Home > Kregel, Reviews > The Gospel According to Isaiah 53 edited by Darrell Bock and Mitch Glaser

The Gospel According to Isaiah 53 edited by Darrell Bock and Mitch Glaser

Isaiah 53 is one of my favorite chapters in all of scripture. It portrays the work of Christ on behalf of sinners according to the plan of God in such vivid detail centuries before the events occurred. When I saw the title of this book, I was hooked. When I found that Darrell Bock was involved with it, I knew I had to read it. To my delight, I found that many other scholars, whose work I respect, were also involved. In short, this was for me the most anticipated book in a long time.

The purpose of this book is stated in the introduction by Mitch Glaser:

“This book, The Gospel According to Isaiah 53, was written to help readers to utilize the truths of this magnificent chapter in bringing the Good News to those who do not yet know Jesus.It is designed to enable pastors and lay leaders to deepen their understanding of Isaiah 53 and to better equip the saints for ministry among the Jewish people.” -pg 21

He puts it more succinctly on the following page:

“This volume is designed to help believers and congregations reach Jewish people with the message of Jesus, the Servant of the Lord, as he is described and extolled in Isaiah 53.” -pg 22

This book is divided into three sections: Interpretations of Isaiah 53, Isaiah 53 in Biblical Theology, and Isaiah 53 and Practical Theology.

Under the heading Interpretations of Isaiah 53 are two sections: Christian Interpretations of Isaiah 53 and Jewish Interpretations of Isaiah 53.

In the chapter titled Christian Interpretations of Isaiah 53, Richard Averbeck  deals with interpretations that

” end up associating the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who took on ‘the form of a servant’ in order to live and die sacrificially, and rise from the dead to be exalted by God the Father above all as the eternal Savior of those who put their trust in Him.” -pg 33-34

Averbeck points out the historical, contextual, and hermeneutical foundations of this interpretation. The remainder of the chapter focuses on the theology of Christ’s suffering, sacrifice, and atonement in light of the Old Testament law. Given the depth and breadth of the material covered, Averbeck does an excellent job in his overview bringing clarity and focus to the rest of the book.

The purpose of the next chapter, Jewish Interpretations of Isaiah 53, is

“to summarize the main lines of traditional Jewish interpretation of Isaiah 53,  with special reference to the objections to Jesus that arise from the text, offering concise responses to these objections and then suggesting a way to utilize these traditional commentaries redemptively.” -pg 62

Michael Brown shows the main Jewish interpretations of Isaiah 53 in rabbinic literature before moving through the chapter verse by verse explaining the Jewish interpretation of each verse. Brown then critiques this interpretation focusing on the identity of the servant, linguistics, context, and theology. Brown demonstrates his ability to understand and engage the Jewish misapplication of the text. He helps the reader by shining the light of decades of his own research on this rich passage.

I hope that this  fly-through of the first section whets your appetite for the book. It is not in the purview of this blogger to critique every chapter. What I will tell you is that the next two sections get even better.

I highly and heartily recommend this book for students, pastors, and lay persons interested in evangelism especially to the Jewish people. In reading this book, I have gained confidence and insight from a passage of scripture that I already loved. The scholarship of the men involved in the writing of this book is of a high caliber. They have a heart to make Christ known and it shows. The contributors definitely hit the mark concerning the purpose of this book.

This book was graciously provided to me by Kregel for the purpose of review.

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Kregel Academic and Professional
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825425936
Categories: Kregel, Reviews
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