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FRONT MATTER Setting and Target Group: The target group is an adult Sunday school class with learners

forty years or older containing married couples, and other married individuals who attend Sunday school without their spouses. All have children ranging in age from middle school through adults. The majority of the learners are college educated, several with advanced degrees in their fields. The length of teaching time after prayer requests and fellowship is usually forty minutes. Since class members tend to add to the lessons, time is always allotted for member input. Lesson Titles and Applications: The lesson series entitled, Paul: Before and After His Conversion, will include four lessons. The intent of the lessons is to demonstrate the total transformation of a life fully committed to Christ and controlled by the Holy Spirit. The titles include: 1) Saul: Persecutor of the Church: Learner will examine his life to see if he has ever acted in a way that he thought was correct only to discover later the action was wrong. Learner is to look for opportunities to befriend someone who might be struggling with his or her past. 2) Saul: Conversion Experience: Learner will examine his life to see if he has been radically transformed and will look for occasions to speak boldly for Christ this week. 3) Paul: Church Missionary: Challenge the learner to go to God in prayer and seek His advice about a situation where he has felt defeated. Next week report back to the class any good news as a result of your actions and prayers. 4) Paul: Imprisoned but Free: Learner will be asked to determine if he has allowed situations to prevent him from sharing the gospel and be asked to respond.

LIBERTY UNIVERSITY LIBERTY BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

A FOUR LESSON SERIES PAUL: BEFORE AND AFTER HIS CONVERSION

A RESEARCH PAPER SUBMITTED TO DR. MYRON KAUK IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE COURSE NBST 522

BY DEBORAH BASKIN: I.D. # 23181365

VIDALIA, GA TUESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2012

TABLE OF CONTENTS

LESSON ONE: HOOK................................................................................................................... 1 BOOK……………………………………………………………………………………………..1 THE PASSAGE…………………………………………………………………………...1 WHO WAS STEPHEN?…………………..………………………………………………2 WHAT WAS THE SANHEDRIN?.....................................................................................3 LOOK……………………………………………………………………………………………..4 PAUL'S CREDENTIALS………………………………………………….…….………..4 INFLUENCE THIS HAD ON HIS ACTIONS…………………………….…..…………5 TOOK……………………………………………………………………………….……….……5 APPLICATION…………………………………………………….……….…………….5 CLOSING PRAYER…………………………………………………………….………..6 LESSON TWO: HOOK .................................................................................................................. 7 BOOK………………………………………………………………………………………….….7 PASSAGE………………………………………………………………………………....7 BACKGROUND INFORMATION…………………………………………………..…..8 LOOK…………………………………………………………………………………………..…9

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QUESTIONS ABOUT ANANIAS…………………………………………………….…9 QUESTIONS ABOUT BARNABAS……………………………………………………10 TOOK…………………………………………………………………………………...……….10 APPLICATION…………………………………………………………………...……..10 CLOSING PRAYER…………………………………………………………………….11 LESSON THREE: HOOK……………………………………………………………………….12 BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR LESSON ONE ....................................................................................... 12

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LESSON ONE: HOOK I have had opportunity to minister to women who have had abortions. For whatever reason, they believed the lie that their baby was nothing more than a blob of tissue. Later, usually after they had children of their own, they realized that they had not solved a problem or simply got rid of an inconvenience but had murdered their first child. Often, this will send them into deep depression, grief, and feelings of unworthiness. They are amazed that God is now giving them a second chance – a second blessing at being a mother. These women often make some of the best mothers and Christians that I have ever seen. I suspect this is because they realize the enormity of their sin, which makes their salvation through the sacrifice of Christ all the more meaningful to them. This morning we are going to be taking a look at Acts 7:54 – 8:3. This section of the narrative describes the stoning of Stephen and the part Paul played in persecuting the church. Paul believed the lie that the church was against God. This group of people was a problem that needed to be dwelt with quickly. BOOK THE PASSAGE (Ask a student to read the passage Acts 7:54 – 8:3.)
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When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

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And Saul approved of their killing him. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison (NIV). WHO WAS STEPHEN? “Christian writers may have preserved early traditions on the first martyr, but no scholarly inquiry has been undertaken to recover them.”1 Therefore, for the purpose of our brief discussion on Stephen, we will look at the scripture to see if we can gather some information about him. By reading the earlier portion of chapter 7, we learn that Stephen boldly proclaimed the gospel. He gave an amazing message before the Sanhedrin, which cost him his life. Verse fifty-five describes him as being full of the Holy Spirit. The word full is the Greek word πλήρης (transliteration: plērēs) is defined as: 1) full, i.e. filled up (as opposed to empty) – of the soul, thoroughly permeated with; 2) full, i.e. complete – lacking nothing, perfect.2 Luke uses this same word in Luke 4:1 when describing Jesus as being “full of the Holy Spirit: before He went to the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. Also, earlier in Acts 6:8 when first describing Stephen Luke stated, “Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people” (NIV). Being “full of the Holy Spirit” seemed to equip one to be bold, face

François Bovon, “The Dossier On Stephen, the First Martyr,” Harvard Theological Review 96, no. 3 (2003): 282.,http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rfh&AN=ATLA0001365167 &site=ehost-live&scope=site (accessed August 6, 2012). All Greek words and definitions will be defined using The Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for that particular word in Strong’s.” Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2012. The footnote will reference Blue Letter Bible and indicate the permanent link. Hence, 2 Blue Letter Bible. s.v. “Strong’s G4134 – plērēs.” http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4134&t=NIV (assessed August 6, 2012).
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tribulation, and enabled the Holy Spirit to work through a person. Stephen certainly demonstrated these attributes during his trial and stoning. WHAT WAS THE SANHEDRIN? According to numerous passages in the New Testament the council (gerousia, sunedrion) suggest an “existing body with the powers of judgment and under the control of the high priest or the chief priests.”3 The council that Stephen was testifying before was the same council that had Christ arrested, found Him guilty and sent him to Pilate (detailed in Luke). Luke 22:66 describes the Sanhedrin as a “Council of Elders of the people, … both chief priests and scribes” (NIV). Obviously, this powerful and hostile group unfairly judged Jesus, a fact that was not missed by Stephen. Undeterred by the council’s opposition, Stephen boldly preached Christ to this group and was killed because of his testimony. It is at this juncture that we meet Saul. Saul, who we know as Paul, approved of the killing. After the stoning of Stephen, Paul continued to persecute the church going from house to house and dragging men, women, and children off to prison. In order to understand the third character (the young man Saul) of this narrative, I want to separate the class into a couple of groups. (Divide class into two to four groups depending on the number of students.) Please take about five minutes to read and discuss Acts 22:3-5.
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“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. 4 I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison,

Lester L. Grabbe “Sanhedrin, Sanhedriyyot, or Mere Invention?” Journal For The Study Of Judaism In The Persian, Hellenistic And Roman Period 39, no. 1 (2008): 13, http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rfh&AN=ATLA0001654882 &site=ehost-live&scope=site (accessed August 7, 2012).

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as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished. LOOK (Give the class a time warning when there is about one minute left before rejoining the large group.) It sounds like you had some interesting discussion going on within your groups; however, let’s share with the class what you discovered in these verses. (Allow each group to share their findings. Give each group three to five minutes. Calculate the group discussion according to your remaining time.) PAUL’S CREDENTIALS As you pointed out Paul gave his credentials to the Jews. He wanted them to understand that he was a Jew but not just your run-of-the-mill Jew. He was a Pharisee who trained under Gamaliel. Paul’s self-portrait depicts him as being part of a select group of Pharisees who were known for their strict commitment to the law.4 In verse three, Paul said that he was zealous for God. The Greek word for zealous is ζηλωτής (transliteration: zēlōtēs) means: “1) one burning with zeal, a zealot; 2) used of God as jealous of any rival and sternly vindicating his control; 3) most eagerly desirous of, zealous for, a thing - a) to acquire a thing, (zealous of) or, b) to defend and uphold a thing, vehemently contending for a thing.”5 Paul’s actions show that his

Johnny B. Awwad, “From Saul to Paul: The Conversion of Paul the Apostle,” Theological Review 32, no. 1 (April 1, 2011): 5, http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rfh&AN=ATLA0001837752&s ite=ehost-live&scope=site (accessed July 15, 2012). Blue Letter Bible, s.v. “Strong’s G2207 – zēlōtēs.” http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2207&t=NIV (assessed August 6, 2012).
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persecution of the Church was clearly related to his zeal for the law and the traditions of the fathers.6 INFLUENCE THIS HAD ON HIS ACTIONS In recent years, we have witnessed Muslims who are zealous for their faith. They believe that Christians are infidels and will kill them. They show no remorse or sorrows for their hideous actions. They feel justified. Paul felt justified. He truly believed that the Church was an enemy of God. According to Deuteronomy 21:23b, “anyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse” (NIV). Paul’s ardent zeal for the law assured him that he was right in rejecting Jesus as the Messiah. Paul had no guilt in persecuting the church even to the point of death. “To Saul, as to every Jew, a Messiah crucified was a stumbling-block, a contradiction in terms.”7 TOOK Paul was convinced that his actions were just. Have you ever been convinced of the rightness of a situation? Did you act upon it and later find out it was wrong? (Allow for discussion.) APPLICATION This week, I want you to review that situation in your life, if you have one. I realize that while most of you have probably not authorized a murder, you might have hurt someone. Perhaps, you have said or done something to someone that you felt was justified only to find out later you were in the wrong. Remember that feeling. I also would like for you to look for
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Awwad, 6.

Philippe H. Menoud, “Revelation and Tradition: The Influence of Paul's Conversion On His Theology,” Interpretation 7, no. 2 (April 1, 1953): 133, http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rfh&AN=ATLA0000654783 &site=ehost-live&scope=site (accessed July 12, 2012).

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opportunities to encourage those around you (i.e., at home, at work, in the community, or in the church) that might be struggling with their past. Be a friend to them. Next week we will be looking at the conversion of Saul and the important people who took him under their wings. CLOSING PRAYER (Ask for a member to close the class with prayer.)

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LESSON TWO: HOOK Thank you each for coming to Sunday school this morning. I am excited as we get to this section in Paul’s life because it’s a story of redemption. Our focal passage today will be Acts 9:1-9. But, before we read the passage I would like to share a bit of information about Chuck Colson. Most of you remember him from the Nixon years and the Watergate Scandal. Colson became a born again believer in 1973 in the midst of the Watergate inquiry.8 Colson entered a guilty plea to Watergate-related charges and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in the Daniel Ellsberg Case in 1974.9 He served seven months and emerged for prison with the mission of activating the church to minister to prisoners.10 Colson’s passion was coupled with a sense of commitment to God’s calling. This led him to visit over 600 prisons in the United States and forty other countries. He mobilized over 50,000 prison ministry volunteers at one time.11 Colson advocated for criminal justice reform.12 As you can see, Chuck Colson’s life was radically changed once he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. Today as we look at the scriptures, please note Saul’s transformation once he became a Christian. BOOK THE PASSAGE (Ask a student to read the passage Acts 9:1-9.)

“The Life of Chuck Colson,” Charles Colson Legacy Fund, http://chuckcolson.org/the-life-of-chuckcolson/ (accessed August 7, 2012).
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Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid.

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Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 7 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. BACKGROUND INFORMATION You should remember from last week that Paul was traveling from town to town having Christians put into prison. However, if we were to continue reading in Acts 8, we find that the Church is still growing despite Paul’s efforts to extinguish it. In fact, it was spreading to Gentiles. God needed a man that would continue with the mission to the Gentiles and He had one already chosen. Meanwhile, which is the Greek word δέ (transliteration: de) and means but, moreover, and, etc.,13 Paul is still intent upon his mission. “The Acts of the Apostles says that Paul was sent as an official prosecutor by the Jerusalem authorities to seek out Christians, though Paul himself says he did it purely out of zeal for the law.”14 Regardless of the impetus, the result was the same. Christians were being imprisoned and executed due to Paul’s efforts. Paul was single-minded in his mission to destroy (ravage) the Church. In fact, he had procured letters from the high priest to go to the synagogues in Damascus in order to find
Blue Letter Bible, s.v. “Strong’s G1161 – de.” http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1161&t=NIV (assessed August 7, 2012). Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, “Road Scholar,” U. S. Catholic 73, no. 3 (2008): 25,http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct+true&db+rvh&AN+NTA0000059561&s ite+ehost-live&scope=site (accessed August 7, 2012).
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Messianic Jews to arrest them. This improbable Pharisee, devoted to his mission, was the man that God had chosen as his messenger to the Gentiles. In Acts 22:3, Paul described himself as zealous for God. God knew that He would be able to speak to the heart and mind of Paul. On the road to Damascus, Paul had an experience that forever changed his life.15 When Christ spoke to Paul, he did not tell him his commission. He told him that He was persecuting Him and that he (Paul) needed to go to the city to receive instructions. At this juncture in the narrative, Paul is blind. Once he gets to the city, he does not eat or drink for three days.16 While God knew His intentions for Paul, the Christians in Damascus did not. They only knew of the Saul who was arresting Jews who were believers. Let’s divide into two groups and explore the response of two other men that God had special plans for in regard to the life of Paul. (Divide class into groups. Tell one group to read Acts 9:10-17 and discuss Ananias and the other group to read Acts 9:26-30 and discuss Barnabas. Allow about five minutes of group learning.) LOOK (Give the class a time warning when there is about one minute left before rejoining the large group.) QUESTIONS ABOUT ANANIAS I know that you have some interesting observations to share with the class. (Ask pointed questions to the groups.) In what why did God communicate with Ananias? Do you think Ananias need encouragement to go to Paul?
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Ibid., 26.

Charles W. Hendrick, “Paul's Conversion/call: A Comparative Analysis of the Three Reports in Acts,” Journal of Biblical Literature 3 (1981): 415, http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rfh&AN=ATLA0000789177 &site=ehost-live&scope=site (accessed June 26, 2012).

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What did Ananias do for Paul? Would you have gone? I wanted to clarify the meaning of vision used in verse ten. It is the Greek word ὅραμα (transliteration horama) and it means a sight divinely granted in an ecstasy or in a sleep, a vision.17 Can you think of other instances in the Bible where God spoke to someone in a vision? QUESTIONS ABOUT BARNABAS When Paul went to Jerusalem, the believers were afraid of him. Remember, Saul the zealot was well known here. (Ask the following.) Who did God use on this occasion? Is there record of God speaking to Barnabas? What prompted Barnabas to befriend Paul? TOOK All of the early Christians were justified in their suspensions of Paul. He had proved to be an enemy of the church. However, what they saw displayed in Paul was a life radically transformed because of the work of Christ. APPLICATION This week, I would like you to examine your life. Have you been radically transformed? Is there measurable evidence of this transformation? Is this transformation a one-time event or a continuous happening? (Allow a few minutes for discussion.) How can you or do you display your transformation? This week I challenge you to speak boldly for Christ. Be brave!

Blue Letter Bible, s.v. “Strong’s G3705 – horama.” http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3705&t=NIV (assessed August 7, 2012).

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CLOSING PRAYER (Ask for a member to close the class with prayer.)

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LESSON THREE: HOOK BOOK THE PASSAGE LOOK TOOK APPLICATION CLOSING PRAYER

BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR LESSON ONE

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Awwad, Johnny B. “From Saul to Paul: The Conversion of Paul the Apostle.” Theological Review 32, no. 1 (April 1, 2011):314. http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rfh& AN=ATLA0001837752&site=ehost-live&scope=site (accessed July 15, 2012). Bovon, François. “The Dossier On Stephen, the First Martyr.” Harvard Theological Review 96, no. 3 (2003): page nr. http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rfh &AN=ATLA0001365167&site=ehost-live&scope=site (accessed August 6, 2012). Grabbe, Lester L. “Sanhedrin, Sanhedriyyot, or Mere Invention?” Journal For The Study Of Judaism In The Persian, Hellenistic And Roman Period 39, no. 1 (2008): 119.http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rfh &AN=ATLA0001654882&site=ehost-live&scope=site (accessed August 7, 2012). Menoud, Philippe H. “Revelation and Tradition: The Influence of Paul's Conversion On His Theology.”Interpretation 7, no. 2 (April 1, 1953): 13141.http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rfh& AN=ATLA0000654783&site=ehost-live&scope=site (accessed July 12, 2012). BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR LESSON TWO Hendrick, Charles W. “Paul's Conversion/call: A Comparative Analysis of the Three Reports in Acts.”Journal of Biblical Literature 3 (1981): 41532.http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rfh& AN=ATLA0000789177&site=ehost-live&scope=site (accessed June 26, 2012). Murphy-O'Connor, Jerome. “Road Scholar.” U. S. Catholic 73, no. 3 (2008): 2428.http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct+true&db+rvh& AN+NTA0000059561&site+ehost-live&scope=site (accessed August 7, 2012). “The Life of Chuck Colson.” Charles Colson Legacy Fund. http://chuckcolson.org/the-life-ofchuck-colson/(accessed August 7, 2012).

Buksbazen, Victor. The Prophet Isaiah: A Commentary. Bellmawr, NJ: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc., 2008. Chisholm, Robert B., Jr. Handbook on the Prophets. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002.

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Hughes, Robert B., and J. Carl Laney. Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary. Rev. Ed. of: New Bible Companion. 1990; Includes Index., The Tyndale reference library ed. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001. Hustad, Donald P. “A Spiritual Ministry of Music: Part III: Music for Worship, Evangelism, and Christian Education.” Bibliotheca Sacra 117 (1960; 2002). Jamieson, Robert et al. A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997. The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University. “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Retrieved from http://edwards.yale.edu/archive?path=aHR0cDovL2Vkd2FyZHMueWFsZS5lZHUvY2dp LWJpbi9uZXdwaGlsby9nZXRvYmplY3QucGw/Yy4yMTo0Ny53amVv (accessed October 11, 2009). Keil, Carl Friedrich, and Friedrich Delitzsch. Commentary on the Old Testament. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002. Köstenberger, Andreas J. “John.” In Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Edited by G. K. Beale, and D. A. Carson. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007. Matthews, Victor Harold, Mark W. Chavalas, and John H. Walton. The IVP Bible Background Commentary. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000. Motyer, J. A. The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction & Commentary. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1993. The NET Bible, New English Translation. Biblical Studies Press, LLC, 2006. Oswalt, John N. The NIV Application Commentary: Isaiah. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003. Ryken, Leland, Jim Wilhoit, Tremper Longman, et al. Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, electronic Ed. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, forthcoming. Schultz, Richard L. “Isaiah.” In Theological Interpretations of the Old Testament: A Book-byBook Survey. Edited by Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Craig G. Bartholomew, and Daniel J. Treier. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005, 2008. Smith, James E. The Major Prophets. Joplin, MO: College Press, 1992.

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