5. Slow Down
If I were to offer my own key to understanding Isaiah, it might be two words: “slow down.” You simply can’t read Isaiah as fast as you read the other books in the Book of Mormon and keep the same level of comprehension. I can’t tell you how many times my problem with a verse was solved when I simply read it slowly. It helped me to sort out the pronouns, divide past tense from future tense, check the footnotes, and better grasp “the manner of prophesying among the Jews.”
Reading these Isaiah passages slowly (rather than skipping or skimming them) will change you from a casual reader to a serious student.
President Boyd K. Packer has written:
“The prophecies of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah . . .loom as a barrier, like a roadblock or a checkpoint beyond which the casual reader, one with idle curiosity, generally will not go. . .
Perhaps only after you read the Book of Mormon and return to the Bible will you notice that the Lord quotes Isaiah seven times in the New Testament; in addition, the Apostles quote Isaiah forty more times. One day you may revere these prophetic words in Isaiah in both books. The Lord had a purpose in preserving the prophecies of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, notwithstanding they become a barrier to the casual reader” (Things of the Soul, 8).
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Pick up your copy of John Bytheway's fun-filled guide to the Isaiah chapters today at Deseret Book or deseretbook.com.