In a recent post, I explained how in the past I have outlined, compared and contrasted translations, looked up footnotes, read commentaries and yet, I still feel like I don’t quite grasp Isaiah. So I am going trying something new this year. I am going to take just the parts of the Book of Mormon that quote Isaiah and combine them what I learn in this blog.
I hope that you’ll comment and share your ideas along with my thoughts too.
To begin, I just purchased Isaiah for AirHeads, (a Kindle version just to get me started). The author, John Bytheway, says, “there are four ‘guides’ or personalities who quote Isaiah in the Book of Mormon.
I like that bit of structure because the Isaiah chapters seemed shoved into the Book of Mormon. This lets me stop and consider the four authors and why they might have included Isaiah in their teachings.
The Guides are:
- Jacob: 2 Nephi 7–8 [Compare Isaiah 50, 51 and 52:1–2]
- Abinadi: Mosiah 14 [Compare Isaiah 53]
- Jesus Christ: 3 Nephi 22 [Compare Isaiah 54] and in much of 3 Nephi 20
Byetheway calls “them ‘guides’ because not only do they quote Isaiah, but thankfully, they comment on what they’ve quoted.”1
In his overview above, Byetheway shows that each prophet and the Savior himself used the Book of Isaiah to teach and promise the descendants of Abraham future blessings. The focus, however according to Monte Nyman, is this, 391 of the 425 verses of Isaiah that are quoted in the Book of Mormon “deal with the ministry and attributes of Jesus.”2 This, of course, points to the main reason any prophet quotes Isaiah, that they “might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer” (1 Nephi 19:23).
But in addition, in 2 Ne. 11:2–3, & 8, Nephi wrote:
2 And now I, Nephi, write more of the words of Isaiah, for my soul delighteth in his words. For I will liken his words unto my people, and I will send them forth unto all my children, for he verily saw my Redeemer, even as I have seen him.
3 And my brother, Jacob, also has seen him as I have seen him; wherefore, I will send their words forth unto my children to prove unto them that my words are true. Wherefore, by the words of three, God hath said, I will establish my word. Nevertheless, God sendeth more witnesses, and he proveth all his words.
8 And now I write some of the words of Isaiah, that whoso of my people shall see these words may lift up their hearts and rejoice for all men.
If Nephi says that he delights in the words of Isaiah, maybe I need to try to lift up my heart and rejoice in his words too. To do that, I am going to have to slow it down and try to understand this book the Savior commands us to read:
1 Bytheway, John. Isaiah for AirHeads, Kindle Locations 88-93. Deseret Book Company. Kindle Edition.
2 Nyman, Monte. Great Are the Words of Isaiah, p 7. Deseret Book Company