Bible Study: The Book Of Isaiah

An introduction, synopsis and outline to the Bible's Old Testament Book of Isaiah the Prophet. Including famous quotes and oracles from the Bible.

Isaiah the Prophet was born into a powerful, aristocratic family and wrote the book of Isaiah around 740-680 B.C. There have been heated discussions over the authorship of chapters 40-66. Several scholars allocate all of this section to "Deutero-Isaiah," living around 540 B.C. in Babylon. Some scholars give chapters 56-66 to "Trito-Isaiah." While yet others believe supplements and editing happened as late as the 1st century B.C. These suggestions challenge the supernatural ingredient essential for predictive prophecy. If "Deutero-Isaiah" lived in Babylon, as some believe, he shows little awareness of Babylonian characteristics. Instead, he shows a great awareness with Palestine. Claiming more than one author for Isaiah goes against the writings of the New Testament also. Quotations from chapters 40-66 are found in Matthew, Luke, Acts, Romans, and all of them are contributed to Isaiah the prophet. We find in John 12:38-41 quotations from both Isaiah 6:9-10 and 53:1 together and they are credited to the Isaiah who saw the Lord in the Temple vision.

The most acceptable look at the authorship/division of Isaiah contributes Isaiah 1-39 to contain the narratives and oracles of Isaiah. Chapters 1-39 show that Isaiah lived in and around Jerusalem at some point during the late seventh century B.C. This is during a time when the Assyrians were victorious in their assault against the northern part of the country. The initial writing of Isaiah, chapters 1 to 5, summarizes the prophet's message. The prophet denounces Israel's prejudice and foolish trust in rituals, and he calls the people to repent. Isaiah evaluates the sins of Judah comparing them to a fine vineyard that produces only wild grapes. God calls Isaiah through a vision. Isaiah in chapters 6 to 8 tells King Ahaz not to fear Israel and Syria for they will fall at the hand of the Assyrians. Isaiah promises in chapters 9 to 35 that God will lift up a blameless king and judge the nations that resist Israel. Jerusalem is delivered from the Assyrians through the power of God and God heals King Hezekiah even though his trust was placed in the Babylonians.

Isaiah associated with royalty and gave advice pertaining to the political affairs of the nation. Although Isaiah was generally scoffed at, he vigorously warned against putting trust in foreign associations urging Judah to trust the Lord. Isaiah also disagreed with the societal tribulations of the day. He did not do these things because he was a social reformer; instead, he did them because he recognized the mistreatments and symptoms of spiritual deterioration. Isaiah lived the majority of his life in Jerusalem and tradition states that Isaiah was martyred during the reign of Manasseh by being sawed in two in a hollow log.

Throughout the last half of the 8th century, Judah apparently was about to follow the pattern of apostasy of the ten tribes of Israel. King Ahaz thoughtlessly turned to Assyria for security, although Isaiah told him the Northern Kingdom would soon fall under the forces of the Assyrians. Hezekiah, the God-fearing son of King Ahaz organized spiritual changes seeking the assistance of Egypt. Egypt though fell and only from divine intercession did Judah receive mercy from the same fate.

Isaiah has been called "the evangelical prophet" since he says so much about the Messiah and His redemptive work. The person of Christ is spoke about in Isaiah more than in any other Old Testament book. Therefore, there are many important and beloved passages taken from the book. A few of them are:

· "Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

· "Isaiah 2:4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

· "Isaiah 6:3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory."

· "Isaiah 6:6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:"

· "Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

· "Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."

· "Isaiah 48:16 Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me."

· "Isaiah 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."

· "Isaiah 55:1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price."

· "Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."

· "Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:"

· "Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified."

· "Isaiah 66:1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? 2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word."

Isaiah 1-39 contains oracles by Isaiah and narratives about his life. Isaiah 40-66 offers encouragement to those living at the end of the exile. Those who have gone into exile can take comfort (40:1) for their time of servitude will end when the Persian king Cyrus conquers the nations (45:1). The book of Isaiah's main theme is to exhort the people, with a special emphasis placed on the people of Israel, to put their trust in God for their deliverance. The book of Isaiah shows that blessings will come to those that put their trust in God.

An Outline to Isaiah:

I. The denunciation of Judah, 1:1-12:6

A. Judah's condemnation 1:1-5:30

1. The address

2. The indictment from God

3. A promise of restoration after judgment from God

4. Glory in the future kingdom

5. A purging

6. A millennial kingdom

7. The vineyard parable

B. Isaiah's commission

C. The Messiah's coming, 7 1 12:6

1. Immanuel's sign

2. Maher-shalal-hash-baz

3. Messiah's sign

4. Samaria's judgment

5. The retribution on Assyria and the return of Israel

6. The Branch of Jesse and its rule

7. A song of praise

II. The denunciations against the other nations, 13:1-23:18

A. Against Babylon

B. Against Assyria

C. Against Philistia

D. Against Moab

E. Against Damascus

F. Against Israel

G. Against Ethiopia

H. Against Egypt

I. Against Babylon

J. Against Edom

K. Against Arabia

L. Against Jerusalem

M. Against Tyre

III. Isaiah's Apocalypse, 24:1-27:13

A. Judgments of the Tribulation Period

B. Triumphs of the Kingdom

C. Praise in the Kingdom

D. Israel in the Kingdom

IV. The denunciation of Israel and Judah, 28:1-35:10

A. Samaria's woe

B. Judah's woe, 29:1-31:9

1. The hypocrisy

2. The alliance with Egypt

C. The kingdom of Messiah

D. The destruction of Assyria

E. The judgments of Armageddon

F. The blessings of the kingdom

V. Sennacherib's denunciation, 36:1-39:8

A. The Taunt from Assyria

B. The Truth from God

C. The Threat from Assyria

D. The Triumph over Assyria

E. The Sickness of Hezekiah

F. The Stupidity of Hezekiah

VI. The Greatness of God, 40:1-48:22

A. In releasing Judah

B. In relation to creation

C. In reference to idols

D. In provision of His servant

E. In restoring Israel

F. In Using Cyrus

G. In the judging of Babylon

H. In the release of Judah from Babylon

VII. The Servant-Messiah and Salvation, 49:1:57:21

A. The servant is commissioned

B. The servant is contrasted with disobedient Israel

C. The remnant is encouraged and exhorted

D. The suffering and the triumph of the servant

E. Salvation comes through the servant, 54:1-57:21

1. Salvation's song

2. Salvation's invitation

3. Blessings given to the gentiles

4. The rebuke to those who refuse salvation

VIII. The Program of God for Peace, 58:1-66:24

A. The Contrast between Right and Wrong Worship

B. The Dealing with Sin 59:1-21

1. Israel's sins described

2. Israel's sins confessed

3. Israel's sins blotted out

C. The Glory of Israel

D. Messiah's Ministry of Peace during the Advents

E. Israel's restoration

F. What is needed for blessings

G. God's enemies judged.

H. God's people make confession

I. The repentance of sins

J. Kingdom characteristics

K. Hypocrisy rebuked

L. Israel's rebirth The Rebirth of Israel

M. Great rejoicing in the Future


KJV Holy Bible

NIV Holy Bible, Thompson Chain Study Reference

New Jerusalem Bible

Matthew Henry Commentary

Darby Commentary

RSV Holy Bible

Barclay's Commentary

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