Revelation Scripture Study Sources

Our Wednesday Night CCM Scripture Study (Wednesdays, 7:30pm) is on The Book of Revelation, and while the text itself is a treasure laden mine, it is helpful to have a good study Bible and a commentary, or two (or more) on hand when taking on this mystical, symbolic, densely poetic apocalyptic work. Here are the sources David’s been using to prepare each evening’s exploration The Apocalypse of Jesus Christ.

The Christ of the Apocalypse: Contemplating the Faces of Jesus in the Book of Revelation (2018 Emmaus Road Publishing) by Msrg. A. Robert Nusca. This work of interpretation, so far, has been the most spiritually fruitful of the works I’ve consulted as it repeatedly roots reading the Book of Revelation in Christo-centrism and interpreting the text according to Christ as the one who conquers by his own crucifixion. However, it provides no verse by verse study helps.

The Catholic Study Bible [NABRE] (Oxford University Press, 2006) editors Donald Senior and John J. Collins. Includes extensive notes original to the NABRE, below the translation, with added study helps, and some interpretation included in the Reading Guide (written by Luke Timothy Johnson) found prefatory to the NABRE material, help contextualize the text to both its time, and within the entirety of scripture.

After Nusca’s work above, I have found Koestler (who also did the Anchor Bible Commentary on the Book of Revelation) to be the most helpful in making some of the points on the Apocalypse’s that reflect an moral sense that is one that leads us to change how we act, or reflect upon our discipleship. This is an interpretive commentary without notes or study helps.

Ignatius Catholic Study Bible [RSV-2ndCE] (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010) Introductions, Commentary, and Notes by Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch. Focused less on interpretation and more on study helps such as Word Studies, Historical references, maps, references to Old Testament writings (which abound in The Apocalypse); but it also specifically addresses how particular passages reflect or speak to the Doctrine of Faith for the Catholic Church. The study bible also includes a concise Concordance of the New Testament, much like an index, which shows where key terms are used throughout scripture given with a bit of context; helpful when wanting to see where else key images like “The Lamb” have appeared in other New Testament writings and its frequency (e.g. St Paul uses “lamb” once in all his writings while “Lamb” appears 19 times in the Book of Revelation).

The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass As Heaven on Earth (1999 Image Books) by Scott Hahn. I’m not a particular fan of Scott Hahn’s style, but his interpretation of Revelation which connects the Apocalyptic heavenly liturgy to the celebration of the Eucharist found in the Mass (of which he gives a decent exposition in and of itself in this book) bring out great insights while reading the text of the Apocalypse. No study helps or translation notes.

The Jewish Annotated New Testament [NRSV] (Oxford University Press, 2011) Includes provides prefatory interpretation, meaning and translation notes, and more in-depth sidebars. There are interesting notes here brought out by the Jewish perspective of the commentator (David Frankfurter), not only by relating it to non-Scriptural Jewish sources (such as the Dead Sea Scrolls), but also by interpreting the text as a primarily Jewish-Christian text concerned in large parts with avoiding all associations with idolatrous practices (which Frankfurter believes is expressed directly contra to Paul’s more lenient teachings) and Jewish purity.

Revelation: Sacra Pagina Series Vol 16 (1993 Liturgical Press) by Wilfrid J. Harrington, O.P. Each pericope is treated with both translation notes and an Interpretation both helpful for overcoming particularly difficult passages or obscure references, but also for situating the section in relationship to the work as a whole. Harrington takes particular effort to address the violence found within Revelation, always placing it in context of the Crucifixion.

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