Isaiah

These are all of the chapters of the book of Isaiah. Clicking on a chapter will show you the text of that chapter of Isaiah in the Bible (New International Version).

The book of Isaiah

Who Wrote the Book of Isaiah?

The book of Isaiah begins with the verse “The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw…” (Isaiah 1:1). Yet, even with such a clearly identified originator, the authorship of this book has been reexamined and debated by today’s Bible scholars. 

Some claim that style changes, time hops, and shifts in word choice indicate as many as three separate authors. Others argue for hundreds of contributors, perhaps disciples of Isaiah, compiling his ideas and building on his work. Maybe these disciples contributed nothing and only collected Isaiah’s words throughout his ministry. 

Evidence exists for each perspective, but it might be less confusing to focus on what we know about Isaiah’s involvement. 

  • The earliest manuscript of Isaiah, found among the Dead Sea Scrolls (175 BC), bears no indication of an author besides Isaiah, nor does it encourage division of the book based on significant time jumps or shifts in writing style. 
  • Portions of the book are quoted frequently in the New Testament and attributed to Isaiah by name. These references are pulled from nearly every chapter (even sections suspected to be written by someone other than Isaiah). 
  • There are several key phrases throughout the entire book that are largely unique to Isaiah. For example, he uses the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” a total of 26 times—a significant increase from the half dozen occurrences in the rest of Scripture. 

In the end, the question isn’t whether Isaiah was involved but how much assistance and input he may have received from others.

Context and Background of Isaiah

Isaiah was a Judean prophet who served the people of Judah from the end of Uzziah’s reign (740 BC) through 701 BC when Hezekiah sat on the throne. However, it is at least possible that his ministry lasted much longer, extending back through Uzziah’s reign and forward to the time of Manasseh (696-642 BC).

During the time of these prophecies, Israel and Judah were in danger of being swallowed by the Assyrian Empire as it swelled and engulfed smaller kingdoms. Isaiah spoke during this troubled time, revealing his people’s unfaithfulness to God and foretelling the inevitable Babylonian captivity more than a century before Jerusalem was taken (Isaiah 39:5-7).

He probably recorded these events and prophecies in Jerusalem not long after the end of his ministry.

Main Theme and Purpose of Isaiah

Isaiah’s writings enhance God’s holiness, contrasting it with the rank sin of Israel—sin that God would judge them for. But the prophet does far more than promise disaster. Amid chaos and uncertainty, he zooms in on the sovereignty of God and focuses there. God’s compassionate salvation pairs with His holiness to form the core of this book. Not only will He turn from His righteous anger and lead them out of captivity (Isaiah 14:1-2), He will also send a Messiah to redeem them once and for all (Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6-7). This is a book of promises: the assurance of God’s holiness carries with it conviction and discipline, but the promise of mercy and salvation brings hope. The people of Israel needed both. 

What Can We Learn from Isaiah Today?

It’s easy enough to see God working in hindsight, reading a historical account after the fact. But in the middle of our own exile, it may not be so simple.

To the nations watching the fall of Jerusalem, it looked like the natural ebb and flow of power and the end of the nation of Israel. They couldn’t see God’s hand guiding His people, even into exile.

To the Babylonians, it looked like they were in control. As the stronger nation, they had bested Israel and Judah; they couldn’t see the hedge God had placed around His people or the limitations of their own power.

To the people of Israel, it looked like God had abandoned them in His anger; they couldn’t see Him preparing a road for their return journey (Isaiah 11:16).

These prophecies may not be about us, but they reveal the certainty of God’s absolute sovereignty. And He never changes. We can trust Him to chastise, lead, and restore us with the same lovingkindness He demonstrates in the book of Isaiah.

Favorite Verses from Isaiah

Isaiah 1:18 - "Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

 Isaiah 9:6-7 - “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end…”

Isaiah 12:2 - “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.”

Isaiah 25:1 - “O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.”

Isaiah 26:3-4 - “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.”

Isaiah 30:15, 18-19 - “This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you.”

Isaiah 35:3-6 - “Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.’ Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.”

Isaiah 40:28-31 - “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Sources

Amazon.com, Old Testament Survey

Biblestudytools.com, Isaiah

Crosswalk.com, Who Was Isaiah?

SimplyBible.com, Isaiah in the New Testament 

Zondervan Academic, Isaiah & Who Wrote Isaiah?

Photo credit: ©Sparrowstock

Caroline Madison is a freelance editor and writer with a passion for the written word and a special interest in telling and reading stories that present biblical truths in fresh ways. She also enjoys writing flash fiction, drawing pencil portraits, and playing piano.