Foreword To The First Edition

(Written by Mrs. H. A. Ironside)

In December 1949 Dr. Ironside gave lectures on the book of Isaiah at Dallas Theological Seminary. One of the students, Ray C. Stedman, made wire recordings of the classroom lectures. Mr. Stedman also did a great deal of secretarial work for Dr. Ironside during his stay at the seminary. He was so efficient and helpful that my husband asked him if he would be willing to travel with us during the summer and help with the writing of his exposition of the book of Isaiah, which had long been delayed on account of his failing sight.

Mr. Stedman joined us in June 1950 after his graduation from the seminary and for two months served as chauffeur, secretary, and companion. As a “brother beloved” he was so helpful in all the varied activities of the itinerant ministry that we came to love him as a son. Without his help and cooperation the publication of Dr. Ironside’s Isaiah would have been impossible.

Traveling constantly, Dr. Ironside carried with him a reference library consisting of W. E. Vine’s Isaiah—Prophecies, Promises, and Warnings; F. C. Jennings’ Isaiah; a one-volume Bible encyclopedia; and J. N. Darby’s New Translation of the Holy Scriptures. As Dr. Ironside was unable to read at all during this time, except with the aid of a powerful magnifying glass, his method of working under this handicap may be of interest. Mr. Stedman wrote:

In general our procedure was as follows: I would read to him the portion chosen for comment, out of the Authorized Version—a portion which had previously been read to him and over which he had been meditating. He would take a moment or two to gather his thoughts and then would begin dictating, seldom pausing for rephrasing or changes. I would then read the next section and he would dictate on that until an entire chapter had been covered. After that I would read through the next chapter, usually from Darby’ s “New Translation” and also the corresponding portion from Jennings and Vine. This would form the basis for his meditation in preparation for the next day’s dictation.

Occasionally we would discuss interesting sections of the chapters together and he would ask me to look up certain words in a one-volume Bible encyclopedia he carried. I was always amazed at the way he kept his comments from simply being a “rehash” of Vine and Jennings, but always managed to bring out some interesting sidelight which the others had overlooked.

When Mr. Stedman left us to go to the pastorate of the Peninsula Bible Fellowship at Palo Alto, California, the first thirty-five chapters of Isaiah were completed and typed.

After the operation on Dr. Ironside’s eyes in September 1950, which entirely restored his sight, he edited the manuscript and left it with Loizeaux Brothers before our departure for New Zealand. Chapters 35-39 were written by Dr. Ironside in his characteristic scrawl during December 1950 and I copied them in longhand, for I was his only secretary on the trip.

When he went to be with the Lord from Rotorna, New Zealand, on January 15,1951, he had only completed chapter 39. As to chapters 40-66, Ray Stedman wrote:

I had taken them on wire recordings at the time of his lectures in Dallas. Unfortunately, I did not have enough wire to take the whole series. I did record the early chapters, too, but had to wipe them off and use that same wire for the later chapters, which I saved. Upon the request of one of the students, I copied off on Soundscriber discs the entire series from chapter 40 on. It was these discs which were sent Loizeaux Brothers for transcription…It certainly was the hand of the Lord that I should have retained the lectures beginning with the very one where Dr. Ironside left off and that they should be on Soundscriber discs, ready for immediate transcription. The wire originals are a precious heritage to me, and have already proven of wide blessing wherever they have been played.

Chapters 40-66, after having been transcribed from the Soundscriber discs, have been edited by Miss Emily Farmer, who edited in the past most of Dr. Ironside’s manuscripts when his works were being prepared for publication. We are most grateful for her careful and efficient work as unto the Lord. (She edited Isaiah while she was confined to bed.)

It has been a joy to each of us to have a part in the publication of this book. May God continue to bless the written ministry of “H.A.I.,” who, being dead, yet speaketh.

Ann Hightower Ironside