Often named “the fifth gospel,” the book of the prophet Isaiah has more to say about Israel’s coming Messiah than any other Old Testament book. Brilliant, courageous, uncompromising, this prophet declared that “the year of the LORD” had come and God’s people needed to either step up, or stand down. Indeed, when Isaiah spoke, kings trembled.
But too often, when Isaiah speaks today, God’s people have trouble hearing. Why? We often miss the larger context. In The Epic of Eden: Isaiah, Dr. Sandra Richter takes participants back to the eighth century BCE. This eight-week study explains Israel’s religion and economy, explores the definition and role of the prophets, and helps us to apply the message of this great champion of the faith to our lives today.
How does this series work? The study involves two components. The first is a set of eight filmed, approximately 20-30 minute sessions with Dr. Sandra Richter (available as a DVD or through streaming over the internet), and the second is a study guide for each of your group members. This workbook includes five individual studies per week, to be done at home. The idea is that each member will be working at home at their own pace, doing as much or as little as schedules permit. Once per week your group will gather to view the filmed study, talk about the individual work from the week, and focus on some group discussion questions. You can download a leader aid here. Let the adventure begin!
Sandra Richter is the Robert H. Gundry Chair of Biblical Studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. She served as a Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College for the past four years teaching Hebrew language, exegesis, cultural contexts, and “Environmentalism and the Evangelical.” She received her MA from Gordon-Conwell and her Ph.D. from Harvard University's Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations department. She is deeply invested in bringing the real people and real places of the Old Testament to life for both the academic and the lay person. For more than a decade she directed an Israel Studies program for Asbury Theological and Wesley Biblical Seminaries.