5/14/2015

Let's Talk (Isaiah 1:1-31): Bible Study Questions

Isaiah 1:1-9, 10-20, 21-31; Key Verses Isa 1:18, 3, 13, 23

"Come now let us reason together" (1:18a, ESV). "Let us settle the matter" (NIV). "Let us discuss this" (HCSB).

Most scholars regard Isaiah 1–5 as an introduction to at least chapters 1–39 if not to the entire book of 66 chapters.

1:1-31
2:1-5
2:6-4:1
4:2-6
5:1-30
6:1-13














How Stupid Can You Be (1.1-9)
Stop Your Church Activities (1:10-20)
Care For Whom I Care For (1:21-31)
1. God's broken heart (1:2-3)
1. What displeases God (1:10-15)
1. Judgment (21-23)
2. Our broken life (1:4-8)
2. What pleases God (1:16-17)
2. Purification (24-26)
3. God's unbroken grace (1:9)
3. How to please God (1:18-20)
3. Redemption or ..... (27-31)


Questions: 1:1-9 (national failure): Sin. "The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner's manger, but...my people do not understand." (1:3).
  1. What is Isaiah about (1:1)? Why is it a vision that Isaiah saw and not a message that he heard? Who does it concern?
  2. Why call on the heavens and the earth (1:2a; Dt 30:19; 32:1, 4–6)? Note the verb used to describe Israel's attitude toward God in 1:2b and 66:24, the last verse of Isaiah. How is rebellion more than mere disobedience? 
  3. Why is 1:3 rather comical and yet very serious (Dt 32:6)?
  4. See the verbs in 1:4 as a further explanation of rebellion and its effects.
  5. What do 1:5–8 describe? How is Isaiah making his point?
  6. There are two important titles for Yahweh in 1:1-9. What are they (1:4, 9)? What is their significance?
  7. Why the reference to Sodom and Gomorrah in 1:9?
1:10–20 (religious failure): Repentance. "I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly." (Isa 1:13, ESV).
  1. Why might Isaiah have brought up 1:10-15 at this point? What can God not endure (11-15)? Why?
  2. If God commanded rituals in the law, why is he angry when they performed them, and even called them "rebels"? What is the danger with religious ritual (1 Sam 15:22; Jer 7:21-23; Hos 6:6; Am 5:21–24; Mic 6:6–8)? Why does God not accept their worship and prayers (1:13, 15 explicitly states their problem)? How does all this relate to us?
  3. What 9 thunderous corrective actions are commanded and demanded (16-17)?
    • your heart (16a) [inwardly - 2 commands].
    • your life (16b-17a) [outwardly - 3 commands].
    • your society (17b) [socially - 4 commands]
  4. What comforting promise does God offer regarding their sins (1:18)? How is this counterintuitive and remarkable? What do you learn about God's grace? Does righteous living (1:16–17) produce forgiveness (1:18)? Why or why not?
  5. What are two alternate courses of actions and their respective consequences (19-20; Dt 30:15-20)?
1:21–31 (social failure): Redemption. "...they refuse to defend the cause of orphans or fight for the rights of widows" (Isa 1:23, NLT).
  1. What are the contrasts in 1:21-22? What change occurred with Jerusalem?
  2. What is the problem with her leaders (Isa 1:23, 17; 3:12-15; Jer 21:12)?
  3. Note the introduction of a third title for God (1:24). What is the impact here? Who are the "enemies" of Yahweh (Jer 21:5)?
  4. 1:25–27 express a key truth of Isaiah. What is God's intent when he brings destruction on his people?
  5. What is the relationship of 1:28-31 to 1:25-27? Why do you think Isaiah ends on this note after the promises 1:26-27 (a reversal of vv. 21–23)? How would God deal with the penitent (27)? The sinners (28)?
  6. What illustration did God use to describe the end result (29-31)?
References:
  1. Isaiah by John Oswalt, Session 1 (1 hr 10 min video lecture, 2012 at Francis Asbury Society).
  2. Motyer, J. Alec. Isaiah. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. IVP. Downers Grove, IL, USA. 1999.
  3. Webb, Barry G. The Message of Isaiah: On Eagles' Wings. The Bible Speaks Today. IVP. Downers Grove, IL, USA. 1997.
  4. Kidner, Derek. New Bible Commentary. IVP. Downers Grove, IL, USA. 1994.
  5. Ortlund Jr., Raymond C. Isaiah: God Saves Sinners. Preaching The Word. Crossway books. Wheaton, IL, USA. 1995. (Book50 audio sermons on Isaiah by Ray Ortlund.)
Misc - The first set of questions removed from the West Loop Church website and replaced with the above:
  1. What is Isaiah about (1:1)? Who does it concern? What is God doing in verse 2 (Dt 30:19)?
  2. Sin affects God's people nationally (2-9) [rebellion], religiously (10-15) [hypocrisy], and socially (21-31) [injustice]. Despite this, what 9 thunderous corrective actions are commanded and demanded (16-17)? Identify them.
    1. your heart (16a) [inwardly - 2 commands].
    2. your life (16b-17a) [outwardly - 3 commands].
    3. your society (17b) [socially - 4 commands].
  3. What is God's gracious invitation and promise (18)? How is this remarkable and counterintuitive?
  4. What are two alternate courses of actions and their respective consequences (19-20; Dt 30:15-20)?
  5. How is the city of Zion/Jerusalem described (21-23)? What change had occurred?
  6. What does God promise to do with Zion (24-26)?
  7. How would God deal with the penitent (27)? The sinners (28)?
  8. What illustration did God use to describe the end result (29-31)?
Study Questions: Read Isaiah 1:10-20.
  1. What can God no longer endure (1:11-14)? Read 1 Sam 15:22; Jer 7:21-23; Hos 6:6; Am 5:21-24; Mic 6:6-8.
  2. Why will God not accept their worship and prayers (1:15)?
  3. What does God want them to do (1:16-17)? Notice the 9 thunderous commands and demands in 1:16-17.
  4. What comforting promise does God offer regarding their sins (1:18)? What can we learn about the grace of God?
  5. What is promised to the obedient? To the rebellious (1:19-20)?
Study Questions: Read Isaiah 1:21-31.
  1. How is the city of Zion/Jerusalem described (21-23)? What change had occurred?
  2. What does God promise to do with Zion (24-26)?
  3. How would God deal with the penitent (27)? The sinners (28)?
What illustration did God use to describe the end result (29-31)?