Studying Isaiah in a Book of Mormon perspective

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To study Isaiah within its Book of Mormon setting, study the material in smaller units, usually as individual chapters or, at most, a small group of chapters.

  • First, read the relevant material. Read the chapter headings in the Book of Mormon of the Isaiah chapters to be quoted. Next, read the verses just prior to the quoted Isaiah sections. Then read the Isaiah material carefully and completely. Finally, be sure to read the verses (and sometimes the chapters) immediately following the Isaiah passages as inspired prophetic commentary is given!
  • Second, review the major or important ideas in your mind. What for you, at this time, are the significant concepts that you remember from this material. Identify the particular message of greatest value for you. Can you “liken any message unto yourself”? (1 Ne 19:23-24). Seek to apply the relevant insights in your own life. One good way of focusing on the essential elements is to record some key ideas in the margins of your scriptures. In addition, you may want to write your feelings and commitments in your journal or diary.
  • Third, study one small section of the material at a time, just a few verses. This could be the verses highlighting the major message for you. It could be the least understood portion of the reading or just a portion which you feel you want to study in greater depth. Reread those verses in their context and then use the footnotes of both the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Note any Hebrew clarifications or Joseph Smith Translation (JST) insights. Read the verses cross-referenced in the footnotes in their context. Look up the topical guide (TG) entries, and see if any other Isaiah passages deal with the same theme; then read those passages. Skim through the other listings in that TG entry and note if other passages in the Standard Works provide insights for that concept. Reread the verses and consider if there might be any terms, names, etc. which might be in the Bible Dictionary; see if any of them are listed. Prepare a brief outline of the key ideas or words of that section of verses. Try to identify any poetic patterns or parallelisms. Reread the section, and ponder how it fits within its Book of Mormon context.
  • Finally, during this study, follow Moroni’s admonition of how to study the scriptures as you read, remember, ponder, and pray (Moroni 10:3-5).

You will be pleasantly surprised how much you can learn in your studies of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon!

Presented by Victor L. Ludlow at BYU Education Week 2006

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Dr. Victor L. Ludlow is a scholar of Isaiah and Judaism. He graduated with high honors from BYU and was a Danforth Fellow at Harvard and Brandeis Universities, where he received a Ph.D. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. Professor Ludlow's scholarship explores the areas of Bible studies, the Middle East, Jewish history and theology, and comparative Latter-day Saint theology. He has authored numerous articles and the books: Unlocking the Old Testament; Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet; Principles and Practices of the Restored Gospel; and Unlocking Isaiah in the Book of Mormon. His most recent audio lecture is “Latter-day Insights: The Middle East.” Courses Taught: Writings of Isaiah, Judaism and the Gospel, Book of Mormon, Old Testament Areas of Expertise: Professor Ludlow's scholarship explores the areas of Bible studies, the Middle East, Jewish history and theology, and comparative Latter-day Saint theology, with a special emphasis upon covenants. Areas of Research: Isaiah, Covenants, Judaism, History of the House of Israel, Agency, Gospel Principles Languages: German (fluent), Hebrew (reading), some Arabic, French, and Latin

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