Notes on Isaiah

The prophet Isaiah was considered “the greatest Old Testament prophet,” says my NIV study Bible, and he’s quoted “at least 50 times in the New Testament.” Isaiah was a prophet under five kings, and he talked about both the northern kingdom (Israel) and southern kingdom (Judah), while the other major prophets are predicting the fall of only the latter.

This is a long book:  sixth if you count by words, fourth if you count by verses, and second if you count by chapters, behind only Psalms.  The words of warning are concentrated in the first 39 chapters; it’s the remaining chapters that have the most salience in the New Testament.  From my NIV study Bible again:

The 27 chapters in the second half of Isaiah generally bring a message of forgiveness, comfort, and hope. This message of hope looks forward to the coming of the Messiah. Isaiah speaks more about the Messiah than does any other Old Testament prophet. He describes the Messiah as both a suffering servant [chapter 53 seems to be an especially good example] and a sovereign Lord. The fact that the Messiah was to be both a suffering servant and a sovereign Lord could not be understood clearly until New Testament times. Based on what Jesus Christ has done, God freely offers forgiveness to all who turn to him in faith. This is God’s message of comfort to us because those who heed it find eternal peace and fellowship with him.

Given the book’s length and given its second half’s special importance to Christians, I will focus more on this latter, New Testament angle.


Here are some notes on reading the text:

  • The virgin birth verse (7:14) does rather stick out (it’s not like there are a lot of other signs mentioned that never came to pass).
  • Whoever is coming is clearly divine:  not just another David (see 9:6-7 and 11:1-10).
  • The book contains a series of prophecies about different kings and places: I assume they (at least arguably) all came true.
  • “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, / Neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. /  ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, / So My ways are higher than your ways, / And My thoughts than your thoughts.'” (55:8-9).
  • “‘Come,’ they say, ‘let us get wine, and let us drink heavily of strong drink; And tomorrow will be like today, only more so'” (56:8).
  • In 58:9-14 there are explicit instructions from God on how to behave.  Isaiah is really a potpourri of prophecy subgenres:  what will happen to the wicked and the righteous, how to behave (via prophet and via God), and hard-to-classify imagery/visions/theology — plus (64:8-12) a prayer.
  • God made everything, so what could he possibly want from us?  “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word” (66:1-2).


As already noted, Isaiah likely has the greatest importance in the New Testament of all the Old Testament prophets.  So perhaps you’d like to read the places in the New Testament where Isaiah is quoted, or conversely perhaps you’d like to read the verses in Isaiah that are quoted in the New Testament (they amount to the same thing; it’s just a matter of ordering).  Well, here you go (source:

I.  New Testament Quotes of Isaiah

Matthew | Mark | Luke | John | Acts | Romans | Corinthians | Peter | Other | Isaiah


Matthew 1:23 Virgin with child (Isaiah 7:14)

Matthew 3:3 Voice in wilderness (Isaiah 40:3)

Matthew 4:15 A light in darkness (Isaiah 9:1)

Matthew 8:17 Carried our diseases (Isaiah 53:4)

Matthew 12:18 Behold My Servant (Isaiah 42:1)

Matthew 12:21 Hope for Gentiles (Isaiah 42:4)

Matthew 13:14 Closed eyes and ears (Isaiah 6:9)

Matthew 15:7 They worship in vain (Isaiah 29:13)

Matthew 21:13 A house of prayer (Isaiah 56:7)


Mark 1:2 Voice in wilderness (Isaiah 40:3)

Mark 4:12 Closed eyes and ears (Isaiah 6:9)

Mark 7:6 They worship in vain (Isaiah 29:13)

Mark 9:48 Fire is not quenched (Isaiah 66:24)

Mark 11:17 A house of prayer (Isaiah 56:7)

Mark 15:28 Numbered with transgressors (Isaiah 53:12)


Luke 2:32 Light to the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:6, 49:6)

Luke 3:4 Voice in wilderness (Isaiah 40:3)

Luke 4:17 He anointed me to preach (Isaiah 61:1)

Luke 8:10 Closed eyes and ears (Isaiah 6:9)

Luke 19:46 A house of prayer (Isaiah 56:7)

Luke 22:37 Numbered with transgressors (Isaiah 53:12)


John 1:23 Voice in wilderness (Isaiah 40:3)

John 6:45 All be taught of God (Isaiah 54:13)

John 12:38 Who has believed our report? (Isaiah 53:1)

John 12:39 Closed eyes and ears (Isaiah 6:10)


Acts 7:48 Heaven is my throne (Isaiah 66:1)

Acts 8:32 A lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7)

Acts 13:34 The blessings of David (Isaiah 55:3)

Acts 13:47 A light for the Gentiles (Isaiah 49:6)

Acts 28:25 Closed eyes and ears (Isaiah 6:9)


Romans 2:24 Blasphemy among Gentiles (Isaiah 52:5)

Romans 3:15-17 Feet swift to shed blood (Isaiah 59:7-8)

Romans 9:19-21 Potter and the clay (Isaiah 29:16)

Romans 9:27 Remnant shall be saved (Isaiah 10:22)

Romans 9:29 As Sodom and Gomorrah (Isaiah 1:9)

Romans 9:33 Stone of stumbling (Isaiah 8:14)

Romans 9:33, 10:11 Believers not disappointed (Isaiah 28:16)

Romans 10:15 How beautiful the feet (Isaiah 52:7)

Romans 10:16 Who has believed our report? (Isaiah 53:1)

Romans 10:20 Found by those who sought me not (Isaiah 65:1)

Romans 10:21 Disobedient and obstinate people (Isaiah 65:2)

Romans 11:8 A spirit of stupor (Isaiah 29:10)

Romans 11:26 Deliverer from Zion (Isaiah 59:20)

Romans 11:26 When I forgive their sins (Isaiah 27:9)

Romans 11:34 The mind of the LORD (Isaiah 40:13)

Romans 14:11 Every knee shall bow (Isaiah 45:23)

Romans 15:12 Hope for Gentiles (Isaiah 42:4)

Romans 15:12 The Root of Jesse (Isaiah 11:10)

Romans 15:21 They shall understand (Isaiah 52:15)


1Corinthians 1:19 The wisdom of the wise (Isaiah 29:14)

1Corinthians 2:9 Eye has not seen (Isaiah 64:4)

1Corinthians 14:21 Speak in strange tongues (Isaiah 28:11)

1Corinthians 15:32 Tomorrow we may die (Isaiah 22:13)

1Corinthians 15:54 Death swallowed up (Isaiah 25:8)

2Corinthians 6:2 Acceptable time, day of salvation (Isaiah 49:8)

2Corinthians 6:17 Come out from among them (Isaiah 52:11)


1Peter 1:25 God’s word abides forever (Isaiah 40:6)

1Peter 2:6 Precious corner stone (Isaiah 28:16)

1Peter 2:8 Stone of stumbling (Isaiah 8:14)

1Peter 2:22 He committed no sin (Isaiah 53:9)

1Peter 2:24 By his stripes you were healed (Isaiah 53:5)

1Peter 3:14 Do not be in fear (Isaiah 8:12)


Galatians 4:27 Rejoice barren woman (Isaiah 54:1)

Ephesians 6:14-17 Belt, breastplate, helmet (Isaiah 11:5, 59:17)

Hebrews 2:13 The children God has given me (Isaiah 8:17-18)

Revelation 3:7 The key of David (Isaiah 22:22)


II.  Isaiah Verses in the New Testament

Isaiah 1:9 As Sodom and Gomorrah (Romans 9:29)

Isaiah 6:9 Closed eyes and ears (Matthew 13:14, Mark 4:12,Luke 8:10, John 12:39, Acts 28:25)

Isaiah 7:14 Virgin with child (Matthew 1:23)

Isaiah 8:12 Do not be in fear (1Peter 3:14)

Isaiah 8:14 Stone of stumbling (1Peter 2:8, Romans 9:33)

Isaiah 8:17-18 The children God has given me (Hebrews 2:13)

Isaiah 9:1 A light in darkness (Matthew 4:15)

Isaiah 9:6 A child shall be born (Matthew 1:23)

Isaiah 10:22 Remnant shall be saved (Romans 9:27)

Isaiah 11:5 A belt girding the loins (Ephesians 6:14)

Isaiah 11:10 The Root of Jesse (Romans 15:12)

Isaiah 22:13 Tomorrow we may die (1Corinthians 15:32)

Isaiah 22:22 The key of David (Revelation 3:7)

Isaiah 25:8 Death swallowed up (1Corinthians 15:54)

Isaiah 27:9 When I forgive their sins (Romans 11:26)

Isaiah 28:11 Speak in strange tongues (1Corinthians 14:21)

Isaiah 28:16 Precious corner stone (1Peter 2:6, Romans 9:33)

Isaiah 28:16 Believers not disappointed (Romans 9:33, 10:11)

Isaiah 29:10 A spirit of stupor (Romans 11:8)

Isaiah 29:13 They worship in vain (Matthew 15:7, Mark 7:6)

Isaiah 29:14 The wisdom of the wise (1Corinthians 1:19)

Isaiah 29:16 Potter and the clay (Romans 9:19-21)

Isaiah 40:3 Voice in wilderness (Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:2,Luke 3:4, John 1:23)

Isaiah 40:6 God’s word abides forever (1Peter 1:25)

Isaiah 40:13 The mind of the LORD (Romans 11:34)

Isaiah 42:1 Behold My Servant (Matthew 12:18)

Isaiah 42:4 Hope for Gentiles (Romans 15:12)

Isaiah 42:6 A light for the Gentiles (Luke 2:32)

Isaiah 45:23 Every knee shall bow (Romans 14:11)

Isaiah 49:6 A light for the Gentiles (Luke 2:32, Acts 13:47)

Isaiah 49:8 Acceptable time, day of salvation (2Corinthians 6:2)

Isaiah 52:5 Blasphemy among Gentiles (Romans 2:24)

Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful the feet (Romans 10:15)

Isaiah 52:11 Come out from among them (2Corinthians 6:17)

Isaiah 52:15 They shall understand (Romans 15:21)

Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed our report? (John 12:38, Romans 10:16)

Isaiah 53:4 Carried our diseases (Matthew 8:17)

Isaiah 53:5 By his stripes you were healed (1Peter 2:24)

Isaiah 53:7 A lamb to the slaughter (Acts 8:32)

Isaiah 53:9 He committed no sin (1Peter 2:22)

Isaiah 53:12 Numbered with transgressors (Mark 15:28, Luke 22:37)

Isaiah 54:1 Rejoice barren woman (Galatians 4:27)

Isaiah 54:13 All be taught of God (John 6:45)

Isaiah 55:3 The sure mercies of David (Acts 13:34)

Isaiah 56:7 A house of prayer (Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17, Luke 19:46)

Isaiah 59:7-8 Feet swift to shed blood (Romans 3:15-17)

Isaiah 59:17 Breastplate and helmet (Ephesians 6:14-17)

Isaiah 59:20 Deliverer from Zion (Romans 11:26)

Isaiah 61:1 He anointed me to preach (Luke 4:17)

Isaiah 64:4 Eye has not seen (1Corinthians 2:9)

Isaiah 65:1 Found by those who sought me not (Romans 10:20)

Isaiah 65:2 Disobedient and obstinate people (Romans 10:21)

Isaiah 66:1 Heaven is my throne (Acts 7:48)

Isaiah 66:24 Fire is not quenched (Mark 9:48)