Shon Hopkin – Three Things I Want to Accomplish When Teaching Isaiah

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Ken Krogue:  So, let’s get to yours.

Shon Hopkin: The flavors?

Ken Krogue: Yes.

Shon Hopkin: Yes, so, my goal, when I teach Isaiah, and in this harmony that we’ve produced, it’s their number one, I want to act as a guide who is opening up Isaiah to readers now and in the future, rather than, and it’s a very significant difference in my mind, giving the concrete set answers, that close the text down.  And now, when you go there, well, I know the answer to this verse.

Ken Krogue: It kind of gets people to search Isaiah?

Shon Hopkin: Yes.

Ken Krogue: I love that.

Shon Hopkin: Exactly, I want people to rejoice in it and feel like they’ve got the tools to explore it and gain things on their own, as opposed to me saying, here’s how you should understand this verse…

Ken Krogue: I love that.

Shon Hopkin: To me, that’s not what Joseph Smith was modeling, right?  He is modeling an open experience of the scriptures that leads to increased and increasing revelation, continued revelation.  So that would be number one.

Ken Krogue: So that’s number one, ok.

Shon Hopkin: Number two, and you’ve already seen it as we’ve talked.  I do care to start with historical context, and then liken, and then you move to modern, and I like seeing it with Nephi too, and I really like Joseph Spencer’s scholarship for our readers.

Ken Krogue: Oh cool.

Shon Hopkin: Yeah, he really works hard on the Book of Mormon and Isaiah and he does a lot of really good stuff there.

Ken Krogue: Yeah, we just talked with him, he was down the hallway.

Shon Hopkin: Yeah, he is wonderful, but to see how Book of Mormon authors liken Isaiah, but you’ve got to start here wherever possible.

Ken Krogue: Sometimes it’s a historical question.

Shon Hopkin: Absolutely.  And sometimes Isaiah is just jumping ahead and that’s great, and we want to see that and acknowledge it, but a lot of times to start with his day and then liken it in our day, that’s what I like.

Ken Krogue: Ok, so hold that thought because I want to get…this is a great question we’re going to keep at.  So, let’s say if we were to do a scale of fifty/fifty, hundred/hundred, maybe it’s all history, all modern day, half/half, eighty/twenty, twenty/eighty, what would you say, just from your experience, the blend of this is about history, this is about today?

Shon Hopkin: Oh goodness, well…

Ken Krogue: Just off the cuff.  I don’t want it to be just…

Shon Hopkin: So, I would say the things that just jump directly forward to our day without having some kind of a historical foundation in Isaiah, would be twenty to twenty five percent.

Ken Krogue: Ok.

Shon Hopkin: And that being said, the things in Isaiah that can be likened in our day, and actually we are living these words today, one hundred percent.

Ken Krogue: Ok.

Shon Hopkin: Ninety-five to a hundred percent.  There’s very, very little I think and doesn’t matter anymore at all…we are living this story, and we talked about this.

Ken Krogue: This is pretty relevant.

Shon Hopkin: Oh, absolutely.  Who else is living this story the way latter-day saints are, because we are of the house of Israel.  He is talking about us.

Ken Krogue: Yes.

Shon Hopkin: He is talking about all of the house of Israel right, but he’s talking about us.  So, I’m going to give you a hundred percent basically is relevant in our day.

Ken Krogue: Ok.

Shon Hopkin: Absolutely.

Ken Krogue: But probably seventy-five has to start with the historical foundation.

Shon Hopkin: Yes, he is doing things with the house of Israel in his day that we apply in our day, that we liken in our day, but sometimes, like I said, he just jumps straight forward to the last days to the end…

Ken Krogue: So, I don’t want to lose our context.  We had two bullet points, so flavors.

Shon Hopkin: Yeah, so I’ve sort of given them to you already.  One of them is I want to act as a guide that opens the scriptures up, not closes them down, two, I want to start with historical context, but then three, you’ve sort of brought it out and highlighted it, is that I want to see why these things matter today.  I don’t care about Isaiah if it’s just an ancient text, although I guess I do a little bit, right?

Ken Krogue: Yes.

Shon Hopkin:  But really, I want to…why does it matter to me, and I think over and over again, it matters to us.  We learn things today that we desperately need as part of the house of Israel.

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