The Divine Inspiration of Isaiah
(This article is copied from Way of Life.org, David Cloud, December 22, 2016)
Theological modernists created a theory that the book of Isaiah was written by two or more men. The theory has been continually modified, but it is still the prominent position among skeptics, and not a few “evangelicals” have been corrupted with this view.
For example, the New Oxford Annotated Bible RSV of 1962, co-edited by Bruce Metzger and Herbert May, has the following comment about Isaiah:
“Only chs. 1-39 can be assigned to Isaiah’s time; it is generally accepted that chs. 40-66 come from the time of Cyrus of Persia (539 B.C.) and later, as shown by the differences in historical background, literary style, and theological emphases. … The contents of this section [chs. 56-66] (sometimes called Third Isaiah) suggest a date between 530 and 510 B.C., perhaps contemporary with Haggai and Zechariah (520-518); chapters 60-62 may be later.”
“… this theory of dual authorship did not long appease the dissective mania of more modern critics. Ewald discovered seven authors in the book. Yet even seven soon became inadequate for some of the dissectors. In the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges Professor Skinner wrote: ‘The book which bears the name of Isaiah is in reality a collection of prophetic oracles, showing manifest traces of composite authorship, and having a complicated literary history behind it. Not much less than two thirds of its bulk consists of anonymous prophecies…'” (J. Sidlow Baxter).
But it is impossible to believe that Jesus Christ is the infallible Son of God and that the New Testament is the divinely-inspired Word of God while also believing the critical view of Isaiah. The unity and divine inspiration of Isaiah and the New Testament stand or fall together.
- Isaiah is quoted in at least 23 New Testament passages, and in every case Isaiah is cited as one historic prophet and his writings are cited as divinely inspired. There are quotations from every part of Isaiah: from chapters 1, 6, 9, 10, 11, 28, 29, 40, 42, 53, 61, and 65.
Mat. 3:3 – Isa. 40:3
Mat. 4:14-16 – Isa. 9:1-2
Mat. 8:17 – Isa. 53:4
Mat. 12:17-21 – Isa. 42:1-4
Mat. 13:14-15 – Isa. 6:9-10
Mat. 15:7-8 – Isa. 29:13
Mk. 7:6 – Isa. 29:13
Mk. 15:28 – Isa. 53:12
Lk. 3:4-6 – Isa. 40:3-5
Lk. 4:17-19 – Isa. 61:1-3
Jn. 1:23 – Isa. 40:305
Jn. 12:38 – Isa. 53:1
Jn. 12:39-40 – Isa. 6:9-10; Isa. 29:10; 44:18
Jn. 12:41 – Isa. 6:1
Acts 8:28-33 – Isa. 53:7-8
Acts 28:25-27 – Isa. 6:9-10
Rom. 9:27-28 – Isa. 10:20-23
Rom. 9:29 – Isa. 1:9
Rom. 10:11 – Isa. 28:16
Rom. 10:16 – Isa. 53:1
Rom. 10:20-21 – Isa. 65:1-2
Rom. 15:12 – Isa. 11:1, 10
1 Pet. 2:6 – Isa. 28:16
- Isaiah is called Scripture in the New Testament (Mk. 15:28 quoting Isaiah 53:12; Lk. 4:17-21 quoting Isaiah 61:1-3; Acts 8:32-33 quoting Isaiah 53:7; Rom. 10:11 and 1 Pet. 2:6 quoting Isa. 28:16). Christ taught that the Scripture cannot be broken (Jn. 10:35). Note that both major parts of Isaiah are cited as Scripture.
Jesus Christ viewed the Old Testament writings as divinely inspired throughout. He cited every part of the Old Testament (the law, the writings, and the Psalms) as divinely inspired and as pointing prophetically to Him (Lk. 24:44), which authenticates the supernatural character of the Old Testament in the clearest manner for those who honor Jesus Christ as the Son of God.
John’s Gospel (Jn. 12:38-41) quotes from both sections of Isaiah (Isa. 53:1 and Isa. 6:9) and says that both parts were written by the same prophet named Isaiah.
Isaiah’s prophecies prove its infallible inspiration.
In the end, it clear that Isaiah was written by a prophet of God who could see the future, which proves its divine inspiration.
Take Isaiah 53. We believe that it was written at least 700 years before Christ by the historic prophet Isaiah during the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. But even the staunchest critic cannot deny that it was written at least 200 years before Christ, because we have the Great Isaiah Scroll from the Dead Sea caves dating to that time. Isaiah 53 (taking just one prophecy) plainly describes Christ’s rejection (Isa. 53:3), sacrificial atonement (Isa. 53:5-6), submission to His murderers (Isa. 53:7), silence before His accusers (Isa. 53:7), the injustice He endured (Isa. 53:8), His death (Isa. 53:8), burial in a rich man’s tomb (Isa. 53:9), sinlessness (Isa. 53:9), resurrection (Isa. 53:10), His justification of believing sinners (Isa. 53:11), and exaltation (Isa. 53:12).