Tuesday, 01 March 2016 14:05

2. How to begin

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I've been studying the book of Revelation since 2008. When I started, I felt completely lost and didn't know how to interpret it. Now that have spent a lot of time with it, I can see things differently. The more I read it and study it, the more amazed I get at all the layers it has. It is such a profound book. Every word, every symbol, every reference is just complete perfection. You don't need a PhD to study Revelation. We can all understand it. In fact, originally the book was meant to be read out loud to the church, for all to hear. We will see that the first century Christian was meant to understand the message and that it’s study would be a blessing to the church throughout the centuries.

So, what will you need if you really want to dig deep into Revelation? Our website and podcast are really a great way to start. We will be discussing here my study notes, the symbolism in the book, the prophetic application of the text, and a whole lot more. Everything that makes this book so fascinating. We’ll take a look at each verse, slowly, so we can understand the references made there from other Bible books. At the same time, we can’t lose sight of the story being told in those chapters.

Besides that, I’d like to talk to you about 5 things that are super important if you don’t want to feel lost as you begin this study.

1) Textbook:

Students need a textbook to help them navigate and understand the book of Revelation. The best textbook is the Bible. The Bible explains itself. A lot of people get caught up trying to mold the book of Revelation to make it fit our modern century, our technology. God didn’t really design this book for human technology to serve as the basis for its interpretation. The keys to unlock the symbolism in Revelation are found in the Bible itself, not anywhere else. God provides the symbol and He also provides the reference to understand it. It’s all in the Bible.

 
2) Bible Commentary:
 
There are people who spent their entire life dedicated to studying this topic. I use the book Revelation of Jesus Christ, by Ranko Stefanovic. This book is very thorough and is a book that I trust. A pastor friend of mine recommended it to me back in 2008, when I was starting out. And it has given me great insight. It’s very Bible centered, which is so important. As I said before, the explanation for the symbolism is found in the Bible itself. If the Bible commentary is not is not centered in biblical explanations, then we run the risk of misinterpreting the text, or we might even miss the many layers of information that the text brings. Especially the understanding of the spiritual message.


3) Different Bible translations
 
I actually use several different translations. We will talk about this more when we get into the some of the chapters. And by translations, I mean versions like the New King James, New American Standard, English Standard Version, and so many others So that would be our number 3 thing that we need. Number 3, different translations of the Bible. Another super useful thing is to have access to the Hebrew and Greek versions of the original Bible text, and its literal translation. Some Bible commentaries already provide this information. But I like to use the site biblehub.com, which also has several different translations to English. It’s very easy to switch between the different translations and between the Greek and Hebrew versions.
 

4) Encyclopedia and History Books:
 
I've mentioned the importance of Revelation to the Christians throughout the centuries. But you may ask yourself about secular history. Is it also important to understand this book? This is what I can tell you: History is a piece of it. Obviously we have accumulated a huge amount of history since the first century. History is in Revelation, but not in the way we may think at first. The main things are the spiritual implications surrounding the events happening here on Earth, and also in Heaven. So that’s why number 4 in our list today is an encyclopedia or history book. They serve to create the earthly cultural and political context for us. It helps us see from a secular point of view what has been documented over time. 
 
History documents a limited view of the human perception. Revelation expands our view of these events because it gives us many details of the spiritual aspects in those same events. The scene that God paints here is way more complete and full of strokes that are not necessarily apparent if we are not paying attention.


5) Prayer and much prayer:
 
I left the most important thing for last. If the only thing you have from our list so far is your old Bible, I can guarantee you that you can have this last thing too. Understanding of this message is only possible through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Without God’s inspiration the book of Revelation would only be mere words on a page. This is so important. It’s essential. Prayer is something you can do no matter where you are. or what resources you might have. You can always pray. We have a promise in the Bible that I always think about when I’m studying. In John 16:13, Jesus is talking to the disciples something that is still very important for us today. He said: “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” In order for us to receive God’s wisdom, we need to invite the Holy Spirit to come and guide our minds and our comprehension.
 
 
As you begin your studies, my prayer is that God continues to bless you and that you keep your heart open to the Holy Spirit.
   
© Hello-Bible 2016