This commentary series is established on the presupposition that the theological character of the New Testament documents calls for exegesis that is sensitive to theological themes as well as to the details of the historical, linguistic, and textual context. Such thorough exegetical work lies at the heart of these volumes, which contain detailed verse-by-verse commentary preceded by general comments on each section and subsection of the text.
An important aim of the NIGTC authors is to interact with the wealth of significant New Testament research published in recent articles and monographs. In this connection the authors make their own scholarly contributions to the ongoing study of the biblical text.
The text on which these commentaries are based is the UBS Greek New Testament , edited by Kurt Aland and others. While engaging the major questions of text and interpretation at a scholarly level, the authors keep in mind the needs of the beginning student of Greek as well as the pastor or layperson who may have studied the language at some time but does not now use it on a regular basis.
G. K. Beale (PhD, University of Cambridge) is professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is the coeditor of the Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament and the author of numerous books, including A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New.
This commentary in the New International Greek Testament Commentary (NIGTC) series is considered by many to be the preeminent major exegetical commentary for Revelation on the market today. It’s prized for its work on the Greek and its explanation of Revelation’s Old Testament background. Since this is quite a technical work, the author has also prepared “Revelation: A Shorter Commentary” that effectively presents this work in a less technical manner. Eerdmans publishes it as well.
I should disclose that I subscribe to a premillennial interpretation rather than his “eclectic, redemptive-historical idealist view”. Though he is a brilliant author and knows something about arguing well for his position, he, in my opinion, has too casually addressed those of my persuasion by quoting the most radical authors he could find in our world. For example, he beautifully listed the reasons futurists hold the positions they do, but he does not, in my opinion, do as well countering them. In fairness to him, my bias may have been at work.
This work is thorough. You will figure that out when you see an almost 40-page bibliography. More amazingly, the Introduction is 176 pages! I doubt you will come across a scholarly issue involving the book of Revelation that is not addressed in this massive volume.
In the Introduction Beale spends a great deal of time examining the date of this book. His discussion is primarily between a later date (95 A.D.) and an earlier one (70 A.D.). Though it’s quite a rarity in scholarship, conservative scholars prefer the later one in this case. He brings out the issues from every conceivable angle. Next, he tackles the situation of the churches and the purpose and theme of the book. Regarding authorship, he is open to the Apostle John having written it but argues that it doesn’t matter since it has no effect on the message of the book. After discussing genre, he previews the major interpretive approaches including: the Preterist view, the Historicist view, the Futuristic view, and the idealist views. It’s at the end of this section that he declares his own eclectic view. Since it’s so important in the Revelation, he spends a good deal of time discussing symbolism. He looks at the text of Revelation, the use of the Old Testament in the Apocalypse, the grammar of the Apocalypse. In these sections he is extremely detailed. Next, he investigates the structure of the book and even include some helpful charts. It was my favorite section of his Introduction. He spent time overviewing the disputed significance of Revelation 1:19. In the last section he discusses theology and the goal of the Apocalypse. He sees the important items as suffering in victory, the throne, the new creation, and the place of Christians in the world.
The commentary itself is as detailed as anyone could want. Again, I don’t see how any item could be missed that may pop into your mind. Like me, you may also have a different interpretive outlook on the book of Revelation than the author, but you come here for exegetical help. I see this book as a treasure trove for scholars, but pastors will likely prefer his shorter commentary by the same publisher mentioned above. I imagine this commentary will hold the top spot in the scholarly world on the Book of Revelation for many years to come.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Beale's commentary is perhaps the most comprehensive and detailed commentary that I have ever worked through.
This commentary is aimed at the intense study of the book of Revelation, and it digs deeply into the Greek text of the book, even to the point of considering variants of the text. It certainly is not a commentary that one can sit and read without actually following in the Bible. Those that have no Greek background will perhaps be lost in many parts of this commentary.
The format of the actual text font is of such a nature that if you want to dig deeper you can. As Beale goes through each verse he will provide explanations and solid commentary in a normal sized font. After this, there will be a section with smaller font that goes into even more detail. So, in a sense you can decide how much detail you want.
Throughout this commentary, Beale also deals with those commentary writers that disagree with his point of view, and handles those differences with grace, and great detail. No stone is left unturned.
This is a lengthy book. The last page of actual commentary is page 1157. I will not recommend this book to every Christian, since it wasn't written for the average Christian in the pew. It was rather written for those who would like to know the detail. It was written for Biblical scholars.
one of the first commentaries i ever read that was not dry or boring. i devoured entire sections of this as if it were a novel. also one of the best commentaries on one of the most complicated books of the bible.
G.K. Beale’s massive 1,100+ page commentary on the Book of Revelation begins with a meaty 175-page introduction. Included are substantial discussions regarding the date of the Apocalypse (Beale agrees with Irenaeus supporting a late, post 70 A.D. date), authorship (Apostle John), genre (3-fold: apocalyptic, prophecy, and epistle – where apocalyptic is an intense form of prophecy, reflected in an “already and not yet approach to end-time salvation.”), interpretation of symbolism (eclectic/redemptive-historical form of modified idealism), use of the Old Testament (“inaugurated, latter-day” view of the Book of Daniel), grammar, structure, plan, theology and goal. Regarding the Book’s goal, Beale posits “the main point of the whole book is that faithful endurance and obedience to the end will result in eternal blessing and reward, with the ultimate result of glorifying God and Christ.”
The Book of Revelation quickly dives into an address to the 7-churches of Asia Minor, which Beale believes to be representative of all churches throughout the church age. The imperative to the church is to resist idolatry and to remain faithful in the face of persecution perpetrated by the counterfeit trinity: the beast, false prophet, and antichrist. The encouragement to remain steadfast is conjoined with the reality that Christ’s atoning death and subsequent resurrection has both debarred as well as defeated Satan’s accusation that God’s forensic justification of his elect is unjust. This is an especially poignant reminder to readers in John’s day suffering martyrdom under pagan Rome for being “atheists” (i.e. denying the Greco-Roman pantheon of gods). However Beale expands the focus of this persecution to “all world powers who oppress God’s people until the culmination of history.” This means that all evil personages in time and history are manifestations or eruptions of the antichrist (Hitler, Stalin, ISIS, etc.).
Beale champions a “progressive recapitulation” understanding of the seven seals (4:1-8:1), the seven trumpets (8:2-11:19), and the seven bowls (15:1-16:21) – each culminating in a picture of the final victory of the City of God over the City of Man. There was a plethora of Old Testament “previews” of this coming victory when God enabled the defeat of Pharaoh’s Egypt as well as the seven inhabiting nations in Canaan. Similarly, the Old Testament “eye-for-eye” clause and imprecatory Psalms speak of this coming eschatological judgment on those who align themselves with the beast and false prophet.
Beale addresses the controversial millennial chapter (Chapter 20) delineating 3-levels of writing: (1) visionary level (John’s actual vision), (2) referential level (actual resurrection events), and (3) symbolic level (symbols God uses to connote historic events). A proper understanding of this complex chapter also pivots on the reader’s understanding of terms such as the first and second death, the first and second resurrection.
Beale sees a five-fold exhortation to holiness in the closing chapter of the prophecy. This exhortation resonates in an age of idolatry (capitalist greed and hedonism in Western nations) and persecution (Christians suffering in Communist China or Islamic Middle East). The message of the Book of Revelation ends on the same themes upon which the Book of Genesis begins: Paradise lost, and Paradise restored. It is a message of hope to those endeavoring to persevere under trial. I highly recommend Beale’s commentary; it is a labor of love to the church triumphant. Maranatha, come quickly Lord Jesus!
I have now read many commentaries on biblical books; but this one is my all time favorite. Thorough and faithful with some good help toward application. Is it a difficult read? Sure, but more than worth the effort!
If I could give 6 stars I would! This was an excellent commentary in every way. While I haven't read all the commentaries out there on Revelation, I can't imagine one being better or more in-depth than this one. It's hands-down the best I've ever come across. Just know... it's very thick (both in language and number of pages) and it is a more academic commentary. While this series is clearly focused on analyzing the Greek text you don't need experience with Greek to benefit from this commentary.
I used this work as a one year devotional and enjoyed it tremendously. This is the best and most thorough commentary on the book of the Revelation that you will find. A basic grasp of Greek is helpful but not necessary. G.K. Beale is a wonderful scholar and teacher and it reflects in his writing. The author is Amillennial in his eschatology, but that should not dissuade readers with other views from investing their time here. His exposition of every aspect of John's apocalypse is unrivaled. This is THE go to commentary on the last book in the Bible.
After a slow browse, decided to focus on the "Introduction" which is 177 pages. Discovered that this somewhat technical but readable lengthy introduction is important as it questions the assumptions and presumptions, both conscious and unconscious, that readers and authors have or hold strongly to when interpreting the Book of Revelations. These assumptions and presumptions, when un-examined, may cause more misinterpretations that the actual words of Revelations.
In my notes, as a layman, I summarise lessons from the Introduction with the acronym TIME
Timing - when was Revelations written ? Before 70 or after 90s AD? Dating the book to before 70 AD would mean that the events would allow for the interpretation that the prophecy could refer to the fall of Jerusalem when the Romans invaded in 70 AD . If dated for 90s AD, the events could be a prophecy of the fall of the Roman Empire. (476 AD ). Thus Timing could influence Interpretation.
Interpretation - 4 views are presented. Are the events described of the past (a historicist view), the present at the time of writing - a preterist view), a futurist view or writings in prefect tense (idealist view with the ever present struggle of good and evil) ?
Metaphors - Did John see those symbols and metaphors as they were or did he use his own language to describe what he saw ... or something in between. In my mind, how would the Apostle John saw an attack helicopter that just fired off some fiery rockets? Perhaps symbols do carry the message but not the doctrine?
Exhortation - what is the message that John gave to his immediate audience?
Thorough and technical; but not over the head of the Christian willing to work at it a bit.
Revelation NIGTC shares many (but certainly not all) of the insights from Beale's excellent CNTUOT Beale is particularly useful to me for highlighting the intense intertextuality of Revelation and the rest of scripture. While many commentaries spend their time citing other commentaries, Beale seems quite often to make unique contributions; especially contributions that are concise and applicational.
Not only a technically excellent (IMHO) contribution; but a contribution worth owning as a primary commentary on Revelation. Not many of my collection can make that claim.
I didn’t think anything could top David Aune magisterial three-volume commentary on Revelation but this may come close. I purchased Aune's commentary to assist me when I did my own translation of Revelation. If I had unlimited money and space I would buy this one, too.
For the most part I agreed with the author's interpretations. He remains even-handed most of the time but I thought he got a bit polemical in his commentary on chapter 20. Of course, the nature of the millennium and the first resurrection are some of the most contentious issues in Christian eschatology.
I have felt woefully lost in the Book of Revelation for years. Though I knew the Dispensational Premillenial view was wonky I didn’t know the other options well enough or understand Revelation well enough to make a decision. Over and over I heard scholars say this Commentary was the best and so I decided to read it along with the text. And let me say it was a laborious joy to work through.
It’s meaty. It’s a whole lot of information. But it is excellent.
Excellent Greek commentary on the book of Revelation!!! It was very insightful and helpful. The backgrounds on the book as well as the linguistic/grammatical analysis was great... and Beale's comments on the structure of the book and recapitulation was great food for thought! Definitely a must-have commentary for this book if you're studying or preaching it.
I've seen many reviews saying a prior knowledge of Greek is not necessary for this volume. This is mostly true. However, a prior knowledge of Greek is immeasurably valuable as it pertains to grasping so many of the nuances that go into not only the writing of the Apocalypse itself, but interpreting it, especially in the way Beale presents it here. He is relying heavily on the Greek text, not an English translation, so to understand what he is arguing fully (or more fully) a knowledge of Greek is more than just convenient. Still, this is an important volume that aids in what has become perhaps the most difficult book in the Bible. Beale's scholarship is astounding and his pastoral and interpretive insights are invaluable.
Very good commentary, but also very technical. This is one of the best researched commentaries out there. Simply put, this commentary is not for the faint of heart, but it can form the foundation of your study of Revelation. Move past the often lazy interpretations that are so common of Revelation and discover what this Epistle is really saying.
Dr. Beale taught on Revelation earlier this year at our church. I can't think of any one who could do better. Time in Revelation using this commentary as an aid will open up the book of Revelation and show the comfort there for believers undergoing suffering and persecution as we see the kingdom of God advance to it's fulfillment on the last day.
What an excellent work!!! For a Greek commentary, the reader can still work around the language barrier. The connections to the Old Testament keep Beale's interpretations grounded in Scripture and not fanciful flights of the imagination. This is a standard work that belongs on every pastor's shelf and the shelves of any who want to engage in the book of Revelation!!!
There's a few nit-picky issues with this one. Mainly the amount of space given to minor details (like 3 pages dedicated to word biblian in ch. 5) whereas other discussions seem to be glossed over. But this is arguably the best evangelical commentary on Revelation I've used (Smalley being the other contender for that distinction).
I did not read the whole thing obviously, but used it for a paper. It is no wonder that this Beale's Commentary on Revelation is considered one of the best to date. I think even those who do not hold to his perspective will find it useful.