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Revelation

Essential books

Can I Get a Witness? Reading Revelation through African American Culture, by Brian K. Blount. Would John of Patmos use rap music if he were to give a spiritual critique of empire today? Blount, a preacher and social prophet who is on sure academic footing, draws a provocative analogy between Revelation’s takedown of an idolatrous Roman Empire and the struggle of civil rights activists to dismantle racism in the United States.

Revelation (Interpretation), by M. Eugene Boring. This succinct and readable commentary captures the best of modern Revelation scholarship. Boring sets the Apocalypse squarely in its first-century context and considers how Western culture has appropriated its message. Preachers and others seeking application will appreciate the side essays—on the “near end,” violence, satanic language and universal salvation—that address common concerns raised about John’s vision.

Reversed Thunder: The Revelation of John and the Praying Imagination, by Eugene H. Peterson. Loosely tracking the chapter sequence in Revelation, this volume is more meditation than traditional commentary. Like a spiritual director interpreting John’s apocalyptic journal, Peterson helps readers mine practical insight on violence, Christology, worship, discipleship and—especially—prayer.

Revelation (Smyth and Helwys Bible Commentary), by Mitchell G. Reddish. With abundant maps, charts and illustrations, Reddish provides a richly textured panorama of the political, social, religious and economic environment in which John’s vision appeared. Numerous sidebars—on topics such as the imperial cult and the function of hymns—offer keys to interpretation. A “Connections” section in each chapter offers a feast of application for any preacher or student.

From Every People and Nation: The Book of Rev­elation in Intercultural Perspective, edited by David Rhoads. Latino, Chinese, African, feminist and other perspectives make this collection of essays on the Apocalypse percolate. Eleven New Testament scholars present contrasting perspectives on Revelation that help remove cultural blinders. Appendices provide practical guidelines for conducting intercultural group Bible study.

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