The Revelation to John by Stephen Smalley

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Somehow, I missed this large work on Revelation. Stephen Smalley was familiar to me particularly in his WBC commentary on the Epistles of John. As the subtitle suggests, this commentary is aimed at the Greek text. Revelation has been the subject of such approaches more so than some books of the Bible. There were Charles and Swete of another generation as well as Beale and Aune of recent times. Smalley is up to the task of being mentioned in their rank. Still, English readers can work around the Greek and follow the flow of the argument. In most cases, the English and Greek are side by side.

The Introduction begins by examining the text. He explains his approach as “literary and theological, rather than simply critical and historical. Though critical to some degree, he sees a “basic unity” in the book and accepts the authorship of John. He traces what he sees as the situation behind the book. As many scholars love to do, he takes a stab at constructing the “Johannine Community”. Genre is probed as well. He surveys John’s use of the OT before slowing down for theology. He rightfully sees the role of Christology in the book. When he turns to symbolism and interpretation, we learn his view is that of a “modified idealist”. His section on structure needs expansion.

There are almost 600 pages loaded with exegesis. If you lay aside your prophetic outlook and come here just for exegesis, you won’t be disappointed. I get more from the trees than the forest with this one. Not being part of a series may cause this one to be overlooked, but it stands in the major exegetical category.

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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