Best Revelation Commentaries | Reviews, Theology, Videos

Revelation is one the most fascinating books of the Bible, yet people often need help understanding it. How should readers interpret and apply the four horsemen, the seven seals, and the beast that rises out the sea? The Revelation commentaries below provide helpful insight to pastors, teachers, and bible readers.

Based on aggregate reviews, G.K. Beale’s Revelation volume in the New International Greek Testament Commentary series (NIGTC) is rated best. However, this volume technical in nature, so many readers may prefer another Revelation commentary. Several options, for a variety of readers, can be found below.

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Top 10 Revelation Commentaries

Please read: The “Top 10” list below is a starting point for learning about Revelation commentaries. It is not intended to be the “final word” because of its limitations. For example, comparing a premillennial and amillennial commentary on Revelation can be like comparing apples and oranges. Nevertheless, a list based on aggregate reviews is likely to point many people in the right direction to find the right resource for their purposes.

#1

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

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Revelation commentary by G.K. Beale
It took G.K. Beale seven years to write this Revelation commentary

Summary: Based on aggregate reviews, G.K. Beale’s Revelation volume in the New International Greek Testament Commentary series is the most highly-acclaimed commentary on the last book of the Bible. Those who don’t know Greek may want to consider the less technical version of this commentary called Revelation: A Shorter Commentary (see below).

Author: Beale interprets Revelation within the framework of evangelical theology. He is ordained in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Beale is a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary. Read Best Bible Commentaries’ interview with G.K. Beale on this volume.

Overview: This commentary is over 1,300 pages in length. It 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.

Eschatology/End times: 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).

Reviews from Academic Journals

Horizons in Biblical Theology (subscription required)
“stands out as one of the more comprehensive and theologically distinctive of the recent clutch of commentaries on Revelation.” Beale “is able to unpack many of the dense passages of Revelation in a clear and comprehensible manner.
Journal for Biblical Literature (subscription required)
“While the reader may not necessarily agree on all points, the commentary will certainly provide considerable insight into John’s often perplexing vision… Beale’s grasp of the Greek grammar is outstanding”
Journal of the Evangelical Theology Society (subscription required)
“I do not believe that it is an overstatement to assert that G.K. Beale is the most qualified evangelical to comment on Revelation in this generation.”

Reviews from Pastors and Professors

Desiring God (the ministry of John Piper)
#1 recommended commentary on Revelation
D.A. Carson [1]
“for students and well-trained pastors… combines comprehensiveness with biblical fidelity, exegesis with theology, and literary sensitivity with historical awareness”
Keith Mathison (Ligioner ministries)
“Beale’s commentary contains a wealth of information and should be consulted by any serious student of Scripture”

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: A Shorter Commentary by G.K. Beale

Readers who want the fruit Beale’s scholarship without the technical detail, would be wise to consider Revelation: A Shorter Commentary. There is no Greek in this volume, and it often about one-third of the price as the unabridged technical volume.

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

Does a reader need both editions? If a reader owns the NIGTC volume, there is no additional benefit to having this one as well. The content in this mid-level edition is the same as the NIGTC, but without the Greek.

#2

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

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Grant Osborne Revelation commentary
Grant Osborne’s view of Revelation is premillennial

Summary: Grant Osborne’s Revelation commentary is often ranked just below Beale’s, but in one regard it’s categorically different because it’s a premillennial interpretation. Therefore, it can be said that Osborne’s is the best-reviewed premillennial commentary on Revelation. The presentation is mid-level.

Author: Osborne interprets Revelation within the framework of evangelical theology. He was Arminian. Osborne taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois. He passed away in 2018. Osborne is well-known for his Matthew volume in the ZECNT series, which is considered one of the best Matthew commentaries.

Eschatology/End times: Osborne approach is Revelation 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). He adds: “I take the premillennial approach but recognize the viability” of other positions (p. 697).

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

Reviews from Academic Journals

Journal for the Evangelical Theological Society (subscription required)
“It is unexpectedly clear, concise, and readable. I begin here because, sadly, this is too often not the case with major commentaries… Osborne judiciously opts to allow the futurist element to have the upper hand in the mix.”
Calvin Theological Journal (subscription required)
“harried ministers may well like the relative brevity of Osborne’s commentary as well as his section in each unit… in which he summarizes the essential teaching and presents suggestions for application today. Osborne’s commentary reads like an interesting class lecture, which is primarily an extended argument for the positions he considers most probable.”
Interpretation (subscription required)
“The contours of premillennial dispensationalism lie unobtrusively beneath the surface of the scholarly discussion. This book will be helpful to students who are committed to remaining within the conservative evangelical tradition of inerrancy…”

Reviews from Pastors and Professors

D.A. Carson [1]
“accessible… especially good at laying out what the options are”
Tom Schreiner
“a clear exposition from the premillennial perspective”
Keith Mathison (Ligioner ministries)
“Osborne’s commentary is particularly helpful in providing historical background information on the people, places, and things mentioned in the biblical text.”

#3

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

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Revelation commentary by Robert Mounce
Robert Mounce’s Revelation commentary is considered a classic

Summary: Along with Osborne’s commentary, Mounce’s Revelation volume is a favorite among pastors. It is often ranked below Beale and Osborne on aggregate, but that’s mostly because it’s slightly dated now in relation to its discussion on biblical scholarship. For simply explaining the meaning of text, it has few rivals.

Author: Mounce interprets Revelation within the framework of evangelical theology. He taught at Baptist and Presbyterian colleges in his career. Mounce was a member of the NIV, NLT, and ESV translation teams. He is well-known for his Romans volume in the NAC series, which is considered one of the best Romans commentaries. Mounce passed away in 2019.

Eschatology/End times: Mounce holds to historical premillennialism. Yet some readers have noted that some of his interpretations about the millennium are unique: “His discussion of the millennium in general has a number of turns many premillennialists cannot easily figure…” [2]

For example, Mounce suggests a partially eclectic approach: “The author himself [i.e. John] could without contradiction be preterist, historicist, futurist, and idealist” (p. 29). Yet elsewhere he states: “John taught a literal millennium, but its essential meaning may be realized in something other than a temporal fulfillment” (p. 359).

Reviews from Academic Journals

Logia (subscription required)
“The original volume has become known as a fair and balanced commentary. The same can be said of this revision. It avoids many of the dangerous pitfalls of some exegesis of Revelation, particularly the speculative identification of descriptions in Revelation with specific modern events and people…”
Trinity Journal (subscription required)
“Mounce’s nuanced premillennial understanding of Revelation 20 (pp. 363-71), which stirred up some lively discussion in relation to his 1977 edition, is virtually identical [in the revised edition].”
Journal of Biblical Literature (subscription required)
This commentary “can be described as balanced, moderate conservatism… Mounce is so fair-minded that it is not always easy to distinguish his own views from views he is merely describing. Sometimes he takes no position, but leaves the reader with a number of alternatives and the task of making his or her own choice.”

Reviews from Pastors and Professors

D.A. Carson
“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”
Tom Schreiner
“an excellent and lucid interpretation of the book”
Denver Seminary (Craig Blomberg, etal.)
“Osborne’s commentary is particularly helpful in providing historical background information on the people, places, and things mentioned in the biblical text.”

Series: 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.” See more about the New International Commentary on the New Testament series.

#4

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

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Revelation commentary by David Aune
Aune’s Revelation commentary consists of three volumes

Summary: Though pastors may benefit from Aune’s Revelation commentary, professors and scholars are the primary audience. These volumes include extensive discussions on modern biblical scholarship, for which they are well-reviewed. Less space is devoted to theology and application. The academy may directly benefit from this work more than the Church. Altogether, the three volumes amount to over 1,600 pages.

Author: Aune takes a moderately critical approach to Revelation in his discussions on textual criticism. He is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and is an emeritus professor at the University of Notre Dame.

Eschatology/End times: Regarding the theology of Revelation, Aune’s view is preterist. In relation to the preterist interpretation, Aune’s volumes are the best-reviewed. Those looking for an amillennial or premillennial interpretation will want to consider another resource.

Reviews from Academic Journals

Novum Testamentum (subscription required)
“Aune is to be congratulated on his industry and on the successful publication (under two publishing houses) of a commentary that in many ways sets a new high standard of work on this difficult book… This three volume commentary should satisfy many students of the book of Revelation for many years. Throughout, Aune is a sure guide and his commentary may be consulted with confidence.”
Currents in Theology and Mission (subscription required)
“One can only admire the industry that Beale and Aune display. It is difficult to chose between them. Both will exhaust the reader long before they exhaust the commentary.”
Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (subscription required)
“While Aune evidences very little interest in any sort of standard evangelical theology (e.g. only a fraction of a page given over to the “millennium” issue in Revelation 20 [p. 1089])… I would say that many, if not most, aspects of Aune’s work are unquestionably brilliant.”

Reviews from Pastors and Professors

Tom Schreiner
“excellent on background, but lacking theologically”
D.A. Carson
“the prose is accessible, the arguments often elegant”
Keith Mathison (Ligioner ministries)
“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.”

Series: 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.

#5

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
Smalley’s commentary follows Beale’s on many interpretive issues

Summary: Many commentators argue that Revelation was written in the last decade of the first century. Smalley, however, argues that Revelation was written before the Roman leader Titus destroyed the temple in 70 A.D. Smalley’s verse-by-verse interpretation is technical in nature, yet non-Greek readers will be able to benefit from the non-technical content in the book.

Author: Smalley takes a critical approach to interpreting Revelation when discussing textual criticism. He is an Anglican scholar and priest. Smalley’s expertise is on the writings of John. He is Dean Emeritus of Chester Cathedral in England. Smalley also wrote the 1-3 John volume in the WBC series.

Eschatology/End times: 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.” He holds that Revelation is a symbolic portrayal of the conflict between God and Satan.

Smalley writes that the conflict between God and Satan “involves a final consummation in judgement and salvation” (p. 16). He argues that “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).

Reviews from Academic Journals

Bibliotheca sacra (subscription required)
“Although Smalley interprets Revelation in a modified idealist sense, those who interpret it in a futuristic manner should not dismiss this commentary as unhelpful, for insights may be gained from reading it.”
Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (subscription required)
“Smalley presents these materials in a very readable manner. Even though the subtitle of the book reminds the reader that this is a commentary on the Greek text of Revelation, the truth is that this work is easily accessible to those who may not have the necessary background in Greek.”
Perspectives in Religious Studies (subscription required)
“Smalley adopts two notable minority positions. Revelation is a drama, a view anticipated by several past interpreters, which was composed between 64 and 70, a more common judgment.”

Reviews from Pastors and Professors

Tom Schreiner
“a helpful English commentary”
D.A. Carson
“a competent piece of work”
Keith Mathison (Ligioner ministries)
#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.”

Stand alone: This commentary is a “stand alone,” meaning it 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.”

#6

A Commentary on the Revelation of John
by George Eldon Ladd

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Revelation commentary by George Eldon Ladd

Summary: Ladd’s commentary on Revelation is now considered a classic. It is a mid-level commentary that is well-reviewed for making complex ideas easy to understand. Even reviewers who don’t agree agree with his eschatology, appreciate his explanations on many aspects of the Apocalypse.

Author: Ladd interprets Revelation within the framework of evangelical theology. He was a Baptist minister. Ladd taught at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California. He is well known for his books A Theology of the New Testament and The Blessed Hope: A Biblical Study of the Second Advent and the Rapture. Ladd passed away in 1982.

Eschatology/End times: Ladd’s view is historic premillennial in relation to the millennium, and post-tribulational in relation to the rapture. He believers readers must know how the original audience understood the book. Ladd summarizes: “…we conclude that the correct method of interpreting the Revelation is a blending of the preterist and the futurist methods.”

For example, “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).

Reviews from Academic Journals

Bibliotheca sacra (subscription required)
“[Ladd] supports the premillennial and posttribulational view of the second coming of Christ. Readers will find new insights into this difficult book which climaxes the New Testament, and will profit generally by a careful reading of this commentary.
Lutheran Quarterly (subscription required)
“What will make this commentary useful to both the beginner and the specialist is not only its frequent review of the different exegetical options available with regard to certain key texts, but also the author’s independent course in selecting the position which he believes most accurate.”
Westminster Theological Journal (subscription required)
“Though the reviewer is not a Premillennialist, he joyfully admits that among Premillennialistic commentaries on the book of Revelation—and such commentaries are by no means scarce! — this book could well be the best. The book is full of excellent comments.”

Reviews from Pastors and Professors

Tom Schreiner
“a lucid interpretation from the historical premillennial viewpoint”
D.A. Carson
“detects more futurist elements in Revelation than do many commentators writing in the last half century”
Keith Mathison (Ligioner ministries)
“Despite differing with Ladd’s millennial view, I believe his commentary still contains a wealth of interpretive insight.”

Stand alone: The publisher notes that Ladd’s commentary, which is not part of a series, offers “a scholarly and comprehensive exposition of Revelation written in the language of the layperson.” The commentary proper “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.”

#7

Revelation
NIV Application Commentary
by Craig S. Keener

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Revelation commentary by Craig Keener
Keener’s Revelation commentary focuses on application

Summary: Keener’s Revelation commentary is one of the most popular volumes in perhaps the most popular commentary series today. True to the series’ objective, Keener devotes significant space to making the text of Revelation relevant to the twenty-first century. Though he doesn’t provide as much exegetical, historical, or literary discussion as some readers desire, many pastors have found the commentary helpful for preaching Revelation, no matter their eschatology.

Author: Keener interprets Revelation within the framework of evangelical theology. He is Arminian who affiliates with Pentecostal denominations and churches. Keener is a prolific author who has written commentaries on several (most?) New Testament books. His two-volume John commentary is considered by many to be one of the best John commentaries.

Eschatology/End times: 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).

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

Reviews from Academic Journals and Pastors

Bibliotheca sacra (subscription required)
“[Keener’s] approach is eclectic, interpreting Revelation 19-20 as referring to the Second Coming and the millennium, but blending historicist and futurist views in Revelation 4-18… the seriousness of his applications will not fail to challenge readers…”
Denver Seminary (Craig Blomberg, etal.)
a “priority” commentary on Revelation
D.A. Carson
“devotes appropriate attention to thoughtful application”

Series: 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.

#8

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

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Revelation commentary by Robert Thomas
Thomas’ Revelation commentary is dispensational premillennial

Summary: Written in the early to mid 1990’s, Thomas’ two-volume Revelation commentary is perhaps the most in-depth exegetical commentary on the Greek text written from the dispensational premillennial perspective. Those who know Greek will maximize its contents.

Author: Thomas interprets Revelation within the framework of evangelical theology. He taught at The Master’s Seminary, which is associated with the ministry of John MacArthur. Thomas also wrote the NASB Harmony of the Gospels and Understanding Your Spiritual Gifts. He passed away in 2017.

Eschatology/End times: 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…”

Reviews from Academic Journals

The Master’s Seminary Journal
“This monumental work results from over thirty years of study; its 1200 plus pages represent the most detailed, exegetically oriented, dispensationally directed commentary on Revelation known to this reviewer.”
Bibliotheca sacra (subscription required)
“As part of the ‘Exegetical Commentary’ series, this volume, as one would expect, presents a conservative approach to introductory questions Thomas ably defends the Johannine authorship of Revelation and establishes a date of about A D 95 for the time of its writing. He discusses matters such as the book’s prophetic style, hermeneutics, text, structure, and others Thomas’s commentary is excellent.”
Westminster Theological Journal (subscription required)
“Thomas represents a classic dispensational approach, according to which ‘The proper procedure is to assume a literal interpretation of each symbolic representation provided to John unless a particular factor in the text indicates it should be interpreted figuratively'” (p. 36).

Reviews from Pastors and Professors

Tom Schreiner
“a thorough commentary from the dispensational premillennial viewpoint”
D.A. Carson
“uphold, competently enough, pretribulational premillennialism”

Series: The Wycliffe series was discontinued after publishing just a few volumes. Subsequently, some volumes were absorbed into other series (e.g. Moises Silva’s Philippians volume was absorbed into the BECNT series and Douglas Moo’s Romans 1-8 volume was absorbed into the NICNT series). Thomas’ was not absorbed into another series, but Moody continues to publish it as a stand-alone commentary. See more about the Wycliffe Exegetical Commentary series.

#9

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

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Triumph of the Lamb by Dennis Johnson
Johnson’s Revelation commentary interprets the book from an amillennial perspective

Summary: Similar to Stephn S. Smalley’s Revelation commentary (see above), Johnson writes a stand-alone exegetical commentary based on the Greek text from an Idealist perspective. He is Reformed and an ordained Presbyterian minister.

Author: Johnson interprets Revelation within the framework of evangelical theology. Johnson taught at Westminster Seminary California. He also wrote the Philippians volume in the Reformed Expository Commentary series. Read Best Bible Commentaries’ interview with Dennis Johnson on this volume.

Eschatology/End times: Regarding the theology of Revelation, Johnson’s view is amillennial. He writes: “Having grown up in a church that taught a futurist interpretation of Revelation and having flirted seriously with preterism at a later point, I find idealism most persuasive because idealism offers interpretations that would have been intelligible to John’s first hearers in their context…” (p. 361)

Reviews from Pastors and Professors

Tom Schreiner
“a helpful and clear exposition for busy pastors from an amillennial perspective”
D.A. Carson
“The strength of this work is the way it takes some of the best material on the interpretation of apocalyptic generally, and Revelation in particular, and presents it in a palatable, readable form. Johnson knows how to write, and his text is infused with a rare sanity — rare, that is, amongst those who write at a reasonably popular level on the book of Revelation.”
S. M. Baugh
“Johnson writes with masterful skill without losing the reader down exegetical rabbit trails. Triumph of the Lamb is essential reading on Revelation from a man with unique qualifications as a well-loved pastor, New Testament scholar, and now professor of practical theology. This book is itself a triumph.”

Stand alone: This commentary is not part of any 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.”

#10

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

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Revelation commentary by Alan Johnson
Johnson’s Revelation commentary is about 200 pages

Summary: The EBC series is a favorite among pastors, which has helped to elevate Johnson’s Revelation commentary. It’s a mid-level commentary so non-Greek readers won’t be lost. Johnson offers some theological reflection and application assistance. In the revised hardcopy edition, this volume comes with George Guthrie’s well-reviewed Hebrews commentary.

Eschatology/End times: 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. 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).

Author: Johnson interprets Revelation within the framework of evangelical theology. He was Emeritus Professor of New Testament and Christian Ethics at Wheaton College and Graduate School. Johnson was a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Johnson wrote several commentaries, including 1 Corinthians (IVPNTC) and Romans (Everyman’s Bible Commentary).

An Academic Journal Reviews

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (subscription required)
“Johnson has written a thorough, clear, concise, informative, well-balanced and fair commentary… His conclusions, especially on difficult questions, are always judiciously reached and modestly held.”

Series: The publisher notes that the approach of revised EBC 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.

10 More Revelation Commentaries

Please read: Why are the Revelation commentaries below not in the “Top 10”? It’s not because they have received poor reviews or because people haven’t found them helpful. The reasons vary:

  • Some are relatively new and haven’t been widely reviewed, read, or used yet.
  • Others haven’t been widely distributed, so it is difficult to get enough information to aggregate.
  • Still others may be outdated in relation to biblical scholarship or out of print and difficult to acquire.

The “Top 10” list is reviewed annually. Readers are encouraged to consider the volumes in this section before making a purchase. These 10 are not in any particular order.

A 2020 release from a popular series

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
Buist Fanning’s Revelation commentary is 619 pages

Summary: Buist Fanning—senior professor emeritus of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary—contributes the Revelation commentary in the well-reviewed ZECNT series. This commentary is based on a 10-year study of the Apocalypse.

Author: Fanning interprets Revelation within the framework of evangelical theology. Read Best Bible Commentaries’ interview with Buist Fanning on this volume. Along with DTS colleague Darrell Bock, Fanning authored Interpreting the New Testament Text: Introduction to the Art and Science of Exegesis.

Eschatology/End times: Regarding the theology of Revelation, Fanning is pretribulation and premillennial. He argues that Revelation 3:10 describes the rapture of Christians; that chapters 7-19 refer to the seven-year tribulation; and that Revelation 20:1-6—the millennial kingdom—will be fulfilled literally in the end times.

Series: The publisher notes that the ZECNT series “was refined over time by an editorial board who listened to pastors and teachers express what they wanted to see in a commentary series based on the Greek text.” See more about the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series.

A sermon series from a popular Reformed pastor

Revelation
Reformed Expositional Commentary
by Richard D. Phillips

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Revelation commentary by Richard Phillips
Reformed preaching characterizes this commentary

Summary: Richard Phillips’ Revelation commentary reflects Reformed theology, consistent with REC series, and is the fruit of preaching through the last book of the bible in his church, Second Presbyterian in Greenville, South Carolina. He utilizes previously unpublished sermons from the late James Montgomery Boice—a friend and mentor of his—in the commentary.

Author: Phillips interprets Revelation within the framework of evangelical theology. He is a council member of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and a member of the Gospel Coalition. Phillips is the co-editor of the REC series. See Best Bible Commentaries’ interview with Richard D. Phillips on this volume

Eschatology/End Times: Phillips’ is amillennial: “I wrote this commentary as one persuaded, along the lines of Hendriksen and Beale, of the redemptive-historical and amillennial interpretation of Revelation” (p. xvi). Interestingly, Boice, Phillips’ mentor, however, was premillennial.

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.

A passage-by-passage amillennial commentary

Revelation
Tyndale New Testament Commentary
by Leon L. Morris

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Revelation commentary by Leon Morris
Morris’ Revelation commentary is 263 pages

Summary: Morris interprets Revelation within the framework of evangelical theology. Regarding the theology of Revelation, Morris’ view is amillennial. Morris is known for writing the Luke commentary in the same series, which is considered one of the best Luke commentaries.

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.

A commentary from a Southern Baptist pastor

Revelation
New American Commentary
by Paige Patterson

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Revelation commentary by Paige Patterson
Patterson’s Revelation commentary is designed for pastors

Summary: Patterson interprets Revelation within the framework of evangelical theology. He serves in the Southern Baptist Convention. He writes: “This commentary follows the premillennial perspective” (p. 351).

Eschatology/End times: 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).

Series: 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.

A mid-20th century classic

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Revelation commentary by G.B. Caird
Caird’s Revelation commentary is considered a classic

Summary: Caird takes a critical approach to Scripture. He was affiliated with the Congregationalist church in England (d. 1984). Biblical scholar Tom Schreiner lists this volume as one of this recommended commentaries on Revelation, calling it “a provocative and helpful interpretation”

Eschatology/End times: Regarding the theology of Revelation, Caird’s view is idealist in which the book’s symbolism applies to all time periods.

Series: 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.

A four-view parallel commentary

Revelation: Four Views,
Revised and Updated
by Steve Gregg

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Revelation commentary by Steve Gregg
Four different interpretation are presented in this commentary

Summary: Gregg presents four different views in side-by-side commentary.

Series: 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.”

A 2018 replacement in classic series

Revelation
Tyndale New Testament Commentary

by Ian Paul

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Ian Paul Revelation commentary
Ian Paul’s Revelation commentary is 352 pages

Summary: Ian Paul’s Revelation commentary replaces Leon Morris’ in the same series. Paul is theologian, author, speaker, academic consultant, and Adjunct Professor at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is Associate Minister at St Nic’s in Nottingham, England.

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.

Amillennial commentary in a pastor-friendly series

The Message of Revelation
The Bible Speaks Today
by Michael Wilcock

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Revelation commentary by Michael Wilcock
Wilcock takes an amillennial approach to Revelation

Summary: Wilcock interprets Revelation within the framework of evangelical theology. 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).

He adds: “The ‘thousand years,’ which on our view began with Christ’s first coming, are thus still in progress…” (p. 189).

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.

A class dispensational premillennial introduction

Revelation
Walvoord Commentaries
by John Walvoord

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Revelation commentary by John Walvoord
Walvoord’s Revelation commentary is a classic for dispensationalists

Summary: Walvoord interprets Revelation within the framework of evangelical theology. He 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.

A historic premillennial approach

Revelation
New Cambridge Bible Commentary
by Ben Witherington III

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Revelation commentary by Ben Witherington
Witherington’s view is historic dispensationalism

Summary: Witherington interprets Revelation within the framework of evangelical theology. 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.

Witherington is known for his Mark commentary in the SRC series, which is considered one of the best Mark commentaries.

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.

More Revelation commentaries for preaching and teaching

SeriesAuthorNotesBrowse
Lectio
Continua
Joel
Beeke
Reformed,
amillennial,
printed
sermons
See on
Amazon
using
exact
ISBN
Concordia
Commentary
Louis A.
Brighton
advanced,
conservative
Lutheran
interpretation
See on
Amazon
using
exact
ISBN
New
Testament
Library
Brian K.
Blount
mid-level,
theology, and
literary
focus
See on
Amazon
using
exact
ISBN
Understanding
the Bible
Commentary
Robert
W. Wall
mid-level,
Arminian
author
See on
Amazon
using
exact
ISBN
IVP
New Testament
Commentary
J. Ramsey
Michaels
eschatology
difficult
to discern
See on
Amazon
using
exact
ISBN
Teach
the
Text
J. Scott
Duvall
historic
premillennial
approach
See on
Amazon
using
exact
ISBN
Preaching
the
Word
James
Hamilton
historic
premillennial
approach
See on
Amazon
using
exact
ISBN
Christ-
Centered
Expository
Commentary
Daniel
Akin
premillennialSee on
Amazon
using
exact
ISBN
Ancient
Christian
Commentary
on
Scripture
early
church
fathers
quotes
from
church
fathers
See on
Amazon
using
exact
ISBN
MacArthur
New Testament
Commentary
John
MacArthur
premillennial,
Reformed
baptist
See on
Amazon
using
exact
ISBN

References:

[1] New Testament Commentary Survey 7th Edition. D.A. Carson. (Link goes to Amazon.)

[2] Commentaries for Biblical Expositor’s. Jim Rosscup. p. 312. (Link goes to Amazon.