QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Periodically answers to questions that have been submitted to this website will be addressed in this section. It is not meant to be a forum for debate but for edification. Therefore the submitter's question may be edited to meet the stated objective of edification. Submit questions to: [email protected]
|Question: Does Precept Ministries International have an inductive Bible study on the book of Isaiah? If not could you make some recommendations?
Answer: As of December, 2005, Precept does not have an inductive study on Isaiah, but they are working on one so expect an offering sometime in the near future. Now a few thoughts about commentaries and Bible studies on the wonderful book of Isaiah.
Be a Berean: The first word as with all extra-biblical materials (including this website) is to be like the noble minded Berean believers who "received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so." (Acts 17:11)
One's interpretation of Isaiah hinges at least in part on one's general approach to the interpretation of Bible prophecy. Suffice it to say that a number of the materials available on Isaiah take a non-literal approach. As has been stated many times on this website, the safest rule in interpretation of prophecy (and of all Scripture for that matter) is to interpret the passage literally, if that is possible. If the plain sense of the text makes good sense, do not try to make any other sense out of it or it will potentially be nonsense! A non-literal approach leads for example to a tendency to take the promises that were given specifically to the nation of Israel and interpreting them as being fulfilled in the New Testament church. This non-literal approach is especially significant in regard to the interpretation Revelation 20 where we see one "thousand" years repeated no less than six times! If one "thousand" is not one "thousand" then frankly it could be anything, one's interpretation depending on one's theological mindset (e.g., dispensational, reformed, covenant, etc). The one thousand year period is frequently referred to as the millennium, the time in which the prophetic promises given through Abraham to Israel are consummated. Isaiah gives numerous prophecies that correlate well with this millennial period and which are difficult to understand if one does not accept a literal millennium. There are in fact more prophecies regarding the millennium in Isaiah than in any other Old Testament book. This fact provides one with an excellent "touchstone" by which a commentary or Bible Study on Isaiah could be quickly evaluated.
Let's apply this "test" using Isaiah 2:2 which reads…
Now let's see how two commentaries handle this passage, both of these resources being freely available on the internet…
Matthew Henry (circa 1706) writes the following note on Isaiah 2:2…
Now compare how David Guzik, a modern evangelical commentator, handles Isaiah 2:2:
What is the difference between these two commentaries? It is striking and certainly you would agree, both cannot be correct. Matthew Henry fails to interpret this passage literally and essentially does away with this promise given to Israel and gives them to the Church! David Guzik interprets the prophecy literally and concludes that Israel will be the World Superpower in the Messianic Age, the 1000 year reign, the Millennium.
This highlights the problem with Bible studies and commentaries on Isaiah…
This example highlights the potential problem one encounters with Bible studies and commentaries on Isaiah. If you agree with the literal approach including a literal 1000 year period or millennium, then you need to be very careful what you chose to lead you through Isaiah's amazing book which has more prophecies about the millennium than any other OT book.
In summary, when you are considering consulting a commentary or a Bible study on Isaiah, take a moment and see how they treat Isaiah 2:2. It could save you a lot of time and frustration.
As an aside, Matthew Henry's Commentary is highly regarded by this website and is often quoted, so this assessment is not meant to discourage you from ever referring to this respected resource. The point is that you need to never let your discerning eye wander, but continue to be a Berean. You will find that in general most of the "older commentaries" (the one's freely available on the internet) will take an approach similar to Matthew Henry in the arena of Biblical prophecy.
For further study::
|Submit questions to: [email protected]|