How does Paul cite the Old Testament?
Robin Jones came across the following statement by Andy Zoppelt and asked what I thought of it. I think he makes a very valid point about the untypical nature of the comment “saith the law” in 1 Corinthians 14:34.
My comments and analysis are below.
Women In The Church
By Andy Zoppelt
Part 2: Should A Woman Be Silent In The Assembly?
In the entire epistle of 1 Corinthians, whenever Paul quotes from and specially uses the term “law” (meaning written Scripture) he does so with specific intent, focus, and stylistic writing. For example, in 1 Cor. 9:8-9 Paul writes, “Does not the law also say the same? For it is written in the law of Moses: ‘You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.’” After referring to the law as saying something, Paul tells us that it is written and immediately quotes Deut 25:4 verbatim. Also in 1 Cor. 14:21 after Paul writes, “In the Law it is written” he immediately quotes from Isaiah 28:11-12. Again, in 1 Cor. 4:6 where Paul generally refers to Scripture he tells the Corinthians to learn through us the meaning of the saying “Do not go “beyond what is written.” In every case when Paul specially refers to Scripture, he says “it is written” (1 Cor. 1:19, 1:31, 2:9, 3:19, 10:7, 15:45) and consistently quotes from the Old Testament to prove his point. Here only does he not back up his reference by giving the law, how would a Berean follow Paul’s instruction if they search the scriptures to see if what law Paul is referring to? “Where is the law Paul, I am a Berean, show me!” Why would Paul suddenly change his consistent writing style in this verse only? Why doesn’t Paul even say “it is written” or even quote from the Old Testament so we have some idea what he is talking about as he has previously done in every instance throughout this epistle? Why? Either Paul was quoting a non-biblical source, such as a slogan or rabbinic saying or verses 34-35 represent an answer to a question that would justify an inconsistent verse with respect to the rest of his teachings. Possibility Paul was responding to a question and making a remark to which they would have a clear understanding. If not, then Paul was clearly inconsistent with his letters.
In my United Bible Society Greek New Testament (1966), passages quoted from the Old Testament are highlighted in bold type.
I checked through all Paul’s letters to see how he introduces these quotes from the Old Testament, and the information is below.
Then I looked for examples of where Paul writes “the law says” without actually citing any passage. The only place I found was 1 Corinthians 14:34.
The evidence is below, from which I deduce the following:
(a) Paul introduces a quote from the Old Testament by “it is written” about 30 times.
(b) Paul introduces a quote from the Old Testament by “it says” or “the law says” about 25 times.
(c) Paul quotes from the Old Testament with no introduction (presumably expecting his hearers to recognise the quotations) about 36 times.
Conclusion: It seems to me that Paul nearly always, when he refers to the law or the Old Testament, cites exactly the passage he is talking about.
It strikes me, therefore, as significant, and oddly significant, that 1 Corinthians 14:34 does not cite any passage. Since Paul regularly refers to the Old Testament to provide principles to support what he says, if this passage is a weighty passage from Paul intended to stop sisters from speaking at all in our ecclesias, it is very strange that Paul does not cite the passage he has in mind.
This gives added reason to think that either this passage comes originally from elsewhere, and it appears here either as a quotation which Paul rebuts, or a later interpolation intended to overthrow what Paul has said earlier where he encourages both brothers and sisters to speak in the ecclesia.
I have not previously been through all the Old Testament citations before to see how they were introduced. No doubt many other people have, so I would be interested in anyone else’s analysis.
Here however is what we wrote in All One after looking at this subject:
When Paul cites the Law (as in Romans 3:19; 1 Corinthians 9:8), he usually gives the actual quote and explains it. This does not happen here.
(All One, page 77)
The texts from which my conclusion is drawn are given below.
Ian McHaffie, 15 April 2011
Romans 1:17 “as it is written”
Romans 2:24 “as it is written”
Romans 3:4 “as it is written”
Romans 3:10 “as it is written”
Romans 3:20 – no introductory word , but it follows on from a series of quotations (Romans 3:10-18) and comments: “what the law says (legei), it says (legei) to those under the law”
Romans 4:3 “For what does the writing/Scripture graphe say (legei)?”
Romans 4:6-7 “as David also says…(legei)”
Romans 4:9 “for we say (legomen)”
Romans 4:17 “as it is written”
Romans 4:18 “according to what is written”
Romans 4:22 – no introductory word, but it is in a section which discusses what the law says, and it goes on “Therefore…”, and in verse 23 argues that “It wasn’t written for his sake alone, but for ours also…”
Romans 7:7 “If the law had not said (elegen), Don’t covet”.
Romans 8:36 “as it is written”
Romans 9:7 – no introductory word, but it is in a section which is introduced by “It is not as though the word of God [logos tou Theou] had failed
Romans 9:9 “This the word logos of promise: …”
Romans 9:12 “for it was said to her [Sarah]…”
Romans 9:13 “as it is written”
Romans 9:15 “for He [God] says (legei) to Moses”
Romans 9:17 “for the Scripture graphe says (legei) to Pharaoh.”
Romans 9:20 & 21 – a few words quoted from OT “Will what is moulded say to its moulder?” and “the potter”
Romans 9:25 “As He [God] says (legei) in Hosea.”
Romans 9:27 “And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel”
Romans 9:29 “As Isaiah predicted”
Romans 9:33 “as it is written”
Romans 10:5 “Moses writes graphei that …”
Romans 10:6 “but the righteousnesss based on faith says (legei)…”
Romans 10:8 “But what does it say (legei)?”
Romans 10:11 “For Scripture graphe says (legei)”
Romans 10:13 – no introductory word, but it is in a section which discusses what the law says
Romans 10:15 “as it is written”
Romans 10:16 “for Isaiah says (legei)”
Romans 10:18 – no introductory word, but it is in a section which discusses what the law says
Romans 10:19 “first Moses says (legei)”
Romans 10:20 “then Isaiah is bold and says (legei)”
Romans 10:22 “but of Israel he [God] says (legei)…”
Romans 11:2 – no introductory word, but it is in a section which discusses what the law says
Romans 11:2 “Do you not know what the Scripture graphe says (legei) of Elizah?” The passage is quoted in Romans 11:3.
Romans 11:4 “But what does the reply say (legei) to him?
Romans 11:8 “as is written”
Romans 11:9-10 “and David says (legei)”
Romans 11:26 “as is written”
Romans 11:34 – no introductory word
Romans 12:17 – no introductory word
Romans 12:19-20 “as is written”
Romans 13:11 “as is written”
Romans 15:3 “as is written”
Romans 15:9 “as is written”
Romans 15:10 “and again it says (legei)”
Romans 15:12 “and again Isaiah says (legei)…”
Romans 15:21 “as is written”
1 Cor 1:19, 31 “it is written”
1 Cor 2:9 “it is written”
1 Cor 2:16 – no introductory word
1 Cor 3:19 “it is written”
1 Cor 5:13 – no introductory word
1 Cor 6:16 –(phesi) = “it says” quoting Gen 2:24
1 Cor 9:9 “for it is written in the Law of Moses…”
1 Cor 10:7 “it is written”
1 Cor 10:26 – no introductory word
1 Cor 14:21 “In the law it is written that”
1 Cor 15:27 – no introductory word, but in explanation Paul writes: “but when it says …(eipe)”
1 Cor 15:45 “it is written”
1 Cor 15:54 “then will come true the word that is written”
2 Cor 4:13 “according to what is written”
2 Cor 6:2 “for he [God] says” (legei). I suppose one could translate “for it says”
2 Cor 6:16 “as God said” eipen
2 Cor 8:15 “according as it is written”
2 Cor 8:21 – no introductory word except “for…” He quotes Prov 3:4 LXX.
2 Cor 9:7 – no introductory word except “for…” He quotes Prov 22:8 LXX
2 Cor 9:9 “as it is written”
2 Cor 10:17 – no introductory word
2 Cor 13:1 – no introductory word
Galatians 2:16 – no introductory word, but in context of discussing works of the law
Galatians 3:6 – quote introduced by “thus…”
Galatians 3:8 – quote introduced by “Scripture … preached the Gospel beforehand to Abraham”
Galatians 3:10 “it is written”
Galatians 3:11-12 – no introductory word, but continuing with another quote
Galatians 3:13 “it is written”
Galatians 3:16 “it says (legei)”
Galatians 4:27 “it is written”
Galatians 4:30 “But what does Scripture (graphe) say (legei)?”
Galatians 5:15 – introduced by “The whole law is fulfilled in one word – ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’.”
Ephesians 1:22 Psalm 8 quoted without any introductory word.
Ephesians 2:17 Isaiah and Zechariah quoted without any introductory word.
Ephesians 4:8 Psalm 68 quoted, introduced by “its says (legei)”
Ephesians 4:25 Zecharaiah quoted without any introductory wording.
Ephesians 5:31 Genesis 2:24 quoted without any introductory wording.
Ephesians 6:2 Exodus 20:12 quoted without any introductory wording, but after it, the comment is made “This is the first commandment with a promise”, and the promise is then quoted in Ephesians 6:3.
Ephesians 6:14-17 Phrases picked up from the Old Testament e.g. “having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace”.
Philippians 2:10-11 Quotes from Isaiah 45:23 without any introductory wording.
No quotes from Old Testament
1 Thessalonians 5:8 a few words quoted from Isaiah without any introductory wording.
2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 a few words and phrases quoted from Psalm 79, Isaiah 66, Jeremiah 10 and Isaiah 2 without any introductory wording.
2 Thessalonians 2:4, 8 a few words and phrases quoted from Daniel, Ezekiel, Job and Isaiah without any introductory wording.
1 Timothy 5:18-19 “for the Scripture (graphe) says (legei)..”
2 Timothy 2:19 Quote from Numbers 16 without any introductory wording.
No quotes from Old Testament
No quotes from Old Testament
“The law says…”
1 Corinthians 9:8-9 “Do I say this on human authority? Does not the law also say the same? For it is written in the law of Moses: ‘You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain.’ ”
1 Corinthians 14: 21 “In the law it is written, ‘By men of strange tongues…’’”
1 Corinthians 14:34 “ … but should be subordinate as even the law says.”
Note, uniquely, no quotation from the law is given in the 1 Corinthians 14:34 passage.
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