A little while back, I'd asked for suggestions for Bible study resources after a less-than-satisfactory experience with the status quo. Part of my Christmas shopping spree included a stack of Christian resources. I just finished the first one, Apocalypse and Allegiance by J. Nelson Kraybill.
I really can't recommend this book enough. Mr. Bugigangas and I are planning on doing it together as a Bible study, once we make it through the book of Job. We've been stuck on Job for a while!
Having studied several years of Latin in high school, I really developed an appreciation for the history of the Roman Empire. I like knowing about the ins and outs and daily drudgery of life in a different time and place. That's something this book really brings to the forefront, showing the modern reader what the text of Revelation would have looked like to a reader in that society. That's vitally important to really understanding a text. We miss a lot in books because of our cultural blinders. Just how much of Shakespeare do we really understand? If you've ever done any in-depth study of some of his works, were you surprised by the bawdy, lewd and humorous references that you'd never caught before? The subtle digs? The hidden messages?
The book of Revelation is a lot like that. Because we approach it from a perspective that is out of touch with the society for whom it was written (even though our societies have a lot, perhaps too much, in common), we miss out on much of what it says that has relevance to our lives. In misunderstanding or missing out, we end up with some really skewed and wacky interpretations that would have left John of Patmos scratching his bald head, wondering what we'd smoked before we opened his letter.
This book will help you avoid the madness and shed new light on a book that has been oft-dissected but rarely with such clarity and practicality. Highly recommended.