Best Revelation Commentaries | Updated for 2020

The best Revelation commentaries are listed below. The commentaries listed first are those that have received the best reviews.

You will also find options for commentaries on Revelation that help pastors, teachers, and readers with application of the Bible, commentaries that approach the Scripture verse-by-verse, classic Christian commentaries, and much more.


Best-Reviewed Revelation Commentaries


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The Book of Revelation
New International Greek Testament Commentary
by G.K. Beale

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Revelation commentary by G.K. Beale

Reviews and Accolades:

• Desiring God: #1 recommended commentary on Revelation

• D.A. Carson: a “best buy” on Revelation, “for students and well-trained pastors… combines comprehensiveness with biblical fidelity, exegesis with theology, and literary sensitivity with historical awareness”

• Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Revelation

• Keith Mathison: #2 ranked commentary on Revelation, “Beale’s commentary contains a wealth of information and should be consulted by any serious student of Scripture”

• Tom Schreiner – recommended: “a massive and learned commentary from an amillennial perspective”

Interview: Read Best Bible Commentaries’ interview with G.K. Beale on this volume

About G.K. Beale: Beale takes an evangelical in approach to Scripture. He is ordained in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Beale is a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary. This commentary took him seven years to write.

This commentary is over 1,300 pages in length.

This is a technical Greek commentary (for a mid-level alternative, see Revelation: A Shorter Commentary below). Beale also interacts extensively with secondary literature in this volume.

Regarding eschatology, Beale is amillennial. He describes his approach to Revelation as an “eclectic redemptive-historical idealist view” and “a redemptive-historical form of modified idealism.”

About eschatology in Revelation, he writes “…no specific prophesied historical events are discerned in [Revelation], except for the final coming of Christ” (p. 48).

“He adds, “…the present commentary fits most within the overall interpretative framework of such past commentaries as Caird, Johnson, Sweet, and above all Hendricksen and Wilcock” (p. 49).

Revelation: A Shorter Commentary by G.K. Beale

Readers who want the fruit Beale’s labor without the technical information, would be wise to consider Revelation: A Shorter Commentary (link goes to Amazon using the exact ISBN). There is no Greek in this volume, which is half the size as the original.

Revelation A shorter Commentary G.K. Beale
This edition of Beale’s commentary is less technical

Beale is also known for writing the 1-2 Thessalonians commentary in the IVPNTC series.

The publisher notes that “at a time when the study of Greek is curtailed in many schools of theology, we hope that the NIGTC will demonstrate the continuing value of studying the Greek New Testament.”

See more about the New International Greek Testament Commentary series.


Revelation
Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
by Grant R. Osborne

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Grant Osborne Revelation commentary

Reviews and Accolades:

• D.A. Carson: “accessible… especially good at laying out what the options are”

• Tom Schreiner – recommended: “a clear exposition from the premillennial perspective”

• Keith Mathison: #5 ranked commentary on Revelation, “Osborne’s commentary is particularly helpful in providing historical background information on the people, places, and things mentioned in the biblical text.”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Osborne takes an evangelical in approach to Scripture. He is Arminian (d. 2018).

Regarding the theology of Revelation, Osborne approach is premillennial, yet eclectic: “the futurist rather than the idealist position is primary” in this volume (p. 22).

“Osborne likens his approach to Beale’s: “…this commentary is quite similar to Beale’s except for the centrality of the futurist approach (also similar to Ladd, Beasley-Murray, Michaels, and Mounce)” (p. 22); “In this commentary, I take the premillennial approach but recognize the viability” of other positions (p. 697).

This commentary is best for readers who can follow a technical Greek commentary. This is a Greek commentary, like Beale’s, but it’s 500 fewer pages. Osborne is gracious to non-premillennial perspectives.

The publisher notes that the BECNT series combines “scholarly depth with readability, exegetical detail with sensitivity to the whole, and attention to critical problems with theological awareness.”

Osborne is well-known for his Matthew commentary in the ZECNT series.

See more about the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series.


The Book of Revelation
New International Commentary on the New Testament
by Robert H. Mounce

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Revelation commentary by Robert Mounce

Reviews and Accolades:

• D.A. Carson: a “best buy” on Revelation, “a learned and well-written work that not only explains the text satisfactorily in most instances but also introduces the student to the best of the secondary literature”

• Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Revelation

• Tom Schreiner – recommended: “an excellent and lucid interpretation of the book”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Mounce takes an evangelical in approach to Scripture. He taught at Baptist and Presbyterian colleges in his career (d. 2019). Mounce, at different times, was a member of the NIV, NLT, and ESV translation teams.

Regarding theology, Mounce holds to historical premillennialism. Yet some readers have noted that some of his interpretations are unique: “His discussion of the millennium in general has a number of turns many premillennialists cannot easily figure…” [1]

Mounce encourages the reader to consider an eclectic approach, “The author himself could without contradiction be preterist, historicist, futurist, and idealist” (p. 29); “John taught a literal millennium, but its essential meaning may be realized in something other than a temporal fulfillment” (p. 359).

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.

The publisher notes that the NICNT series provides readers with “an exposition that is thorough and abreast of modern scholarship and at the same time loyal to the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God.”

Mounce is well-known for his Romans commentary in the NAC series.

See more about the New International Commentary on the New Testament series.


Revelation 1-5, 6-16, and 17-22
Word Biblical Commentary
by David E. Aune

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Revelation commentary by David Aune

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tom Schreiner – recommended, “excellent on background, but lacking theologically”

• D.A. Carson: a “best buy” on Revelation, “the prose is accessible, the arguments often elegant”

• Keith Mathison: #3 ranked commentary on Revelation, “Aune is very helpful with the details of the text and the details of extrabiblical literature. He is not as helpful when it comes to the point of understanding what the book means, its message and theology.”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Aune takes a critical approach to Scripture. He is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and is an emeritus professor at Notre Dame.

Regarding the theology of Revelation, Aune’s view is preterist. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.

This commentary consists of three volumes and is over 1,600 total pages. Aune offers much less theological reflection than Beale and is known for his analysis of extrabiblical literature.

The publisher notes that the WBC series “delivers the best in biblical scholarship, from the leading scholars who share a commitment to Scripture as divine revelation.” See more about the Word Biblical Commentary series.


The Revelation to John
A Commentary on the Greek

Text of the Apocalypse
by Stephen S. Smalley

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Revelation commentary by Stephen Smalley

Reviews and Accolades:

• D.A. Carson: “a competent piece of work”

• Tom Schreiner – recommended: “a helpful English commentary”

• Keith Mathison: #1 ranked commentary on Revelation, “I believe his view of the dating of the book is essentially correct…that the book was written in the reign of Vespasian (AD 69-79), just before the fall of Jerusalem to Titus in AD 70.”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Smalley takes a critical approach to Scripture. He is an Anglican scholar and priest.

Regarding the theology of Revelation, Smalley’s view is amillennial: “I follow Beale (48-49) in adopting a view which may be best described as modified idealist. Revelation is a symbolic portrayal of the timeless conflict between the forces of good and evil, God and Satan…this involves a final consummation in judgement and salvation” (p. 16); “…the millennium in Rev. 20 is best interpreted as a symbol for the timeless reign of God in Christ, in heaven and on earth” (p. 504).

This commentary is best for readers who can follow a technical Greek commentary. Smalley’s expertise is on the writings of John the Apostle. He dates Revelation to before 70 AD. This commentary is not part of a series.

The publisher notes that “The Revelation to John by Stephen Smalley is a magisterial interpretation of John’s Apocalypse as a grand drama, which can only be properly understood in light of John’s Gospel and letters and in the context of the Johannine community.”


A Commentary on the Revelation of John
by George Eldon Ladd

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Revelation commentary by George Eldon Ladd

Reviews and Accolades:

• D.A. Carson: “detects more futurist elements in Revelation than do many commentators writing in the last half century”

• Tom Schreiner – recommended: “a lucid interpretation from the historical premillennial viewpoint”

• Keith Mathison: #4 ranked commentary on Revelation, “Despite differing with Ladd’s millennial view, I believe his commentary still contains a wealth of interpretive insight.”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Ladd takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He was a Baptist minister and a strong advocate of historic premillennialism and critic of dispensationalism (d. 1982).

Regarding the theology of Revelation, Ladd’s view is historic premillennial and post-tribulational; “…we conclude that the correct method of interpreting the Revelation is a blending of the preterist and the futurist methods. The beast is both Rome and the eschatological Antichrist… the great tribulation is primarily an eschatological event, but it includes all tribulation which the church may experience…” (p. 14).

Ladd adds: “…The form of premillennialism which sees Revelation as a prophecy of the destiny of the church is not widely held today but it is the theology expounded in the present commentary” (p. 261).

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.

The publisher notes that his commentary, which is not part of a series, offers the reader “a scholarly and comprehensive exposition of Revelation written in the language of the layperson.

The verse-by-verse commentary is preceded by a brief discussion of authorship, date, setting, structure, and various methods of interpretation as well as by an analytical outline of the book.”


Revelation
NIV Application Commentary
by Craig S. Keener

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Revelation commentary by Craig Keener

Reviews and Accolades:

• D.A. Carson: “devotes appropriate attention to thoughtful application”

• Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on Revelation

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Keener takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Arminian.

Regarding the theology of Revelation, Keener’s view is historic premillennialism. He rejected dispensational premillennialism as an early Christian (p. 15, 40).

Keener explains “…I am skeptical of a future promise for national Israel that excludes ethnically gentile Christians who have been grafted into Israel’s heritage and hope… at the same time, I cannot think that the Old Testament prophets intended a ‘replacement’ of Israel now unrelated to her historical heritage” (p. 478). He is gracious toward other eschatological positions.

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Keener his well-known for his Acts commentary.

The publisher notes that the NIVAC series aims “to help you with the difficult but vital task of bringing an ancient message into a modern context.” See more about the NIV Application Commentary series.


Revelation 1-7, 8-22
Wycliffe Exegetical Commentary
by Robert L. Thomas

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Revelation commentary by Robert Thomas

Reviews and Accolades:

• D.A. Carson: “uphold, competently enough, pretribulational premillennialism”

• Tom Schreiner – recommended: “a thorough commentary from the dispensational premillennial viewpoint”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Thomas takes an evangelical in approach to Scripture.

Regarding the theology of Revelation, Thomas’ view is premillennial: “In post-Reformation times detailed commentaries on the Greek text of Revelation from a futurist and premillennial perspective have been scarce and perhaps non-existent.” [This two-volume set] “attempts to fill that void…” (from the Preface, written in the mid to late 1990’s).

This commentary is best for readers who can follow a technical Greek commentary. The Wycliffe series was discontinued after publishing its first few volumes.

The publisher notes that this commentary interprets Revelation “according to a historical and grammatical hermeneutic and propounds a conservative, evangelical theology, but the reader will not get a narrow view on areas of disagreement.”

See more about the Wycliffe Exegetical Commentary series.


Triumph of the Lamb
A Commentary on Revelation
by Dennis E. Johnson

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Triumph of the Lamb by Dennis Johnson

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tom Schreiner – recommended: “a helpful and clear exposition for busy pastors from an amillennial perspective”

Interview: Read Best Bible Commentaries’ interview with Dennis Johnson on this volume

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Johnson takes an evangelical in approach to Scripture. He taught at Westminster Seminary California and has served in Presbyterian churches.

Regarding the theology of Revelation, Johnson’s view is amillennial. This commentary is best for readers who can follow a technical Greek commentary. Johnson also wrote the Philippians commentary in the Reformed Expository Commentary series.

The publisher notes that “Dennis E. Johnson deftly guides us through questions about how to interpret Revelation, what it meant to its original audience, and how it equips us today.”


The Revelation of Saint John
Black’s New Testament Commentary
by G.B. Caird

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Revelation commentary by G.B. Caird

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tom Schreiner – recommended: “a provocative and helpful interpretation”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Caird takes a critical approach to Scripture. He was affiliated with the Congregationalist church in England (d. 1984).

Regarding the theology of Revelation, Caird’s view is idealist in which the book’s symbolism applies to all time periods. This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.

The publisher notes that the BNTC series “has been hailed by both scholars and pastors for its insightful interpretations and reliable commentary.” See more about Black’s New Testament Commentary series.


Verse-by-Verse Expository Commentaries


Revelation
Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
by Buist Fanning

NEW RELEASE: Published in May 2020

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Revelation commentary by Buist Fanning cover

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Fanning takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is a long-time professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. Regarding the theology of Revelation, Fanning is pretribulation premillennial.

Interview: Dr. Fanning participated in a Q & A with Best Bible Commentaries on this volume.

See more about the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series.

Revelation
Reformed Expositional Commentary
by Richard D. Phillips

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Revelation commentary by Richard Phillips

Interview: See Best Bible Commentaries’ interview with Richard D. Phillips on this volume

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Phillips takes an evangelical in approach to Scripture. He is Reformed and ministers a Presbyterian church.

Regarding the theology of Revelation, Philipps’ view is amillennial. This commentary is best for individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, and adult Sunday school classes.

Phillips also wrote the John commentary in the same series.

The publisher notes that the REC series has “four fundamental commitments. First, these commentaries aim to be biblical… Second, these commentaries are unashamedly doctrinal… Third, these commentaries are redemptive-historical… Fourth, these commentaries are practical…”

See more about the Reformed Expository Commentary series.


Revelation: Four Views,
Revised and Updated
by Steve Gregg

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Revelation commentary by Steve Gregg

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Gregg presents four different views in side-by-side commentary.

This volume is best for individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, and adult Sunday school classes.

The publisher notes that this commentary, which not not part of a series, presents “four parallel columns present the information you need on these key views, and inform you about outstanding commentators on the book of Revelation… The four-column format makes this an easy read for lay people, pastors, and scholars alike.”


Revelation
New American Commentary
by Paige Patterson

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Revelation commentary by Paige Patterson

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Patterson takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He serves in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Regarding the theology of Revelation, Patterson’s view is dispensational premillennialsm: “Revelation is essentially a prophecy of the end times to be fulfilled principally in the future, is the perspective that will be developed in this commentary” (p. 30); “This commentary follows the premillennial perspective” (p. 351).

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.

The publisher notes that the NAC series “has been designed primarily to enable pastors, teachers, and students to read the Bible with clarity and proclaim it with power.” See more about the New American Commentary series.


Revelation
Tyndale New Testament Commentary
by Leon L. Morris

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Revelation commentary by Leon Morris

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Morris takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. regarding the theology of Revelation, Morris’ view is amillennial.

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Morris is known for writing the Luke commentary in the same series.

The publisher notes that commentaries in the TNTC series examine “the text section by section, drawing out its main themes. It also comments on individual verses and deals with problems of interpretation.” See more about the Tyndale New Testament Commentary series.


The Message of Revelation
The Bible Speaks Today
by Michael Wilcock

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Revelation commentary by Michael Wilcock

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Wilcock takes an evangelical approach to Scripture.

Regarding the theology of Revelation, Wilcock’s view is amillennial: The interpretation of this commentary “is along amillennialist lines; and it is hoped that enough is said in the course of this exposition to commend such a view as being neither odd not unscriptural…” (p. 182); “The ‘thousand years,’ which on our view began with Christ’s first coming, are thus still in progress…” (p. 189).

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Wilcock also wrote the Psalms commentary in the same series.

The publisher notes that the distinctives of the BST series are (1) “authors are committed to a serious study of the text in its own integrity,” (2) that “expositors should not be antiquarians, living only in the remote past” but suggest application for living, and (3) “each book is intended to be both readable in style and manageable in size.”

See more about the Bible Speaks Today commentary series.


Revelation
Expositor’s Bible Commentary Revised
by Alan F. Johnson

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Revelation commentary by Alan Johnson

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Johnson takes an evangelical approach to Scripture.

Regarding the theology of Revelation, Johnson’s view is historic premillennialism: “I believe that the preterist’s view, and to a lesser extent the pretereist-futurist’s view, is misled [footnote: “Beasley-Murray, Bruce, Ladd, Morris, and Mounce, among others, are recent evangelical interpreters who have endeavored to combine the preterist and futurist schools]…I hold that John is describing the final judgment; the physical, bodily return of Christ to the world; and the future resurrection of believers” (p. 587); “…it is encouraging to see other commentators coming to a similar conclusion (e.g. Beale, Osborne, Mazzaferri)” (p. 587).

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Johnson also wrote the 1 Corinthians commentary in the IVPNTC series.

The publisher notes that the approach of REBC series is that of “scholarly evangelicalism committed to the divine inspiration, complete trustworthiness, and full authority of the Bible.”

See more about the Expositor’s Bible Commentary series, original and revised.


Revelation
Walvoord Commentaries
by John Walvoord

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Revelation commentary by John Walvoord

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: The authors take an evangelical approach to Scripture. Walvoord taught at Dallas Theological Seminary for 44 years.

Regarding the theology of Revelation, their view is dispensational premillennialism: ” Regarding Revelation 20:1-6, there is “strong evidence for chronological order in this section, and this is granted, the millennial kingdom follows the second coming as described in 19:11-16. The only reason for denying such a conclusion would be to avoid premillennialism” (p. 303).

This commentary is best for individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, and adult Sunday school classes. The authors have published a similar commentary on Daniel.

The publisher notes, “In this first in a renewed series of commentaries from Dr. Walvoord, he points out that much of the book’s symbolism can be interpreted literally…updated with the English Standard Version (ESV)…”

See more about the John Walvoord Prophecy Commentary series.


Revelation
IVP New Testament Commentary
by J. Ramsey Michaels

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Revelation commentary by J. Michael Ramsey

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Michaels takes an evangelical approach to Scripture.

Regarding the theology of Revelation, Michaels argues that Revelation is a prophetic letter, but his theological stance on the end times is difficult to categorize.

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Micahels wrote the 1 Peter commentary in the WBC series.

The publisher notes that “preachers, teachers, students and other individuals who want to dig deep into the heart of the New Testament will find an indispensable companion” in the IVPNTC series. See more about IVP New Testament Commentary series.


Revelation
New Cambridge Bible Commentary
by Ben Witherington III

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Revelation commentary by Ben Witherington

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Witherington takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Arminian.

Regarding the theology of Revelation, Witherington’s view is historic premillennialism with regard to Revelation 20. Elsewhere he combines idealist, preterist, and futurist interpretations.

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Witherington is known for his Mark commentary in the SRC series.

The publisher notes that the NCBC series does not “assume the reader has a great deal of specialized theological knowledge or an impressive command of the Hebrew, Aramaic, or biblical Greek.”

See more about the New Cambridge Bible Commentary series.


Revelation
Understanding the Bible Commentary Series
by Robert W. Wall

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Revelation commentary by Robert Wall

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Wall takes an evangelical approach to Scripture.

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Wall wrote the 1-2 Timothy commentary in the Two Horizons series.

The publisher notes that each commentary in the UBCS series “breaks down the barriers between the ancient and modern worlds so that the power and meaning of the biblical texts become transparent to contemporary readers.”

See more about the Understanding the Bible Commentary Series.


Revelation
New Testament Library
by Brian K. Blount

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Revelation commentary by Brian Blount

Interview: Read Best Bible Commentaries’ interview with Brian Blount on this volume

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Blount is a Presbyterian minister, New Testament scholar and current President of Union Presbyterian Seminary.

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.

The publisher notes that the NLT series provides “fresh translations based on the best available ancient manuscripts, critical portrayals of the historical world in which the books were created, careful attention to their literary design, and a theologically perceptive exposition of the biblical text.”

See more about the New Testament Library commentary series.


Revelation
Concordia Commentary
by Louis A. Brighton

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Revelation commentary by Louis Brighton

Theology, Audience, Purpose: Brighton takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is evangelical and Lutheran.

While not technical, the volumes in the Concordia Commentary series reflect seminary-level scholarship. The target audience is pastors, professors, and teachers. The target audience is pastors, professors, and teachers.

According to the publisher, authors in the Concordia series “fully affirms the divine inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture as it emphasizes ‘that which promotes Christ’ in each pericope.” See more about the Concordia Commentary series.


Revelation
Lectio Continua
by Joel Beeke

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Revelation commentary by Joel Beeke

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Beeke takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Reformed.

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.

The publisher notes that “in this book of sermons on Revelation, Joel Beeke gives you all this and much more as he preaches through Revelation in a thoroughly biblical, doctrinal, experiential, and practical way intended to comfort and mature believers, to warn the unsaved to flee to Christ for salvation, and to exalt Christ as the King of kings and only Head of His church.”

See more about the Lectio Continua commentary series.


Compare 75 different commentary series on the Bible Commentaries Comparison Chart

References:

[1] Commentaries for Biblical Expositor’s. Jim Rosscup. p. 312.

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