Jesus Christ on the historicity of the Old Testament

He [Jesus] consistently treats the historical narratives as straightforward records of fact. We have references to: Abel (Lk. 11:51), Noah (Mt. 24:37-39; Lk. 17:26, 27), Abraham (Jn. 8:56), the institution of circumcision (Jn. 7:22; cf. Gn. 17:10-12; Lv. 12:3), Sodom and Gomorrah (Mt. 10:15; 11:23, 24; Lk. 10:12), Lot (Lk. 17:28-32), Isaac and Jacob (Mt. 8:11; Lk. 13:28), the manna (Jn. 6:31, 49, 58), the wilderness serpent (Jn. 3:14), David eating the shewbread (Mt 12:3, 4; Mk. 2:25, 26; Lk. 6:3, 4) and as a psalm-writer (Mt 22:43; Mk. 12:36; Lk. 20:42), Solomon (Mt. 6:29; 12:42; Lk. 11:31; 12:27), Elijah (Lk.4:25, 26), Elisha (Lk. 4:27), Jonah (Mt 12:39-41; Lk. 11:29, 30, 32), Zechariah (Lk. 11:51). This last passage brings out his sense of the unity of history and his grasp of its wide sweep. His eye surveys the whole course of history from ‘the foundation of the world’ to ‘this generation’. There are repeated references to Moses as the giver of the law (Mt. 8:4; 19:8; Mk. 1:44; 7:10; 10:5; 12:26; Lk. 5:14; 20:37; Jn. 5:46; 7:19); the sufferings of the prophets are also mentioned frequently (Mt. 5:12; 13:57; 21:34-36; 23:29-37; Mk. 6 14 (cf. Lk. 4:24; Jn. 4:44); 12:2-5; Lk. 6 :23; 11:47-51; 13:34; 20:10-12); and there is a reference to the popularity of the false prophets (Lk. 6:26). He sets the stamp of his approval on passages in Genesis 1 and 2 (Mt. 19:4, 5; Mk. 10:6-8).

Although these quotations are taken by our Lord more or less at random from different parts of the Old Testament and some periods of the history are covered more fully than others, it is evident that he was familiar with most of our Old Testament and that he treated it all equally as history. Curiously enough, the narratives that are least acceptable to the so-called ‘modem mind’ are the very ones that he seemed most fond of choosing for his illustrations.

John W. Wenham, Christ and the Bible, pp. 12, 13.