This commentary in the New International Greek Testament Commentary (NIGTC) series is considered by many to be the preeminent major exegetical commentary for Revelation on the market today. It’s prized for its work on the Greek and its explanation of Revelation’s Old Testament background. Since this is quite a technical work, the author has also prepared “Revelation: A Shorter Commentary” that effectively presents this work in a less technical manner. Eerdmans publishes it as well.
I should disclose that I subscribe to a premillennial interpretation rather than his “eclectic, redemptive-historical idealist view”. Though he is a brilliant author and knows something about arguing well for his position, he, in my opinion, has too casually addressed those of my persuasion by quoting the most radical authors he could find in our world. For example, he beautifully listed the reasons futurists hold the positions they do, but he does not, in my opinion, do as well countering them. In fairness to him, my bias may have been at work.
This work is thorough. You will figure that out when you see an almost 40-page bibliography. More amazingly, the Introduction is 176 pages! I doubt you will come across a scholarly issue involving the book of Revelation that is not addressed in this massive volume.
In the Introduction Beale spends a great deal of time examining the date of this book. His discussion is primarily between a later date (95 A.D.) and an earlier one (70 A.D.). Though it’s quite a rarity in scholarship, conservative scholars prefer the later one in this case. He brings out the issues from every conceivable angle. Next, he tackles the situation of the churches and the purpose and theme of the book. Regarding authorship, he is open to the Apostle John having written it but argues that it doesn’t matter since it has no effect on the message of the book. After discussing genre, he previews the major interpretive approaches including: the Preterist view, the Historicist view, the Futuristic view, and the idealist views. It’s at the end of this section that he declares his own eclectic view. Since it’s so important in the Revelation, he spends a good deal of time discussing symbolism. He looks at the text of Revelation, the use of the Old Testament in the Apocalypse, the grammar of the Apocalypse. In these sections he is extremely detailed. Next, he investigates the structure of the book and even include some helpful charts. It was my favorite section of his Introduction. He spent time overviewing the disputed significance of Revelation 1:19. In the last section he discusses theology and the goal of the Apocalypse. He sees the important items as suffering in victory, the throne, the new creation, and the place of Christians in the world.
The commentary itself is as detailed as anyone could want. Again, I don’t see how any item could be missed that may pop into your mind. Like me, you may also have a different interpretive outlook on the book of Revelation than the author, but you come here for exegetical help. I see this book as a treasure trove for scholars, but pastors will likely prefer his shorter commentary by the same publisher mentioned above. I imagine this commentary will hold the top spot in the scholarly world on the Book of Revelation for many years to come.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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