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Getting to Know the Bible: Isaiah Overview

Updated: Feb 19, 2023



Peace & Blessings Beloved,

TGBTG for allowing us to see another day. I pray all is well with you and yours, and that your week has been fruitful & blessed thus far.



Today we are going to visit our Getting to Know the Bible Series. In this series, our goal is to come to a comprehensive understanding of each book of the bible. At this point of the series we're going to focus on Isaiah. But before we get to Isaiah 1, I want to ensure we have a baseline understanding of the book of Isaiah. This way we can have a full appreciation for the exquisiteness of the entire book, as well as each individual chapter.


And so, in that spirit, see below for a comprehensive overview of the book of Isaiah, as we prepare to behold and discern Isaiah, beginning with Isaiah 1 in our next installment of this series.





Book Type: The first book of the Major Prophets; the twenty-third book of the Old Testament.


Author: The prophet Isaiah


Date of Writing: Between 740–680 BC.


Audience: The people of Judah and Jerusalem.


Theme: Isaiah’s overall theme receives its clearest statement in chapter 12: “Behold, God is my salvation, / I will trust and not be afraid” (Isaiah 12:2). This echoes the meaning of Isaiah’s name, which means the salvation of Yahweh.


Original Language: Hebrew


Genre: Allegory; Autobiography; Narrative; Oracles; Poetry; Prophecy.


Purpose of Writing:

The Prophet Isaiah was primarily called to prophesy to the Kingdom of Judah. Judah was going through times of revival and times of rebellion. Judah was threatened with destruction by Assyria and Egypt, but was spared because of God’s mercy. Isaiah proclaimed a message of repentance from sin and hopeful expectation of God’s deliverance in the future.


Summary:

The book of Isaiah provides us with the most comprehensive prophetic picture of Jesus Christ in the entire Old Testament. It includes the full scope of His life: the announcement of His coming (Isaiah 40:3-5), His virgin birth (7:14), His proclamation of the good news (61:1), His sacrificial death (52:13-53:12), and His return to claim His own (60:2-3). Because of these and numerous other Christological texts in Isaiah, the book stands as a testament of hope in the Lord, the One who saves His people from themselves.


Overview:

Consisting of 66 chapters, Isaiah is one of the longest books in the Bible, second only to Psalms in number of chapters. However, it consists of three major parts. The first section focuses on God's judgments against the people of various locations (chapters 1-35).


The second section includes a brief segment consisting of chapters 36—39. In this section, Sennacherib attempts to defeat the city of Jerusalem, yet God rescues the city. Then King Hezekiah become sick and is told he will die. He cries out the Lord, who then agrees to extend his life. In chapter 39, visitors from Babylon arrive in Jerusalem, foreshadowing the future destruction of Jerusalem by this kingdom.


The third section focuses on God's future salvation for His people (Isaiah 40-66). They will be delivered from Babylonian captivity (Isaiah 40-48). The Messiah, the suffering servant of chapter 53, will come to redeem His people, resulting in many changes (Isaiah 49-57). Chapters 58-66 then focus on the future glory of God's people, including the destiny of Jerusalem and God's ultimate answer to Israel's prayers.


Foreshadowing:

Chapter 53 of Isaiah describes the coming Messiah and the suffering He would endure in order to pay for our sins. In His sovereignty, God orchestrated every detail of the crucifixion to fulfill every prophecy of this chapter, as well as all other messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. The imagery of chapter 53 is poignant and prophetic and contains a complete picture of the Gospel. Jesus was despised and rejected (v. 3; Luke 13:34; John 1:10-11), stricken by God (v.4; Matthew 27:46), and pierced for our transgressions (v. 5; John 19:34; 1 Peter 2:24). By His suffering, He paid the punishment we deserved and became for us the ultimate and perfect sacrifice (v. 5; Hebrews 10:10). Although He was sinless, God laid on Him our sin, and we became God’s righteousness in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).


Application:

The book of Isaiah presents our Savior to us in undeniable detail. From the first chapter, it is clear that the people have turned away from God and failed in their responsibilities as His children (Isaiah 1:2–17). Yet God miraculously holds out hope to this unrepentant people, offering cleansing of sins and the blessing that comes with faith and obedience in Him (1:18–20). Salvation lies only in God. He is the only way to heaven, the only means of obtaining the grace of God, the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).


Key Verses (ESV):


Isaiah 6:5: "And I said: 'Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!'" Isaiah 6:8: "And I heard the voice of the LORD saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' Then I said, 'Here I am! Send me.'" Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isaiah 9:6: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 14:12–13: "How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north.'" Isaiah 53:5–6: "But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."


*Note:

The book of Isaiah reveals God’s judgment and salvation. God is holy, holy, holy (Isaiah 6:3), and therefore He cannot allow sin to go unpunished (Isaiah 1:2; 2:11-20; 5:30; 34:1-2; 42:25). Isaiah portrays God’s oncoming judgment as a consuming fire (Isaiah 1:31; 30:33).


Isaiah understands that God is a God of mercy, grace, and compassion (Isaiah 5:25; 11:16; 14:1-2; 32:2; 40:3; 41:14-16). The nation of Israel (both Judah and Israel) is blind and deaf to God’s commands (Isaiah 6:9-10; 42:7). Judah is compared to a vineyard that should be, and will be, trampled on (Isaiah 5:1-7). Only because of His mercy and His promises to Israel, will God not allow Israel or Judah to be completely destroyed. He will bring restoration, forgiveness, and healing (43:2; 43:16-19; 52:10-12).


More than any other book in the Old Testament, Isaiah focuses on the salvation that will come through the Messiah. The Messiah will one day rule in justice and righteousness (Isaiah 9:7; 32:1). The reign of the Messiah will bring peace and safety to Israel (Isaiah 11:6-9). Through the Messiah, Israel will be a light to all the nations (Isaiah 42:6; 55:4-5).


May we establish, nurture, and grow a sincere love for the word of God, and study it lovingly & faithfully.

I pray you receive this with the love intended, and apply it to wisdom.


May the joy of the Lord continue to be your strength.


Love you much.


Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Blessed!


-Humble Servant


P.S- If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ, I implore you to take the time to do so right now. Use John 3:16 & Romans 10:9-10 as a foundation for making your confession of faith. And use Ephesians 2:1-10 to provide proper context for your salvation.

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