Study notes

Handout for the January 18, 2019 Bible Study

When God Destroys the Shroud! Isaiah 25–26

  • What reasons does Isaiah give for praising God in Isaiah 25:1–5?
  • How does the host of the feast identify himself in Isaiah 25:6?
  • What is the menu?
  • Who are the guests?
  • What makes the idea of a meal important?
  • What is important about the location of the banquet?
  • What else will God do on “this mountain”?
  • What are some of the places this theme is picked up in the New Testament? (See 1 Corinthians 15:54; Revelation 7:17; 21:4.) What does the temple have to do with this?
  • The banquet imagery includes grace and joy. What else does it include? (See Isaiah 25:10–12; Revelation 19:6, 17, 18.)
  • What is the response of God’s people in Isaiah 26:1?
  • How can you discipline your mind (Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:4–9)?
  • What is the result? What does Isaiah mean by peace?
  • What does God want his people to do (Isaiah 26:8, 9)?
  • Why does Isaiah return to the theme of destruction and judgment (Isaiah 26:9–14)?
  • What events give hope to God’s people, and why?

Handout for the October 26, 2018, Bible Study in Astoria

Whom Can You Trust? Isaiah 19 & 20

  • Who are the subjects of this series of oracles? See Isaiah 15:1; 17:1; 18:1; 19:1; and 21:1.
  • Why did the Assyrian commander go to Ashdod? (Isaiah 20:1)
  • Who are the world powers at the time?
  • Why would that situation involve Israel, and thus Isaiah?
  • What prophetic sign did Isaiah become? (See 2 Samuel 6:20 & 10:4). What was the result?
  • What will happen to Egypt when the Lord goes there? (Isaiah 19:1-15)
  • Why do God’s people need to know how weak Egypt really is?
  • What is significant about cities in Egypt speaking the language of Canaan?
  • Egypt will join in worshiping the Lord. What time frame does Isaiah have in mind?
  • What will join the world powers together? (Isaiah 19:23)
  • What earlier blessings does the triple blessing of Isaiah 19:24–25 reflect?
  • Who are God’s people and the work of his hands?
  • When is this blessing fulfilled?

Handout for the September 21, 2018, Bible Study in Astoria

The Stump as a Banner  Isaiah 11

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    How was God going to use the Assyrians, and why was he going to punish them (Isaiah 10:12–19)?
  • As the Lord preserves a remnant (Isaiah 10:20–23), how would he destroy the Assyrians (10:24–34)?
  • How much would be left of Judah (Isaiah 11:1)?
  • What status does the descriptive name take on? See Isaiah 4:2; 53:2; Zechariah 3:8; 6:12.
  • Who equips the Branch?
  • What is the result of his work? (Isaiah 11:6–9)
  • Where do you find the root in Isaiah 11:10?
  • Does the lifting up for a background for John 3:14; 12:32?
  • What will the Lord do for his people? (Isaiah 11:11–14)?
  • What earlier event does this recall?
  • What is the response of God’s people? (Isaiah 12)
  • What does Isaiah 21:2 echo? (See Exodus 15:2.)
  • What does Isaiah 12:4 summon you to do in response to God’s work?

Handout for the September 7, 2018, Bible Study in Astoria

To Us a Child Is Born  Isaiah 9

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    What is the point of the signboard and the name given Isaiah’s son in the early part of Isaiah 8?
  • To whom does the last half of Isaiah 8 point? See 1 Peter 3:14; 2:8; and Hebrews 2:13.
  • On what note does Isaiah 8 conclude?
  • What darkness did Zebulun and and Naphtili face (Isaiah 9:1)?
  • What role does light play? See Luke 1:79.
  • Is Isaiah being redundant when he mentions the birth of a child and also calls him a son?
  • What rests on his shoulder?
  • How many names are given to him?
  • Note the balanced structure, with each pair showing both his deity (“wonderful,” “God,” “eternal,” “peace”) and his humanity (“counselor,” “mighty,” “father,” “prince”).
  • How is he both wonderful and a counselor? (Psalm 78:12; Judges 13:18; Isaiah 11:2).
  • To whom does El (singular) refer? How is he mighty?
  • What comfort do the terms Eternal and Father give you? (Isaiah 57:15; Psalm 103:13).
  • To what does Prince refer? Peace?
  • How long does his kingdom last?
  • In the shorter term, what will happen (Isaiah 9:8—10:4)?

Handout for the August 24, 2018, Bible Study in Astoria

Immanuel!    Isaiah 7

  • Does God fix things (such as shooting tragedies and threats of invasion)?
  • Who was king in Jerusalem, and what threats did he and Judah face?
  • What was the reaction of King Ahaz?
  • Where was Isaiah to meet Ahaz? Whom was Isaiah to take with him?
  • What assurance did Isaiah give Ahaz?
  • What did God offer/command Ahaz?
  • What does the response of Ahaz reveal? How modern is Ahaz?
  • What sign does God give?
  • How is this sign fulfilled? What kinds of debate have focused on this sign?
  • How does Matthew 1:23 view the sign?
  • Why is the doctrine of the virgin birth important?
  • What does the child’s name mean?
  • What is significant about eating curds and honey and choosing good instead of evil in verse 15?
  • For what will the Lord whistle?
  • How does Isaiah 8:1–10 tie in with Isaiah 7?

“. . . in the dealings of God with His covenant people will be found a profound and and su­pernatural promise of greater things to come. So, in our passage, the prophet, when he placed before the re­bellious Ahaz that strange picture of the mother and child, was not merely promising deliverance to Ju­dah in the period before a child then born should know how to refuse the evil and choose the good, but also, moved by the Spirit of God, was looking forward, as in a dim and mysteri­ous vision, to the day when the true Im­manuel, the mighty God and Prince of Peace, should lie as a little babe in a virgin’s arms.” (J. Gresham Machen, The Virgin Birth of Christ, p. 293).

Handout for the August 10, 2018, Bible Study in Astoria


Holy, Holy, Holy!     Isaiah 6

  • How does Isaiah 6 function in the book? Why is it here instead of being the first chapter?
  • What kind of king had Uzziah been? See 2 Chronicles 26:4–5, 16–21. (In 2 Kings 15 he is sometimes called Azariah.)
  • What (and who) does Isaiah see?
  • Why did Isaiah need to see this as he began his work as a prophet? Why do you need to see this revelation of God?
  • What does Isaiah’s vision show you about the character of God?
  • Who are seraphim?
  • What are they saying?
  • Whose glory did Isaiah see? John 12:41.
  • What impression does the vision make on Isaiah, and why?
  • How is the problem of Isaiah’s sin, and yours, dealt with?
  • Why is a burning coal used, rather than God simply stating that Isaiah was forgiven?
  • Is the explanation given by the seraph important?
  • Does this passage have any implications for how we are to understand the sacraments?
  • What question does God ask?
  • Why doesn’t God send seraphim instead of Isaiah (or us) to proclaim his Word?
  • What implications does Isaiah’s response have for the church today?
  • How does God describe Isaiah’s mission, his job description?
  • How long will Isaiah have to do this?
  • When God’s Word is not heard is it empty or vain? See Isaiah 55:11.
  • How is Isaiah’s discouraging mission related to the work of the Messiah whose coming he prophesied? See John 12:37–41; Acts 28:26–28; Romans 11:8.
  • What hope does the stump give?

“To praise His name in­volves more than the mere repetition of the word qa­dosh [holy]. It includes deep meditation upon God and His attributes and the living of a life of humility in accordance with the pre­cepts laid down in His Word. It is, in other words, the life of faith in Jesus Christ, lived for the glory of God.” (Ed­ward J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, Vol. 1, p. 243).

Handout for the July 27, 2018, Bible Study in Astoria


The Branch of the Lord and the Song of the Vineyard Isaiah 4:2–5:7

  • What overtones does “in that day” have in the context? See Isaiah 2:12, 20; 3:18; 4:1.
  • What kind of day is described in Isaiah 4:2?
  • Who is the Branch? See Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15; and Zechariah 3:8.
  • What does the Lord do for the remnant?
  • What happens to Zion? See also Isaiah 2:1-5.
  • What earlier event in Israel’s history is recalled?
  • Where do you see this happening today? (Hebrews 12:18–24)
  • What kind of writing is Isaiah 5:1–7?
  • Who is the beloved, to whom the vineyard belongs?
  • Why is the activity of the owner described in such detail?
  • Who is the speaker, starting in Isaiah 5:3?
  • Who are asked to render a verdict? Why them?
  • What did the vineyard produce?
  • What will happen to the vineyard? Why?
  • What is the lesson for us today?
  • How is the rest of Isaiah 5 related to this song?
  • How does Jesus use this song? See Matthew 21:33–46: John 15:1–11.

God not only commands you to bear good fruit—he also sends the true vine. Only as you are grafted into him can you be the fruitful branch you should be.

Next time: Isaiah 6

Handout for the July 6, 2018, Bible Study in Astoria


Isaiah: A Prophet for Our Times

Introduction & Isaiah 1:1–20

Isaiah 1 notes (as a PDF) This includes a timeline of Isaiah’s ministry.

“Isaiah brings us face to face with Him who sits upon the throne, high and lifted up, who controls the des­tinies of nations, and who sends to us a Child, even our Lord and Redeemer. The late Dr. J. Gresham Machen once spoke of the Old Testament prophesies as ‘full of the grace of God.’ And as we read of that grace may our deepest grati­tude be to Him who is the true Author of this prophecy, and who in the fullness of time sent to this earth Him whose name is Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” (E. J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, pp. viii-ix).

Handout for the June 22, 2018, Bible Study in Astoria

Satan Crushed under Your Feet! Romans 16:17–27

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    What threats to the church at Rome does Paul warn about, Romans 16:17–19?
  • Was this related to the problems described in Romans 14?
  • Who lies behind these threats?
  • Verse 20 speaks of crushing, echoing what promise?
  • What kind of peace results?
  • Is this promise true for the church today?
  • What blessing does Paul pronounce?
  • Who join in sending greetings?
  • How would you describe the closing verses (25–27) of the letter?
  • What is the mystery that Paul mentions?
  • How clear was the mystery to Old Testament saints?
  • How is God described?
  • How is the mystery related to Paul’s gospel and preaching?
  • Why does Paul mention “the nations” here?
  • How does God receive glory?

Handout for the June 1, 2018, Bible Study in Astoria

Greetings — in Christ   Romans 16:1–16

  • saints
    Why did the Holy Spirit include in the Bible this list of people who have been dead for nearly 2000 years (and many of whom are unknown to us beyond the reference in this chapter)?
  • How is Phoebe described?How important is the calling to be a servant (see Romans 15:8)?
  • What do we know about Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:2, 24–28)?
  • What is Paul’s attitude towards women?
  • Why is there such a strong emphasis on individuals in this chapter?
  • Who are Andronicas and Junia?
  • When were they (and Paul) “in Christ? (Regarding the when of being in Christ see Ephesians 1:5 and Romans 6:5 as well as 16:7.)
  • What do individual believers, united together, form? (Romans 16:5 [and 14 & 15?]; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15.)
  • What is a “house church”?
  • In what different ways is the term church used?
  • How warmly are the saints to greet one another?
  • Who is the source of the unity of the church?
  • Why does the Holy Spirit list all these names in Romans 16?


Handout for the May 11, 2018, Bible study in Astoria

An Offering Acceptable to God     Romans 15:14–33

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    Churchill’s offer of blood, sweat, and tears was unusual. What sacrifice does Paul have in mind?

  • With what authority does Paul speak?

  • If Paul is bringing the Gentiles as a sacrifice, how does that build on and develop the imagery of Isaiah 66:18–20?

  • How have the Gentiles (and all believers) been made clean?

  • How was that evident in the lives of the church at Rome (verse 14)?

  • Why does Paul emphasize the signs and wonders that accompanied his preaching?

  • Why was Paul eager to travel to Rome, Romans 15:22–24? See also Romans 1:8–15.

  • What does he need to do first?

  • Of what is Paul certain (Romans 15:29)?

  • What blessing does Paul have in mind?

  • What areas of life are not affected by union with Christ?

  • What is “ascension deficit disorder”?

  • How fully do you experience the blessing of Christ in your life?

  • What is the hardest job you have this week?

  • On what does Paul base his appeal for prayer?

  • What can you learn about prayer from Paul’s request to the church at Rome?


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