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The Book of Revelation (New International Greek Testament Commentary) Hardcover – October, 1998
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“Beale . . . is a master not only of the biblical text but also of the secondary literature. His work will serve primarily as a reference commentary to be consulted when the reader wants a comprehensive and fair presentation of the evidence regarding a disputed point coupled with a clear line of argumentation and the author’s own conclusion. . . . A reliable guide to the many literary, historical, and theological problems encountered in reading Revelation.”
“A strong contribution to scholarship and a valuable resource for a more general audience. . . . Beale has performed a distinctive service. His bold positions are thoroughly argued. His erudition and depth of research are admirable. And he displays strong skills in historical reconstruction and exegesis. His treatment of John’s work with the Hebrew scriptures alone make his commentary worth consulting.”
Journal of Biblical Literature
“A significant contribution to our understanding of Revelation. . . . This commentary will certainly provide considerable insight into John’s often perplexing vision. In particular, Beale’s grasp of the Greek grammar of Revelation is outstanding. Too few scholars today have the linguistic expertise to furnish the reader with such extensive and thoughtful notes. . . . A truly important work that should be consulted as a reference by serious scholars of the Apocalypse.”
The Bible Today
“A massive and thorough commentary on Revelation. . . . Takes its place as one of several important resources for interpreting this fascinating New Testament book.”
-- Trinity Evangelical Divinity Schools
“This is an incredibly learned study, a magisterial commentary on one of the most difficult books in the Bible. There has never been a deeper probing of the Old Testament allusions in the Apocalypse, nor a better presentation of the idealist interpretation. This work will be essential for all scholars and students of the book of Revelation for years to come.”
M. Eugene Boring
-- Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University“Beale has provided the academic community with an excellent contribution to the expanding library of reference works for interpreting the Apocalypse. . . . This volume will undoubtedly take its place as a standard work to be considered in responsible study of Revelation.”
-- University of St. Andrews
“This long-awaited commentary is a magnificent achievement and will be an invaluable guide and resource for all future study of Revelation. Beale’s particular emphasis on interpreting the text by reference to the Old Testament Scriptures and Jewish exegetical traditions is one that the text itself invites, while the orientation to theological reflection is also very welcome in a commentary on this profoundly theological text.”
J. P. M. Sweet
-- Cambridge University
“Beale has an unrivaled knowledge of Revelation and its Jewish background. His work will be invaluable both to scholars and students who want a thorough treatment of the textual and critical problems and to pastors and laypeople who want to know what Revelation meant -- and means -- in its own terms.”
About the Author
Dr. Gregory K. Beale is Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.
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Top Customer Reviews
His exegetical method weighs heavily on a unique approach that includes a relatively rare Discourse Analysis process that Wheaton and about 6 other schools now teach in their Biblical Interpretations Courses. I think someone at Fuller developed it. The Discourse Analysis process is a nice addition to the regular NT Exegesis that Gordon Fee has outlined for everyone in "NT Exegesis". It seems to help the students catch the flow of the text and to connect ideas in a more complex and systematic way than a regular flow analysis.
The linkages to the OT Prophetic books are overwhelming. Beale literally drips with quotations...his live course is about the same as the book. Just compare the quotes on one of his pages to any other commentary and you get way more for your money with Beale.
If you are preaching through Revelation, get Beale and Poythress (The Returning King). I recommend Poythress' outline for a sermon series...and Beale for more exegetical tips and references than you could possibly study for a typical sermon in a week. If you don't know Greek, then Poythress will really help you. His outlines preach well. My main criticism of Beale's work is that his Exegetical Summaries for each section sound very much like a summary that a scholar who does not have to speak to regular folks very often would give. It's not preachable...you will have to rework it to keep people with you if you are preaching. That's why Poythress is great...he gives preachable phrases that harmonize well with Beale's material.
I think a reviewers' criticism of Beale's failure to interact as clearly with the Preterist is accurate. I don't think Beale needs to interact with them as the reviewer claims. Beale's reasons for rejecting the Preterists approach are solid and difficult to get past (he convinced me). For example, he sees a problem with substituting a world-wide judgement with what happened in Jerusalem. He doesn't think the text warrants that sort of conclusion. He sees a problem with denying a phsyical resurrection. Because of these reasons, (and he has others listed in his book as well), he chooses to interact with the Premillenial view more.
I think another book that must be recognized by Revelation students is Regnum Caloreum (see my review on that). He also interacts a lot with Osborne. He recommends Regnum Caloreum and Poythress among other commentators. He seems to interact the most with Mounce, Osborne, Aune, Smalley to name a few.
I think that the argument one reviewer criticizes on 'show' in Revelation 1:1 is convincing (the other reviewer says it is confusing...but it really is quite simple) when we look at the useage of 'SEMAINW' throughout the NT-and the stuff of Revelation itself. One clear example of this is the famous use of the term in John 3:14-16 where Jesus interprets the symbol from the desert story about the serpent on a pole being lifted up to provide healing for all who look on it. I cannot recall if Beale uses that exact illustration, but that is the sort of thing he does throughout this book. Sometimes you do have to read slowly to really grasp what he is saying...because he's quite technical.
Also-Beale makes a case for a strong link to Daniel. He wrote a book about this. Really his case in the NIGTC Revelation rests on that as well. He builds a very strong case for tying the book of Revelation to the Daniel 2:29-45 dream story about Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel. He shows that phrase in Revelation 1:1; 4:1, and 22:6 'hA Dei Genesthai...' is found only in Daniel 2:28/29 Theo and Daniel 2:45. This grammatically points Revelation 1:1; 4:1 and 22:6 to the dream Daniel interpreted for Nebuchadnezzar...and is therefore an interpretive key to Revelation. The Kingdom which Nebuchadnezzar sees starting during the reign of the Roman Empire Kings (if we follow the typical view on that dream)...is that the Kingdom of God which will never end is NOT something of the future only...it is something that has started...inaugurated by Jesus Christ Himself and will ultimately culminate in the justice of all wrongs and the new Jerusalem/new community.
So Beale really is laying out a case for an "Inaugurated Kingdom" which began in the first century...and is prophetically and apocalyptically portrayed in Revelation. This "Inaugurated Kingdom" is expanding and will never be overthrown.
The densely packed inferences to OT and Jewish apocalypic literature reinforces the fact that John is portraying the coming Kingdom has now come. The grammatical links to Daniel 2 matching the beginning and end of a story has a similar feeling the the phrase 'In the beginning'...which reminds the reader who knows the bible of two passages...Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1. The fact that there are connections between those two passages should not be lost. Similarly there are links between Daniel 2 and Revelation...not only in the verses quoted...but throughout the entire book. Revelation 1:1, 4:1 and 22:6 all point to Daniel 2:28/45 in the exact way that John 1:1 points to Genesis 1:1. The three word phrase is a direct quote. In Revelation 1, 4 and 22 these are the only places in the entire LXX/GNT where the phrase is quoted from Daniel 2.
I think if you read him with a hungry and open heart you will catch fire for the most complex and detailed work of the New Testament...the book of Revelation.
Beale's capturing of extensive extrabiblical references to support the inferences from OT scripture is also overwhelming.
He contends, successfully, in my view, that the OT is consistently interpreted with the same hermeneutic that is recommended today. He's very good. I have to say that he is a scholar's scholar. Tough to disprove and no one can ignore him on the book of Revelation and maintain a convincing argument. Many fail to convincingly refute him. Many of his points are overwhelmingly convincing...some are not as powerful, but his overall perspective won over every single student in our class (that I could see) and there were some of the sharpest students I've ever sat with in that class. The material in this book is essentially what we studied...so I would not be surprised if you are not stretched beyond normal for a commentary of this sort.
You will use it over and over if you buy it. I heartily give this one a five star rating.
But there are a number of points where the reader will definitely want to question some of Beale's conclusions. Not everyone will follow him in his interpretation of the word 'show' in Rev 1:1, or follow him in his idealistic amillennial understanding of Revelation. The reader may question Beale's reluctance to interpret literally at certain points in the commentary as well. But you can't possibly come away from a careful reading of this volume without learning something. For the educated clergyman, this is a great commentary to get, alongside the more accessible volumes of Craig Koester and Robert Mounce.