Date of Award
Dr. Doug Nykolaishen
Dr. Danny Hays
Dr. Johnny Wink
Over the years, the doctrine of election, or God choosing a people, has been a highly debated topic. Two thousand years of church history can attest to that, and even today churches split over disagreements about the topic. To begin to gain a clearer understanding of this doctrine, one must set aside common presuppositions, expectations, and even the understanding in church history. Often, election is seen as a New Testament doctrine. However, it is important to remember that the Old Testament forms the background for the New Testament and is often quoted in New Testament passages. Isaiah is heavily relied upon in the New Testament and therefore it is a good choice for a study of Old Testament texts on this topic. It is important in such a study to read the Old Testament texts without anachronistically injecting New Testament teachings. Isaiah 41:8-20; 43:1-13,19-21; 44:1-5; 49:1-7 each contain the Hebrew root ,בחר meaning “to choose,” which is clearly tied to election theology in the Old Testament. Further, these four passages are all in the same section of Isaiah. In addition, these passages contain quite a bit of Exodus imagery, in which God maintains his faithfulness to his chosen people, Israel, even when they sin and turn their backs on him. In this way, the Exodus imagery highlights the chosen status of Israel. Thus, the fact that this small section of Isaiah has such a concentration of passages containing בחר and election imagery from Exodus indicates that it is a good place to look to begin to understand what the Old Testament has to say about election, specifically what being chosen by God meant for Israel.
Jones, Adam, "The Blessings of Being God's People: Election in the Book of Isaiah" (2016). Honors Theses. 207.