The Influence of Isaiah on the Gospel of John

I have attempted to account for all the ways that the language of the book of Isaiah has influenced the words of the Gospel of John, and that attempt has now appeared in print in the journal Perichoresis, published by Emmanuel University of Oradea in Romania.

The journal’s website is here, and you can read my article here. To download just my article rather than the whole journal, click here.

I do not think for a moment that I have exhausted the ways that Isaiah has influenced John, but this article does attempt a beginning at the correspondences between the language used by the two books.



Filed under Bible and Theology

2 responses to “The Influence of Isaiah on the Gospel of John

  1. Drew Hunter

    Hello there – Thank you for your article. I know this post is a bit dated at this point, but I just stumbled across it today. Do you think that there may also be connections between John 12 and Isaiah 2? Here are a few that, when considered together, seem to make me think something is going on. The main connection I am curious about is number 1 below, but the other connections may strengthen it.

    1. Lifting up and drawing people – In John 12:32, Jesus says he will be lifted up and draw all people to himself. Is this connected to Isaiah 2:2, which says, “it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.” Could there be a connection between Jesus and Mt. Zion?

    2. God’s glory – In John 12:23-29 the emphasis here is on God’s glory. Jesus speaks of the hour that he will be glorified (12:23) and requests the Father to glorify his name (12:28). Isaiah 2 is all about the humbling of men and the exaltation of God’s name so that “the Lord alone will be exalted in that day” (2:11, 17).

    3. Walking in the light – John 12:35 says, “the light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light…” Isaiah 2:5 says, “let us walk in the light of the Lord.” There may also be a the connection of light and the law/commands: John 12:46-47 (“I have come into the world as light…if anyone hears my words and does not keep them…”)and Isaiah 2:3, 5 (“out of Zion shall go the law/teaching…let us walk in the light of the Lord”)

    Although more loosely connected, the themes of esteeming men are both present (John 12:43; Isaiah 2:22 and the theme throughout). The theme of judgment, although used differently is here as well (John 12:31; Is. 2:4)

    I would be very curious if you have any thoughts. I have checked a few commentaries without any affirmation of this. Thank you!

    – Drew

  2. Drew,

    Thanks for your note!

    If I were to re-do that study today, I would want to spend as much time in the Greek translation of Isaiah as I spent in the Hebrew of Isaiah before writing that article. There’s a lot more work to be done. . .

    But where I would start would be to look for specific linguistic connections between the language of the Greek and Hebrew Isaiah and the language of John.

    Sorry I’m not more help on these points!


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