Rubel Shelly   -  

Lesson 1: The Book of Revelation


Revelation 1:1-3

1. Why do you suppose people have such radically contrasting attitudes toward the study of the
Book of Revelation? What attitude do you bring to this study?

2. The word “revelation” (Gk, apokalupsis) in verse 1 means an uncovering, putting light on
something, laying bare, or making a thing visible. What does this tell you about the purpose
of Revelation? How does this contrast with the way most people seem to view it? (NOTE:
The same word appears in such texts as Luke 2:32, Rom 16:25, and Gal 1:12.)

3. Summarize what you learned from this video about the historical setting of Revelation. Be
sure you can answer these questions: When was the book written? What pressures were
being felt by Christians during this period? Who was the Roman emperor when it was
written? What was the “imperial cult”? What is the relevance of these two verses for the
study of Revelation: Acts 4:12 and 1 Corinthians 8:5-6?

4. Summarize what you learned from this video about apocalyptic literature. Be sure you can
answer these questions: What Old Testament books are written in this style? What are
some of the general features of apocalyptic writings? What common symbols (e.g., animals,
colors, numbers) tend to be used in this genre of literature?

5. When Christians were being viewed with suspicion and having vile rumors circulated about
them, why would apocalyptic literature be especially appropriate for them to employ?

6. This introductory video stresses that the things written in Revelation “must soon take place”
(v.1) and should be heeded because “the time is near.” What does the video claim about
the “timing” of Revelation? Whether it is about things already in process at the end of the
first century or about, for example, America and Russia in the 21st century?

7. Explain the (unique-to-modern-readers) method of how this book was shared with John’s
original readers that is mentioned in verse 3. Had you thought about this type of common
practice before? Read Luke 4:16; Acts 15:21; 1 Thess 5:27; Col 4:16.

For Reflection: Throughout church history Revelation has come to be the Bible’s most abused book.
Numerous sects and cults have had an unhealthy preoccupation with its contents and often claimed to
be its only true interpreters. Often such claims (e.g., David Koresh and the Branch Davidian Cult) have led
to tragedy. . . . Unfortunately the historical background and audience of the book is often ignored or
forgotten. By discovering the meaning of John’s revelation to the first churches, we will better
understand its relevance for us as Christians today. (Mark W. Wilson)