Only in recent decades have commentaries on Isaiah been written that strive to concentrate more on theological and practical concerns than on issues of the book’s composition and authorship. Broadly speaking, both the revival of trinitarian theology and the retrieval of strategies for theological interpretation of Scripture have contributed to this development and continue to intensify scholarly interest in reading both Old and New Testaments as Christian Scripture. This paper will demonstrate the value of reading a particular biblical text—the introductory chapters of Isaiah—with an overt interest in what insights it may reveal about the doctrine of humanity according to the whole of Christian Scripture.
Following a brief personal account of the rationale for selecting Isaiah 1–5 as a test case, the paper will situate its approach in the context of the book’s history of interpretation and provide a concise overview of the reading strategies and theological presuppositions being deployed. The majority of the paper will then concentrate on the interpretive fruitfulness of following the implicit invitations in Isaiah 1–5 to read canonically while exercising appropriate hermeneutical discernment. The rich intertextuality of this passage directs readers to see human beings from God’s perspective as created for relationship with and exclusive worship of Him. Overall, the paper argues that when treated as a text that is inextricably embedded within the two-testament canon of Christian Scripture, a theologically oriented reading of Isaiah 1–5 vividly depicts the uniquely doxological character of humanity.