Revelation. Craig Keener. NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000. 576 pp.
Craig Keener is a prolific author with some common emphases in his works. He is well-known, for example, for his emphasis upon the value of parallels in Greco-Roman and Jewish literature. One of the reasons why I began to refer to this commentary was to see which parallels Keener would point out, and even more importantly, which ones he would comment on. In particular, I have found that Keener and David Aune are two of the best commentaries to refer to in order to find parallels from Greco-Roman authors.
The usefulness of Keener’s commentary goes beyond his references to parallels. Due to the plan of this particular series (NIV Application Commentary), Keener must provide a section that interprets each passage and then sections devoted to “bridging contexts” and “contemporary significance.” These constraints force him to be brief in his interpretive comments on the passage (the first section). Many readers will appreciate this brevity, while others might wish for more development. Those who are teaching the book of Revelation will appreciate the help that Keener offers in his attempt to comment upon the significance of Revelation for people today. In general, I found Keener’s interpretive comments to be every bit as helpful as his references to parallels in other literature.
Comments on Keener’s Overall Approach to the Book of Revelation
Keener’s work appears to fit best within the historical premillennial approach. Like some other historic premillennialists, he thinks that the 3½ year persecution of the church (the 1,260 days or 42 months of Revelation 11-13) refers to a time period that extends from the exaltation of Jesus until his second coming (34-35, 318-20). His view of the millennium fits clearly in the historic premillennial camp, but his treatment of the details of Revelation 20:1-10 is brief (463-8). He does provide a helpful discussion of various millennial views (470-9). It turns out that Keener espouses a historic premillennial view of the book that is quite similar in many respects to my own approach to the book.
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