The Book of Revelation contains some of the most difficult passages in Scripture. In this addition to the acclaimed BECNT series, Grant Osborne's commentary on Revelation aims to interpret the text while also introducing readers to the perspectives of contemporary scholarship in a clear and accessible manner.
Osborne begins with a thorough introduction to Revelation and the many difficulties involved in its interpretation. He discusses authorship, date of writing, and the social and cultural setting of the work. He also examines elements that complicate the interpretation of apocalyptic literature, including the use of symbols and figures of speech, Old Testament allusions, and the role of prophetic prediction. Osborne surveys various approaches commentators have taken on whether Revelation refers primarily to the past or to events that are yet future.
Osborne avoids an overly technical interpretative approach. Rather than exegeting the text narrowly in a verse-by-verse manner, he examines larger sections in order to locate and emphasize the writer's central message and the theology found therein. Throughout, he interacts with the best recent scholarship and presents his conclusions in an accessible manner. When dealing with particularly problematic sections, he considers the full range of suggested interpretations and introduces the reader to a broad spectrum of commentators.
“The primary problems in studying the Apocalypse are four: the symbolism; the structure of the book; the debate among historicist, preterist, idealist, and futurist interpretations; and the use of the OT in the book.” (Page 1)
“Rather, it means that the church lacked size and stature in the community and was looked down upon and persecuted. They had ‘little authority’ or influence. ‘But’9 they were faithful, and that has always been the test of divine blessing rather than success.” (Page 189)
“Every interpreter must ask the same two questions: What does each symbol portray in the literal world of history, and what background knowledge do I utilize to determine its meaning?” (Page 16)
“The Laodiceans were immensely wealthy, and this led to self-sufficiency and complacency, a deadly combination for the Christian.” (Page 206)
“Therefore, it seems likely that the woman here represents Israel, the people of God (with 12:17, where she represents the church, we can conclude that she represents the whole people of God, Israel and the church).” (Page 456)
Osborne has successfully combined a thorough familiarity with the text of Revelation, a detailed knowledge of recent scholarship, and a clear writing style with a vital concern for the practical needs of students, pastors, and laity alike. His commentary invites a broad readership and will serve as an excellent text for courses on Revelation.
—David E. Aune, University of Notre Dame
This clearly written commentary reflects thorough engagement with the literature and careful interaction with the text. I find Osborne's judgments sound and well-supported. This work is an excellent resource for both scholars and students and will undoubtedly takes its place among the standard academic commentaries on Revelation.
—Craig Keener, professor of New Testament, Eastern Seminary
EMANUEL BATISTA UCHOA