Isaiah in the New Testament

The following notes are from my 2017 Sunday School summertime six-week session on Isaiah in the New Testament, given at Life Church in Midlothian, Texas. The original tumblr blog where these notes lived is at

(Week 1) Isaiah 61:1-2 in Luke 4:18-19

Key Texts:

  1. Luke 4:16-30
  2. Isaiah 58:6; 61:1-2
  3. 4Q521 (Dead Sea Scrolls)

Key Questions:

  1. What kind of Savior does Jesus say he is in Luke 4:18-21?
  2. What was in common between the widow of Sidon (Luke 4:26; 1 Kings 17:7-16) and Naaman the Syrian (Luke 4:27; 2 Kings 5:1-19)?
  3. Who is included in Jesus’ mission according to Luke 4:18-19, 25-27?
  4. How should Jesus’ identity and mission in Luke 4 shape the church today?
  5. What is one big thing and one small thing that you can do to live out Jesus’ identity and mission in Luke 4? 

Discussion Notes & Further Reading

  1. Introduction to NT quoting the OT (Intertextuality)
    1. 85 Isaianic quotations in the NT
    2. 300+ allusions to Isaiah in the NT (see appendix is UBS5 & NA28)
    3. Overall, 2,300+ NT allusions to OT, 340+ quotations of OT in NT
    4. Joel Kalvesmaki, “Table of OT quotes in the NT, in English Translation.”
    5. Michael Marlowe, “Index to Old Testament Quotations.” Presented in both OT order & NT order.
    6. D.A. Carson & G.K. Beale, Commentary on the NT Use of the OT (amazon book)
    7. G.K. Beale, Handbook on the NT Use of the OT: Exegesis & Interpretation (amazon book)
    8. Kenneth Berding, et al., eds. Three View on the NT Use of the OT (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology) (amazon book)
    9. G.K. Beale, “Use of OT Prophecy in the NT” (academic lecture mp3)
    10. DA Carson, “Use of the OT in the NT,” 3 part series (mp3)
    11. Bryan D. Estelle, “The Exodus Motif in Isaiah.” Jan 1, 2008. Westminster Seminary California. Online:
    12. Bernard W. Anderson, “Exodus Typology in Second Isaiah.” Pages 177-195 in Israels’ Prophetic Heritage: Essays in Honor of James Muilenburg. Edited by Bernard W. Anderson and W. Harrelson. Harper & Brothers, 1962. Online:
  2. Gospel of Luke
    1. NIV (online Eng);  NET Bible  & STEP Bible (online Eng & Greek)
    2. Gospel Synopsis Introduction
    3. More resources on Gospel Synopsis (weblinks, book links)
    4. NIV Application Commentary (amazon book, commentary)
    5. N.T. Wright, Luke for Everyone (NT For Everyone) (amazon book, commentary)
    6. Joel B. Green, The Gospel of Luke (New International Commentary on the New Testament (amazon book, commentary)
    7. Joel B. Green, The Theology of the Gospel of Luke (New Testament Theology) (amazon book, commentary)
    8. Luke 4 // Isaiah 61 synopsis (dropbox link pdf)
  3. Isaiah
    1. introduction to Isaiah
    2.  John H. Oswalt, Isaiah: NIV Application Commentary
    3. John Goldingay, Isaiah for Everyone (OT for Everyone)
  4. Bringing Isaiah & Luke together
    1. 4Q521 Messianic Apocalypse” (Dead Sea Scrolls)
    2. James C. Vanderkam, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible (amazon book)
    3. Micahel Barber, “Jesus’ Answer to the Disciples of John and the Dead Sea Scrolls”
    4. Luke 7:22-23 & Isaiah 35:5-6
    5. Isaiah in the New Testament,
    6. Isaianic Quotations and Allusions in the New Testament.
    7. Wall, Robert F. “The Seven New Testament Quotations of Isaiah 53.”

(Week 2) Isaiah & the Ethiopian Official

Key Texts

  1. Isaiah 53:7
  2. Acts 8:32-33

Key Questions

  1. Where does this episode occur in the geographic structure of Acts? (“Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, & the Ends of the Earth,” Acts 1:8)
  2. What, exactly, was the Ethiopian eunuch’s job?
  3. Was the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8) or Roman soldier (Acts 10) the first Gentile convert to Christianity, and why does it matter?
  4. How does Antioch (11:19-30; 13:1-3; 14:26-15:4; 15:30-40; 18:22-23) function in the Book of Acts? (Hint: a bridge between Jerusalem/Judea & the Gentiles)
  5. How should this narrative of Christian beginnings (Acts 8:26-40) affect the Christian witness today? How do we continue the mission exemplified by Philip & the Ethiopian eunuch official? 

Discussion Notes and Further Reading

  1. Isaiah and the Prophets
    1. Writing Prophets are Covenant Enforcers
    2. Writing Prophets have three main messages to the community:
      1. You have broken covenant, now is your chance to repent.
      2. Punishment is coming because you didn’t repent. 
      3. There is hope for restoration to the remnant who survives. 
    1. Isaiah 1-39, 40-66
    2. On Exile, see Lamentations 5:19-22; Psalm 88.
    3. Note the tone shift in Isaiah 40:1-2.
  2. Isaiah and Acts
    1. Acts 1:6-8, note the 4 geographic markers in 1:8.
    2. Philip in Acts 6:5; 8:1-40; 21:8-9, as a bicultural witness to Samaria & the Ends of the Earth (cf. Acts 1:8).
    3. Ethiopian Eunuch Government Official (compare Deut 23:1; Isaiah 56:3; & the significance of the Government Official’s role in Acts 8:26-40 as a first “Ends of the Earth” Christian convert).
  3. Philip (Hellenistic Jewish Christian), Governmental Official (Ethiopic God-Fearer Christian), and the Church Today. 

(Week 3) Isaiah & the House of Prayer

Key Texts

  1. Isaiah 56:7
  2. Luke 19:46
  3. Mark 11:17
  4. Matthew 21:13

Key Questions

  1. In what part of the temple campus were the sellers conducting business?
  2. What justification did the sellers have for being there? 
  3. How did the sellers detract from the mission of the Temple?
  4. How does the fig tree episode (Matt 21:18; Mark 11:12-14, 20-25)  help interpret Jesus’ action in overturning the tables and quoting Scripture?
  5. How do we avoid making the same mistake of turning the church into a den of robbers?

Discussion Notes & Further Reading

  1. Isaiah 56
    1. Timeline review
    2. Ancient World Map
    3. Oracle Collections of Covenant Enforcers
    4. Isaiah TOC
  2. Temple Courts
    1. Jerusalem Temple 1, 2, & Herod’s Rebuild
    2. Role of Sellers
  3. Houses & Dens
    1. House of Prayer (Isa 56:7)
    2. Den of Thieves (Jer 7:11)
    3. Which one are we?

(Week 4) Isaiah & the Eyes and Ears ؟

Key Texts

  1. Isaiah 6:9-10  (MT, LXX, 1QIsa; cf., Targum Isaiah 6:9-10; Philo, Joseph 126; Sibylline Oracles. 1:438 ff)
  2. Matthew 13:14-15 // Mark 4:12 // Luke 8:10
  3. John 12:39-40
  4. Acts 28:26-27
  5. Romans 11:7 (Deut 29:4 & Isa 29:10)

Key Questions

  1. How can you tell tone in a text?
  2. Is Isaiah 6:9-10 sincere or sarcastic? Prescriptive or descriptive?
  3. How is Isaiah 6:9-10 used in the Synoptics (Matt 13:14-15 // Mark 4:12 // Luke 8:10)? Does Matthew provide a different nuance in his framing of the passage and his quotation of the Septuagint (LXX)?
  4. How is Isaiah 6:9-10 used in John 12:39-40?
  5. How is Isaiah 6:9-10 used in Acts 28:26-27?
  6. How is Deuteronomy 29:4 & Isaiah 29:10, (texts similar to Isaiah 6:9-10), used in Romans 11:7? Read the entire chapter to situate the quotations in Paul’s larger argument of Jewish/Gentile relationships in Christ.

Discussion Notes and Further Reading

  1. Isaiah 6:9-10
    1. Heavenly Court
    2. Burnt lips & burnt countryside
    3. Purification & remnant
  2. Isaiah in the Synoptics (Matt 13:14-15 // Mark 4:12 // Luke 8:10)
    1. Why parables?
  3. Isaiah in John 12:39-40
    1. John the narrator
    2. Who did Isaiah see?
  4. Isaiah in Acts 28:26-27
    1. A divided response
  5. Isaiah in Paul (Rom 11:7)
    1. Different texts, similar point

For reading on Isaiah, see the sources listed above in Week 1. See also the recommended resources at or, noting in particular the commentary series recommendations. A good intermediate resource for this week’s lesson is G.K. Beale and D. A. Carson, eds., Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007). This is a specialized commentary on the NT, so just flip to the relevant passage that you want to look into. 

(Week 5) Isaiah & Paul

Key Texts

  1. Romans 9-11
  2. various Isaianic passages

Key Questions

  1. What does the geographic progression of Christianity suggest about part of Paul’s motive for writing Romans? (Rom 1:10-15; 15:23-29)
  2. How does “justification by faith” fit into the larger discussion of a shared Jewish & Gentile identity in Christ? 
  3. How does Romans 9-11 fit into the overall message of Romans?
  4. How should Paul’s message in Romans inform multicultural Christianity today?

 Discussion  Notes

  1. Geography of Paul & 1st century Christianity
  2. Introduction to Romans
  3. Isaiah in Romans

Further Reading

  1. Helpful article on Isaiah’s influence on Romans.
  2. Shiu-Lun Shum, Paul’s Use of Isaiah in Romans. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2002. A pricey book, but worth reading if you can borrow it from a theological library.
  3. United Bible Societies Translation Information Clearinghouse newsletter with article + bibliography on the OT in the NT. (.doc download)
  4. The Paul Page, with an introduction to the New Perspective on Paul
  5. Paul and the Faithfulness of God, by N.T. Wright. On the New Perspective (contra Piper, et al.)
  6. Hawthorne, G. & R.P. Martin, Dictionary of Paul and his Letters (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1993).

(Week 6) Isaianic Servant Songs & the NT

Key Texts

  1. Isaiah 42:1-4; 49:1-6; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12; 61:1-3
  2. Matthew 12:18-21
  3. Luke 22:37
  4. Acts 8:32-35; 13:47
  5. Romans 15:21
  6. 1 Peter 2:22-25

Key Questions

  1. What picture is painted by the Isaianic Servant Songs?
  2. How can we, as individuals, embody the servant songs?
  3. How can we as a church embody the servant songs?

Discussion Notes & Further Reading

  1. Review of Weeks 1-5: Identity in Christ
    1. Jesus’ first sermon (Luke 4:16-30; Isaiah 58:6; 61:1-2)
    2. Ethiopian eunuch official (Acts 8:32-33; Isaiah 53:7)
    3. House of Prayer (Matt 21:13//Mark 11:17//Luke 19:46; Isaiah 56:7)
    4. Closed eyes & dull ears (Isaiah 6:9-10; various NT passages)
    5. New Perspective on Romans (Rom  9-11; various Isaianic passages)
  2. The OT & Jesus
    1. Luke 24:44-49 (cf. Acts 1:6-8)
    2. Acts 8:34-35
  3. “Servant” in Isaiah
    1. Servant / Slave (עֶבֶד)
    2. Servant in Isaiah
    3. Servant Songs in Isaiah  & the NT
  4. Modeling Servant Songs Today

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