Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Fifth Gospel

I read the other night that the Book of Isaiah could be looked at as the “Fifth Gospel.”

Not sure why, but this really struck a chord with me. I have a passing familiarity with it, having read completely through the Bible back in ’92 and sectionally many times since. Also, Isaiah serves as the first reading for the liturgy during the season of Advent, the four weeks prior to Christmas.

Why can Isaiah be viewed as the Fifth Gospel? Two reasons. First, because so many prophecies are fulfilled in the New Testament gospels, particularly Matthew. Many verses from Isaiah are quoted and referenced in that book. Second, because Christ is so personally prefigured in Isaiah, especially in chapters 40 and on.

This has made me interested in a full reading of Isaiah, especially as December 24th and 25th near.

Now, there are 66 chapters in the book of Isaiah. I could probably read the whole thing in three or four hours. So could you. The problem is … how to find the time.

I’m almost a hundred pages into War and Peace, and have a thousand more in front of me. That reading battle represents a teenage challenge to me, so I will continue putting in a half-hour or forty-five minutes a night with it. This weekend I started a pop physics book, satisfying a growing urge over the past couple of weeks, so I want to stick with that, too. (I plan on reading it during my lunch break.)

So why not a chapter or two of Isaiah every morning? I usually get to work 20 minutes early; I can sit in my car and read for 15 minutes. That should do it nicely.

I’ll keep you posted on this one. It may take a little more effort than Tolstoy or quantum mechanics …

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