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Isaiah – Volume 1: Chapters 1-39

By John L. Mackay
March 2009 | Review by Philip Tait
  • Publisher: Evangelical Press
  • ISBN: 978-0852346563
  • Pages: 864
  • Price: £18.73
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Book Review

This truly magnificent book, in the EP Study Commentary series, is everything a commentary should be. It begins with a very useful introduction to Isaiah as a whole and ends with over 30 pages of detailed notes, for those who need such things.

The exposition of Isaiah 1-39, which is the heart of the book, is not exactly verse by verse –– more like section by section. It is always learned but never heavy or unclear. It is always scholarly but makes no concessions to liberal (that is, unbelieving) theology. Every conclusion is impeccably conservative –– there are no second or third Isaiahs here!

Professor Mackay provides his own literal translation, and therefore no knowledge of Hebrew is needed to use the commentary.

One particular feature is most helpful. Every section concludes with a ‘Reflection’ –– a short paragraph bringing out its spiritual significance, often in the light of the New Testament. I suspect that these ‘Reflections’ will be providing study and sermon material for many years to come.

I also think that their inclusion means that the book goes well beyond its declared aim of being a ‘study commentary’ –– it means that any serious reader of Scripture will find much benefit in using this book devotionally. I warmly commend it and look forward eagerly to volume 2.

And a note to the publisher –– are there plans for similar volumes on Jeremiah and Ezekiel, to say nothing of the minor prophets? If EP can produce books as good as this one on those parts of the Old Testament that are even more difficult than Isaiah, the churches will be in their debt for generations to come.

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