On the basis that we should always perk up our ears whenever God speaks in the first person, and when we are eager to explore the deep truth that ‘History is His Story’, I have long loved serious attempts to get to grips with the writings of the prophets and their importance for us as believers today. Those of you who have known us for many years will remember some of our earlier books, Daniel, (The Open Window); Haggai, Then and Now, (with Dad) and Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, as well as extensive study in the books of Amos, Hosea. Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Zechariah. The writings of the prophets are so rich!
Back in the mid eighteenth century Benjamin Franklin declared, “In rivers as in bad governments the lightest things swim to the top!” Maybe we could say the same thing about the reluctance of so many to explore the Word of God in depth. As Tim Finch wrote to me this week, “We miss so so much of the depth of Scripture by not understanding the Jewish and historical cultural contexts by mistranslating words and by thinking that the western viewpoint is the only way of interpreting certain texts.” So I would love to introduce you now to two books by Alec Motyer: The Prophecy of Isaiah (IVP) and Isaiah by the Day (Christian Focus).
The Book of Isaiah is second to none in the breadth of the themes covered and the richness of the language in the mighty prophecies. I am so grateful to Bill Kirk, who years ago passed me a copy of Alec Motyer’s masterly in-depth commentary The Prophecy of Isaiah (IVP). I have no hesitation in endorsing the blurb on the promotion page. If anything, I would put it still more positively! “Preachers, teachers and serious Bible students of all types will find this commentary a wise, winsome and welcome guide to the prophecy of Isaiah. It may easily be the best one-volume evangelical commentary on Isaiah available today.”
No one would ever accuse this volume of being a ‘light’ read, but for those prepared to dedicate real time and effort into one of the most profound books of the Bible you will find great riches.
Because there was no room in the book to write out in full the verse references, you will find it helpful to have a translation open in front of you as you study and digest the commentary. Alec Motyer also offers in Isaiah by the Day his own very readable translation as well as adding various notes of explanation to make the structure, order and themes obvious in a way that ordinary Bible translations cannot. The two books work well together in tandem. I hope you find they broaden and deepen your Scriptural understanding!