Friday, December 21, 2007

High on Isaiah

Right now I am in the middle of Christmas break. The Lord has graciously given me one full month of break from schooling. I am trying to graduate by this fall and so am packing my school schedule as tight as possible to make it happen. Guess what this means! I get to study over Christmas break! For some crazy reason, this makes me happy (I need a shot of... um... something, anything).

This coming semester I am taking a class on the book of Isaiah. I have been pumped about taking it from the first time I first saw it on the list of course offerings. I started reading "The NIV Application Commentary" on the book of Isaiah by John N. Oswalt for my Isaiah class yesterday. I am officially "high" on Isaiah.

Right now I am only half way through the 60 page Introduction to the book. The introduction is devoted to shelling out the background information of the book--the historical setting, author, recipients, date--things like this.

The only thing that brings life to my soul more than reading the Scriptures themselves is reading biblical background. Most people find it boring, dull, lifeless. For some strange reason, I would much rather read the background information to the different books of the Bible than I would read any book written by Piper or Sproul (Notice that I didn't say Carson. This is because Carson has written books on biblical background). This is not to say that I don't like Piper or Sproul, but that I find studying the Scriptures and their background more life-giving than studying contemporary men on theological and practical subjects. This doesn't mean I am more spiritual than you if you prefer Piper and Sproul over biblical background. Nor does this mean that you are more spiritual than I.

I generally love commentaries until I get to the actual verse by verse commentary. After I leave the background information and delve into the verse by verse stuff, things usually get overly systematic and wooden (for me).

Anyway, I highly recommend John Oswalt's commentary on Isaiah. He has the ability to tell history like a story. He has the ability to pull the reader in.

I also highly recommend anyone and everyone reading this to begin a life of study in biblical background. It sounds intimidating and hard, but once you get hooked on background the Bible comes to life. Background makes reading the Bible more like watching a movie or reading a picture book than reading philosophy or doing math. It helps put flesh on theology.

1 comment:

Jessy said...

Isaiah...good book...good name ;-)
(I might be a bit partial).