Revelation Resources

Revelation Resources

If you’re ready to jump in and study Revelation, but would like some resources to provide context, check out the books below for supplemental reading. These books have helped me get a clearer idea of different views on Revelation, points of thought when thinking of eschatology (study of future things), and shaping my view of the God who provided us this prophecy.

 

God With Us by Glenn R. Kreider

Eschatology: Biblical, Historical, and Practical Approaches by D. Jeffrey Bingham and Glenn R. Kreider

Four Views on the Book of Revelation by Stanley N. Gundry and C. Marvin Pate

Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond by Darrell L. Bock

Three Views on the Rapture by Stanley N. Gundry and Gleason L. Archer Jr.

Knowing God by J.I. Packer

Dispensationalism by Charles C. Ryrie

Progressive Dispensationalism by Craig A. Blaising and Darrell L. Bock

Enjoy!!

Stumped?

When preparing for a Bible study or simply reading the Bible for your own quiet time, you will stumble on questions you don’t have the capacity to answer. Don’t let it stop you from reading! We live in a fantastic age of on demand resources that can help you in your scripture pursuits.

Below are the resources I use most often when I’m feeling stumped by scripture:

1. Lumina: This site is awesome! Not only can you look up scripture in your preferred translation, but on the right side of the screen is pretty much any information you could possibly want for whatever scripture you’re reading. There are five tabs on the right side of the screen to help with your study. The tabs are labeled, “Notes”, “Bibles”, “Greek/Hebrew”, “Library”, and “Search”.

Under the “Notes” tab, there are the footnotes for your chosen Bible translation, there’s the option for Constable’s notes, and then a place for your own personal notes. Dr. Thomas L. Constable has written a commentary for every book of the Bible, among other achievements. For more information on him, click this link and it will take you to a short career biography. His commentaries are excellent and have answered many questions for me.

The “Bible” tab allows you to read different translations parallel to each other. The “Greek/Hebrew” tab lets you see the scripture you’re reading in Greek or Hebrew. If you have a question about how a word was translated, you can hover over the English word and the site will highlight where that word is in the Greek or Hebrew text. A definition of the word will pop up at the bottom of the screen.

I love this site and it’s what I use the majority of the time when writing a Bible study.

2. Pick Your Favorite Pastor: This resource caters a little bit more to your own preference. When I’m writing a Bible study, I like to hear other pastor’s takes on the book or topic I’m writing on. It helps my mind process and keeps me thinking on the subject throughout the day. My favorite pastor to listen to is Tommy Nelson from Denton Bible Church. I like him because he teaches straight through a book of the Bible. If I have a question on a particular chapter in a specific book, it’s almost certain that he has a sermon on it. I also trust his interpretation of scripture.

I don’t listen to sermons to steal material. I listen to it for inspiration and clarification on work I’m already doing. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel or make up a meaning to scripture you have a hard time understanding. There are some well-seasoned pastors who have done a lot of the work for you. Look to them for direction when you feel like you’ve hit a wall in your study.

3. Read More: Sometimes a scripture can be difficult to understand because there were points made in previous chapters of the book that led to the particular topic. When you read around the text of choice, it will oftentimes lead you to the meaning of what you’re reading.

4. Pray: Ask God to show you what He wants you to see in the scripture. Don’t feel like you have to force an answer from Him right when you ask. God may lead you to the answer through one of the resources listed above.

Obviously this list is not exhaustive, but this is the basic approach I take when stumped. What are some of your go-to methods when you need answers? Comment below if you have suggestions or questions!

Settle Down

Since we’ve now entered the Season of Rest, it seemed all too appropriate to start off with this Hebrew word for rest: נוח (nwh). I know you’re thinking, That’s not a word. It’s three consonants crammed together. Well, that’s what it looks like, but the way it’s pronounced is noahcchhhhh. Like if you said “Noah” and then let the “ah” sound like “achhhh”. Click on this link to hear an actual pronunciation of the word. What it means is “to settle down”.

In ancient times, God directed to Moses some awesome rules of rest that Israel was to follow. The laws God gave were a reflection of His character and His holiness. Exodus 20:8-11 and 23:12 give specifics on one area of rest the Israelites were to take and it’s where we find our word נוח.

It was on Mount Sinai that the Lord delivered the laws to Moses and in the fourth law God gave an explanation to the command. He said,

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

God told Moses to remember the Sabbath day. Keep it holy (set apart). It’s a day that is different from the six others in the week. God said on the seventh day after He had created everything, He settled down. I know we think we work hard in a week… but have you ever created everything in six days? Wow.

In my mind, creating everything in six days is a lot of work and I’d definitely need maybe more than one day to rest up, but I don’t think God rested because He was tired. I think He was being loving and thoughtful as always and set a pattern for His entire creation. Humans and animals were all designated a day to settle down and rest. We look to our Creator to see how He did it and we see that He prioritized rest.

The term “settle down” creates a great image. An example that comes to me is getting in my car after work. It’s been a crazy day and I’ve had a million things flying at me from everywhere. The moment I clock out and step into my car, all those things get locked out. They stay in work world and I’m now in my car world. It’s silent, it’s warm, and it feels comfortable. I can sit back and relax. The next thing that happens is I’m able to think! Thoughts pop into my head and I start reflecting on how I feel and what happened throughout the day. I can process.

Settling down allows you to process your life and it’s so necessary. Not only can you think through your feelings and daily activities, but you can also stop and appreciate the blessings God has granted you. God settled down on the seventh day and I wonder if God just looked around at His work and appreciated it all day. I think it all put a smile on His face. Do you take time to appreciate your work? It’s easy to get drawn into the madness of life and never have a moment to take a breath.

The LORD made the Sabbath holy. It didn’t matter if you were the master of the house or the ox pulling the cart – you had to settle down for one day out of the week. The Sabbath rest was not an option. Is it that way today? No. When Jesus brought us into the covenant of grace, He fulfilled the law and therefore freed us from its condemnation. There’s no one on earth, besides the Son of God, who could keep even one law for life. I mean, think about how lovely a Sabbath day sounds, and then think about how often you take time to just rest. Does anyone have time to rest these days??

Just because the laws have changed, does not change the fact that God created and God prioritized rest. He still did that and we’ll find some New Testament rest happening later this season. It’s good to rest and God has given us time that our body naturally slips into more relaxation. Enjoy this season with God and may the resting begin!

Exercise for this week: I think a big reason many of us don’t rest is because we lack preparation. Look at your schedule and select some time to be set apart for rest. It could be a time you set every day, or an actual full day that looks different from your work days, or it could be a few hours somewhere within your week that you can take some time. Whenever it is and for however long, allow yourself to truly put aside distractions and responsibilities. Just for a bit!

Questions for personal reflection or group discussion:

  1. Read Exodus 20:8-11 together and share thoughts. Any questions about the scripture or observations made?

  2. God said that on the Sabbath day the Israelites were not to work. What different facets of work are in your life?

  3. How does looking at God as one who rests enhance your perception of Him?

  4. What image comes to mind when you hear the phrase “settle down”? Do you have a good or bad connotation with this phrase? Why?

  5. What are some ways you can prioritize rest this week?

 

You Ready?

This coming Sunday is the end of daylight savings. The sun sets one hour earlier and we will begin our official season of rest. This time of the year has the potential of being a phase you look back on with warm nostalgia. It can also take the opposite route and be a time in your life you wished had never happened. My hope for you is that this will be a time of both. Why? Because without adversity, there is no growth. We need challenges in our lives to draw us closer to God and become more like Him. We also need fun! What is life without joy?!

So, we have shorter days coming and the question is: Are you ready?

You may not know. I’m not sure, myself. The certainty is that we will have good and bad times during this season. In Galatians 6:14-20, Paul gives encouragement to his readers on how to face tough times.

14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Adversity comes from our adversary: Satan. He knows we have weaknesses coming with shorter days and will be on the prowl to attack. According to Galatians 6, there are three things we can do this week to prepare for his attacks:

  1. Stand (v. 14-15) It can be tempting to cave when life closes in on you, but that is not the way to go when you have the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit slows down the scenarios around you and grants you awareness. You can see what’s going on and stand. Stand firm! Depression, anxiety, anger, loneliness… whatever negative emotion plagues you, will come. You can anticipate their arrival and stand against them.

  2. Take Up (v. 16-17) Whether you realize it or not, you are walking armor. Your faith is powerful. Nothing Satan throws at you can overcome or defeat the sound faith that is wrapped around you, the salvation that protects you, or the word of God. All these things God has given you to equip you for any attempt Satan makes to bring you down.

  3. Keep Alert (v. 18-20) You have awareness through the Holy Spirit, but it’s important to be alert. Someone could be showing you signs all day long but you have to look for them to see them. Look for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Look for opportunities to pray for yourself and others around you. Prayer is our most powerful and instant connection with God and yet it is often so poorly utilized.

One of Satan’s main goals is to cripple us from doing the service of God. The best thing we can do this season is prepare ourselves spiritually and interact with God daily.

Paul needed protection, truth, and prayer to carry out the job God had given him to do. We need the same. Satan wants you at a safe distance from God, if you must be close at all, and he knows where to get you. That’s why we must know God. We need to read His word and talk to Him. We need to place ourselves under Him. It is through His truth and His strength that we can stand against the devil and his schemes. Once we are standing in the truth of God, we combat evil with prayer. We take it to God who can actually do something about it. What better way to spend this Season of Rest than in constant communication with God who loves you?

Get in tune with the Holy Spirit and enjoy the rest of your week!

Keeping It In Context

Topical Bible studies are tricky, because instead of letting a book of the Bible speak, you’re needing scripture to back up your point. A lot of pastors preach mainly topical sermons – and that’s fine – the important thing is that you don’t make scripture absurdly relevant to your current message.

We’ll use Acts 16:25-34 since it was the scripture referenced in this week’s study.

An example of twisting scripture to make your point would look something like this: We are Paul and Silas. We are imprisoned for our Christian faith. However, we know that God is going to send His angel down to break open those prison doors.

Here’s the problem, you and your group are not literally Paul and Silas. And I’m guessing the chance is very slim that y’all are shackled in a first century prison in Philippi. Plus, the troubles you’re experiencing could hang with you to kingdom come.

The key is finding timeless truths. Paul and Silas were experiencing persecution due to the impact they were having on the town for Jesus. They were a light in the dark. God came through for them because He is faithful.

As Christians, the truth is that we will experience forms of darkness. It could be persecution, it could be difficulties in home or work life, or it could be the struggle we face with our own character defects. Whatever it is, the next truth is that we are a light in any darkness because of Jesus. And third truth is that we can have hope because God is faithful. He was faithful to Paul and Silas and He will be faithful to us. It may not look the same. We may not see an angel busting down some prison doors, but we know we can trust God with any circumstance. He knows what He’s doing.

We don’t have to force ourselves into the Bible. We can be amazed by scripture without turning the whole Bible into an allegorical tale. So, when looking for scripture to use for your Bible study, find timeless truths that connect with the truth you’re looking to communicate in your study. You’ll get to share an awesome story and make your point at the same time!