“The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.”
Isaiah 1:1 ESV
Isaiah has been called “the Bible in miniature” because of a fascinating quirk of its chapter divisions:
- Its 66 chapters correspond to the 66 books of the Bible.
- The Old Testament has 39 books. Much of the Old Testament deals with God’s judgment on Israel for sin. Similarly, the first 39 chapters deal primarily with God’s judgment and punishment for sin.
- The New Testament has 27 books. The gospels tell the story of Jesus; beginning with John the Baptist. And the last 27 chapters of Isaiah deal with the coming Messiah, and God’s restoration of all things. And Mark, the first gospel writer, quotes Isaiah 40 when he describes John the Baptist.
Compare Mark 1:3:
“the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’””
Mark 1:3 ESV
To Isaiah 40:3:
“A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
Isaiah 40:3 ESV
Since chapter divisions weren’t introduced to the Hebrew Bible until 1448, this has to be a coincidence. But it’s a really, really cool coincidence!
So you can remember the overall theme of Isaiah with the phrase “Groans and Glory.” Chapters 1-39, groans. Chapters 40-66, glory.
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