With Tom Wright to help you understand its images and meaning, Revelation need not be the beast of a book you thought it might be.
I’ll be honest; I didn’t read it all. But I want to now. Though I haven’t read the whole of The Revelation of John either. I think the hard thing about the last book of the Bible is that it’s written by man with a huge intellect, vast religious knowledge and deeply embedded in his time and culture.
So it makes sense that, if you want to know the meaning and significance of John’s book, you need another by a man of similar brain power, scriptural learning and historical awareness. If you’re already familiar with the ‘For Everyone’ New Testament series, you know who that man is.
Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, Tom Wright’s commentary is densely written. There’s not much white space on the 227 pages – including a glossary that explains concepts such as heaven, hell, justification and baptism in the time of John. You certainly get your money’s worth and it is surprisingly readable. Open the book anywhere and start reading, and you will find it difficult to stop – there really is something in there for everyone.
As well as explaining the ‘big themes’ Tom makes some sharp observation on seemingly minor points of the text. He shows how the author of Revelation, confronted by the angel making the divine disclosure, falls into the error of worshipping the messenger and not the message – a timely warning in this age of celebrity preachers!
There is a lot of historical detail; which you need if you’re serious about making sense of the whole, rather than just quoting bits of it out of context. Just on my brief reading, I learned a lot about Nero and the parallels between John’s times, ours and the prophecies he makes. But the book's real worth, I'm sure, is in its systematic and thorough reading along with Tom's own scripture translation. And as it's printed within the book, I suppose I've no excuse.
March 12th, 2013 - Posted & Written by Les Ellison