Top Commentaries on Revelation

Bible commentaries on the New Testament book of Revelation 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. (See more about the scholars, pastors, ministries, and schools whose commentary reviews are being utilized.)

Best Reviewed Bible Commentaries on Revelation



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


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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”

Theology: Amillennial; Beale describes his position as an “eclectic redemptive-historical idealist view” and “a redemptive-historical form of modified idealism”; “…no specific prophesied historical events are discerned in the book, except for the final coming of Christ” (p. 48); “…the present commentary first most within the overall interpretative framework of such past commentaries as Caird, Johnson, Sweet, and above all Hendricksen and Wilcock” (p. 49)

Best for: students, pastors, teachers, professors, and scholars with training in Hebrew who can follow a technical commentary

Purpose: From the publisher: “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… the volumes of the NIGTC are for students who want something less technical than a full-scale critical commentary… the supreme aim of this series is to serve those who are engaged in the ministry of the Word of God and thus glorify God’s name.” 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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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: Premillennial; eclectic, yet “the futurist rather than the idealist position is primary” in this volume (p. 22); “…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)

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the Publisher: “The chief concern of the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (BECNT) is to provide, within the framework of informed evangelical thought, commentaries that blend scholarly depth with readability, exegetical detail with sensitivity to the whole, and attention to critical problems with theological awareness. We hope thereby to attract the interest of a fairly wide audience, from the scholar who is looking for a thoughtful and independent examination of the text to the motivated lay Christian who craves a solid but accessible exposition.” 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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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: Historic premillennialism; he encourages the reader to consider an eclectic approach, “The author himself could without contradiction 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)

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Written for scholars, pastors, and lay readers alike…undertaken to provide earnest students of the New Testament 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.” 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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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: Preterist; lacks theological reflection

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “WBC series delivers the best in biblical scholarship, from the leading scholars who share a commitment to Scripture as divine revelation. It emphasizes a thorough analysis of textual, linguistic, structural, and theological evidence. The result is judicious and balanced insight into the meanings of the text in the framework of biblical theology.” 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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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: Amillennial; “I follow Bea;e (48-49) in adopting a view which may be best described as modified idealist. Revelation is a symbolic portrayal of the timeless conflcit between the forces of good and eveil, 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)

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “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. As such, it offers the reader a significantly different approach to this enigmatic text than that offered by most contemporary commentaries. Working directly from the Greek text, Smalley offers a masterful analysis of the critical and literary dimensions of the Apocalypse for students and scholars alike.”



A Commentary on the Revelation of John by George Eldon Ladd


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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: Premillennial; 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); “…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)

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “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 (New International Version Application Commentary) by Craig S. Keener


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Reviews and Accolades:

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

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

Theology: Historic premillennialism; rejected dispensational premillennialism as an early Christian (p. 15, 40); regularly cites scholars from different eschatological convictions; “…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)

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the General Editor: The primary goal of the NIV Application Commentary Series is to help you with the difficult but vital task of bringing an ancient message into a modern context. The series not only focuses on application as a finished product but also helps you think through the process of moving from the original meaning of a passage to its contemporary significance. These are commentaries, not popular expositions. They are works of reference, not devotional literature.” See more about the NIV Application Commentary series.



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


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Reviews and Accolades:

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

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

Theology: Premillennialism; “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…”

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Written especially for the informed layman, student, and scholar, this commentary seeks to clear the air. The book is interpreted 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. This commentary interacts with a range of major views, both evangelical and nonevangelical. It reaffirms the basic framework of eschatology espoused by ancient Christianity, but with added help from centuries of maturing thought and doctrinal progress in the Body of Christ.”



Reading Revelation Responsibly by Michael J. Gorman


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Reviews and Accolades:

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

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Reading Revelation Responsibly is for those who are confused by, afraid of, and/or preoccupied with the book of Revelation…Gorman pays careful attention to the book’s original historical and literary contexts, its connections to the rest of Scripture, its relationship to Christian doctrine and practice, and its potential to help or harm people in their life of faith. Rather than a script for the end times, Gorman demonstrates how Revelation is a script for Christian worship, witness, and mission that runs counter to culturally embedded civil religion.”



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


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Reviews and Accolades:

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

Theology: Idealist; symbolism applies to all time periods; precursor to Beale

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

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



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


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Reviews and Accolades:

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

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Theology: Amillennial

Purpose: From the publisher: 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. He explains that Revelation fortifies the church against the Enemy’s wiles by disclosing the profound paradoxes of Christ’s victory and glory. The central themes of Revelation converge with Christ’s triumph over the Enemy.”



More Bible Commentaries with Application Help for Pastors



Revelation (Reformed Expositional Commentary) by Richard D. Phillips


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Theology: Amillennial

Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: 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…” All authors are “pastor-scholars.” See more about the Reformed Expository Commentary series.



Revelation (Teach the Text Commentary Series) by J. Scott Duvall


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Theology: The author identifies himself as a historic premillennialist, but sees the millennium as inaugurating life in the new heavens and new earth (p. 265); “This commentary will take an eclectic approach” [i.e. is will combine interpretative insight from various approaches] (p. 7)

Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: The Teach the Text series utilizes “the best of biblical scholarship” and provides “the information a pastor needs to communicate the text effectively. By keeping the discussion of each carefully selected preaching unit to six pages of focused commentary, the volumes in this series allow pastors to quickly grasp the big idea and key themes of each passage of Scripture. The text and its meaning are made clear, and sections dedicated to effectively teaching and illustrating the text help pastors prepare to preach.”



Revelation: The Spirit Speaks to the Churches (Preaching the Word) by James M. Hamilton, Jr.


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Theology: Historic premillennialism

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “For years, Crossway’s Preaching the Word commentary series has helped pastors, preachers, and anyone who teaches God’s Word to better interpret and apply the message of the Bible. Under the careful editorial oversight of experienced pastor and best-selling author R. Kent Hughes, this series is known for its commitment to biblical authority, its pastoral tone and focus, and its overall accessibility.” See more about the Preaching the Word commentary series.



Revelation (Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching) by M. Eugene Boring


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Theology: pretersit; fulfillment was in the past

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “This series of commentaries offers an interpretation of the books of the Bible. It is designed to meet the need of students, teachers, ministers, and priests for a contemporary expository commentary. These volumes will not replace the historical critical commentary or homiletical aids to preaching. The purpose of this series is rather to provide a third kind of resource, a commentary which presents the integrated result of historical and theological work with the biblical text.” See more about the Interpretation commentary series.



Revelation (For Everyone) by N.T. Wright


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Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: “N.T. ‘Tom’ Wright has undertaken a tremendous task: to provide guides to all the books of the New Testament, and to include in them his own translation of the entire text. Each short passage is followed by a highly readable discussion, with background information, useful explanations and suggestions, and thoughts as to how the text can be relevant to our lives today. A glossary is included at the end of each volume.”



Revelation (Christ-Centered Exposition) by Daniel L. Akin


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Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: This series “takes a Christ-centered approach to expositing each book of the Bible. Rather than a verse-by-verse approach, the authors have crafted chapters that explain and apply key passages in their assigned Bible books. Readers will learn to see Christ in all aspects of Scripture, and they will be encouraged by the devotional nature of each exposition presented as sermons and divided into chapters that conclude with a “Reflect and Discuss” section, making this series ideal for small group study, personal devotion, and even sermon preparation. It’s not academic but rather presents an easy reading, practical and friendly commentary.”



More Verse-by-Verse Commentaries



Revelation: Four Views, Revised and Updated by Steve Gregg


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Theology: presents four different views in side-by-side commentary

Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: “Four parallel columns present the information you need on these key views, and inform you about outstanding commentators on the book of Revelation. No other book gives such extensive coverage of how the church has understood Revelation over the centuries. 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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Theology: 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)

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “The New American Commentary is introduced to bridge the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This new 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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Theology: Amillennial

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: This series is “designed to help readers understand what the Bible actually says and what it means…[each commentary] examines the text section by section, drawing out its main themes. It also comments on individual verses and deals with problems of interpretation. The aim throughout is to get at the true meaning of the Bible and to make its message plain to readers today.” See more about the Tyndale New Testament Commentary series.



The Message of Revelation (The Bible Speaks Today) by Michael Wilcock


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Theology: Amillennial; The interpretation of this commentary “is along amillennialist lines; and it si 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)

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: The “the three distinctives of The Bible Speaks Today series are (1) “BST 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 (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Revised Edition) by Alan F. Johnson


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Theology: 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 endevored 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)

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Written primarily by expositors for expositors…its stance is that of a scholarly evangelicalism committed to the divine inspiration, complete trustworthiness, and full authority of the Bible…the chief principle followed in this commentary is the grammatico-historical – namely, that the primary aim of the exegete is to make clear the meaning of the text at the time and in the circumstances of its writing.” See more about the Expositor’s Bible Commentary series, original and revised.



Revelation (The John Walvoord Prophecy Commentaries) by John Walvoord, Phillip E. Rawley, and Mark Hitchcock


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Theology: 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)

Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: “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. At key points, different views and approaches to interpretation are explored. Walvoord devotes special attention to textual and doctrinal issues while avoiding technical language. Refined, updated with the English Standard Version (ESV), and streamlined, this classic text is set to help you interpret the last book of the Bible and gain a better grasp of current trends and the climax of history!”



Revelation (IVP New Testament Commentary) by J. Ramsey Michaels


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Theology: Argues that Revelation is a prophetic letter, but is theological stance on the end times is difficult to categorize

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Each volume, informed by the best of up-to-date evangelical scholarship, presents passage-by-passage commentary based on the NIV along with background information on authorship, setting, theme and various interpretive issues… 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 IVP New Testament Commentary Series.” See more about IVP New Testament Commentary series.



Revelation (New Cambridge Bible Commentary) by Ben Witherington III


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Theology: Historic premillennial in regards to Ch. 20; combines idealist, preterist, and futurist interpretations

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “The NCBC aims to elucidate the Hebrew and Christian scriptures for a wide range of intellectually curious individuals…[volumes] do not assume the reader has a great deal of specialized theological knowledge or an impressive command of the Hebrew, Aramaic, or biblical Greek… Utilizing recent gains in rhetorical criticism, social scientific study of the scriptures, narrative criticism and other developing disciplines, this series intends to provide a fresh look at biblical texts, taking advantage of the growing edges in Biblical Studies.”



Revelation (Understanding the Bible) by Robert W. Wall


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “Each volume in the Understanding the Bible Commentary 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. They present a careful section-by-section exposition of the biblical books with key terms and phrases highlighted and all Hebrew transliterated. Notes at the close of each chapter provide additional textual and technical comments for those who want to dig deeper.” See more about the Understanding the Bible commentary series.



Revelation (New Testament Library) by Brian K. Bount


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “The New Testament Library series offers authoritative commentary on every book and major aspect of the New Testament, providing 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 Interpretation Bible Commentary series.



Classic Christian Commentaries for Bible Study



Revelation 1-11 and 12-21 (MacArthur New Testament Commentary) by John MacArthur


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Theology: dispensational premillennial

Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: “If you’re familiar with John MacArthur’s in-depth Bible teaching, you have an idea of what you’ll find in The MacArthur New Testament Commentary. The commentary takes you deep into each passage, verse by verse—sometimes word by word. It’s like having a Bible teacher sitting next to you as you study Scripture.”



Revelation (Ironside Expository Commentaries) by H.A. Ironside


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Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: H.A. Ironside (1876-1951) was an internationally acclaimed Bible teacher and preacher, as well as the author of more than sixty books. His writings include addresses or commentaries on the entire New Testament, all of the Old Testament prophetic books, and a great many volumes on other biblical topics. For eighteen of his fifty years of ministry, Dr. Ironside was pastor of the historic Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, Ill.



Revelation (Thru the Bible Commentary Series) by J. Vernon McGee


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Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: “Radio messages from J. Vernon McGee delighted and enthralled listeners for years with simple, straightforward language and clear understanding of the Scripture. Now enjoy his personable, yet scholarly, style in a 60-volume set of commentaries that takes you from Genesis to Revelation with new understanding and insight.”


Also see:

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