Three Ground Rules For Understanding Revelation

As I prepare a sermon on Revelation 1 for this weekend it strikes me that three lessons from this chapter should be followed by any would-be interpreter.

1. The Bible interprets the Bible

Not the newspapers. Not modern resonances. There’s a reason Revelation comes at the end of the Scriptures. It picks up and weaves together themes and allusions from every other biblical book. We don’t need to go outside the Scriptures to interpret them. Very often we don’t need to go outside the chapter. Stick to the Bible. The Bible will interpret the Bible.

2. The context is suffering

In particular it’s the suffering of John, the seven churches of Asia and the other witnesses to Christ known to John. The context is not comfortable 21st century theorists, but suffering believers. And in the first instance, they are believers of the 1st century who need comfort there and then. If they somehow thought that the kings of Revelation 17 were the EU, how exactly would that be a comfort? And how would that be a comfort to the millions of non-western believers today suffering for their faith?

3. The point is Christ

It’s the Revelation of Jesus Christ, not the Revelation of eschatological timetables. Jesus is the centre. Focus on Him and His comfort in suffering and you won’t go too far wrong.

 

 

Posted on by Glen in bible, revelation

About Glen

I'm a preacher in Eastbourne, married to Emma.

4 Responses to Three Ground Rules For Understanding Revelation

  1. Agshin Jafarov

    Nice. I would add that the interpretation needs to be balanced. I have seen a lot of people to read into the book of Revelation whatever End Times phantasies they have. So balanced interpretation that takes into account complexity of the Bible and common sense is is part or ground rules.

  2. Eric Sandberg

    Great advice! I am hoping to start a series on Revelation to some high school students.

  3. Glen

    Thanks Agshin, yes hopefully grounding the interpretation in the Bible’s own images and language will keep things from flying off into fantasies!

    That’s great Eric. I’m sure they’ll be blessed! (Rev 1:3)

  4. Pingback: Preaching apocalyptic | Watumishi wa Neno

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