Whole Book Reading Reminder

Just a reminder here of the fact that we want to read all the way through our designated book...ideally at least once a week, in a single sitting. Several times a week, each in a single sitting, would be nice. With this approach to bible study over several months of concentrating on a single book we should have several single- sitting whole-book-reads.

We are convinced this "whole book reading" is something that is missing for most serious students of scripture. Think about it. We all listen to sermons that are zeroing in on a small section. We quote and memorize and understand(?) isolated passages. We seek deeper understanding by considering other passages from other books which we think are on topic. We do "thru the Bible" reading as a spiritual discipline and these readings will carry us thru the Bible but only a section at a time, stretched over a period of several months and often interspersed with other readings. Even our commentary reading tends to be subject to the same "passage, isolated from passage, isolated from passage" weakness. What is missing? Reading through a whole book, seeing the themes, repeated and contextualized vocabulary, and whole book message, from the intended framework for understanding the parts -The whole book! So read on "whole bookers".


Revelation, so how do we read it?

The two commentaries, one by Leon Morris the other by James Knotek, would both have us read the book in a way that sees several parrallel descriptions of what the saints can expect in the world before final day of judgment. This approach calls us to gain an impression from the symbolic detail. Each parrallel emphasizing a facet of the story unfolding. Each having: 1)main characters, 2)symbolisms from God's throne, 3)A heavenly view of this facet.

We have noticed a lack of specifics in translating symbolic detail into physical detail by these authors. This differs from the approach that takes the book as a single time-line with chapters 4-22 yet to be started. In the "Chapter 4-22 is all future" approach much of detail can be given a very concrete (if speculative) expected fulfillment. With an appetite for the concrete we may not find the approach of these authors as satisfying. But the single time-line approach seems to bump most of Revelation out of its intended purpose of being an immediate motivation for all of the saints living between the 2 advents of Christ. The majority of the book would not have a present word of exhortation for the saints in our ongoing history, except for the benefit it would have as a prediction of the very last things.

Even if we go forward with diverse approaches to interpreting the book, there are some common places to stand so that we hear from God as we read this book. first of all in chapters 2 and 3 we have the messages to the churches. What is the main drift of these messages? It certainly seems that we are being told we should take Jesus seriously. The churches are not given to much room for just setting back in life with a sense of entitlement. It seems they are being warned about challenges to the purity and simplicity of devotion to Christ. Some of those challenges even come from teachings within their churches. The word "persevere" shows up a lot. The saints are going to be tested. They are going to have enemies in the world but they are to hold on to the faith and works of Jesus Christ.
Another area we can concentrate on together is the theme of 2 contrasting "cities" and two contrasting "women". This identification and contrast is meant to help the saints understand their place in what could otherwise be a confusing unfolding of events before Christs return.