'Making Sense of Isaiah' clarifies and simplifies doctrines of the ancient prophet

Published: Tuesday, March 1 2011 7:00 a.m. MST

'Making Sense of Isaiah: Insights and Modern Applications' by Terry B. Ball, Nathan Winn, Deseret Book Company, 2009, 192 pages, $24.95

Because of its complexity, the book of Isaiah has many running for the hills. Indeed, the book is inspirational and contains essential gospel knowledge, but most people skim over Isaiah’s words because of his perplexing language, elaborate style and ancient context.

"Making Sense of Isaiah" can be read side-by-side with the book of Isaiah and increase readers' understanding. In their book, Ball and Winn give an overview of each chapter in Isaiah and explain how the doctrine found there can be applied to modern-day audiences. In conclusion, each chapter has a “Questions to Ponder” section that allows readers to check their personal understanding of what they read.

The importance of Isaiah is continually stressed throughout the book. The authors recommend that readers devote time and effort to the reading of Isaiah and give three suggestions to follow while reading Isaiah’s prophecies. First, readers must look for ways Isaiah’s prophecies are being revealed. Second, readers must place Isaiah’s prophecies in a context that makes sense. Third, readers must seek the inspiration of the Spirit. If these things are done, the result is a deeper appreciation and understanding of how God works.

"Making Sense of Isaiah" explains complicated scripture in a clear and enlightening way. It clarifies the role of Hezekiah and explains why he was an important figure. It defines and places in the appropriate context Hebrew words throughout certain chapters. The book also explains the symbolism of the Savior being dressed in red garments toward the end of Isaiah. Most importantly, the book defines wickedness and states (through the teachings of Isaiah) what readers can do to live with the Savior again.

When explained and clarified, the book of Isaiah is a beautiful book of scripture. "Making Sense of Isaiah" explains the promises and consequences contained within the scriptures. Similar to Isaiah, the book ends with the hope that all will be reconciled unto Christ and remember his teachings.

Shelby Scoffield is a former student of Terry Ball and is currently a Stanislaus State University graduate student.

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