As I’m working on my Ph.D. in Revelation, I’m often asked about what books to read, what authors to trust, etc. While I think Beale’s massive commentary is the best out there and really enjoy Keener’s commentary, these are too technical and thick to recommend to most people. For any pastor, student, or layman who hasn’t read much on Revelation, I usually recommend four short and (relatively) accessible introductions:
1. Richard Bauckham, The Theology of the Book of Revelation
The title pretty much explains it: this is an introduction to the theology of Revelation. Bauckham doesn’t bog down into every jot and tittle of Revelation, but rather overviews the key theological points and themes that make up the message of Revelation.
2. N. T. Wright, Revelation for Everyone
This book is a commentary, but in Wright’s wonderful narrative style. The insights are helpful, of course, but Wright’s ability to write clearly and cohesively with a little flare is what makes this book enjoyable to read and easy to understand.
3. Craig R. Koester, Revelation and the End of All Things
Koester has a massive commentary on Revelation that rivals Beale’s in terms of depth and insight, but this smaller commentary highlights the major themes of each section of Revelation, focusing only on the most important and overarching elements of each portion.
4. Matthew Y. Emerson, Between the Cross and the Throne
This book is tiny. Like, almost-lose-it-on-your-shelf-between-other-books tiny. And yet, Emerson has managed to pack a punch here, highlighting Revelation’s purpose and major plots/characters. The last chapter is a superb summary of how and why to read Revelation today.
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