"THE VISION OF ALL: Twenty-five Lectures on Isaiah in Nephi's Record," by Joseph M. Spencer, Greg Kofford Books, $25.95, 312 pages (nf)
With "The Vision of All: Twenty-five Lectures on Isaiah in Nephi's Record," Joseph M. Spencer hopes to help members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to read the writings of the prophet Isaiah like Nephi, and in doing so, gain a better understanding of Isaiah's message.
Spencer's fascination with the ancient writings doesn't keep him from recognizing the difficulty of the content. His desire is to help the reader gain a better comprehension of the Isaiah chapters in the two books of Nephi in the Book of Mormon without dumbing it down or taking away from the inspired message.
To do this, Spencer breaks down Isaiah's writings into 25 lectures. Each sermon focuses on a subject Isaiah wrote about or on other prophet's commentary on these writings. By approaching the subject by chapters of Isaiah, or by topics Isaiah discussed, readers will become more familiar with the intimidating verses of the prophet Nephi is so fond of quoting.
The lecture chapters address everything from "Nephi's Vision" to "Themes and Strategies," as well as "Nephi's Explanation of Isaiah" and "Isaiah and the Messiah." There are even chapters talking about "Plain Prophesies" and "The Big Picture." From topics small to big, Spencer makes Isaiah's writings accessible to LDS Church members who may have had difficulty with the chapters.
Spencer's instructive yet conversational style of writing endears readers to a tough subject without boring or intimidating them. He addresses the reader often, drawing them into the topic and asking questions to inspire contemplation. Spencer encourages the reader to recognize the study patterns Nephi used while reading Isaiah's writings and to adapt their studies likewise.
There are several indexes in the back of "The Vision of All" including additional reading resources, a subject index and a scripture index. These work hand in hand with the text to assist in the learning process.