Isaiah As Preacher

I didn’t find this section of Old’s book quite as helpful as some other sections. However, that is probably because I have already done a fair bit of work on Isaiah, and thus found him saying fewer good insights that I hadn’t already found in other commentators. Nevertheless, there are still good things here, and for those who haven’t spent much time in Isaiah studies, there will probably be many helpful things. I will be treating here both his section on “Isaiah,” and his section on “Deutero-Isaiah,” since I do not regard the two sections of the book as having been written by different authors.

Old notes that Isaiah may well have been both priest and preacher (p. 61). He makes a very important point when he argues that “the prophet is not merely the mouthpiece of God, who in some sort of trance utters the words or God quite apart from his own intelligence. The prophet understands the oracle; he is a witness to its truth and an advocate of its application” (p. 63). Of course, this statement needs qualification. Not all prophets understood everything about which they spoke. Peter tells us that the prophets longed to look into these things, what manner or time the Spirit in them was indicating when the Spirit told them about Jesus. However, Old’s point has more to do with the fact that the prophets were not just mindless automatons, copying down God’s words like a machine. The theory of concursus comes into play here: God worked through the individual authors’ experiences, personalities, eccentricities, in short everything that made up that person. Thus Paul does not sound like John. Yet each were inspired to write what God told them to write, and to do so in a way that is without error.

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7 Comments

  1. Monty L. Collier said,

    June 28, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    I have recently encountered individuals on the internet who claim an unconverted person cannot read the Bible by themselves and be converted. They claim that the Bible must be preached or read by an official minister of the instituted church before conversion can take place. Any thoughts?

  2. Monty L. Collier said,

    June 29, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Dear Lane Keister,
    Could you please speak to my above comment?

  3. greenbaggins said,

    June 29, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Monty, I have heard many stories from the Gideons to the contrary, where the Holy Spirit has used the plain and simple reading of the Word to convert someone. It would seem to me that the majority of conversions would take place in the church, though.

  4. D. T. King said,

    June 29, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    To add to Lane’s comments, these words from Augustine…

    Augustine (354-430): Call this fancy, if it is not actually the case that men all over the world have been led, and are now led, to believe in Christ by reading these books. NPNF1: Vol. IV, Reply to Faustus the Manichaean, Book 16, §20.

  5. June 29, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    “I have recently encountered individuals on the internet who claim an unconverted person cannot read the Bible by themselves and be converted. They claim that the Bible must be preached or read by an official minister of the instituted church before conversion can take place. Any thoughts?”

    Hi Monty,

    Yes, as a general rule the word must be expounded but certainly conversion can occur apart from exposition. After all, if one could not be converted by reading God’s word, then it would stand to follow that nobody could have been converted when Jesus spoke the Sermon on the Mount, or by hearing an epistle that was read in the early church.

    Ron

  6. JD Linton said,

    June 30, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Old’s book is excellent. You highlight one fo the great points in this section. I am particularly informed by the way the Word of God both in flesh and in the Scripture is God and man.

  7. PDuggie said,

    July 1, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    I get concursus in the case of John and Paul. They write their own narratives or arguments, etc.

    But Isaiah writes putative oracles where he has God speaking in the first person.

    Some accounting needs to be done explaining that difference in revelation. Is there less concurence when you write God’s words in the first person? Paul didn’t hear a voice in his ear as he wrote Romans. Why didn’t Isaiah.

    And if Isaiah had experience no different from Paul, then what of Moses. Can Moses NOT be hearing the words of God dictated to him, and he scribes them down, if that’s what he says he’s doing?


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