Book Review: The Gospel According to Isaiah 53

The title alone grabbed my attention: The Gospel According to Isaiah 53. Next was encountering the Suffering Servant in Jewish and Christian theology. A few pages in the book’s style was to be one that was academic and missional, a unique combo that should be followed more often.

The Gospel According to Isaiah 53 provides an in-depth look at Isaiah 52:13-53:12, these 15 verses from the Old Testament provide a prophetic glimpse for Christian of what Jesus came and did.

The book is a one stop for those looking for exegetical depth to a tool for preaching and a tool for witnessing. It answered questions I had about how the Jew of today deal with a section of their Scriptures that for myself as a Christian point so clearly to Jesus.

The best chapter I read in the book was by Mitch Glaser on “Using Isaiah 53 in Jewish Evangelism”. The impact this chapter had to move Mitch from a Jew to a Messianic Jew opened my eyes to see Isaiah’s value in outreach to Jews.

In the first part of the book I appreciated the exegetical depth and then the understanding of how Isaiah 53 weaves its way through the New Testament from Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 to the writings of Peter.

Each chapter has a different author, some stronger than others. The exegetical ones loved footnotes, the outreach ones not as much. Different style of writing. A few let their denominational theology color their view of the passage.

Though the book says in includes a lay leader perspective, they may want to start with part 3 of the book as the first 2 parts were more pastoral commentary with a thorough use of Hebrew.

The conclusion of the book was intriguing as it featured quotes from each of the preceding chapters. I almost wonder if I should read the conclusion first before the rest of the book.

I give The Gospel According to Isaiah 53, 4 out of 5 stars. I appreciated the academic commentary / missional combination. Its a genre I hope is developed more in engaging God’s Word with the depth of its message and the challenges of ministry. For me the book will provide a great resource in teaching and preaching from these significant verses and will be a reference tool I use often when these verses come up.

Though the authors see the book as one for pastors and laity, I think its intended audience is for pastors with a knack for original Biblical languages.

My thanks to Kregel Publishers for a free copy to review. I was not required to give a positive review, just an honest one.

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