Book Notice: Ian Paul’s Revelation Commentary

Ian Paul
Revelation
TNTC; Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2018.
Available at IVP

Ian Paul has written a fantastic intermediate commentary on Revelation as part of the reboot of the Tyndale commentary series under the editorship of Eckhard Schnabel.

Paul has done a good job of writing a commentary on one of the hardest books of the NT to write a commentary on that is informed and yet not bogged down in detail, so it’s readable and useful to students and pastors. Paul reckons that Revelation has “the most developed trinitarian theology of any New Testament book”. He says that Revelation is a book that tests our ability to read Scripture and is the best example of an author wrestling with Scripture and the ideological implications of the gospel. He is quite circumspect on authorship preferring to think that “John invites us to judge the authority of what he writes on the basis of its content and claims, not on an appeal to external evidence of authority.” Paul favours a date during the reign of Domitian and favours a social setting where a city is religiously and socially embedded in the imperial cult. Like others, he sees Revelation as a mixture apocalypse, letter, and prophecy. According to Paul, “The rhetorical goal of John’s writing – for his first readers as well as for subsequent generations – is that they should be motivated and equipped to live as mature disciples of Jesus. Tthe central element of this is to be a ‘faithful witness’ as Jesus was, living a life of ‘patience endurance;  (1:9) in the face of opposition and difficulty, but motivated by a clear understanding of the ‘kingdom’ that is ours in Jesus.”

The exegesis sections include context, comment, and theology, which flow well, and orientate the reader to the text and its implications. On Rev 20:4-8, Paul rejects the standard amillennial interpretation that the reign of Christ refers the spiritual reign of Christ of those who died in faith. But Paul doesn’t opt for a literal millennium since Revelation 20 has clear connections with Revelation 12. He thinks the purpose of the millennium is: (1) The public vindication of the martyrs; (2) the martyrs have pride of place among God’s people; (3) the reign of the martyrs is an anticipation of the kingdom on earth; (4) there is a clear connection between the overthrow of the forces of evil and the vindication of God’s people.

A great commentary and contribution to Revelation scholarship, ideal for students and preachers everywhere.

 

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