Archive for February, 2009

Study Questions on Isa 9:7 for 1 March 2009

We didn’t get to Isa 9:7 this past Lord’s day, so the questions on that verse from last week are still good for this week. In addition, you might like to read ahead Isa 9:8-10:4 and think about questions you might ask about that section.

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The Child named “Miracle”

This week’s study explores the names of the Child of Isa 9:6. The first, “Wonder” or “Miracle,” is a summary of the other four, of which the first and last (“Counselor” and “Prince of Peace” describe members of the court, while the central two (“Mighty God” and “Everlasting Father”) are titles of God himself. We explore the amazing paradox involved in a human child who is at once a counselor to the God who needs no counsel (Isa 40:13, 14), and himself God.

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How many names does the Child have?

Isa 9:5 (English translations v. 6) gives a series of names for the promised Child. Modern translations, motivated by the idea that the names are paired, group them into four, of which the first is “Wonderful Counselor” or (NIV) “Extraordinary Strategist.” Older versions such as the KJV and the ASV, set “Wonderful” apart as a name by itself. How many should we understand?

Continue reading How many names does the Child have?…

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Study Questions on Isa 9:6-7 for 22 Feb 2009

Here are the questions that some of you suggested in our discussion on Feb 15. Feel free to add others or comment on these by replying to this post.

We noted that one important question, in the light of alternative translations, concerns the number of names given to the child in v. 6. Are there five (as in the KJV, ASV, and Handel’s Messiah), or four (most newer translations)? My answer to this question (five) requires a knowledge of Hebrew, and is discussed in an additional post here.

  1. What is the distinctive meaning of each name? You might want to consider how these names are used elsewhere in the Bible
  2. Is there some grouping or significance in the order in which they are presented?
  3. How are these names related to the description of Messiah’s reign in v.7? Clearly, “prince of peace” corresponds to the statement that “of peace there shall be no end.” Are others also reflected?
  4. Both verses 6 and 7 mention “the government” instituted by this child. How does this government contrast with the previous administration?
  5. Try to diagram v.7. How are the phrases and clauses related to one another?
  6. Verse 7 contains several pairs of parallel words. List them, and compare and contrast the words in each pair.
  7. What point in history does v. 7 describe? Are there other Scripture passages that might help situate the events described here?
  8. (A general question applicable to any passage:) So what? How will my understanding of this passage change my life this week?

Three Reasons for Joy

The study for Feb 15 expounds the three reasons that Isaiah gives for the joy described in 9:3. Each is introduced by the conjunction “for,” at the start of verses 4, 5, and 6. The repetition of logical connectives like this is a key indicator of how the author is developing his argument, and merits careful attention.

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From Darkness to Light

Isa 8:21-9:7 has three parts:

  • 8:21-22, prediction of the darkness of those who have abandoned the law of God (8:20)
  • 9:3-7 (ET; MT 9:2-6), prediction of the light that will come upon them
  • 9:1-2 (MT 8:23-9:1), a transition that moves back and forth between the dark past and the bright future.

This week’s study discusses this transition, and gives attention to some points of translation that are clarified once we observe the broader progress of the argument.

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The Theory and Practice of Darkness

In this week’s message, God responds to the Messiah’s words, and confirms the importance of cleaving to “the law and the testimony,” apart from which there is no light. This sad condition explains the dismay that the nation feels. Its remedy awaits the coming of the Messiah mentioned already in 8:13-15, and presented as the dawning of a new day in 9:1-2.

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