Did The Apostles Of Jesus Christ Quote From The Septuagint?

By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen
First Baptist Church
Spearfish, SD

     Did the apostles of Jesus Christ quote from the Septuagint, which was a translation of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek? Common consensus among Christians is that, yes, the Lord’s apostles did so. But not everyone agrees with that opinion. For instance, some, and maybe many, who are what are called “King James Bible-onlyists” say the apostles did not quote from the Septuagint. (For those not familiar with the term “King James Bible-onlyists,” the term refers to those who believe that only the King James Version of the Bible is the perfect Word of God in English.) One strong opponent of the idea that the apostles of Jesus quoted from the Septuagint is preacher and author, Dr. Samuel C. Gipp, Th.D. His opinion about the Septuagint is found in his book called “The Answer Book,” which is a compilation of his answers to questions related to the Bible. Question # 9 is this: “What is the LXX?” (Known as the “Septuagint,” Bruce K. Oyen) His short answer is this: “A figment of someone’s imagination.” After the short answer, the author gives an explanation of his answer. First, Dr. Gipp says: “First, let’s define what the LXX is supposed to be.” (Bold print here and elsewhere by Dr. Gipp. Bruce K. Oyen) The author then comments on the subject and refers to “The Letter of Aristeas.” After more comments, Dr. Gipp says, “This so called ‘Letter of Aristeas’ is the sole evidence for the existence of this mystical document.”  On the last page of Dr. Gipp’s answer to the question about the Septuagint, he says, “The New Testament quotations are not quotes of any LXX or the Hexapla. They are the author, the Holy Spirit, taking the liberty of quoting his work in the Old Testament in whatever manner He wishes. And we can rest assured that He certainly is not quoting any non-existent Septuagint.”  Near the end of the last page on this question, Dr. Gipp says, “Even if such a spurious document as the LXX really did exist……………………….”

      So, we have read in just a few pages that Dr. Gipp refers to the LXX (Septuagint) as “A figment of someone’s imagination,” “this mystical document,” as a “non-existent Septuagint,” and as a “spurious document.” But Dr. Gipp’s opinion of the Septuagint directly contradicts the translators of the King James Version. In the eleven page introduction to the 1611 King James Version, called “The Translators To The Reader,” it is specifically said that the apostles used the Septuagint. Here is what we read on pages seven and eight: “The translation of the Seventie (by which they mean the Septuagint, Bruce K. Oyen) dissenteth from the Originall in many places, neither doeth it come neere it, for perpescuitie, gravity, majesty; yet which of the Apostles did condemne it? Condemne it? Nay, they used it, (as it is apparent, and as Saint Hierome and most learned men doe confesse) which they would not have done, nor by their example of using it, so grace and commend it to the Church, if it had bene unworthy the appellation and name of the word of God.” (I updated a few spellings of words in this quote. Bruce K. Oyen)

      I wonder what the translators of the King James Version would make of Dr. Gipp’s opinion of the Septuagint. How would they respond to these statements by Dr. Gipp: “Only one more question arises. Then why are scholars so quick to accept the existence of this LXX in the face of such irrefutable arguments against it?” Would they wonder why such a staunch King James Bible-onlyist as Dr. Gipp slapped them across the face, so to speak?

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