Studying the Prophet Isaiah - an Introduction
At the start of 2021, the Rt. Rev. David Reed introduced the annual diocesan scripture theme from Luke 10:11 - “Nevertheless, the kingdom of God has come near.” “Sin embargo, el reino de Dios ya esta cerca.” Linked with this theme is the annual diocesan Bible Study about which Bishop Reed shared the following reflection.
"I invite you to pick up the book of the Prophet Isaiah. There is plenty in its sixty-six chapters to keep us busy, and it’s a book turned to often by the writers of the New Testament, to help hearers understand the person and the work of Jesus. But I chose it mostly because of its themes of exile and return, of being scattered and then regathered.
We have certainly not been exiled by COVID-19, but we have been forced to live apart from so much that is loved and familiar. We are out of the habit of many of our cherished practices. As churches we have had to find ways to bind ourselves together so that we can remember that we are God’s people.
Isaiah also speaks of returning and restoration. And that is the work we will, by God’s grace, be re-called to in the coming months. How do we come back together? How do we return to being together and worshiping - without mentally measuring the distance between us? Isaiah will have other things to say for us for sure. He speaks for God and talks about justice and mercy, concern for the community, compassion for the suffering. He proclaims God’s insistence that the people of God show they are God’s people by how they live their lives and by how they treat others."
In light of Bishop Reed’s recommendation to read the book of Isaiah, the Christian Formation Committee is releasing a five-week, introductory lesson plan to help formation classes prepare to study Isaiah. The lessons will provide context and background for prophecy in the Bible, the prophet Isaiah, and the historical contexts of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, where Isaiah was situated.
Later in the summer and fall, additional lesson plans will be released for studying Isaiah as it is featured in both the Old and New Testament lectionary readings. Other published study resources for adult, youth, and children’s formation classes can be found online, linked here and below.
Click here to download the 2021 Introductory Lesson Plan PDF. (Having difficulty downloading the PDF? Click here to view the Lesson Plan online and save or print from your internet browser.)
Click here for additional Isaiah Study Resources recommended by the Christian Formation Committee.
Click here to view video recordings for each lesson, filmed by members of the Christian Formation Committee.
These lessons are meant to be a five week course, primarily for adults or older youth, including:
- What is a Prophet, Part I
- What Biblical Prophecy Is and What It Is Not: What is a Prophet, Part II
- Social Reform and Modern-Day Prophets
- A General Overview of Israel's History Before Isaiah's Prophecies
- Nothing New Under the Sun: The History of Judah in the Book of Isaiah
Questions may be directed to the Rev. Reagan Gonzalez, Associate Rector of St. Luke’s, San Antonio, and the Rev. Kendrah McDonald, Assistant Rector of St. Alban’s, Harlingen, who are Christian Formation Committee members and the authors of this introductory study.
Photo: a sculpture of the Prophet Isaiah, by Salvatore Revelli, found at the base of 'La Colonna della Immacolata', a monument in central Rome; licensed through Canva Pro, Nonprofit.