Pulling Back the Curtain

A preacher’s guide to Revelation.


Graham is pastor of Grace Church, Cambridge, and also Director of Independent Ministry Training at Oak Hill College. His PhD was from St Andrews University examining the theology of Isaac Watts and he is also the author of a number of books.

Ideas for further thought and discussion

1. Why does Graham think it’s important to “appreciate the genre” (68)?

2. What are the structural markers Graham highlights? How does that suggest Rev 6-16 relates to Rev 4-5? Are you persuaded by that?

3. What are you doing to get to know the Old Testament better so that you can appreciate the way in which NT books build on OT themes?

4. Do you know what your “fundamental approach” to Revelation will be (p74)? How could you get clearer on that?

5. Are you in the habit of trying to capture the main message of a book in a sentence? Why not try that the next time you study or teach a book. Try writing a 100 word summary, then a 10 word summary.

Recommended Reading


G. K. Beale, Revelation NIGTC, (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 2013): Detailed and very helpful commentary; particularly strong on Old Testament background (ideally requires the reader to know Greek). Beale has also produced a shorter version, Revelation: A shorter commentary (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 2014). Note that the shorter commentary is still over 500 pages.

David Aune, Revelation WBC, 3 volumes (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2014): Very detailed, but weaker on the big picture.

Robert Mounce, The Book of Revelation NICNT, (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1997): Detailed and helpful commentary. Now a little dated by those above but was the standard and still highly regarded.

Michael Wilcock, The Message of Revelation, (Leicester, IVP, 1991): Easy to read and more applied commentary.

Paul Barnett, Apocalypse Now and Then: Reading Revelation Today, (Sydney, Aquila Press, 1989): Easy to read and more applied commentary.

John Richardson, Revelation Unwrapped: Revealing the blessing of John’s vision, (New Malden, Good Book Company, 1996): A short study guide rather than a commentary but a very helpful introduction.

Steve Gregg (ed), Revelation Four Views: A Parallel Commentary, (Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 1997): This is an unusual commentary: it is written by four commentators writing from four different interpretive positions (preterist, historicist, futurist, idealist). These are laid out in parallel so you get the different comments on each passage. It doesn’t always work as well as you might hope but is useful and interesting nonetheless.

Thematic books

Richard Bauckham, The Theology of Revelation, (Cambridge, CUP, 1993): A brief introduction to the theology of Revelation. Very helpful.

Richard Bauckham, The Climax of Prophecy: Studies on the Book of Revelation, (Edinburgh, T & T Clark, 1993): A longer and more complex study of various themes in Revelation. Very rewarding but harder work.

Graeme Goldsworthy, The Gospel in Revelation, (Exeter, Paternoster, 1984): Easy to read studies on key themes in the book in particular showing connections to the gospel. Now published as part of The Goldsworthy Trilogy.