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And now I, Nephi, write more of the words of Isaiah, for my soul delighteth in his words. (2 Ne. 11:2)

"Jewish tradition regards Isaiah as the chief prophet of his period," wrote Monte S. Nyman in his book, Great Are the Words of Isaiah. Nyman, associate dean of religious education and director of Book of Mormon in the Religious Study Center at BYU, said the Nephite prophets also considered Isaiah to be an extremely important prophet.Nyman presented some calculations pertaining to the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament and the words of Isaiah that appear in the Book of Mormon:

"There are 66 chapters in the Book of Isaiah, containing a total of 1,292 verses in the present King James Version text of Isaiah. Nineteen of the 66 chapters are quoted in their entirety in the Book of Mormon, and two other chapters are quoted in their entirety, except for two verses. The first two verses of one other chapter are quoted in the Book of Mormon, and one verse [is quoted] from each of two other chapters.

"Eight chapters of Isaiah have verses quoted from them more than once, either completely or partially. Not counting these duplications, 425 of the 1,292 verses of Isaiah are quoted in the Book of Mormon. Of these 425 verses, 229 are quoted differently from those in the King James text, while 196 are identical."

According to Nyman's calculations, one-third of the biblical writings of Isaiah are quoted in the Book of Mormon.

Nyman pointed out that on two different occasions, the resurrected Savior admonished the Nephites to search the prophecies of Isaiah that they had before them. On the first occasion, He said the words of Isaiah "should be fulfilled . . . therefore search them." (3 Ne. 20:11) "On the second occasion," wrote Nyman, "He made it a commandment unto them to `search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.'" (3 Ne. 23:1.)

Nyman wrote further: "The significance of this commandment is highlighted by the fact that, as far as the record goes, Isaiah was the only book among the writings of the ancient prophets which the Savior specifically commanded the Nephites to search.

"That the commandment was to be extended to the latter days, and especially to the readers of the Book of Mormon, is shown by the Savior's charge to the Nephites to record his [Isaiah's} words so that they could go forth unto the Gentiles: `Therfore give heed to my words; write the things which I have told you; and according to the time and the will of the Father they shall go forth unto the Gentiles.'" (3 Ne. 23:4; italics added.)

In the introduction to another book, Isaiah and the Prophets, Nyman wrote: "One of our major reasons for our searching the book of Isaiah is that we may study the testimony which it bears of Jesus Christ. Nephi quoted Isaiah that he `might more fully persuade them [his people] to believe in the Lord their Redeemer." (1 Ne. 19:23.)

"Of the 425 separate verses of Isaiah quoted in the Book of Mormon, 391 or 92 percent of those verses say something about Christ. This illustrates the importance of the message of Isaiah."