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Best Resources on Isaiah

The book of Isaiah addresses the problem of sin, showing the need for salvation. Isaiah is called by God to speak to the people of Judah and call attention to their wrongdoings—and the resulting judgment. But judgment is not the end of the story; the book also prophesies salvation and restoration. This hopeful picture is what made Isaiah such a compelling book to early Christians, who saw its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus.

Faithlife Study Bible, Lexham Press

Best Commentaries on Isaiah

John N. Oswalt, New International Commentary on the Old Testament (NICOT), Eerdmans, 1986, 759 pp.

In the introduction to this work, Oswalt considers Isaiah’s background, unity of composition, date and authorship, canonicity, Hebrew text, theology, and problems of interpretation, and he offers a select bibliography for further research. Oswalt also provides substantial discussions of several issues crucial to the book of Isaiah. He notes, for example, that scholars often divide Isaiah into three divisions, with chapters 1–39 addressing Isaiah’s contemporaries in the eighth century BC, chapters 40–55 presupposing the exile of the sixth century, and chapters 56–66 presupposing the eventual return from exile. While taking this scholarship into account, Oswalt defends the unity of the prophetic book and argues convincingly that the whole book can be attributed to the Isaiah of the eighth century.

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Type: Expository

J. Alec Motyer, InterVarsity Press, 1996, 544 pp.

Drawing on a lifetime of study and teaching the book, J. Alec Motyer presents a landmark, single-volume commentary on the prophecy of Isaiah. He emphasizes the grammatical, historical, structural, literary, and theological dimensions of the text and pays particular attention to three central and recurring themes: the messianic hope, the motif of the city, and the theology of the Holy One of Israel.

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Type: Expository

Barry G. Webb, Bible Speaks Today (BST), InterVarsity Press, 1997, 252 pp.

Barry Webb calls Isaiah the “Romans” of the Old Testament, where all the threads come together and the big picture of God’s purposes for his people and for his world are most clearly set forth. Attuned to the magnificent literary architecture of Isaiah, he escorts us through this prophecy and trains our ears and hearts to resonate with its great biblical-theological themes.

  • Level: Basic
  • Type: Devotional

Gary V. Smith, New American Commentary (NAC), B&H, 2007, 1,480 pp.

Examining the words of admonition, rebuke, hope, and faith within Isaiah and relating those themes to today, Gary V. Smith offers this commentary on the first half of Isaiah. Using the text, he encourages believers today as individuals and as a community to humble themselves and fully trust in God. Smith reflects a high regard for scriptural integrity and takes into account current scholarship while emphasizing Isaiah's overall unity.

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Type: Expository

J. Alec Motyer, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (TOTC), InterVarsity Press, 1999, 461 pp.

The book of Isaiah is perhaps the most compelling of all Old Testament prophecy. No other prophet rivals Isaiah's brilliance of style, powerful imagery, and clear vision of the messianic hope. Unlike many commentators who divide Isaiah between chapters 1–39 and 40–66, J. Alec Motyer instead identifies three messianic portraits: the King (1–37), the Servant (38–55), and the Anointed Conqueror (56–66). These three portraits are expounded in Motyer's lucid, insightful, and probing commentary.

  • Level: Basic
  • Type: Devotional

Best Books on Isaiah

The Theology of the Book of Isaiah
The Theology of the Book of Isaiah

John Goldingay helps us make sense of this "book called Isaiah" as a tapestry of patterned collages, parts put together in an intentional whole. The Theology of the Book of Isaiah studies the prophecies, messages, and theology of each section of the complex book, then unfurls its unifying themes—from Zion to David to the Holy One of Israel. Like a program guide to Handel's Messiah, Goldingay helps us see, hear, and understand the grandeur of this prophetic masterpiece among the Prophets.

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The Resurrected Servant in Isaiah
The Resurrected Servant in Isaiah

In the past thirty years, there has been little examination of the servant’s possible resurrection in Isaiah 53:10–12. Harry M. Orlinsky and R. N. Whybray’s interpretations, in particular, have been cited as disproving the resurrection in Isaiah 53. Despite Orlinsky’s and Whybray’s interpretations being cited multiple times as as evidence again resurrection in Isaiah 53:10–12, participant reference in discourse analysis, a method pioneered since their works were written, suggests otherwise. The Resurrected Servant in Isaiah reevaluates the scholarly consensus about the resurrected servant and proposes a new interpretation.

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The Struggle to Understand Isaiah as Christian Scripture
The Struggle to Understand Isaiah as Christian Scripture

A key emphasis of Brevard Childs’ distinguished career has been to show not only that the canon of Scripture comprises both Old and New Testaments but also that the concept of “canon” includes the way the Christian Church continues to wrestle in every age with the meaning of its sacred texts. In this new volume, Childs uses the book of Isaiah as a case study of the Church’s endeavor throughout history to understand its Scriptures.

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Concentricity and Continuity: The Literary Structure of Isaiah
Concentricity and Continuity: The Literary Structure of Isaiah

This monograph explores the structure and rhetoric of the book of Isaiah. Its thesis is twofold. First, the book of Isaiah best manifests its structural unity, thematic coherence, and rhetorical emphasis when read as an exemplar of prophetic covenant disputation. Second, the principal arrangement of the book comprises seven asymmetrical concentric sections, each made up of complex (triadic and quadratic) framing patterns. They are: an exordium (1:1, 2–5), two threats of judgment (2:6–21; 3:1–4:1), two programs for the punishment and restoration of Zion and the nations (4:2–11:16; 13:1–39:8), an exoneration of Yahweh (40:1–54:17), and an appeal for covenant reconciliation (55:1–66:24).

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The Book of Isaiah and God’s Kingdom: A Thematic—Theological Approach
The Book of Isaiah and God’s Kingdom: A Thematic—Theological Approach

The book of Isaiah has nourished the Church throughout the centuries. However, its massive size can be intimidating; its historical setting can seem distant, opaque, varied; its organization and composition can seem disjointed and fragmented; its abundance of terse, poetic language can make its message seem veiled—and where are those explicit prophecies about Christ? These are typical experiences for many who try to read, let alone teach or preach, through Isaiah. Andrew Abernethy’s conviction is that thematic points of reference can be of great help in encountering Isaiah and its rich theological message. In view of what the structure of the book of Isaiah aims to emphasize, this New Studies in Biblical Theology volume employs the concept of “kingdom” as an entry point for organizing the book’s major themes. In many respects, Isaiah provides a people living amidst imperial contexts with a theological interpretation of them in the light of YHWH’s past, present, and future sovereign reign. Four features of “kingdom” frame Abernethy’s study: God, the King, the lead agents of the King, the realm of the kingdom, and the people of the King. While his primary aim is to show how “kingdom” is fundamental to Isaiah when understood within its Old Testament context, interspersed canonical reflections assist those who are wrestling with how to read Isaiah as Christian Scripture in and for the Church.

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Best Courses on Isaiah

Mobile Ed: OT355 Book Study: Isaiah (10 hour course)
Mobile Ed: OT355 Book Study: Isaiah (10 hour course)

This course explores the main themes presented in the book of the prophet Isaiah. Israel’s unfaithfulness to her faithful God in the areas of worship, idolatry, and covenant obedience is central in Isaiah, and this theme is explored reflectively for self-examination of our own obedience in these areas. Another key theme is the supremacy of God not only over Israel, but also over every other nation of the world and any other presumed god; Israel’s God, Yahweh, is presented by Isaiah as being greater than anything else anyone can conceive of. The course also explores God’s redemptive program and his ability to carry it out in light of his supremacy and undoubtable power. This redemptive program includes God’s description of the character of, and future hope for, his people.

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Mobile Ed: OT231 Survey of the Major Prophets (9 hour course)
Mobile Ed: OT231 Survey of the Major Prophets (9 hour course)

The prophets of the Old Testament conveyed the words of God to ancient Israel, promised the advent of Jesus the Messiah, and are still relevant to our modern setting. Paul Ferris educates viewers on the office of prophet, provides detailed character studies of prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah, and outlines his methodology for teaching powerful lessons drawn from their lives and teaching. This course allows modern students and teachers of the Bible to identify themes in the ministries of Old Testament prophets and to relate them to their church, their classroom, and in a devotional sense.

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Mobile Ed: BI205 Old Testament Exegesis: Understanding and Applying the Old Testament (15 hour course)
Mobile Ed: BI205 Old Testament Exegesis: Understanding and Applying the Old Testament (15 hour course)

Embark on a journey of OT Hebrew exegesis with Jason DeRouchie. The books of the OT were the only Scriptures Jesus had. It was books like Genesis, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, and Psalms that shaped Jesus’ upbringing and guided his life in ministry as the Jewish Messiah. It was these Scriptures Jesus identified as God’s Word and that he considered to be authoritative; it was these Scriptures he believed called people to know and believe in God and guarded them against doctrinal error and hell. This course will give you the tools you need to access meaning in the OT, then apply it to your life. It will help you to grow in reading God’s living Word for depth and not just distance.

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Mobile Ed: OT291 The Jewish Trinity: How the Old Testament Reveals the Christian Godhead (4 hour course)
Mobile Ed: OT291 The Jewish Trinity: How the Old Testament Reveals the Christian Godhead (4 hour course)

In this revealing course, Dr. Michael Heiser illuminates the Old Testament basis for the Christian Godhead. Dr. Heiser, academic editor at Logos Bible Software, reveals how God was cast as more than one person in the Old Testament and how New Testament writers applied those descriptions to Jesus. Dive into Old Testament theology and powerful descriptions of God, and discover foundational truths for apologetics and Jewish evangelism. Dr. Heiser holds a PhD in Hebrew Bible and Semitic languages, making him an excellent Old Testament guide.

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