Eight tips for preaching from Revelation

  1. Fred Craddock urges us not to avoid preaching on Revelation just because it takes more time to understand. You and your church need and deserve to be inspired by this important part of God’s Word. Also, preaching on Revelation is a good way to dispel some of the errroneous ideas about this book.
  2. The book’s purposes are to comfort persecuted Christians and to empower them to resist the pressures that society puts on them to accomodate to an idolatrous lifestyle. You should select which of these purposes is most relevant to the needs of your listeners and show how Revelation addresses them with that purpose in mind.
  3. Take advantage of the many hymns and choruses based on Revelation. Use them as sources for your sermons on Revelation and as liturgical elements for the services in which those sermons are preached.
  4. There are many popular misconceptions about eschatology and Revelation. You will need to address those in your sermons to help your listeners form a better understanding of the book.
  5. Revelation is a work of art. Instill a sense of awe in your  listeners for the truly impressive features of Revelation, including its many rich allusions to the Old Testament, and its wide array of literary techniques.
  6. Fred Craddock reminds us that explaining the text is not the same as preaching it. In the case of Revelation, explanation can sometimes get in the way of what is more important: allowing the book to “create its own world” in the minds of your listeners.
  7. The messages to the seven churches in chapters 2-3 would form a good sermon series. It could be asked, “How is our church similar to the church in this passage?” “What would Jesus write to our church?” “To which of the seven churches is our church most similar?”
  8. Judith Wray recommends using passages from the book of Revelation throughout the worship service. She notes that there are references to prayers, incense, silence, testimonies, trumpets, and invitations. I would add beatitudes, doxologies, the opening and reading of books. These could be tied into various aspects of the service. For example, Wray recommends Revelation 22.17 for use as an invitation to the Lord’s Supper.

Carey, Greg, “Teaching and preaching the book of Revelation in the church”, Review & Expositor 98 no 1 Wint 2001, p 87-100; Craddock, Fred B, “Preaching the Book of Revelation”, Interpretation 40 no 3 Jl 1986, p 270-282; Wishart, Charles Frederick, “Patmos in the pulpit: a meditation on apocalyptic”,Interpretation 1 no 4 O 1947, p 456-465; Wray, Judith K Hoch, “The revelation: worship resource for preaching”, Living Pulpit 12 no 3 Jl-S 2003, p 8-9

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