Book review: Revelation, The New Cambridge Bible Commentary

by Ben Witherington III

★★★★★

I promised a review of my favorite Witherington book today; you should have guessed it would be about Revelation. Whether you’re a scholar of Revelation, a believer in future fulfillment, or just curious about early Christian eschatology (the study of the end times), this book is a gem. It’s a New Cambridge Bible Commentary, which is a well-respected series. I think a quote from the back cover expresses my opinion blandly but accurately:

“Without sacrificing scholarly perspective or academic rigor, it is written to be accessible for pastors, scholars, teachers, seminarians, and interested laypeople.”

As research for a book I completed a few months ago, I collected a stack of books about Revelation that would rival most any library. This one was probably the most fun to read. Witherington writes respectfully and from a Christian viewpoint but still dives deeply into the historical roots of Revelation. He jumps often into sidebars which he titles “Bridging the horizons” and “A closer look.” (He alternates between the two sidebar titles, and it took me most of the book to recognize this; what’s up with that, Ben?) Anyway, these sidebars alone are worth the price of the book. Here are a few topics from them:

God and Christ as the Alpha and Omega

The mythological background of Revelation 12

666, Nero, and the ancient art of Gematria

Fallen angels in early Judaism and Christianity

Heavenly Jerusalem or Sky City?

What a Bible geek I am! I get giddy just paging back through the book to write this review. I’m gonna read it again.

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