I recently completed a project for LifeWay Christian Resources: writing the Expository Notes for the 2019 January Bible Study. The materials will lead people through an eight-session study of Revelation 1-3. The first session is on the vision of Jesus in Revelation 1 and the rest of the sessions are a guide through the seven letters to the churches in Asia (Revelation 2-3). It is a great reminder of the need for faithfulness to Christ and perseverance in the world. As with all of the message series I preach or books I write, I look for great thinkers who can aid in my preparation. The resources I used make up a very long list. Here is a list of some resources that helped me most.
Revelation 1-7: An Exegetical Commentary by Robert L. Thomas. The exegetical work is in-depth but also accessible. I enjoyed Thomas’ ability to show the impact of the grammar on the meaning of the passage.
The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting by Colin J. Hemer. The strongest resource for historical context. Hemer’s work was referenced by numerous other commentaries for understanding the cities in which these believers lived.
The Revelation to John: A Commentary on the Greek Text of the Apocalypse by Stephen S. Smalley. As an internationally recognized scholar on John’s works in the New Testament, Smalley offers a critical help for those studying Revelation. His pattern for each major section is very helpful in navigating the book (Translation, Text, Literary Setting, Comment, Theology). Though the total work is over 600 pages, each pericope is dealt with in a compact set of comments.
Exalting Christ in Revelation by Danny Akin (Christ-Centered Exposition series). The work offers a view of the book that is respectful to multiple eschatological positions while being helpful to anyone teaching through the book. It is an excellent resource for both pastors and lay leaders who want to move quickly toward a teaching/preaching outline.
A Commentary on Revelation by George Eldon Ladd. A classic for those who hold a Historic Premillennialism position but is respectful of the other interpretations. It’s a much shorter treatment but still helpful in the area of expository notes.
Revelation: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament by Grant R. Osborne. The volume includes excellent overviews of the historical context for each city that received a letter, outlines that easily translate into teaching, and access to excellent research done by Osborne. His additional summaries and contextualization sections are wonderful resources for any level of student.
Revelation: New Testament Commentary by Simon J. Kistemaker. I frequently use the NTC series in my regular sermon preparation and found his volume on Revelation to be helpful as usual. The content sits at a halfway point between scholastic and pastoral. Kistemaker relays great content in compact ways.
A First-Century Message to Twentieth-Century Christians: Addresses on the Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia by G. Campbell Morgan. If Morgan wrote it or said it, I want to know about it. He is one of my favorite preachers from Christian history. The series of messages is worth the money for your personal edification.