Publisher: InterVarsity Press (IVP)
Isaiah is a story of crisis. Two crises, in fact. In the first, the Israelites are facing the threat of conquest and exile by the mighty Assyrian empire. Unlike their earlier enslavement in Egypt, this time they have no one to blame but themselves. They have deliberately disobeyed God and the prophet is pleading with them to repent before they receive the consequences of their actions. Through poems, songs, and stories, he delivers hard words to a defiant people.
But tenderness and hope are also present in the book of Isaiah. Speaking to a second crisis 150 years later, it reminds the people of Judah, exiled in Babylon, that the God who has called them is faithful, tender, and compassionate toward those he calls. God has a plan not just for their redemption and return, but for the redemption of the entire created world.
Between these historical shifts and its unfamiliar poetic forms, Isaiah can be a challenging book for today's readers. This guide will help us make sense of its parts so that we can understand the scope of Isaiah's message and its importance in the overall story of God's work. And, for a people facing our own crises, these studies will point us to the God who is still faithfully, compassionately speaking and redeeming the creation and people he loves.
The Understanding the Books of the Bible series moves groups away from a typical Bible study format into a new approach to experiencing the Bible together. Instead of following artificial chapter and verse divisions, these study guides lead groups through whole books following their natural outlines and flow. They pose engaging questions for discussion with personal implications all along the way, leading to a community Bible experience.