 “spoken”

13. And he said, “Hear ye now, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?”

He: i.e. Jehovah by the prophet; thus identifying Himself with this important prophecy.

14. Therefore the LORD Himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

The LORD. One of the 134 passages where Jehovah in the primitive text, was altered by the Sopherīm  to “Adonai”. See App 32.

A virgin: Hebrew. The virgin: i.e. some definite well-known damsel, whose identity was then unmistakable, though unknown to us. See Matt 1:21-23.

 Sopherim: (A public clerk or secretary, especially in ancient times).


Matt 1;23 (Isa 7:13-14); “spoken”. Matt 2:6 (Micah 5:2); Micah 3:3 (Isa 40:3); Isa 11:10 (Malachi 3:1); Malachi 12:17 (Isa 42:1-4); Isa 13:14-15 (Isa 6: 9-10)

Isa 21:16 (Psalm 8:2); Psalm 21:42 (Psalms 118:22-23); Psalms 22:44 (Psalms 110:1); Psalms 26:31 (Zechariah 13:7); Zechariah 27:35 (Psalm 22:18); Mark 15:28 (Isa 53:12) Luke 4:18-21 (61;1-2); John 19:37 (Zechariah 12:10); Acts 3:22-23 (Deuteronomy 18:15-19); Deuteronomy 33;13;33 (Psalms 2:7);

Psalms 15:16-17 (Amos 9:11-12); Romans 14:11 (Isa 45:23); Isa 15:3 (Psalms 69:9); Psalms 15:12 ( Isa 11:1,10); Ephesians 4:8 (Psalm 68:18);

Hebrews 1:8-9); (Psalms 45: 6:7); Psalms 1:10-13 (Psalms 102:25); Psalms102: 5,6,7,17,21 (Psalms 110:4); Psalms 105-6 (Psalms 40 6-9 See below, 11. 3. a).

1Peter 2:6 (Isa 28:16).


2. Where the original sense is modified, and used with a new and different application.

Matthew 12:40 (Jonah 1:17); John 3:14-15 (Numbers 21:8-9); Numbers 19:36 (Exodus 12:46); Ephesians 5:31-32 (Genesis 2:23-24).


3. Where the sense is ACCOMODATED, being different from its first use, and is adapted to quite a different event or circumstance.

Matthew 2:15 (Hosea 11:1); Hosea 2:17-18 (Jeremiah 31:15); Jeremiah 8:17 (Isaiah 53:4); Isaiah 12:35 “spoken” (Psalm 78:2); Psalm 15:8-9 (Isaiah 29:13);

Isaiah 27:9-10, Acts 13:40-41 (Habakkuk 1:5); Romans 9:27-28 (Isaiah 10: 22-23); Isaiah 9:29 (Isaiah 1:9); Isaiah 10:6-8 (s) Deuteronomy 30:12-14); 1 Corinthians 1:19-20  (Isaiah 29:14; 33:18); Isaiah 10:6 Exodus 32: 6-25). Revelation 1:7 (Zechariah 12:10); Zechariah  1:17 (Isaiah 41:4); Isaiah 1111:4 ( Zechariah 4: 3,11,14).

·          (s) This denotes that it agrees with the Septuagint Version in these cases, and not with the Hebrew. With (s*) it denotes that it is nearly, but not exactly, the same.


ІІ. As to their EXTERNAL form: i.e. the words, as distinct from the sense.


1. Where the words are from the Hebrew text or Septuagint  Version.

Matthew 12:7 (Hosea 6:6); Hosea 22:32 Exodus 3:6); Mark 12:26 H  (Exodus 3:6); Exodus 11:17 H  (Isaiah 56:17. Jeremiah 7:11);Luke 4:18 (Isaiah 61:1-2-).


H This denotes that it agrees with the Hebrew, but not with the Septuagint Version.


2. Where the words are varied by omission, addition, or transposition.

Matthew 4:10 (Deuteronomy 6:13; 10:20); Deuteronomy 4:15-16 (Isaiah 9:1-2); Isaiah 5:21 (Deuteronomy 24:1); Deuteronomy 5:38 (Exodus 2124. Leviticus 24:20); Leviticus 12:18-21 (Isaiah 42:1-4); Isaiah 19:5 (Genesis 2:24); Genesis 22:24 (Deuteronomy 25:5-6). Romans 11:3-4 (1 Kings 19:10,14,18).

1 Corinthians 2:9 (Isaiah 64: 4); Isaiah 14:21 (Isaiah 28:11-12); 1 Peter 1:24-25 (Isaiah 40 :6-8).


3. Where the words are changed, by a various reading , or by an inference, or in Number, Person, mood, or Tense.  

The necessity for this is constantly experienced today in adapting a quotation for any special purpose beyond its original intention. It is no less authoritive as Scripture, nor does it altar the word of God.


A.     By a different reading.

          Hebrew 10:5 s (Psalms 40;6; see notes in both passages).

B.     By an inference.

          Matthew 2:6 (Micah 5:2); See notes. Acts 7:43 Amos 5:25-27) Romans 9:27s (Isaiah 10:22); Isaiah 9:29 ( Isaiah 1:9) Isa 9:33 (Isaiah 28:16);

          Ephesians 4:8 (Psalms 68:18).

C.     In Number.

          Matthew 4:7 (Deuteronomy 6:16); Romans 4:7 (Psalms 32:1); Romans 10:15 (Isaiah 52: 7).


4. Where two or more citations are combined. Composite quotations.

This is a common practice in all literature.

The Iliad (sometimes referred to as the Song of Ilion or Song of Ilium) is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer.


PLATO (429-347 B.C.), Ion page 538 (Companion Bible) connects two lines from Homer (about 850 B.C.), one from Іliad, xi 1 638, and the other from 1, 630.

XENOPHON (430-357 B.C.), Memorabilia, Bk1.chapter 2 verse 58, gives as one quotation two passages from Homer (Іliad, ii. 188, &c., and 198 &c).

LUCIAN (A.D. 160), in his Charon, verse 22, combines five lines together from HOMER from different passages (Іliad, ix. 319, 320; and Odyssey, x.521, and xi 539).

PLUTARCH (About A.D. 46 ),  In his Progress in Virtue, combines in one sentence Homer (Odyssey, vi. 187, and xxiv. 402).

CICERO (106-43 B.C.), De Oratore, Book ІІ, verse 80 , combines in two lines parts of Terence’s lines (Andria ,115, 116, Parry’s edition.)

PHILO (20 B.C. – A.D 40), In Who is the Heir of Divine Things (verse 5), quotes, as one address of Moses, parts of two others (Numbers 11: 11, 13,&22). In the same treatise (Verse 46)he combines parts of Genesis 17:19 and 18:24.


Genesis 17:19 And God said, “Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.


Genesis 18:24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt Thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?

Peradventure = perhaps.


Illustrations could be given from English authors. Man may make a mistake in doing this, but not so the Holy Spirit.

In Matthew 21:5, Isaiah 62:11 is combined with Zechariah 9:9.

In Matthew 21:13 Isaiah 56:7 is combined with Jeremiah 7:11.

In Mark 1:2-3 Malachi 3:1 is combined with Isaiah 40:3.

In Luke 1:16-17 Malachi 4:5-6 is combined with Mal 3:1.

In Luke 3:4-5 Malachi 3:1 is combined with Isaiah 40:3.

In Acts 1:20, Psalms 69:25is combined with Ps 109:8.

In Romans 3:10-12, Ecclesiastes 7:20 is combined with Psalm 14: 2-3 & Psalm 36:1.

In Romans 3:13-18, Psalm 5:9 is combined with Isa 59: 7-8, & Psalm 36:1.

In Romans 9:33, Isaiah 28:16 is combined with Isa 8:14.

In Romans 11:26-27s, Isa 59:20-21 is combined with Isa 27:9.

In 1 Corinthians 15:54-56, Isa 25:8 is combined with Hosea 13:14.

In 2 Corinthians  6:16 Leviticus  26:11 is combined with  Ezekiel 37:27.

In Galatians 3:8, Genesis 12: 3-18 is combined with Genesis 18:18.

In 1 Peter 2:7-8, Psalm 118:22 is combined with Isa 8:14.


5. Where quotations are made from secular writers. See the notes on,


Acts 17:22-23 & 28.

22.Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, “Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.

Too superstitious = more religiously disposed than others.

The noun occasionally in 25:19. The A.V. rendering is too rude, and Paul had too much tact to begin by offending his audience.

25:19 Festus would not say “superstition” in speaking to Agrippa, who was himself of the Jews’ religion.

23.For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.

Devotions =the objects of your worship.

UNKNOWN Greek agnōstos (agnostic) Public or private calamities would suggest whom some god whom they could not identify must be

propitiated. (to gain or regain the favour or goodwill of : appease —)

Note Paul’s skilful use of local circumstances.

28. For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, `For we are also His offspring.’

Offspring: Greek genos. Translated kind, race, nation, kindred &c. Offspring only here, verse 29, and Revelation 22:16.

Adam was by creation son of God. Genesis 1:27, 2:7. see App 99 and Luke 3:38.

Luke 3:38.

All mankind are descended from Adam, and in that sense are the posterity or offspring of God. That every child born into the world “comes fresh and fair from the hands of the maker”, and is therefore the direct offspring of God, is emphatically contradicted by John 1:13, where the one begotten of God is set in opposition to the rest of mankind who are begotten of the flesh and will of man.


John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Which: = who: i.e. those who believe on His name. But antecedent (a substantive word, phrase) to any ancient MSS., Irenaeus (A.D.178),

Tertullian (A.D. 208), Augustine (A.D. 395), and other Fathers, read, “Who was begotten” (Singular; not plural). The “hos” (which = Who) agreeing with “autou” (His name. Greek onoma autou, name of Him). Verse 14 goes on to speak of the incarnation of Him Who was not begotten by human generation.

The Latin codex Veronensis (Before Jerome’s Vulgate) reads, “Qui…natus est”.

Tertullian (De carne Christi, c. 19) says that “believers” could not be intended in this verse, “since all who believe are born of blood”, &c. He ascribes the reading of the Received text to the artifice (An artful or crafty expedient; a stratagem). of the Valentinian Gnostics of the second and third centuries).


I Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

Communications = associations.

Manners Greek ēthos In plural = morals. A quotation from the Thais of Menander, and Athenian poet.


Colossians 2:21-22

21. (Touch not; taste not; handle not;

22. Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

Doctrines: The doctrines of men and demons are various, and therefore plural. But the Divine teaching is one.


1Timothy 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our saviour Jesus Christ, Who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

The Lord did this in His own person, when He arose from the dead, alive forever more.


1Timothy 4:6,13,16.

06. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

13. The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.

16. At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.

Answer = defence.


Titus 1:12 One of themselves even a prophet of their own ,said, “The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.”

A prophet: To Paul, a prophet by repute only. It is supposed that the reference is to Epimenides

Bellies = persons.

Slow = Idle.