The biblical books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel, also known as the Major Prophets, are an invaluable mine of spiritual truth, especially as regards the nature of God, His providence, the meaning of having a covenant with Him, and the character and purpose of the Messiah. Without the historical and cultural background and detailed analysis that you can only get from the commentaries, these mines might seem virtually closed to you. You will gain a great deal from a judicious selection of study aids in your attempts to “go deeper” in this part of the Word of God.
As with commentaries on other parts of the Bible, you need to find a good match between your own needs and abilities and what your commentary provides, because they are all on different levels. Here and there I will add notes as I am able to help you along in your decision-making process. They are all in this navy-blue color. —Steve
Study all the major and minor prophets in easily digestible sections that emphasize personal application as well as biblical
content. Wiersbe’s non-technical outlines explanations, and insight make even the most difficult passages come alive. Warm and accessible, and useful, it’s the commentary that reads like letters from a good friend. 464 pages, hardcover from Victor.Overview of the Prophets: The Bible Exposition Commentary
- Theologically conservative/evangelical (Baptist)
- Non-technical (no knowledge of Greek or Hebrew needed)
- Written from an expositional/applicational perspective using a section-by-section format
- Uses the author’s own translation
- Geared for students and pastors
Covers these Be Series books/prophets:
- Be Comforted: Isaiah
- Be Decisive: Jeremiah
- Be Reverent: Ezekiel
- Be Resolute: Daniel
- Be Amazed: Hosea, Joel, Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Malachi
- Be Heroic: Haggai, Zechariah, Lamentations
The NLT Biblical Commentary series is the product of nearly 40 scholars, many of who participated in the creation of the NLT. The contributors to this series, who are well known and represent a wide spectrum of theological positions within the evangelical community, have built each volume to help pastors, teachers, and students of the Bible understand every thought contained in the Bible. In short, this will be one of the premier resources for those seeking an accessible but fairly high-level discussion of scriptural interpretation.
Young’s classic 3-volume commentary engages in a line-by-line exegesis of the Book of Isaiah, setting interpretation firmly in the context of Isaiah’s archaeological, cultural, and intellectual background. Young’s conclusions are theologically conservative, and though he believes Isaiah to be a unified, single-author book, he respectfully interacts with opposing views. Includes bibliographies and indexes. Volume 1 covers chapters 1-18; Volume 2 looks at chapters 19-39; Volume 3 surveys chapters 40-66.I highly recommend this commentary, written by a top-notch conservative scholar from 1966-72. Not overly technical. —Steve
Located on the front of the historic Trinity Church in Boston are sculptures of six men. At the center are four Gospel writers, who are flanked on the right by Paul the Apostle and on the left by Isaiah the prophet. Isaiah’s presence in this distinguished company speaks volumes about the importance of this Hebrew prophet to the church. In this Holman Old Testament Commentary, Trent C. Butler has made this Mount Everest of Bible prophecy accessible to those who teach and preach. Dr. Butler brings to bear both linguistic and historical insights to understand Isaiah in his own context and to discern the application of his prophecy in our time. Also coming soon in this series are volumes discussing Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. Theologically, the Holman Old Testament Commentary Series is conservative evangelical. You do not need to know Greek or Hebrew to benefit from this collection. Geared for students, teachers, and pastors this series is organized in a section-by-section format based on the NIV. The expositional and applicational perspective used in these works makes them extremely valuable resources for anyone.
Passionate and highly accessible, Ortlund’s expositional commentary on Isaiah is ideal for sermon preparation or personal study. Focusing on
God’s sovereignty over men and nations, he addresses “Our Urgent Need: A New Self-Awareness”; “Finding God in Failure”; “God’s Way to Revival”; “Gods That Fail and the Collapse of Their Cultures”; “Guilt, Substitution, Grace”; and more. 448 pages, hardcover from Crossway Books.
The reader of a book as large as Isaiah needs some sense of the structure of the whole in order to grasp the significance of the individual segments. A major issue for understanding both the structure and the unity of the book is the narrative section in chapters 36-39. These chapters connect the poetic portions in chapters 1-35 and 40-66. Chapters 1-35 relfect the backdrop of the Assyrian crisis and culminate in the deliverance of Jerusalem from Sennachreib through the faith of Hezekiah (chapters 36-37). Chapters 38-39 describe God’s extension of Hezekiah’s life, the arrival of Babylonian envoys to congratulate him (and promote and alliance between them), and God’s announcement of the future Babylonian exile. These events set the stage for chapters 40-66, which reflect the backdrop of the return from Babylonian exile. The fact that the events of chapters 38-39 predate those of chapters 36-37 indicates a deliberate arrangement which affirms the unity of Isaiah.Chapters 1-12 hinge around the call of Isaiah in chapter 6. The first five chapters focus on Judah’s dangerous spiritual condition, characterized by ingratitude, insincere worship, corruption, and idolatry. Chapters 7-12 highlight the weak faith of Ahaz as representative of Judah’s fundamental problem. God’s judgment, it is clear, will come by means of the dreaded Assyrians. The presentation of Isaiah’s call, cleansing, and commission in chapter 6 not only establishes his prophetic credentials, but it also establishes Isaiah’s experience with God as the model for Judah’s conversion as well. This conversion will not occur in Isaiah’s lifetime, however, for he is told that the people will be unresponsive to his message. Isaiah 13-27 serves to warn Judah neither to fear nor to form an alliance with other nations. Through a series of messages to various neighboring nations, God demonstrates that he is not simply the regional God of Judah. All nations are under his sovereign rule and all must answer to him for their sins. God is also concerned for these nations and their salvation through his covenant people. This section culminates with a more generalized, semi-apocalyptic examination of the reality and purpose of God’s judgment (chapters 24-27).
The New Testament quotes Isaiah more than any Old Testament book other than Psalms, but Isaiah offers much more to the Christian. The challenges the prophet Isaiah confronted in his ministry provide the backdrop for profound theological insights. During Isaiah’s lifetime the Northern Kingdom fell and the Southern Kingdom was facing the future prospect of defeat and exile as well. In his critique of the sins that would cause Judah’s fall to Babylon, Isaiah provides insights into the basic qualities God looks for in a relationship with his people.The burning question remains how God can continue his covenant purpose through his chosen people if all that lies ahead is defeat and exile. The answer lies in the revelation Isaiah receives of a glorious future in which God overcomes his people’s bondage to Babylon and ultimately their bondage to sin. The key to this future is the glorious nature of God.Through his great command of language and imagery Isaiah conveys a God who is sovereign and powerful, but also faithful and compassionate; a God who is exalted above the heavens, but also at home with the humbe and contrite; a God who brings devastating judgment, but also works and waits for sinners to return to him. Terry Briley, Ph. D., is an associate professor of Bible at Lipscomb University, Nashville, Tennessee, since 1986. Terry Briley received the B.A. from David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University), then a M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition to teaching at Lipscomb University, he is the Senior Minister at Natchez Trace Church of Christ and leads an annual summer mission trip to Brazil. [TOP]Briley is a conservative scholar whose commentary should be accessible to the student unfamiliar with Hebrew. —Steve
Unlike many Isaiah commentators who divide the book between chapters 1-39 and 40-66, J. Alec Motyer identifies three messianic portraits: the King (Isaiah 1-37), the Servant (Isaiah 38-55) and the Anointed Conqueror (Isaiah 56-66). He provides a lucid and insightful passage-by-passage commentary as well as solid footing for unraveling difficult issues of exegesis and interpretation.
After more than three decades of studying and teaching what is perhaps the most compelling book of Old Testament prophecy, Motyer provides
this lucid, passage-by-passage commentary. Unraveling difficult issues of exegesis and interpretation, he explores the two great biblical motifs of judgment and redemption that weave through what he calls the three messianic portraits: King, Servant, and Anointed Conqueror. 416 pages, softcover.
Here John N. Oswalt presents a detailed, scholarly, evangelical commentary on the first 39 chapters of Isaiah. It
provides an extensive introduction to the book along with an extensive bibliography. The author’s translation and verse-by-verse commentary follow examining in detail this important prophet. Although to get the most out of this commentary training in Hebrew would be necessary, the majority of the commentary will be useful to studious laypeople as well. John N. Oswalt is professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Asbury Theological Seminary.
In his latest contribution to the widely respected New International Commentary on the Old Testament, acclaimed scholar John Oswalt of Asbury Theological Seminary concludes his in-depth study on the Book of Isaiah. Beginning with issues of authorship and composition, Oswalt presents a solid exposition of the biblical texts, based on intensive linguistic and historical research. 720 pages, hardcover.
The book of Isaiah is one of the most controversial books in the Bible, dividing liberal and conservative scholars. It is the vision of Isaiah, but also contains prophecy, history, poetry, and wisdom literature. Its vivid descriptions and word pictures appeal to our imagination and contemporary communication.David L. McKenna currently serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees at Spring Arbor (Michigan) University and Founding Chair of the Northwest Graduate School of the Ministry, Redmond, Washington. He served for 50 years in Christian higher education, including 33 years as a college, university, and seminary president. His national reputation as an educator was acclaimed when he was finalist for Secretary of Education in the Reagan cabinet. He is the author of 22 books. He and his wife, Janet, have four children and twelve grandchildren. [TOP]
Dr. Watts has revisited this work he produced almost twenty years ago, updating it in light of current scholarship. He continues to hold to the unity of Isaiah, rather than ascribing it to two or three composers or schools, even though the work ranges over three crucial centuries of Israel’s history.
In this second WBC volume on Isaiah, he continues to focus on the central figure of Yahweh and to examine the changing roles played by Israel, Jerusalem, Assyria, Babylon, and Persia. He carefully examines the language, form, theological content, and scriptural parallels of the book. The Word Biblical Commentary series provides an exceptional resource for the professional theologian and instructor, the seminary or university student, the working minister, and everyone concerned with building theological understanding from a solid base of biblical scholarship.Watts is a conservative scholar, but the blurb that he holds to the unity of Isaiah is misleading, because he believes the entire Book of Isaiah was written in the sixth century BCE, or even the fifth. He argues that an unknown author compiled the sermons of the eighth century prophet and then included material from later times. How is this different from Proto-, Deutero-, and Trito-Isaiah theories? —Steve
Second Isaiah wrote of a dawning new age in striking imagery, including the famous suffering servant passage in chapters 52–53. Blenkinsopp, president of the Society for Old Testament Study in the U.K. and former president of the Catholic Biblical Association, offers painstaking research. 528 pages, hardcover.
Concluding his distinguished trilogy of commentaries, Blenkinsopp presents a new translation and critical discussion of the prophet’s final 11 chapters. While arguing that the “Trito-Isaiah” maintains continuity with earlier passages, he asserts that this section must be considered in light of different circumstances—most notably a community beset by severe problems and coping with disappointed expectations as they attempt to remain faithful. 368
The Professor of Old Testament at Harvard Divinity School delves into Second Isaiah’s beautiful poetic argument for a loving and caring God and how his creatures fit into the unfolding of history and the Messianic last days. 272 pages, hardcover. [TOP]