Reviews Of Books -- By: Anonymous
WTJ 64:1 (Spring 2002) p. 201
Reviews Of Books
Simon J. Kistemaker: New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001. X + 635 pp. $39.99, cloth.
Kistemaker’s workmanlike commentary on Revelation has space (635 pp.) to discuss both major and minor issues in interpreting Revelation. While paying attention to other views, the commentary takes a clear stand on the main issues. As one would expect from Kistemaker, it consistently takes positions consistent with a high view of scriptural authority. The author of Revelation is John the Apostle. The date of origin is about 95 A.D. The commentary adopts an idealist interpretive approach, stressing that the contents of the visions of Revelation are symbolical rather than literal. Like Hendriksen and Beale, Kistemaker sees the organization of Revelation as involving recapitulation, cycling back several times over the interadvent period. The book is amillennial in its approach to Revelation 20.
After 70 pages of introduction, the commentary simply splits itself up into one chapter of commentary for each chapter of the Book of Revelation. It provides at the beginning of each chapter an outline of that chapter of Revelation. But there remains some awkwardness when the modern chapter divisions do not correspond perfectly to the major structural divisions of Revelation (as at 1:9; 8:2; 19:11; and 22:6). The author provides his own fresh English translation at the beginning of each section of commentary, usually at the beginning of the chapter. He then provides a summary of the chapter or section, and next proceeds to a verse-by-verse exegesis. Excurses on “Greek Words, Phrases, and Constructions” occur at the end of the exegesis of each small section of text (usually two or three verses).
Kistemaker’s commentary is a solid and useful exegetical commentary. Moreover, I happen to agree with its stances on every one of the major issues listed in the first paragraph above, which commends it even more in my eyes. But inevitably one starts asking how it compares with other commentaries on Revelation. Kistemaker’s commentary is only about half the length of Beale’s recent (1999) commentary, which hold similar interpretive views. Beale naturally has much more space to devote to the issues and is able to go into greater technical detail. Kistemaker’s commentary is aware of Beale’s work, but fails to mention some of the valuable insights offered in Beale. For example, one could wish that it had mentioned the background of Rev 1:1 in
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