Luke 4:19—Why does Jesus not quote this passage accurately?
Problem: When Jesus cited this prophecy, He lopped off the rest of the verse in Isaiah 61:2 which adds, “And the day of vengeance of our God.” Why didn’t He quote it accurately?
Solution: First of all, Jesus did quote the passage accurately, but He didn’t quote it completely. That is neither uncommon nor unacceptable. It is still done by authors today. Indeed, we have done it many times in this very book, usually indicated by ellipses (... ). Furthermore, Jesus had a very good reason for not quoting the rest of the verse—it would have been wrong. Jesus told His audience that the quotation was limited to what “is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). But the only part of the verse that was fulfilled in His first coming was exactly the part He cited. Had He continued and read “And the day of vengeance of our God” (which refers to His second coming, Isa. 61:2), then what He said would not have been true.
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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.