The Apostle Peter Quotes Isaiah How the New Testament Interprets Isaiah

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“Isaiah is a prophet’s prophet; his words live in the hearts of those who themselves are authoring holy writ. He is quoted at least 57 times in the New Testament.”

—Bruce R. McConkie, Ensign, Oct. 1973,

Studying in First and Second Peter this last week using the Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families, I was again surprised to see this Apostle’s use of Isaiah too.

Like Paul, who quoted Isaiah twenty times, Peter uses the ancient prophet as an authority in seven cases.

In his first epistle, of the five chapters, Peter cites Isaiah in four of them either directly or in allusion to Isaiah’s writings.

It is clear that this one-time fisherman, now the leader of the ancient Church, knew his Book of Isaiah. He used it to help persuade the ancients that Jesus was the Messiah

Although some Bible scholars dispute the authorship of his first book, in the book, Peter states that he is “an apostle of Jesus Christ,” writing to the ancient Saints in Asia minor. His epistle addresses the persecution of the ancient saints who were accused of being wrongdoers.

Peter, however, promised: “And the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (5:10). Peter’s objective in the letter, was to encourage them to endure long enough to get the blessings God had promised them.1

Chapter 1

Opening the letter, Peter explains that we should be holy and that God’s word abides forever as he quotes from Isaiah 40.

1 Peter 1
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
Isaiah 40
…All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
…8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever.

Chapter 2

Continuing Peter explains Christ is the chief cornerstone and that they as new converts hold a royal priesthood, which makes them a peculiar people.

1Peter 2
Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
Isaiah 28
16  Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
Isaiah 8
14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Then alluding to Isaiah 10:3, Peter reminds the ancient saints that they are subject to and should accept the authority of man.

1Peter 2
12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Isaiah 10
3 And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?

In chapter 2:22–25 Peter explains that Christ was without sin using a quotation from Isaiah 53:9 and an allusion to Isaiah 53:7; Isaiah 53:4–5, 12; and Isaiah 53:6 explaining how we are made clean through the Savior’s sacrifice.2

1Peter 2
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not, but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
Isaiah 53
And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Chapter 3

In chapter 3:14, Peter counsels us to not fear of suffering for being righteous, but to “…to offer a rational defense of the faith that will withstand the scrutiny of critics.”3

1Peter 3
14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
Isaiah 8
12 Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.
13 Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.

In verse 18 there is an allusion to Isaiah 53:11–12. “Peter may have intended Spirit, but the parallel to flesh in the same verse suggests that he intended the life-giving spirit that permeates the created world and not the Holy Spirit.”4

1Peter 3
18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
Isaiah 53
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Chapter 4

1Peter 4
14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
Isaiah 11
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;

Sources

1 Wayment, Thomas A., The New Testament: A New Translation for Latter-day Saints, Religious Studies Center and Deseret Book. Kindle Edition.
2 ibid.
3 ibid.
4 ibid.

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I am a retiree from Scouting. There I blogged for VoiceOfScouting.org, a site with more than 250,000 readers. During 42 years in the workplace, I've had many years senior level management with the BSA, professional associations, and high tech user groups. My background includes capital fundraising; outdoor adventure program development; property and construction management; event/conference planning; risk management and safety; lobbying federal, state and local government agencies; public relations; strategic planning; member advocacy and staff/volunteer training. Along the way, I have also taught Gospel Doctrine Classes and been both the ward and stake Sunday School President. In these settings, I have seen teachers and class members minimize Isaiah, a book Christ has commanded us to "search diligently." (3 Ne 23:1) With that in mind, I will do my best to explore and post my discoveries about the book of Isaiah. I am not a Bible scholar; like you, I read Isaiah in the Old Testament cycle of study in LDS Gospel Doctrine Classes and again in the Book of Mormon Cycle, so this is a whole new scripture adventure for me.

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