Revelation [New Covenant Commentary Series]

by Gordon Fee
Cascade Books; Eugene, Oregon: 2011
$67.95 @ Moore Books

This very new commentary on the Book of Revelation is on the whole fairly good. This is not surprising, given that Gordon Fee is a veteran exegete and author of quite a few other books and commentaries.

I haven’t read any others of the New Covenant series, but given the style here it seems to be aimed more at the lay end of the spectrum. It uses the English text (here, Fee uses the NIV 2011 – maybe we should call it NIV 3.0?), and focuses on exegesis with some theological reflection (where by ‘some’, I mean, like, how some sermons have ‘some’ application at the end …). There isn’t any real grappling with other people’s opinions.

The commentary is very clear and easy to read. Fee clearly takes a preterist (no, not wayyiqtols, but meaning it’s all in the past) position on the Book of Revelation, which holds him in good stead on some issues, but I think clouds good theological interpretation on others. For example, on the two beasts, while he acknowledges the whole unholy Trinity theme, I think he moves too quickly to the identification with the Roman Empire. It’s more pronounced with the Harlot – I think he misses the allusions of Babel and some of the ‘anti-Zion’ imagery (eg. people as waters – see Isaiah 2, where the nations are pictured as flowing into Zion) in that section. On the millennium, he ducks the issue, basically, which isn’t helpful for me, and I don’t think the interpretation he offers will settle many minds unless they didn’t care that much in the first place.

I think Paul Barnett still wins as the lay persons commentary of choice for Revelation. But that’s not to say that the contribution of this commentary isn’t worth it – though probably not worth the purchase price (even at Amazon). At least I got to read the NIV 2011 version of Revelation.

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