A Fresh Word for a Contemporary World
// By SUSANNA SPENCER
Anderson University professor Dr. Gilbert Lozano published a book this past summer, which he began writing in 2016 and completed in 2018. Isaiah 40-66: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition is the second of two volumes of commentary on the biblical book of Isaiah, published through Beacon Hill Press.
Part of the New Beacon Bible Commentary series, this publication seeks to reflect the best scholarship available to assist readers in their understanding of Scripture as God’s Word (“Isaiah 40-66: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition,” p. 11).
Originally, both volumes of this commentary on Isaiah were commissioned to be written by former AU professor Dr. Barry Ross. Dr. Ross, who completed chapters 1-39, was unable to continue with the second installment. A few weeks after a visit to Beacon Hill Press in Kansas City, MO, regarding a different writing project he was working on at the time, Dr. Lozano received a call from the general editor of the commentaries about completing the second volume.
After the call, Dr. Lozano told his wife, “I am crazy if I accept, and crazy if I don’t accept.”
AU’s professor of biblical studies and Hebrew, both for undergraduate and Seminary students, Dr. Lozano has strong background knowledge in the Scriptures. He shares that the commentary looks closely at the text of the prophet Isaiah, providing an explanation of its meaning. Further, Dr. Lozano went beyond the NIV translation, which is the reference version used for the New Beacon Bible Commentary series, translating Isaiah straight from the original Hebrew.
Providing historical background, setting, and scenery, this commentary walks readers through Isaiah, verse by verse, with detail and clarity on the prophet’s words and revelations. The commentary is also uniquely written from the perspective of the Wesleyan tradition.
“It’s a complex and wonderful text,” says Dr. Lozano, who acknowledges that “many find the book difficult, cumbersome, and esoteric,” often giving up on it out of frustration.
However, he believes Isaiah “offers great rewards for those willing to work with it,” despite its difficult elements and ambiguities. In the commentary’s introduction, Dr. Lozano shares the following:
“[F]or those who are willing to stay with them and wrest meaning out of them, the prophets do not disappoint. Time and time again one walks away with a sense of satisfaction at having heard God speak anew, with a fresh word for our contemporary world. And it is amazing how relevant and contemporary the prophets are. They speak of justice and social breakdown. They point to the emptiness of religion devoid of personal piety and applied to the marketplace. The prophets are remarkably fresh and authentic in a world that lacks authenticity” (“Isaiah 40-66: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition,” p. 24).
The commentary of this prophetic text may provide insight, guidance, and hope for those who seek it in our broken world, and who seek to make a difference for the Kingdom.
“My hope is that people will fall in love with the book of Isaiah,” says Dr. Lozano about those who read the commentary. And with his own love for this biblical text and for the Hebrew language, readers may find Dr. Lozano’s fresh review of the prophet’s mysteries to be clearer than they did before.