Of the 39 books of the Old Testament, 24 are referred to in the Word Online study of the four Gospels. In some cases a whole chapter, or psalm, is mentioned. A whole book is referred to on one occasion (Jonah, in Series 5 Episode 7) but often a group of verses are selected.
Here are some reasons why:
The Old Testament was the Scripture read and known by Jesus and most of his audience. He studied it as a child, Luke 2: 46 - 50 (Series 1 Episode 13). He heard it in the synagogue weekly, and was invited to read it in his hometown of Nazareth where he applied the reading from Isaiah to himself as a ‘manifesto of his mission’, Luke 4: 16 - 30. (Series 3 Episode 3).
Jesus kept the Law of Moses as found in the Old Testament which was the cause of many debates he had with the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law - especially about keeping the Sabbath day holy. He said of himself that he had not come to destroy the Law but to fulfil it, Matthew 5:17 (Series 5 Episode 4).
There are many prophecies made hundreds of years earlier that were being fulfilled in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. There are several chapters in Isaiah where a servant king is identified and Jesus fulfils these prophecies, Isaiah 42, 49, 50, 52, 53, 61 ( Series 4 Episode 4).
He explained how the Scriptures - the Law and the Prophets - pointed to his suffering to the two disciples on the Emmaus Road, following his resurrection, Luke 24: 27 (Series 14 Episode 3). What a bible study that must have been!
Greater understanding of the meaning of events in Jesus’ life is gained from the Old Testament background. The significance of Jesus’ death at the time of the Feast of Passover is explained by the passage in Exodus, recounting the event when lambs were sacrificed and blood daubed on the lintels of the homes of the Israelites so that the angel of the Lord passed over those houses, Exodus 12: 13 (Series 12 Episode 11).
The illustrations of Jesus as the shepherd e.g.Psalm 74, 78 (Series 8 Episode 6) and Israel as a vineyard (Series 10 Episode 8) are among those that have their foundation in the Old Testament.
Many of the titles given to Jesus are taken from the Old Testament, too. Jesus referred to himself as the Son of Man, which is found in the book of Daniel, Daniel 7:13-14 (Series 3 Episode 8).
His knowledge of the book of Hosea is seen in his call for ‘mercy rather than sacrifice’, Hosea 6: 4-6 (Series 3 Episode 9).
Old Testament characters like Noah, Genesis 6:11-21 (Series 12 Episode 4); Abraham, Genesis 12 (Series 8 Episode 19); Elijah 1 Kings 17 (Series 7 Episode 3); and Elisha, 2 Kings 2 (Series 3 Episode 7), multiple times - Moses from Exodus 2 e.g.(Series 4 Episode 5); and King David, 1 Samuel 16 e.g.(Series 1 Episode 3); are all referred to by Jesus as he teaches his disciples and the listening crowd.
In Series 1 Episode 7, Martin Charlesworth comments that we, ‘have to remember, when dealing with the New Testament, that this is the continuation of a long story; many chapters have been written in the Old Testament. It's very characteristic for Christians, and those enquiring about the Christian faith, to be much more familiar with the New Testament and much more focused on the New Testament then they are on the Old Testament. However, we need to connect the two together in our minds very clearly.’
As you follow Word Online, you will find the rich vein of the Old Testament as it is found in the four Gospels.