How to Understand Isaiah Part 1: Exploring Literary Methods

How to Understand Isaiah

The Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. (1 Nephi 3:7)

Although Nephi’s declaration is familiar to readers of the Book of Mormon, do we believe this promise? Do we believe the Lord has prepared a way to keep his commandment to “search diligently” the words of Isaiah (3 Nephi 23:1)? Is there a way to “know of a surety” and actually “understand” the prophecies of Isaiah (2 Nephi 25:7–8)? Do we know how crucial this commandment is for us today?

How Did the Lord Provide a Way?

Nephi taught that no one can understand the prophecies of the Jews as they do unless they are “taught after the manner of the Jews” (2 Nephi 2:5–6). This knowledge in unlocking the scriptures was so significant that Nephi tells us even the apostate Jews of his days understood Isaiah’s words!

Thankfully, such valuable knowledge is within reach today. Through many years of devoted research—including a decade of post-doctoral analysis of the words of Isaiah—Avraham Gileadi uncovered the literary methods Isaiah used to encode his prophetic message. Just a couple of remarks by highly respected scholars in the field speak to the significance of these discoveries:

“Dr. Gileadi’s work will render obsolete almost all the speculations of Isaiah scholars over the last one hundred years, enabling scholarship to proceed along an entirely new line, opening new avenues of approach for others to follow.” (Professor Roland K. Harrison, Wycliffe College, Toronto, Canada)

“Dr. Gileadi is the only Latter-day Saint scholar I know of who is thoroughly prepared to enter into serious and proper study and teaching of the works of Isaiah.” (Professor Hugh Nibley, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah)

As we apply Dr. Gileadi’s interpretive methods, the decoded message of Isaiah reveals itself as an amazing cosmic vision of “the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10). We finally perceive why Nephi read the words of Isaiah to his brothers in order to “more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer” (1 Nephi 19:23). We begin to understand how truly “great are the words of Isaiah” as the Savior declared (3 Nephi 23:1).

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Kenichi Shimokawa is a native of Japan, and lived in the US for 16 years for education, full-time missionary service for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and work. After professionally trained as a clinical psychologist and psychotherapy researcher at Brigham Young University, his previous work included postdoctoral fellowship at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, Clinical Lecturer at the Department of Psychology at Northwestern University, and the manager of LDS Family Services Japan Office. After discovering the message of Isaiah through inspiring books on Isaiah written by Avraham Gileadi, PhD—a renowned Isaiah scholar—Kenichi has been actively involved in the work of sharing the message of Isaiah through the Hebraeus Foundation—an NPO dedicated to taking the message of Isaiah to the world and supports the work of Dr. Gileadi, including supporting the efforts to translate his work into foreign languages. Kenichi loves to work with people interested in sharing the message of Isaiah and of Jesus Christ.


  1. It’s not clear if this article is complete. The sub-title says “Exploring Literary Methods” but I only see a short bit of text. And, no link to the second article on this page. I am left wondering if I have seen the whole article.


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