Isaiah saw a vision of YHWH enthroned in glory and he was commissioned with an unusual task for a prophet – that is to harden the hearts of the people. Judgement had been passed on Israel and Isaiah was charged with communicating the verdict to the people in a manner that would ensure they would not repent. After examining the various scholarly proposals for the hardening motif in Isaiah 6, I will offer my own proposal that the commission to harden the hearts is as a direct result of the idolatry of the people. I will go on to describe how the hardening motif functions in this passage and in the rest of Isaiah.
Writing • Theology
On these pages you will find a selection of my theological writing. These are essays I wrote while studying for a theology degree from the University of Chester.
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Different types of literature can be categorised by their form, style or content. This is known as genre. The meaning of the text is embedded within the genre. The Bible contains literature from a number of genres. After providing a description of genre, I will assess its role in biblical interpretation using a pericope from Mark’s Gospel to demonstrate how genre impacts reading and meaning. I will conclude with describing the effect that genre has on teaching from this text.
The question of how to read the Bible today is one of how we view the authority of Scripture. Can the stories in the Bible be applied to our present situation, and if they can how should we interpret them today? N.T. Wright has suggested that the Bible is a drama in five acts – Creation, Fall, Israel, Jesus and the Church. The fifth act is unfinished and it is for the reader to enter into the drama and then to complete the story.
Developmental psychologists have attempted to understand if there is a discernible universal pattern to how a person’s values and perspectives change at different stages in their life. James Fowler developed a theory of six stages in his 1981 book Stages of Faith where he describes how an individual’s faith matures as they age.
The Letter of Paul to the Colossians contains six verses which form a hymn or poem in praise of Christ. This Christ Hymn is a densely packed statement of Paul’s Christological monotheism. Christ is exalted as sovereign over creation, the church and new creation. The letter was written in response to the false philosophy that the church in Colossae was in danger of following.
In Romans 1-3, Paul writes to the Christians in Rome about a major theme in his theology, the righteousness of God which has been revealed through the gospel. In this passage Paul describes the universal sinfulness and guilt of humanity that results in the wrath of God, before beginning to reveal the solution – faith in Jesus the Messiah.