The New Testament book of Revelation has occupied the imagination of the Western world for centuries. The combination of vivid imagery and predictions of the end of the world have moved artists to paint, preachers to preach, and ordinary people speculate on the meaning of the book. Too often, however, what is written about the book of Revelation bears more of a relation to fact than fiction. Thus, when it comes time to get a good Bible commentary, Revelation is one of those biblical books that people find most difficult to match with a good study resource. There are some basic tips that can be followed, however, to find an excellent commentary for the book of Revelation.
Visit Bookstores and Libraries
Go to your local Christian bookstore or public library and find out what they have to offer in Revelation commentaries.
Skim Various Commentaries
Skim through the commentaries you find and see whether the commentary is trying to relate the message of Revelation to its original first-century audience or if it is more concerned to see how the events of today's newspapers might be found in the book. Since a good understanding of the original historical context is part of every good Bible commentary, Revelation included, those works that pay no attention to the original audience should be discarded.
Check Out Revelation 20
Look at the section on Revelation 20 in each commentary and see how the author deals with the question of the millennium. Good commentators will not automatically identify those who differ with them on the question of the millennium as less than fully Christian, so discard any commentaries that do this.
Check Commentary Style
Look over the commentaries you have left and discern if they will meet your needs. Are they too technical? Not technical enough? Do they deal with the text thoroughly? Can I understand the writer? Pick the ones that meet your criteria.
Extra Tips for Finding a Good Bible Commentary on Revelation.
• Some individuals think that when it comes time to select a Bible commentary, Revelation commentaries do not have to be as concerned with the original historical setting of the book as others. Do not fall for this line of thinking.
• Do not fret if you find Revelation hard to understand, for it is one of the hardest books to interpret in the Bible.
• Knowing a lot about the Old Testament prophets will help you understand Revelation because Revelation is filled with imagery from those books.
• Avoid works by people like Hal Lindsey, John Hagee, and Jack Van Impe. Men like these have misunderstood large portions of the book and are not trusted guides.