Thursday, April 14, 2016

Review: The Heart of Revelation by J. Scott Duvall

Duvall states in the introduction that there is two common approaches to the last book of the Bible, those who shy away from it because it is just to weird and difficult to understand, and those who dive in and try to work out every detail and interpret every sign. He asserts there is a third way, a way that reads the book in its context so we can see how we are to live in light of its message. Right there in the introduction I was sure I would enjoy this book, and I did.

I used to be solidly in the first camp when it came to Revelation. I had read it and of course affirmed it as part of God's word but I had seen people debate for hours on end about how this sign or that sign was being fulfilled. I remember at some point in learning church history it was pointed out to me how the predominate view of how to interpret Revelation is often tied to whether society was improving or going downhill. Then in seminary I started to see how Revelation was dripping with imagery and that much of it came from the rest of scripture. Once one can see the themes that permeate this rich book you can see it through the eyes of the original audience. Once we start to see this book at it was by the first hearers we can hear its message and how it applies to us today. 

Duvall helps us to just this but walking us through ten significant themes the run through the book. By walking through these themes, we can start to put together a road map to guide us through the book. By walking through the themes of the book, themes that are found throughout the Revelation we can pick up those themes as we read through it. This thematic approach is very helpful to the modern reader. The end of each chapter also includes a list of key passages found in Revelation, a reading plan and a list of study questions for individual or group study. 

This book is well written, and accessible and a valuable tool for understanding this important biblical book. Duvall has also written the Revelation entry in the Teach the Text commentary which I'm sure would be good companion to this book.

(I received this book from Baker Books in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own)

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