Revelation: Recommended Reading

“And though St. John saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw no creature so wild as one of his own commentators.” – Chesterton, Orthodoxy

As I prepare to preach through the book of Revelation I want to share several of the helpful resources I have used in preparation with brief commentary on why I have found them helpful. I hold to what G.K. Beale has termed an “Eclectic,” or “Redemitive-Historical Idealist” interpretation. Therefore, this bibliography does not include commentary suggestions for alternative interpretations (Futurist, Historicist, Preterist).

The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text

If you want the most exhaustive and academic treatment of Revelation, this is it. At over 1,300 pages long, Beale’s work in the book is comprehensive. He leaves no stone unturned.

* Beale, Gregory K. The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text. Grand Rapids; Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Carlisle, 1999.

Revelation: A Shorter Commentary

A far less soul-crushing treatment on Revelation, Beale’s shorter commentary is designed to be more accessible to the lay reader. That is, if you consider 576 pages to be “accessible.”

Beale, G. K., and David H. Campbell. Revelation: A Shorter Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2015.

Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament

Revelation contains more Old Testament quotes and allusions than any other New Testament book. Carson and Moo help us make the connections. This is a massive reference work, but it covers the entire New Testament. It can be rather academic.

Beale, G. K., and D. A. Carson. Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos, 2007.


This commentary by Joel Beeke would be a great volume for the lay reader. It reads like a sermon, not a commentary and is full of practical application.

* Beeke, Joel R. Revelation. Edited by Joel R. Beeke and Jon D. Payne. The Lectio Continua Expository Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2016.

An Introduction to the New Testament

Another large reference work. Any time you begin studying a book of the New Testament you ought to give consideration to “critical issues.” These are questions of authorship, audience, occasion, provenance etc. They help you frame the entire context of the book.

Carson, D. A., and Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament. Second Edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005.

Revelation: Four Views

This commentary shows the 4 main interpretations of Revelation (Preterist, Historicist, Futurist, Idealist) in parallel. I’m using this work to be aware of where other Christians disagree with my interpretation.

Gregg, Steve. Revelation, Four Views: A Parallel Commentary. Nashville, TN: T. Nelson Publishers, 1997.

The Returning King: A Guide to the Book of Revelation

Another helpful and accessible commentary on Revelation. Essentially, I am relying on Beale’s larger commentary to help me with interpretive issues while looking to Beeke & Poythress for examples of preaching and application.

Poythress, Vern S. The Returning King: A Guide to the Book of Revelation. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2000.

Symbols and Reality: A Guided Study of Prophecy

Ryken helps us read Revelation as a piece of literature. He teaches us a proper approach for viewing/imagining the symbols of apocalyptic and prophetic literature.

Ryken, Leland. Symbols and Reality: A Guided Study of Prophecy, Apocalypse, and Visionary Literature. Reading the Bible as Literature. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016.

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