Commenting on the Book of Revelation
For any who might be interested, I thought I would share the books that have helped me in the interpretation of Revelation as I have been working my way through it in an expository series here at my church. There are basically three categories: books on the last things (eschatology), books that are introductions to the overall message and theology of Revelation, and commentaries on Revelation (and a few on Daniel). I'll list them here with some brief comments.
- G. E. Ladd, The Blessed Hope. For many years, this was my go-to book for eschatology. Ladd was a historic premillennialist, and I have found this view the most convincing of the options out there.
- G. E. Ladd, Crucial Questions about the Kingdom of God. One of the things I love about Ladd is just how clear he writes. This is a wonderful treatise on the subject of God's kingdom, which of course figures largely in the book of Revelation.
- John Piper, Come, Lord Jesus: Meditations on the Second Coming of Christ. Covers the same basic material as Ladd's book, but it has displaced Ladd now as the go-to book for these things.
- Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (2nd ed.). Grudem does a wonderful job in contrasting the different positions out there (pre-,post-, and amillennialism), and comes down on the side of historic premillennialism.
- John Gill, Body of Divinity. Gill was the first person I read on matters eschatological, as his Body of Divinity was the first systematic theology I read. He is a strange mixture of post and premillennialism, but his work has of course influenced my leanings toward the premil position.
- Thomas Schreiner, The Joy of Hearing: A Theology of the Book of Revelation. It was this book that made me want to preach through Revelation. It is a wonderful overview of the basic theological themes of Revelation.
- Brian Tabb, All Things New: Revelation as Canonical Capstone. This is in the New Series in Biblical Theology series, edited by D. A. Carson.
- Richard Bauckham, The Theology of the Book of Revelation. I am particularly thankful for this book, for it was this book that caused me to see for the first time just how Trinitarian the book of Revelation is.
- Nancy Guthrie, Blessed: Experiencing the Promise of the Book of Revelation. A wonderful introduction to Revelation. She also has a podcast by the same name in which she interviews several scholars. She was the one who tuned me into the following resource by Vern Poythress.
- Vern Poythress, The Returning King: A Guide to the Book of Revelation. Poythress is particularly helpful in outlining and seeing the overall literary structure to the book of Revelation.
- G. K. Beale, Commentary on the Book of Revelation. This is a massive commentary in the New International Greek Testament Commentary Series. This is the most thorough commentary I have and it is an indispensable resource. Beale was educated at Dallas Theological Seminary, but he is now an amil. I don't always agree with his conclusions, but his insights are nevertheless quite valuable.
- G. R. Beasely-Murray, The Book of Revelation. You can actually download this commentary online. This has been one of the surprises for me, in that I had never heard of this commentary until I read a review on it by Richard Bauckham in the journal Themelios. He highly recommended it, so I picked it up. It is near the top of my favorite commentaries. Beasely-Murray is also unique in that, though he is a futurist in his overall approach to the interpretation of Revelation, he also sees the cycles of judgments as basically recapitulatory.
- James Hamilton, Revelation: The Spirit Speaks to the Churches. This is in the Preach the Word series. Hamilton is Reformed in theology, Baptist in ecclesiology, and premil in eschatology, all of which I am. So I wanted to see how he would exposit Revelation, and before I even began to preach through Revelation, I read his book from cover to cover. I think he does a really good job and he has been tremendously helpful to me.
- Dennis Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb. This is another commentary on Revelation from an amil perspective, but I like it a lot. Very readable and clear.
- G. E. Ladd, Revelation. I almost always find Ladd helpful and clear in his exposition of the text.
- John MacArthur, Christ's Call to Reform the Church. A commentary on the first three chapters of Revelation. Good.
- Leon Morris, Revelation. This is in the Tyndale NT Commentary series. It is a shorter but good commentary.
- Robert Mounce, The Book of Revelation (Revised). In the New International Commentary on the New Testament series. This is probably my favorite commentary on Revelation. He is balanced, clear, and pious. I mention piety here because a lot of commentaries, even by evangelical scholars, can tend to be dry tomes that strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. Mounce definitely is not in that category. I highly recommend this commentary.
- Thomas Schreiner, Revelation. This is the one in the ESV Commentary series. Schreiner now has a much larger commentary in the Baker Exegetical series which is most certainly very good, but I won't probably get it this time around.
- John R. W. Stott, What Christ Thinks of the Church: Preaching from Revelation 1-3. I generally like Stott, and have most if not all his commentaries. He is another exceptionally clear and captivating writer, who does so with the mind of a scholar and the heart of a pastor.
- R. C. Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches of Asia. Commentary on the first three chapters of Revelation. Helpful and convicting.
- Dale Ralph Davis, The Book of Daniel. In the Bible Speaks Today series. He is a very good writer who writes with pastoral aims.
- Sinclair Ferguson, Daniel in the Preacher's Commentary Series. Ferguson is, as always, highly recommended.
- John Goldingay, The Book of Daniel in the Word Biblical Commentary series. This is the most scholarly and academic of the three.