Dear Sisters in Christ,
The past five months have brought about so much change in our society. Fear of illness has brought about the ideas of “social distancing” and mask wearing that have closed not only businesses, schools, and health care facilities, but churches as well. What does church look like? How do we worship together corporately when culture says “don’t” for fear of spreading disease? How do we continue to teach the Word when there are so many varying opinions on what is considered “good and safe”? Do we meet together? Inside? Outside? With or without masks? How many people should we allow in a room? When do we start up Sunday School? Fall? Next year? ….
Because of all of these questions, I feel like the Lord has laid an idea on my heart to try. This fall we will be offering an “online” Bible study on the book of Isaiah. God’s Word is timeless, and Isaiah seems to have been written for just a time as this. It is one of the most quoted Old Testament books in the New Testament, second only to Psalms. It is filled with not only warning and judgement, but hope and salvation. Isaiah is referred to as “The fifth Gospel”, and rightly so. Many of our most well-known prophecies regarding Christ’s birth, death, resurrection, and second coming are sited from Isaiah. For that reason, we will spend most of the year savoring this book!
I have set this study up so that it is extremely flexible. The study will begin on October 25 and a new lesson will be posted each week. You can spend as much or as little time as you like on each weekly lesson, depending on your schedule and other responsibilities. If you don’t feel comfortable with groups of people at this point, you can interact online with others by posting comments or questions. If you prefer to talk about what you are learning face-to-face, you can meet with a group of friends at your convenience. You could even use this study for your own personal devotion time. The study will be spread out over 48 weeks. A lesson will be posted one week at a time. If you fall behind or wish to spend more time than a week on a given lesson, no worries! You can go at your own pace.
As I was beginning my own study of Isaiah, I was introduced to a book by Raymond C. Ortlund entitled Isaiah: God Saves Sinners. It has been an excellent resource! I have gotten much out of his teaching. His book reads like a sermon or longer devotional with a lot of food for thought. I have set up each weeks’ study to coincide with the chapters of this book. It’s not necessary that you buy the book, but I think you will find Pastor Ortlund’s teaching and application to be very helpful as you seek to better understand Isaiah.
Whenever we study God’s Word, it is helpful to do three things. First, study the scripture on your own. Second, read or listen to gifted teachers expound on the scripture. Third, talk about what you are learning with fellow Christians. Iron sharpens iron! With this in mind, let me briefly go through what a typical week’s study guide will look like. Other than the introduction lesson, each week’s study will fit on one piece of paper and will be divided into 3 sections.
LIMITED TIME- for those who may not have much time for study, but would like to simply read and meditate on the verses in Isaiah for the week
MORE TIME- for those who have more time for personal Bible study. Each week, I will give some questions to get you started.
GOING DEEPER- suggestions for anyone who would like to receive some teaching and application on Isaiah. This is optional
Remember, the goal is to spend your time with the Lord in His Word…just you and Jesus with the help of the Holy Spirit! In order to help increase your understanding and retention of what the Lord is teaching you, talk about what you are learning with someone else. You can do this using the online discussion board that will be available, or by meeting informally with your spouse or some friends over coffee.
My prayer is that, as women of GraceWay Church, we will never stop “meeting together”. I pray that we encourage and admonish each other in our walk with the Lord. I pray that our view of God will expand exponentially as we experience His steadfast love and sovereignty through the pages of Isaiah. I pray that the Lord will richly bless our time together in His Word this year.
Indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:3-6
Blessings in Christ,