This fall, our Sunday evening adult Bible study is focusing on the book of Revelation. We are three weeks into the study, and let me tell you this: I am really excited about this book and about your interest in it! We have had strong attendance and good conversations in these first few sessions. Just a reminder – it’s not too late to jump into this study! We will gather in the Fellowship Hall every Sunday evening at 6pm, usually for 90 minutes or two hours, to study this complicated book together.
So why am I so excited about this? Why is this book so important? As someone said to me recently, “We have enough trouble understanding and following the other 65 books of the Bible… why all the interest in the last book?” I see at least three reasons for us to invest in a study of this book during this season.
- Revelation is part of Scripture. It forms part of the Christian canon, those books that we understand to be inspired by God and useful for instruction, training, discipline, and guidance. This book tells us something particular about the salvation work of Jesus Christ, and as a result we should learn from our Lord through it. This book was important to the first few generations of Christians, so by studying it (and them) we increase our connection with the work of God throughout the centuries.
- Revelation informed our movement’s history. The Church of God reformation movement, of which we are a part, developed a unique self-understanding early in its existence (in the early 20th century). This self-understanding was very closely tied to a particular interpretation of the book of Revelation. We don’t hold to that understanding any more, but by studying Revelation we can learn more about who we were – and we can ask who we should be instead.
- Revelation gets us talking about the future. Many believers today, including some of us, have deep-seated fears and questions about what lies ahead in the future. Are we in the “end times”? Is the return of Christ near? What about the “signs and wonders” that we see? By studying Revelation – and what it meant to its original audience, who asked similar questions – we will discover the word of hope that God has for his people in this book. This will directly impact how we approach our own situation in the world.
The book of Revelation is a confusing, controversial, divisive book of scripture. But we should not be afraid of it; instead, with a mixture of boldness and humility, we will learn from it together in the weeks that lie ahead. I hope you are as excited about this as I am! And if you have not yet come on a Sunday evening, I hope you feel welcome to try it out!