Preaching Tools: Revelation

With the movie remake of Left Behind coming to theaters next month, there will certainly be a lot of talk about the book of Revelation and the end times in the media and churches throughout the world. Many pastors will consider preaching the book of Revelation as a way to capitalize on such interest. But with so many books and commentaries available on the subject, what are the best resources to consult?

To help you preach through the book of Revelation, here’s an excerpt from David Allen’s Preaching Tools: An Annotated Survey of Commentaries and Preaching Resources for Every Book of the Bible.



Exegetical Commentaries

Aune, David. Revelation. WBC. 3 volumes. Dallas: Word, 1997–1998.

This is the most massive commentary on Revelation, weighing in at more than 1,350 pages. The introduction alone is 250 pages. Engages in unnecessary redaction-criticism, is highly technical, and is lacking in theological analysis but covers the linguistic, literary, historical, and every other waterfront with encyclopedic treatment. This will be too heavy for many pastors, but some will want to consult it.

Beale, G. K. The Book of Revelation. NIGTC. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.

Beale’s work must be reckoned as one of the top commentaries on the apocalypse. This is a comprehensive treatment of the book. Focuses on the use of the Old Testament in Jewish exegetical traditions as key to the book. Strong on historical background and careful attention to the argument. Occasionally dense prose. Amillennial perspective. No one agrees completely with any commentator on Revelation, but one cannot afford to neglect what Beale says.

Osborne, Grant R. Revelation. BECNT. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002.

True to form, Osborne has written a solid exegetical/expositional commentary on Revelation.

Thomas, Robert. Revelation 1–7: An Exegetical Commentary. WEC. Chicago: Moody, 1992.

An excellent exegetical treatment. Thomas interprets the book in a premillennial, pretribulational fashion.

________. Revelation 8–22: An Exegetical Commentary. WEC. Chicago: Moody, 1995.

See above.

Listen to audio from Southwestern’s Advanced Expository Preaching Workshop on preaching through Revelation.

Expository Commentaries

Keener, Craig S. Revelation. NIVAC. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.

Keener is most helpful to the preacher on the issue of application.

Mounce, Robert H. Revelation. NICNT. Rev. ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997.

Mounce’s work is well worth your time. Those with little or no background in Greek will benefit from this volume, as will all others. Premillennial perspective. I would consult it if preaching through Revelation.

Patterson, Paige. Revelation. NAC. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2012.

This is Patterson’s magnum opus, the fruit of years of study and preaching from the apocalypse. Thoroughly sound exegesis, exposition, application, and thoroughly premillennial. Those with a different eschatology should not ignore this important commentary. Expositors cannot afford to be without it.

Phillips, John. Exploring Revelation. Chicago: Moody, 1974.

Expositors will glean lots of helpful exposition, illustrations, and applications, not to mention outlines, from Phillips. Premillennial perspective.

Walvoord, John. The Revelation of Jesus Christ. Chicago: Moody, 1966.

This is an older but very solid premillennial treatment of Revelation from the former president of Dallas Theological Seminary. Probably his best work. Readable, clear, concise, but meaty treatment.

Special Studies

Michaels, J. Ramsey. Interpreting the Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992.

This volume is part of the Guides to New Testament Exegesis series, some of which are out of print. Provides a concise introduction to issues of genre, authorship, historical and social setting, and structure, followed by chapters on text criticism, grammar and style, narrative criticism, tradition history, and theological interpretation. Regardless of one’s own take concerning Revelation, this is a very helpful volume.


Criswell, W. A. Expository Sermons on Revelation. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1966.

These excellent sermons represent the very best from Criswell, the famed pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, from 1944 until 1994. Criswell preached through books of the Bible in his church. Premillennial perspective. This is a volume you cannot afford to be without when preaching through Revelation.

Seiss, Joseph A. The Apocalypse: A Series of Special Lectures on the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Originally published in 1865, it has been reprinted numerous times. Smith calls it the most famous expository work in our language (1939): “There is no man in the English world today … a pastor of a church as Seiss was, who is equipped both with a knowledge of the Word and a gift of oratory, to deliver such a series of lectures as these.”