Revelation 1:1 - 20
ESV - 1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John. 2 Who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.
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When ever you read the bible it is always a good idea to start with prayer. "Lord please bless me with patience and understanding." Second there are two ways that are great for those who want a better understanding, of what a lot of people call one of the most confusing books in the Bible. (1) obtain a good concordance. And use it in what is known as a first mention study. While reading the book of Revelation you will come across some symbols i.e. Rev. 12:1 "the woman...sun...moon...twelve stars." Using the concordance you will find that the first mention of this is in Gen. 37. You can now conclude that the symbol in Rev.12:1 is referring to Israel as a nation. (2) You can use a good reference Bible and review the references listed for each scripture. I.e. Rev. 11:4 has Zec. 4:3. By using the references you will began to realize that the entire Bible is a revelation. I hope this will help you to fulfill 2 Tim 2:15. I would also add that a commentary when first starting to try to understand Revelations could possibly hinder you until you have searched the book out for yourself a few times.
As with any portion of Scripture, the key to proper understanding is to study in context. Many people people attempt to look at Revelation and interpret portions without keeping the proper context in mind. Because of the prophetic nature of Revelation, some have taken the opportunity to add private interpretation, which in itself goes against the Scripture. Remember that God wants His Word to be understood. With careful study in context, even difficult passages will reveal their proper intended meaning.
Greg Laurie in a listen-to free sermon online and James Orr give us a summary of the book: I. INTRODUCTION 1. Title and Address (Rev 1:1-8) 2. Vision of Jesus and Message to the Seven Churches of the Province of Asia (Rev 1:9-20) 3. The Letters to the Seven Churches (Rev 2-3) (1) Ephesus (Rev 2:1-7) (2) Smyrna (Rev 2:8-11) (3) Pergamos (Rev 2:12-17) (4) Thyatira (Rev 2:18-29) (5) Sardis (Rev 3:1-6) (6) Philadelphia (Rev 3:7-13) (7) Laodicea (Rev 3:14-22) II. THE THINGS TO COME. FIRST SERIES OF VISIONS: THE SEALS AND TRUMPETS 1. The Vision of Heaven (1) Adoration of the Creator (Rev 4) (2) The 7-Sealed Book; Adoration of God and the Lamb (Rev 5) 2. Opening of Six Seals (Rev 6) (1) The White Horse (Rev 6:1-2) (2) The Red Horse (Rev 6:3-4) (3) The Black Horse (Rev 6:5-6) (4) The Pale Horse (Rev 6:7-8) (5) Souls under the Altar (Rev 6:9-11) (6) The Wrath of the Lamb (Rev 6:12-17) 3. Interludes (Rev 7) (1) Sealing of 144,000 on Earth (Rev 7:1-8) (2) Triumphant Multitude in Heaven (Rev 7:9-17) 4. Opening of Seventh Seal: under This Seven Trumpets, of Which Six Now Sounded (Rev 8-9) (1) Hail and Fire on Earth (Rev 8:7) (2) Burning Mountain in Sea (Rev 8:8-9) (3) Burning Star on Rivers and Fountains (Rev 8:10,11) (4) One-third Sun, Moon, and Stars Darkened (Rev 8:12). "Woe"--Trumpets (Rev 8:13) (5) The Fallen Star-Locusts (Rev 9:1-11) (6) Angels Loosed from Euphrates--the Horseman (Rev 9:12-21) 5. Interludes-- (1) Angel with Little Book (Rev 10) (2) Measuring of Temple and Altar--the Two Witnesses (Rev 11:1-13) 6. Seventh Trumpet Sounded--Final Victory (Rev 11:14-19) III. SECOND SERIES OF VISIONS: THE WOMAN AND THE RED DRAGON; THE TWO BEASTS; THE BOWLS AND LAST PLAGUES 1. The Woman and Child; the Red Dragon and His Persecutions (Rev 12) 2. The Beast from the Sea, Seven-headed, Ten-horned (Rev 13:1-10); the Two-horned Beast (Rev 13:11-18) 3. Interludes (Rev 14) (1) The Lamb on Mt. Zion; the 144,000 (Rev 14:1-5) (2) The Angel with "an Eternal Gospel" (Rev 14:6-7) (3) Second Angel--(Anticipatory) Proclamation of Fall of Babylon (Rev 14:8) (4) Third Angel--Doom of Worshippers of the Beast (Rev 14:9-12) (5) Blessedness of the Dead in the Lord (Rev 14:13) (6) The Son of Man and the Great Vintage (Rev 14:14-20) 4. The Seven Last Plagues--the Angels and Their Bowls: the Preparation in heaven (Rev 15)--the Outpouring (Rev 16) (1) On Earth (Rev 16:2) (2) On Sea (Rev 16:3) (3) On Rivers and Fountains (Rev 16:4-7) (4) On Sun (Rev 16:8-9) (5) On Seat of Beast (Rev 16:10-11) (6) On Euphrates--Har-Magedon (Rev 16:12-16) (7) In the Air--Victory and Fall of Babylon (Rev 16:17-21) IV. EXPANSION OF LAST JUDGMENTS (Rev 17-19) 1. The Scarlet Woman on Beast--Her Judgment (Rev 17) 2. Doom of Babylon and Lament over Her (Rev 18) 3. Interlude--Announcement of Marriage of the Lamb (Rev 19:1-10) 4. Rider on White Horse ("The Word of God") and His Armies--Last Battle and Doom of Beast, False Prophet, and Their Followers (Rev 19:11-21) V. THE MILLENNIUM--NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH (Rev 20 through 22) 1. Satan Bound; First Resurrection and Reign of Saints for 1,000 Years (Rev 20:1-6) 2. Loosing of Satan and Final Conflict--Doom of Adversaries and of the Devil (Rev 20:7-10) 3. General Resurrection and Last Judgment (Rev 20:11-15) 4. New Heavens and New Earth (1) The New Jerusalem from Heaven (Rev 21:1-9) (2) Description of the City (Rev 21:10-27) (3) Blessedness of Its Citizens (Rev 22:1-7) (4) Epilogue (Rev 22:8-21) The main thing I remember from Greg's sermon is that Jesus is the focus of Revelation. Paul Andrew Rainbow adds, "The Sovereign God, Christ, and Spirit. Reassurance for persecuted Christians is offered in the picture of God as the one who sits on the throne (Rev 4:2-6,9-10; 6:16; 12:5; 20:11-12; 22:1,3), whose rule is eternal (Rev 1:4,8; 4:8-10; 21:6) and universal (pantokrator [ παντοκράτωρ ], "almighty one, " 9 times in Revelation, only once elsewhere in New Testament.
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