The subject on the relationship between the Hebrew bible also known as the Old Testament and the Greek Bible also known as the New Testament has been debated since time immemorial. Many people have attempted to compare and contrast the various teachings contained in both the Hebrew and the Greek Bibles and more often than not there has not been a concrete conclusion. As a matter of fact, this comparison has most cases brought about controversies. This is because different people view the two accounts differently. Some people view the Greek Bible as the continuation of the Hebrew Bible.
Others view the Greek Bible as one that attempts to solve some literary problems of the Hebrew Bible. Others still view the Greek Bible as a fulfillment of the Hebrew Bible while others view the two accounts as different and in fact, contradicting. This has led to many arguments, confusion and even false teachings. This paper takes an in-depth look at all the above views and attempts to establish the actual relationship between the Greek and the Hebrew Bibles. Most theologians argue that the Greek bible is a fulfillment of the Hebrew Bible.
In support of their argument the theologians assert that most of the prophecies made in the Hebrew Bible came to happen in the Greek Bible. A good example is the coming of the son of God Jesus Christ. The scriptures record that a child will be born to us and the government will be upon his shoulders (Isaiah 9:6-7). This was a prophecy by a Hebrew Bible prophet known as Isaiah. This prophecy was fulfilled in the Greek Bible when Jesus was born. Keen scrutiny of both accounts reveal that most prophesies that were made in the Hebrew Bible were actually fulfilled in the Greek Bible.
The Hebrew Bible talks of a Messiah who shall be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). This was fulfilled in the Greek Bible when the angel Gabriel appeared to Virgin Mary and told her that she would be pregnant (Luke 1:34). Jesus also goes on record in the Greek Bible saying that all the things written about him in the Hebrew Bible must come to fulfillment (Luke 24:4). The above mentioned prophecies are just some of the many prophecies in the Hebrew Bible that were fulfilled in the Greek bible.
In fact theologians argue that there are at least 44 prophecies of the Hebrew Bible which came to be fulfilled in the Greek Bible. On the other hand some people argue that the two accounts actually lay emphasis on different issues but at the end they are found to complement each other as the bottom line message is the same. For instance, in the Hebrew Bible the Lord spoke to prophet Jeremiah saying to him “a time will come when I will make a new covenant” (Jeremiah 31:31). The Greek Bible is therefore seen by theologians as the new covenant that God was referring to.
Theologians also argue that we can easily compare the prophetic ministry of Jesus with the prophetic ministry of Moses in the Hebrew Bible. Another argument that has generated much controversy is that the two accounts have no relationship and that as a matter of fact they contradict each other. It is believed that the Greek Bible is a modification of the Hebrew Bible. In fact some people have argued further saying that the Greek Bible is of more value as compared to the Hebrew Bible especially to Christians.
The basis of their argument is that the Greek Bible was written after the coming of Christ and that the law had changed considerably. For some the Greek Bible is a continuation of the Hebrew Bible. The Hebrew Bible is said to have laid a foundation for most of the teachings found in the Greek Bible. According to supporters of this argument, the whole Bible is actually a lengthy revelation which begins in the Hebrew Bible and continues to the Greek Bible. They therefore argue that the existence of the Hebrew Bible was extremely necessary as it laid the basis of consequent existence of the Greek Bible.
The assertion therefore is that for anyone to clearly understand the Greek Bible it is necessary that one first reads the Hebrew Bible. For instance, the Greek Bible talks of Jesus the Messiah, but without having read the Hebrew first it would be difficult to comprehend why the Jews actually needed a Messiah. The Greek Bible is also viewed as a completion of God’s work that started in the Hebrew Bible. It is seen as a means in which God’s made promises in the Hebrew Bible come to pass.
Actually some people argue that the Hebrew Bible and the Greek Bible are one account but divided into two. Close scrutiny of the Greek Bible also reveals that there has been a great reference to various phrases of the Hebrew Bible. Jesus in the Greek Bible himself made direct reference more than one time of the Hebrew Bible as he spoke (Matthew 4:10, Luke 4:8) While looking at the relationship between the Greek and the Hebrew Bible it is equally important to look at the character of God in both aspects so as to determine how similar or how different the two accounts are.
For instance God in the Hebrew Bible is seen as one who is very strict, quick to anger and one who punishes severely. However in the Greek Bible through his son Jesus Christ, God is seen as one who is full of love, compassion, slow to anger and forgiving. However in-depth study reveals otherwise. The only difference actually was the manner in which God presented himself in the two accounts. The Greek Bible is also seen as one that attempts to reveal or explain further the scriptures of the Hebrew Bible. The Hebrew Bible is also viewed somewhat as a covering of the Greek Bible.
For instance, the coming of Christ can be seen in form of a shadow in the account of the Hebrew Bible. It is not very clear and it’s somewhat difficult to understand the explanation of the coming of Christ that is given in the Hebrew Bible. The Greek Bible has also helped to clarify the contents of the Hebrew Bible. The Hebrew Bible therefore is not only a foundation and basis of the Greek Bible but also a preparation to the Jews for the coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ whose life account is given in the Greek Bible.
The Messiah would deliver them from their sinful nature as seen in the Hebrew Bible so that they can establish a close and personal relationship with God as witnessed in the Greek Bible. Having looked at various views and opinions of different people regarding both the Hebrew and the Greek Bibles it is also important to also look at the existing similarities and differences of the two accounts. In the Hebrew Bible when the people sinned, an animal would be sacrificed as a means of seeking forgiveness from God.
This is however different from the Greek Bible where the Messiah Jesus Christ shed blood to cleanse the sins for all and thus bring forgiveness for all. (Matthew 26:28) Prophet Jeremiah in his prophecies has talked about the new covenant. According to Jeremiah, the Lord spoke and said that I will put my law in their minds and write it in their hearts (Jeremiah 31:34) Paul in one of his books in the Greek Bible has sharply contrasted with the old covenant saying that the law that was used in the Hebrew Bible led to death as opposed to the law that was used in the Greek Bible which gave life.
The Hebrew Bible among its many teachings has also given an account of how everything came to be. It has expanded expansively the whole creation explaining every minute detail of it (Genesis 1, 2). The Hebrew Bible may therefore be said to be more oriented on the invention of life. The Greek Bible as already said is a continuation of the Hebrew Bible but again it has given a considerable account of the life after death and the world to come. It is therefore more oriented on the end of the human life and the life after.
(the book of revelation). In the Hebrew Bible, salvation was only to the Jews and any other tribe was considered sinful. However, in the Greek Bible, Salvation comes to all, both the Jews and the Gentiles. It is at this instance that the Greek Bible is considered more accommodative and inclusive as opposed to the Hebrew Bible. Some similarities in the two accounts among others include; in the Hebrew Bible there were 12 tribes of Israel while in the Greek Bible Jesus the Messiah had 12 followers popularly referred to as the 12 disciples.
The number 12 therefore seems significant in both accounts. The Hebrew Bible also indicates that the Israelites on their way to the Promised Land stayed in the desert for 40 days. The number 40 is then repeated in the Greek Bible where it is stated that Jesus stayed in the desert for 40 days without anything to eat or drink. In conclusion therefore, both the Hebrew and the Greek account are relevant to Christians and no account is lesser than the other. The both accounts may differ in their areas of emphasis but the bottom-line is that they have a similar message.
It is therefore correct to conclude that there exist a close relationship between the Hebrew and the Greek Bibles and that Christians should relate to the two accounts for a clearer understanding of God’s word. Works Cited Aageson James W. In the Beginning: Critical Concepts for the Study of the Bible. New York, Westview Press Bible, 2000 Kaiser Walter C. The Christian and the Old Testament. London. William Carey Library, 2003 Ollenburger Ben C. Old Testament Theology: Flowering and Future. London, Eisenbrauns Bible, 2004 Scobie Charles H. The Ways of our God: An approach to Biblical Theology. London, Wm B Eerdmans Publishing, 2002
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