The genesis of the book was a series of sermons preached in the chapel of Oak Hill Theological College, London. Staff and students had been engaged in ongoing discussion about a Christ-centred approach to the interpretation of the Old Testament. Questions were being asked about whether passages could have a different meaning for Old Testament believers and for Christians today, about appropriate ways of making a Christian application, and about the degree to which Old Testament believers could have had a trust in Christ and his work.
It seemed important to offer a model of how I would approach a critical part of Isaiah’s prophecy, preaching it as the living word of God to a Christian congregation, while taking proper account of the original context in which the material was first delivered. Some of the material has subsequently been preached in ordinary church situations. The contents are:
Chapter One Preaching Christ from the Old Testament
Chapter Two Who is the true king? (Isaiah 6)
Chapter Three Two Children: Signs of God’s Intent (Isaiah 7)
Chapter Four Misdirected Fear (Isaiah 8)
Chapter Five The Trustworthiness of God (Isaiah 9:1-7)
Chapter Six God’s People under Judgement (Isaiah 9:8 – 10:4)
Chapter Seven God’s Strange Work (Isaiah 10:5-34)
Chapter Eight The Final Chapter (Isaiah 11)
Chapter Nine Meaningful Praise (Isaiah 12)
Index of Scripture references
This examination of key chapters in the early part of Isaiah seeks to bridge the gap between commentaries, books about preaching and sermons. I have not always taken the application as far as I might in addressing a congregation, but have indicated directions I might take. Sometimes the application sections are longer because I challenge popular ways of approaching the text or because the unfolding of its message in the New Testament is complex and needs to be understood at different levels.