How to Study the Book of Revelation
Many Christians find it hard to study the book of Revelation, while others believe it is impossible to interpret. God would not give us revelation if he didn’t want us to understand it. Here are a few tips to help you study this wonderful book.
Pray for Illumination
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading and He will guide you (John 16:13-14). Also, pray and seek the face of God. The book of Revelation is a prophetic book that requires divine aid to understand.
Understand the Difference Between Figurative and Literal Language
The apostle John was attempting to describe futuristic things that did not exist when he was writing Revelation. As a result, he described what he was seeing in terms of his day. Look for words such as “like” or “as.” When John uses these terms he’s using symbolic language to describe what he saw. Otherwise, take what he is saying literally.
Understand the Purpose of Revelation
Most people read the book of Revelation as futuristic only. Though it does declare things that take place in the future, the main purpose of the book is to reveal Jesus Christ. The book begins with the “Revelation of Jesus Christ.” Revelation means unveiling. To properly study the book of Revelation, you must look for Jesus throughout the book.
Know the Divisions of Revelation
The end of the first chapter lays out three distinct divisions. Revelation 1:19 says, “Write the things which thou hast seen, the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.” The divisions of Revelation are:
- Past: “The things which thou hast seen.”
- Present: “The things which are.”
- Future: “The things which shall be hereafter.”
Use Commentaries and Study Guides
God has given the body of Christ gifted teachers, so we would be foolish not to utilize them. A few good commentaries on Revelation are:
- Revelation Commentary: What the World is Coming To by Chuck Smith.
- Because the Time is Near: John MacArthur Explains the Book of Revelation by John MacArthur.
- Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible by Matthew Henry.
- Revelation II: Thru the Bible by J. Vernon McGee.
- Revelation Unveiled by Tim LaHaye.
Expect a Blessing
Revelation 1:3 says, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein for the time is at hand.” To receive blessing from the study of Revelation three things are required:
- You must read it. As you study the book of Revelation, the simple act of reading it contains a blessing.
- You must be taught. Read commentaries and find a good church that is teaching through the Book of Revelation.
- Obey what you read. Learn from others who have insight into its mysteries. Expect to be blessed beyond your greatest imagination (Ephesians 3:20). “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:17). Also read Joshua 1:8, Psalms 1:2-3 and James 1:22-25.
James 5:7-8 says, “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” For further study read The Signs of Jesus’ Return.