Given the injunction in the Book of Mormon to “search…the words of Isaiah,” Mormons always have at least good intentions to do so. However, given the difficulty most people face in following through on these intentions, we present some helpful resources to aid in your study of this key Old Testament prophet.
Some books will need to be special-ordered (these are noted by an *)—thus, we encourage you to notify us quickly if you would like a copy. We will have display copies of most of the non-Mormon titles if you would like to see which will appeal most to you. We are also offering 10% on all of the used titles below.
LDS Perspectives on Isaiah
Understanding Isaiah by Donald W. Parry, Jay A. Parry and Tina M. Peterson. New paperback–$29.99/used paperback–$15/used hardback–$20
From the publisher—“Unlike other works on Isaiah, this book goes beyond commentary and actually includes the verses of text comprising not only the King James Version of the Bible but also the Joseph Smith Translation and the Book of Mormon, presenting the most correct translation available today. The text is presented in the same couplet format as it was likely originally written. The authors examine each unit of thought individually, likening it to our modern-day life and presenting definitions and explanations of meaning based on thorough study of the Hebrew language.” This is the most extensive work on Isaiah from an LDS perspective—Donald Parry is a respected Isaiah scholar, serving as an editor (for Isaiah) with the international Dead Sea Scrolls team.
Isaiah Speaks to Modern Times by W. Cleon Skousen. New paperback–$24.95/used hardback–$45
Following nearly 150 pages of introduction on Isaiah the person and his prophecies, Skousen then presents the full text of Isaiah (as found in the Old Testament—he does not comment much on the Isaiah portions in the Book of Mormon). Beside each verse is his commentary which consists mainly of his own analysis.
Harmonizing Isaiah by Donald W. Parry. New paperback–$9.95/used paperback–$5
Following a detailed introduction, Parry presents his own translation of the text of Isaiah using the traditional (Masoretic) text combined with insights from the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith Translation and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Avraham Gileadi titles: for most of his writing career, Gileadi has focused on translating and analyzing Isaiah. Many of his books include his own translation as well as commentary (those underlined feature this format)
Isaiah Decoded: Ascending the Ladder to Heaven. New paperback–$27.95
The Book of Isaiah: Analytical Translation with Comprehensive Concordance. New paperback–$22.95
The Book of Isaiah: A New Translation with Interpretive Keys From the Book of Mormon. New paperback (includes new preface). New paperback–$22.95/used paperback (1st ed.)–$9-$10/used hardback (1st ed.)–$20-$25
The Literary Message of Isaiah. New paperback–$22.95/used hardback (1st ed—includes translation and concordance)–$35
Apocalyptic Commentary on the Book of Isaiah. New paperback–$29.95
Apocalyptic Book of Isaiah: A New Translation with Interpretive Key. Used hardback–$15
Isaiah Plain & Simple: The Message of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon by Hoyt Brewster, Jr. Used hardback–$20
Brewster, author of several other books, wrote this study of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon because of an LDS “malady…the tendency to skip, shun, or, at the very most, skim the writings of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon.” Structured as a verse-by-verse commentary, Brewster’s analysis draws almost entirely on LDS authors to elucidate these chapters.
Isaiah for Today by Mark E. Petersen. Used hardback–$6.99-$7.99 (sale)
Part of his prophets series of books—looks at the various prophecies of future events in Isaiah and what they mean in Mormon terms. As he notes in the opening words of the book: “more than any other biblical writer, Isaiah is a prophet for today.”
Isaiah: Prophecies of the Restoration by Monte S. Nyman. Used hardback–$10
Nyman pulls out verses containing prophecies of the following latter-day topics: Joseph Smith, Book of Mormon, Satan, Abrahamic covenant, gathering of Israel, lost tribes, spirit world, second coming and the millennium.
Isaiah and the Book of Mormon: A Study Guide for Understanding the Writings of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon by Philip J. Schlesinger. Used paperback–$10
The author, the grandson of Jewish immigrants, provides his perspective from a dual heritage. He presents each chapter of Isaiah material in the Book of Mormon with definitions of obscure terms and commentary on selected verses.
*Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, Poet by Victor L. Ludlow. New paperback–$29.95/used hardback–$15-$20
In addition to the traditional text and commentary pairing, Ludlow offers some unique sections such as “Why and How to Study Isaiah” and “Parallelism in Old Testament Poetry and Prophecy.”
Isaiah and the Prophets ed. by Monte S. Nyman. Used hardback–$15-$18
Several of the essays in this collection—drawn from a symposium at BYU—deal specifically with Isaiah. The authors—including John Lundquist, Avraham Gileadi and John Tvedtnes—deal with temple symbolism, latter-day interpretive keys and Isaiah materials in the Book of Mormon.
Isaiah: An Ensign to the Nation–An Analysis of Chapters One through Five by Loren D. Martin. Used hardback–$9
Martin uses the text as found in the 1830 Book of Mormon as his base. He provides definitions of terms in an appendix.
Isaiah for Airheads by John Bytheway. Used hardback–$10
Written in typical Bytheway format, he uses his sense of humor and simple approach to draw out the message of Isaiah. Includes CD with fireside presenting some of the patterns within Isaiah.
International Critical Commentary volumes on Isaiah:
*Isaiah 1-5 by H.G.M. Williamson. T&T Clark, 2006. 410pp. New hardback–$130
*Isaiah 40-55, vol. 1 by John Goldingay and David Payne. T&T Clark, 2006. 368pp. New hardback–$150
*Isaiah 40-55, vol. 2 by John Goldingay and David Payne. T&T Clark, 2006. 380pp. New hardback–$150
*Isaiah 56-66 by John Goldingay. T&T Clark, 2014. 527pp. New hardback–$100
The International Critical Commentary has been a standard of excellence for more than 100 years. These volumes are very detailed, obviously—nearly 2000 pages so far with half of the book of Isaiah yet to be addressed—and do involve some technical language. Like the majority of scholars, these volumes come from the position that the book of Isaiah is best seen as several separate textual traditions that were combined at some point. For each section of several verses, the authors provide their own translation followed by textual and exegetical notes. Following this section, they include more general notes on the content.
Anchor Bible volumes on Isaiah (all by Joseph Blenkinsopp):
*Isaiah 1-39. Yale University Press, 2000. 544pp. New paperback–$44
*Isaiah 40-55. Yale University Press, 2002. 432pp. New paperback–$44
*Isaiah 56-66. Yale University Press, 2003. 368pp. New hardback–$65
One of the most consistently reliable biblical commentary series, the Anchor Bible features top-tier scholars and is continually being updated. These volumes—like the ICC volumes above—follow the majority scholarly opinion on where to divide Isaiah. They are also structured similarly to the ICC volumes—author’s translation, textual notes and then content notes and commentary. Very detailed but somewhat less so than the ICC.
*The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction & Commentary by J. Alec Motyer. IVP Academic, 1993. 544pp. New paperback–$29.99
Widely considered to be the best one-volume conservative commentary. Motyer, a British scholar, has spent most of his career studying and writing about Isaiah. From the publisher: “Although his emphasis is on the grammatical, historical, structural, literary and theological dimensions of the text, Motyer writes with an eye on its meaning for Christians today. Based on the author’s knowledge of the Hebrew text, but utilizing the New International Version, the commentary easily accommodates readers without a working knowledge of biblical Hebrew.” While it is detailed, it is not overly technical and should be approachable to most readers. The author argues for single authorship—i.e. Isaiah wrote the entire book.
*The Message of Isaiah by Barry G. Webb. IVP Academic, 1996. 252pp. New paperback–$17.99
Similar to the Motyer commentary above but less detailed. From the publisher: “Barry Webb calls Isaiah the ‘Romans’ of the Old Testament, where all the threads come together and the big picture of God’s purposes for his people and his world are most clearly set forth. Attuned to the magnificent literary architecture of Isaiah, Webb escorts us through this prophecy and trains our ears and hearts to resonate with its great biblical-theological themes.”