Written by Reed Lessing and Andrew Steinmann, Prepare the Way of the Lord examines and explores each book of the Old Testament, preparing students of the Bible to read Israel’s texts with understanding and insight. The following excerpt discusses theological issues in the Book of Job. [Read more…] about Why Do the Righteous Serve God?
Lent is a month away. If you’re looking for a devotional resource to use individually, with your family, or with your church, check out Concordia Publishing House’s 2015 Lenten and Easter resources. Singing with the Exiles gives your church a simple, unified way to connect worship, Bible study, and personal meditation during Lent and Easter. Explore the Christological themes of Isaiah 40–55, woven beautifully into complete worship services, pastoral guides for Lenten midweek and Holy Week preaching and teaching, and daily devotions for the whole church.
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To celebrate the release of our latest Concordia Commentary, we are pleased to offer one lucky winner a free copy of Isaiah 56–66.
Isaiah 56–66 is the culmination of the prophet’s message condemning humanity’s sin and promising the Suffering Servant, who atones for that sin, rises in majesty, and prepares an eternal city, the new Jerusalem, for all the redeemed. These chapters answer the questions, Do people enjoy Yahweh’s grace by birthright or by faith? Who is the true Israel? And what will happen to the Suffering Servant’s offspring, the church? God’s restoration of Zion’s glory is our future!
Enter the giveaway in two easy steps: Follow @CPHAcademic on Twitter. Send a tweet from your account telling us which Concordia Commentary you would most like to see under your Christmas tree. Tag @CPHAcademic and use the hashtag #ConcordiaCommentary. Tweet must be sent by Tuesday, December 16 (by 11:59 p.m. Central Time).
A winner will be chosen at random and notified via Direct Message on Twitter. The winner will be sent an affidavit of eligibility by email. If the winner fails to respond in three days, a new winner will be chosen. One entry per person. Must be 18 years or older, and a resident of the U.S. Concordia Publishing House is not responsible for lost, late, or damaged entries. Prize worth approximately $54.99. See complete rules Here.
Dr. Reed Lessing’s commentary on Isaiah 56-66 has received outstanding advance endorsements from the academic community. Read below what scholars are saying about the book!
As with his earlier work on Isaiah 40–55, Professor Lessing has given us a highly useful commentary on chapters 56–66. More than many others, it nicely balances linguistic and grammatical precision, exegetical acumen, and profound theological insights. Without forcing the text to say what it does not, Lessing is able to give an unashamedly Christian interpretation which will be very helpful to Christian pastors and teachers. This is a welcome addition to the list of Isaiah commentaries and is much to be preferred over many of them.
—Dr. John Oswalt, Visiting Distinguished Professor of Old Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary
Reed Lessing offers a fresh theological interpretation of Isaiah 56–66, the often-neglected concluding chapters of the book. With rich exegetical detail, he demonstrates the continuity from Isaiah 1–55 to these chapters, showing how the latter bring the “righteousness” and “servant” themes to culmination and highlight the growing “communal rupture” which will lead ultimately to the split between Judaism and Christianity and the inclusion of Gentiles within the people of God. Though thoroughly familiar with contemporary historical-critical conclusions to the contrary, he confidently affirms the divine inspiration and Isaianic authorship of the entire book, as well as the non-postexilic setting and structural unity of its final eleven chapters. No other recent commentary so deftly integrates a consideration of the canonical context of Isaiah 56–66, their New Testament appropriation, and the fulfillment of the prophet’s eschatological vision in the first and second advents of Jesus Christ and the birth of the Church.
—Dr. Richard Schultz, Blanchard Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College
Dr. Lessing’s philological and literary exegesis of the Masoretic text gives evidence of an extensive learning and familiarity with the multiple subdisciplines in contemporary research of ancient texts. Moreover, the commentary pays full attention to multi-layered connections of chapters 56–66 to chapters 40–55 (expounded in Dr. Lessing’s previous volume [CPH, 2011]). The immense field of earlier and recent secondary literature is taken into account and discussed in a summarizing, remunerative way. The author acknowledges the hermeneutical principle of “Scripture interprets Scripture” which has guided interpreters through the ages. Since he applies this principle both as an article of faith and as a practical mode of literary analysis, the book is entitled to a place among excellent reference works.
—Dr. Willem Beuken, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
Dr. Reed Lessing is a veteran author for Concordia Publishing House. His latest book is Isaiah 56–66, the twenty-seventh volume in the Concordia Commentary series. We interviewed Dr. Lessing to find out more about him, his commentary, and its contribution to the church.
Tell me about yourself.
I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, and have enjoyed serving Christ through both pastoral ministry and teaching at Concordia Seminary. Currently I serve at St. Michael Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
I’ve been married for thirty-two years to Lisa and we have three adult children: Abi, Jonathan, and Lori.
Why did you go into the ministry?
First Corinthians 9:16 sums it up nicely; “I am compelled to preach the Gospel.” Christ Jesus called me out of darkness into His marvelous light and I want to take that light to a dark world.
How did you become interested in the biblical book on which you wrote your commentary?
Have any events in your life and ministry helped you gain insight into this portion of Scripture?
In chapters 56–66, the prophet envisions life in the new community created by the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 52:13–53:12. By God’s grace, I live in this new community and therefore experience its highs and lows, as depicted in chapters 56–66, even as I eagerly anticipate Christ’s Second Coming which is a topic Isaiah takes up in chapters 60–62 and again in 65:17–25.
What was the best part about writing a commentary?
I am blessed to be able to meditate on God’s Word in a sustained and energizing way.
What was the worst part?
Getting started is difficult. It takes a lot to launch a rocket, but once it is in space it is much easier. Just so, launching a book is tough, but once I’m going for a few months it gets easier.
What unique contribution does your commentary make?
While it is true that Isaiah 40–55 extends historically beyond chapters 1–39, this is not the case with chapters 56–66. The last section of Isaiah, rather, circles back to unite the previous parts theologically. Isaiah 56–66, therefore, needs to be read as a theological reflection on Isaiah 1–55 and not as a historical address to Israelites in Persian Yehud. Almost every other commentary on the prophet’s last eleven chapters force a historical reading upon the text. Mine is theological.
What are the most important biblical passages covered in your commentary, and why are they so important?
The “Fifth Servant Song” (Isaiah 61:1–3) is at the center of chapters 60–62, both literarily and theologically. Literarily, the importance of 61:1–3 is signaled by the fact that there are 44 verses/lines before the oracle and 45 after it. The theological significance of 61:1–3 comes through the Anointed Servant’s proclamation of the Jubilee, or Sabbath rest, for Yahweh’s remnant believers. Our Lord’s first sermon in the Nazareth synagogue is based upon this Isaian text (Luke 4:15–30) and becomes the Gospel program in Luke/Acts.
How do you hope your commentary will influence the ministry, preaching, and teaching of pastors?
This section of Isaiah is at once familiar and neglected. Some oracles are well known, such “Arise, shine your light is coming” (60:1), “The Spirit of Lord Yahweh is upon me” (61:1), “Who is this coming from Edom?” (63:1), and “Behold, I am about to create a new heavens and a new earth” (65:17). But for the most part, Isaiah 56–66 is an unknown section of an elaborate and hard-to-read book. My commentary gives the church a map to negotiate Isaiah’s last eleven chapters so that his Gospel promises come alive and are preached to the joy and edifying of Christ’s holy people.
What do you see as your legacy to the church?
A love and devotion to Old Testament matched only by a love and devotion for the Bride of Christ, the Holy Christian Church.