Read an Excerpt
Why Study the Book of Revelation?
We have all met her. She is so set in her ways that she will never try anything new. In her universe, there is only one flavor of ice cream: vanilla. It does not matter what the flavor of the month happens to be or what new concoction Ben & Jerry's has created. Vanilla it has been, vanilla it is now, vanilla it shall be forevermore!
We have all met him. We ask, 'What do you want for Christmas?' and he gives the same old suggestions: Old Spice, new socks, a tie, slippers. How someone can go through a pair of slippers every year may be a mystery, but what is not a mystery is that his list this Christmas will be the same as last year, and the year before that, and the year before that.
Is there anything wrong with vanilla ice cream? No! Is putting the same items on a Christmas list year after year a crime? Of course not! But where is the adventure in life? Where is the willingness to be surprised by the taste of Double Fudgey Moose Track Ripple Supreme ice cream or to be willing to write 'Surprise me!' on a Christmas list? Try something new. Take a risk. Study a book of the Bible you have never dug into before. Live on the edge . . . you might find out you like it!
Making the Connection 1. Tell about a time you took a risk, tried something new, or made an effort to be adventuresome.
Knowing and Being Known Read Revelation 1:1--8
2. The word 'revelation' means 'an act of unveiling or disclosure.' What is unveiled about Jesus Christ in these opening verses?
3. Imagine you are a Christian living in the first century and you hear these eight verses read. What would a Christian understand about God, especially in verses 4--8?
4. How does this understanding of God give hope to the persecuted church?
Why Study Revelation? Because It's in the Bible
One of the marks of growth in fully devoted followers of Jesus is their commitment to study the whole counsel of God. Paul says to Timothy, 'All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness' (2Timothy 3:16). The apostle Paul is emphatic that we need all of the Bible's teaching---from Genesis to Revelation---if we are to grow up into mature believers. Many, however, prefer to study a few favorite or select portions of God's Word. Some people read only the Gospels, others favor the Psalms or Proverbs, and still others spend almost all of their time in Paul's letters. While study of each of these portions of the Bible is useful, Paul makes it clear that we will not get the whole picture and grow deep in maturity until we become students of the whole Bible.
Read 2 Timothy 3:14--17
5. How would you define each of the following words in relationship to the way God works in our lives through study of the Bible?
6. How have you experienced the God-breathed power of Scripture to bring transformation in your life through one of the five ways listed in this passage?
Tell about one personal discipline God has called you to practice in your life when it comes to studying the Bible.
How can your small group members pray for you and challenge you to grow deeper in your commitment to know and follow God's Word?
Read Revelation 22:7, 12--21 7. In light of Jesus' words (Revelation 22:7) and John's words (Revelation 22:18--19), how would you respond to a follower of Christ who makes this statement: 'The book of Revelation is too hard to understand, I don't think I want to bother reading it and try to figure out what it means for my life!' 8. Jesus paints a vivid picture of those who are inside and those who are outside His heavenly city (vv. 12--15). What are some of the contrasts you see between those who are inside and those who are outside of the kingdom of God?
Why Study Revelation? It Contains Powerful Life Lessons As we study the book of Revelation, we will be gripped by the powerful life lessons it has for us. First, we will come face-to-face with the reality of the battle of good and evil. We will come to realize that this battle is not just between nations, but it rages both in the heavenly realms and in our very hearts.
Second, we will be gripped by the reality of heaven and hell. John writes about the eternal condition of human souls with a power and style different from any other author in the Bible. In light of the staggering reality of the eternal destiny of all people in either heaven or hell, we will be moved to do the work of evangelism like never before.
And third, we will be confronted with the glorious triumph of Christ, even when we face tough times. John first wrote these words as a source of hope and encouragement to seven struggling churches in a time of intense persecution. Studying John's words to these churches will dramatically increase our confidence in the Lord.
9. What do you learn about the identity of Jesus Christ in verses 12--16. Why would these attributes of Jesus offer comfort for Christians in a time of persecution?
Why Study Revelation? It Carries the Promise of Blessing Revelation is the only book in the New Testament that contains a clear and explicit promise of blessing for those who read it and follow what it teaches. Consider these words: 'Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near' (Revelation 1:3) and 'Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book' (Revelation 22:7).