Do Followers of Jesus Believe in the Hebrew Bible?

You may know that Jesus’s followers read the New Testament, which is about Jesus’s life and teaching. What about the Hebrew Bible? Do followers of Jesus read the Hebrew Scriptures which tell of God creating the universe, claiming Israel as his chosen people, liberating them from slavery in Egypt, and establishing them in their own land? Do Jesus’s followers consider it God’s Word as well? Absolutely! Jesus himself affirmed the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament writers heavily cited it, and it continues to shape how followers of Jesus view contemporary questions, such as modern Israel.

The Short Answer: Yes!

As a first-century Jewish man, Yeshua (Jesus) was certainly taught how to read and study the Hebrew Bible.1 His own teaching is consistent with, and firmly rooted in, these Scriptures. His confidence in them is exemplified in his statement that his goal is not to “abolish,” but to “fulfill” them (Matthew 5:17). He not only upholds the Hebrew Bible’s authority, but also asserts his unique role in fulfilling it. Many people sought to fulfill the Scriptures by obeying them, but Yeshua saw himself as the Messiah of which the writers of the Hebrew Bible spoke. On another occasion, he explicitly claimed that Moses wrote of him (John 5:46).

Yeshua’s early followers, most of whom were Jewish as well, likewise saw their message as not antagonistic to, but consistent with, the Hebrew Bible. For example, the New Testament book of Hebrews (an anonymous letter written to Jewish believers in Yeshua) opens with several quotations from the Psalms in order to identify Yeshua as the Son of God (Hebrews 1). The writer of Hebrews refers to Psalm 2, in which God says, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you” (Psalm 2:7), and applies this declaration to Yeshua, who referred to himself as God’s Son (John 3:16-18).

The Hebrew Bible and Faith Today

The Hebrew Bible continues to play a pivotal role for followers of Jesus today. Many of us draw comfort from Psalms’ insightful poetry and glean wisdom from Proverbs’ memorable sayings. The stories of people like Moses and King David teach us that God has purpose in the events of our own lives. When we see God’s unwavering faithfulness to Israel in Scripture, we know we can trust that he will also be faithful to all who believe in Jesus, whom he sent. We also draw inspiration and wisdom from the Torah, although the relationship between Jesus’ followers and the Torah is admittedly complicated! We will have to save that discussion for another time and article.

Faith in the Hebrew Bible accounts for another widespread practice among followers of Yeshua: support for modern Israel. A study from 2017 found that 80% of American Evangelicals agree that God’s promise to give the land of Israel to Abraham’s descendants (through Isaac and Jacob) is eternal.2 This high percentage is attributed to the high importance of the Hebrew Bible in the lives of Jesus’ followers.

Jesus believed that the Hebrew Bible was God’s Word, authoritative and foundational for his own teaching. His earliest followers also held it in high regard and often quoted or alluded to it in their writing, so much so that understanding the Hebrew Bible is necessary for understanding the New Testament. To this day, the Hebrew Bible plays an essential role in the study and lives of Jesus’ followers. We invite you to continue exploring the site to learn more about how God’s Word, in both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, speaks to our modern world and your own life.


  1. J. Julius Scott Jr., Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1995), 257.
  2. Joel C. Rosenberg Evangelical Attitudes Toward Israel Research Study (Nashville: Lifeway Research, 2017), 3.