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This Independent Study course on Isaiah’s writings is prepared for adults who have some interest or familiarity with the Old Testament. The study is directed to a general audience of people who want to enrich their understanding and appreciation of the words of this profound, ancient prophet.

It is recognized that some students like a tightly structured course, while others prefer a rather independent approach. This course accommodates both attitudes by having selected areas of directed attention and concentrated study for the structured approach. However, each lesson also contains thought questions and open–ended essays for those desiring flexible, individualized study.

Ultimately, this is your course since you are the one who studies and learns from it. The more you study, ponder, and apply the lesson material, the more knowledge, insights, and value you will gain from the course.

This course is prepared to help you gain what you desire in your studies of Isaiah’s writings.

BYU Course Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the requirements for this course will be able to demonstrate that they have acquired an understanding of—

  1. The Isaiah text in its historical and cultural context.
  2. Fundamental doctrines and principles found in Isaiah’s writings.
  3. How Isaiah’s writings bear witness of the life and work of Jehovah.
  4. How selected Isaiah passages can be applied to daily living.

Course Materials

Required Materials


  • Ludlow, V. (1985). Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Prophet. Deseret Book Company

In addition to the textbook and the course manual supplied by BYU Independent Study, there is only one required book for the class–a Bible. Particularly, you should have the 1979 (or more current) King James publication prepared by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–day Saints. It has important chapter headings, excellent footnotes, a topical guide with over 800 major subject listings (and some 1,750 concordance entries), a good Bible Dictionary, insights from the Joseph Smith Translation, and useful color maps. The “seminary” edition of this Bible is the least expensive, with other editions priced higher, depending on page size, paper and binding quality. The written material, guides, maps, etc., are exactly the same in all editions. These Bibles are available at LDS distribution centers and the BYU Bookstore, or through Independent Study.

Miscellaneous Materials

In addition to the materials already mentioned, you will need a three–ring binder and some lined loose–leaf paper to use with the lesson material. This course manual should be placed in a three hole binder, and I recommend that you keep it along with paper containing your own notes, comments, and questions in such a binder.

It will also be useful for you to have some 3 x 5 index cards. In each section quiz, you will be asked to match some chapters of Isaiah with a major theme or idea from each chapter. You will not need to memorize any verses, but you should at least remember in which chapter you should look to find some important concept or piece of material. The best way to study for this would be to take a 3 x 5 card and write the chapter number on one side. On the other side, list some of the major ideas of the chapter as you find them in the following sources:

  1. The synopsis description (including the title) found in the text, pages 57–69.
  2. The chapter headings in the LDS Bible.
  3. Your reading of the chapter itself.
  4. Any readings from the lessons on the chapter.

Have one card for each Isaiah chapter discussed in that section and review the chapters by mixing up the cards, looking at the chapter number, and trying to recall as many major ideas as you can. You could also look at the side where the major ideas are listed and try to remember in which chapter they are located. Keep these cards in a purse or pocket and study them at free moments each day until you have them learned. Thereafter, when you recognize something from Isaiah, you should no longer say, “I think this is in Isaiah somewhere.” Instead, you should respond, “This is found in the _____ chapter of Isaiah.”

Recommended Books

Also, there are many outstanding books that you may want to have in your own library that will help you understand Isaiah. In particular, you might desire a good general Bible handbook which will explain and illustrate the events, setting, and meaning of the biblical material. Some quality examples follow (although these are not available through Independent Study, all of them may be found in major bookstores and the BYU Bookstore):

  • Eerdmans Handbook to the Bible, by David Alexander (Grand Rapids, Mich: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1973). This is a popular Bible reference work. It is fully illustrated with excellent color pictures, maps, charts, tables, etc. It provides an understanding of the historical context of the whole Bible, and it answers many questions about biblical times, events, terms, and places.
  • Discovering the Biblical World, by Harry Thomas Frank (Maplewood, NJ: Hammond Inc., 1975). This book does not provide the details Eerdmans Handbook does, but it has good historical overviews and essays on the Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, and other topics. It has excellent color maps (such as those in the LDS Bible) and some color illustrations, diagrams, etc.
  • Great People of the Bible and How They Lived (The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., 1974). In this book, the major figures and episodes of the Bible are shown in the context of their times.

In addition, you may want a good contemporary alternate English translation of the Bible to help bridge the awkward English style of the Isaiah passages in the King James Version. Once again, although they are not available through Independent Study, at least one of these modern translations should be available in a bookstore near you:

  • Revised English Bible (REB). This is the latest of the good English translations coming out of the British Isles. Building upon the tradition of the King James English version, it is becoming the most popular version among the British. It is also receiving good reviews and increasing popularity in the American English–speaking religious community.
  • New International Version (NIV). This straightforward, dynamic translation is not written in British or American English but in a compact international English style. Prepared by a group of devout evangelical scholars, it is a doctrinally simple, but sound, translation.
  • New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). This is a more scholarly translation with a clear separation of the poetry and prose sections of the biblical material. Not as readily available at general bookstores, it might be at a university–affiliated bookstore, or it can be ordered through any bookstore.
  • Modern Language Bible (MLB) or Living Bible (LB). The MLB is written in contemporary American language, while the LB is a paraphrase using thoughts and expressions rather than a word–by–word or phrase–by–phrase translation. While they are easy to read, they sometimes lack the doctrinal impact or the literary power of the earlier mentioned translations.

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Let us begin by reviewing the course outline. The course is separated into three sections, each consisting of the following: (5) five lessons, each containing about five short reading assignments (either selected chapters from Isaiah or readings from this course manual) and objective self–check and essay thought questions, including reflective questions for your personal pondering or for recording in your journal; a homework assignment; and a lesson quiz. The lesson self–check questions are for your personal reference and do not need to be turned in. The sectional homework portfolio assignments and speedback quizzes are to be submitted to Independent Study for grading.

On an average, each lesson should take from two to three hours to complete. Of course, you might spend more time on any one lesson by reading the other scriptures cross–referenced in the footnotes, taking detailed notes, reading other resource materials, recording your learning experiences in your journal, etc.

Course Breakdown

Lesson Lesson Title Assignment
1 Religious and Historical Foundation Speedback
2 Isaiah the Prophetic Poet Speedback
3 Isaiah 1-4 Speedback
4 Isaiah 5-8 Speedback
5 Isaiah 9-12 Speedback
Portfolio Submission Unit A Portfolio Assignment Essays
6 Isaiah 13-18 Speedback
7 Isaiah 19-27 Speedback
8 Isaiah 28-31 Speedback
9 Isaiah 32-35, 38-39 Speedback
10 Isaiah 36-37, 40 Speedback
Porfolio Submission Unit B Portfolio Assignment Essays
11 Isaiah 41-45 Speedback
12 Isaiah 46-51 Speedback
13 Isaiah 52-55 Speedback
14 Isaiah 56-60 Speedback
15 Isaiah 61-66 Speedback
Portfolio Submission Unit C Portfolio Assignment Essays
Final Exam

Assignment Explanations

15 Speedback Quizzes

Each of the lessons has Speedback assignments. These are multiple choice quizzes that can be submitted electronically and for which a grade will be immediately given. They can also be sumitted in paper form to Independent Study. These quizzes will test your knowledge of the course material and prepare you for the final exam. Lessons 1—5 speedbacks are open book. Lessons 6—15 Speedback quizzes are closed book. You should complete them on your honor, with out the help of any books, scriptures notes ect. Completing the speedback assignments will help prepare you for the final exam.

Essay Questions

In each lesson you will be asked to write essays based upon the content of the lesson. These essays questions will be submitted as part of your unit portfolios. These essays will help you better understand the content of the course and the writings of Isaiah.

Thought Questions

I highly recommend that you keep a scripture study journal as you study the materials for this course. By writing down the different ideas and thoughts that come to you as you study, you will be able to remember the content better and find ways to make personal application to your life.

In the course you will be asked various thought questions. These questions will require you to ponder about the things you will have read. You should write the answers to these questions in your thought journal.

Your thought journal will not be turned in for grading. However, if you complete the thought journal, you will gain much more from this course.

Portfolio Assignments

Unit A Portfolio Assignment

This assignment will be turned in at the end of Unit A. It will include the following:

  • Completed Unit A Checklist
  • Lesson 2 Isaiah Essay
  • Lesson 5 Isaiah Essay
  • Unit A Checklist Short Essay Questions (5 total)
  • Unit A Checklist "Getting to Know You" personal comment paragraph

Unit B Portfolio Assignment

This assignment will be turned in at the end of Unit B. It will include the following:

  • Completed Unit B Checklist
  • Lesson 8 Isaiah Essay
  • Lesson 9 Isaiah Essay
  • Unit B Checklist Short Essay Questions (5 total)
  • Unit B Checklist "Isaiah Course Status" personal comment paragraph

Unit C Portfolio Assignment

This assignment will be turned in at the end of Unit C. It will include the following:

  • Completed Unit C Checklist
  • Lesson 12 Isaiah Essay
  • Lesson 13 Isaiah Essay
  • Unit C Checklist Short Essay Questions (5 total)
  • Unit C Checklist "Personal Highlight of the Course" personal comment paragraph

Formatting Your Written Work

You will submit written assignments to Independent Study electronically through your course. To make sure I can open and read your papers, please save them as a .RTF (rich text format) files. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Type your paper in a word-processing program (such as Microsoft Word).
  2. When you save the file, click the Save as type: drop-down list.
  3. Select Rich Text Format (*.rtf).
  4. Use the course number, your first and last name, and the assignment name for the filename. For example, “RELA304_JaneSmith_Lesson1Assignment.rtf.”
  5. Click Save.

Submitting Your Portfolio Assignments

It’s very important that you submit all of the assignments for a portfolio at the same time. Here’s how to submit your completed portfolio assignments:

  1. Click the corresponding Portfolio Submission link in your course.
  2. Click Open.
  3. Attach all of the relevant assignments by clicking the Choose File button, then locating the file you wish to submit.
  4. To attach additional files, click Add Attachment and use the Choose File button to locate and upload the next file. Make sure you attach every file you need to include in the portfolio assignment.
  5. When you are finished, click Submit.
  6. You will be asked if you are sure you want to submit this assignment. Click Yes.
  7. You will receive a message that tells you that you have successfully submitted your assignment. Click OK.

Remember: Do NOT submit any assignment until you have completed all of the assignments for the portfolio!

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The other half of your grade will consist of a final examination which will be administered at BYU Independent Study (for those residing in Utah County) or sent to a proctor (local school counselor, public librarian, etc.) who will administer the exam. This final exam will have two parts: (1) objective and essay questions taken from the five sectional homework assignments and quizzes, and (2) two essay questions taken from the list of fifteen “Isaiah Essay Questions,” one of which you will have completed with each lesson. If you have honestly completed all the readings, the Speedback assignments, the essay questions and the thought questions, you should feel confident in your ability to do well on the final exam.

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Graded Elements Percentage of Grade
15 Speedback Quizzes 20%
Unit A Portfolio Assignment 10%
Unit B Portfolio Assignment 10%
Unit C Portfolio Assignment 10%
Final Exam 50%
Grading Scale
A 94-100
A- 90-93
B+ 87-89
B 83-86
B- 80-82
C+ 77-79
C 73-76
C- 70-72
D+ 67-69
D 63-66
D- 60-62
E 0-59

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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


15 computer-graded assignments, 3 instructor-graded assignments, may be resubmitted once for a fee.

Resubmit an assignment for a fee.


1 exam (multiple-choice, short-answer, and essay questions), may retake once for a fee, must pass the final exam to earn credit for the course.

Retake an exam for a fee.

Getting Help

Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor. You can find a list of free tutors available to BYU Independent Study students on the Free Tutoring Services website.

Note: The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.

Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.

Copyright © 2016 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

Published by the
Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
120 MORC
Provo, Utah 84602-1514