Studying Isaiah

I joined a Ligonier Connect Bible study that Tim Challies and David Murray are moderating. It’s an Old Testament-focused course and this past week we’ve been learning about Isaiah. Obviously we could spend months (or years studying Isaiah), so there’s a lot we won’t get to. 

After listening to the opening lecture by R.C. Sproul I cracked open the only Old Testament commentary I have (Lawrence O. Richards’ Bible Teacher’s Commentary) to do a bit of digging before reading through as much of Isaiah as I could this week.

On page 368 I found a very interesting account that I just had to share. It really encouraged me because I’ve been hearing/reading arguments lately about the Bible not being a trustworthy and accurate book. Obviously I disagree and that is why the commentary encouraged me. Richards wrote about the Hebrew text:

One exciting archeological (sic) find, the Dead Sea Scrolls, gives us insight into how accurately the prophet’s words have been preserved. The Qumram community hid their sacred library some 180 years before Christ. The library was discovered in 1947. Apparently Isaiah, along with Deuteronomy and Psalms, were especially loved by these Old Testament believers. Among the finds was a copy of Isaiah, the first copy of any Old Testament book from the pre-Christian era.

Before this time our earliest text of the Hebrew Bible dated from around A.D. 1100. The striking fact is that the text of the scroll authenticates the Hebrew text of our Bible except for minor differences in vocalization, spelling, and the presence or absence of an articles (“the,” “that”), this ancient text is the same as the text of some 1,300 years later! God has preserved His Word so that you and I can read our Old Testament with the confidence that what we see on its pages is a translation of the very words the authors penned.

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