In looking for guidance in your marriage, I bet you never thought about reading the book of Revelation. It seems an unlikely source of wisdom for living the married life. But you just might be surprised.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
My Favorite Commentary on Revelation
The book of Revelation has long intrigued Christians–including me. We want to know how things will all turn out in the end according to God’s plan. And while some of us get excited about studying what it has to say, some of us would rather run the other way—it seems so far in the future, confusing, and impossible to understand.
There have been hundreds of books written trying to explain it. I’ve read a number of them since my teenage years, including The Late, Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey and Approaching Hoofbeats by Billy Graham. And I’ve also looked at many commentaries on it, most recently one by our seminary’s president, Dr. Paige Patterson.
But perhaps the best commentary I ever received on Revelation was as a young teenager in Florida, sitting in a boat fishing with my grandfather. I had just read Lindsey’s book and gave him a summary of it. Then I asked him what he thought about when Christ would return.
I will never forget his answer. He said, “Well David, I’ve studied the Bible a long time. I don’t know when Jesus is coming back, but two things I’m sure of. He is coming back. And I’m ready to spend the rest of eternity with Him when He does because I’ve made Him my Savior.”
That was good enough for me then…and it still is.
God’s Purpose in the Book of Revelation
God is not concerned that we know when Jesus is coming back. In fact, when Jesus was asked by His disciples about this, He told them: “…about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:36).
God’s concern is that we be prepared for Jesus’ return, whenever it occurs. That’s why Jesus went on to teach in Matthew 24:42-44: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
Even though the Book of Revelation doesn’t give us the exact day and time of Jesus’ return, it is God’s inspired Word and has much to teach us. After all, God tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (bold mine)
This passage teaches us that all Scripture is from God and is used by Him to mold us into the men and women He wants us to be. This includes the book of Revelation. And it includes us becoming the husbands and wives God intends us to be. Therefore, God will use the book of Revelation to help us achieve the marriages He desires for us.
What We Can Learn
In this Couple’s Bible Study series, we will study God’s messages to “the seven churches in the province of Asia” (Revelation 1:4). The introduction tells us that the author of the book was John–the disciple who also wrote the Gospel of John, as well as the letters 1, 2, and 3 John.
John was exiled to the island of Patmos because he refused the Roman government’s orders to stop preaching about Jesus. While there, Jesus came to John in a vision, and Revelation is his account of this vision. While there is much prophecy in the book, it is written much like a pastoral epistle.
John was many things in the life of the early church. One of them was a pastor–or shepherd–to a group of churches in Asia Minor. While each church had its own leadership, John served as an overseer who ministered to a group of churches in close proximity to each other. Leaders such as John and Paul, who had responsibility for more than one church, often communicated with them by letter. Those letters found in the Bible are often referred to as pastoral epistles.
These letters were written for the purpose of encouragement and training. This was especially important as the early church matured under very difficult circumstances. The messages to the seven churches that we will study in this series definitely fit this category.
Unfortunately, because the prophetic aspect of the letter has often been overemphasized, the pastoral teaching has often been overlooked. The importance of the book as a valuable practical guide to authentic Christian discipleship has been underplayed.
But we must be careful not to do the same. For we are given the vision’s purpose in the introduction to this book.
Jesus says to John in Revelation 1:19: “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.” The vision is an encouraging word to the persecuted church about “what will take place later.” But, as it says, it is also about “what is now.”
Over the next seven weeks, we will discuss one section of the pastoral portions of the book as we study Revelation 2:1 – 3:22. This is part of the “what is now” section of the teaching. And while the letters were written to entire church congregations, the principles found in them give us great wisdom and instruction for our marriages as well.
So we hope you’ll join us as we explore this intriguing book and see what God has to say about living the married life according to His design.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
♦ Read the teaching together and discuss what God has taught you through it.
♦ When you think of the book of Revelation, what comes to your mind first–prophecy or pastoral teaching? How has this affected how you have viewed the book?
♦ Read the entire section we will be studying over the next few weeks–Revelation 2:1 – 3:22. What stands out to you as you read it? Do you see applications you can make to your marriage?
♦ Pray together and ask God to use the next several weeks as you study this first section of Revelation to help you grow in your lives and marriage.
Next week, we will look at what Jesus says to the church at Ephesus and see what we can learn about how to live as godly husbands and wives.
Until next time, may God bless you in all His wonderful ways,