Allan Chapple is that teacher and his book A Gospel Pageant: A Reader's Guide to the Book of Revelation is one of those books of gold.
WAIT!! STOP!!! DON'T GO AWAY!!!
I haven't written a post in ages. Please stay. I know, I KNOW...Revelation. I know. Truly I do. But please don't click on that cross or swipe me aside. Really.
I have a friend who jokes (I think) about not reading anything in the Bible after James because anything after that and it's just getting way too close to Revelation. It's funny. (Well, it's funny if he's joking.)
And yet, I sympathise. After some bad teaching on Revelation (including bad, bad, BAD movies at the mid-week Bible study group) pretty early on in my Christian life I have been scarred for life. Even though I have since sat under some very good teaching on Revelation I cannot shake the knot that immediately forms in my stomach at the very mention of the book. Someone suggests we study Revelation in Bible study - inward groan. I get up to Revelation in my reading plan - oh no. A post comes up on Revelation - I am reaching for my mouse ready to move on to something else. I know.
But this year Revelation did come up as a topic for mid-week Bible study. So this year I have taken A Gospel Pageant off the shelf to read. I've read it four times in the last few weeks. And I'm not finished with it yet.
If you are after a sensible, thorough, consistent, thought-through and ultimately not-scary coverage of Revelation then this book is for you. It undoes our tendency to latch onto a particular part of Revelation without giving thought to the greater context - an approach which often ends up in a
A Gospel Pageant provides the tools for a confident reading of Revelation. As a result of reading this book alongside Revelation my view of Jesus has been magnified. I am encouraged and spurred on to strain towards heaven and flee from hell, to strive for godliness and scarper from sin. This book gives a well founded urgency to prayerful personal godliness, evangelism and discipleship. It is both instructive and pastoral.
Unfortunately the scars of my poor introduction to Revelation run deep. I suspect I am not alone. I know that in a year's time I will get up to Revelation in my reading plan and my heart will sink again. It is a deep set default position which will mess with my memory and will mean that I won't retain all the details of this book. But at 85 eminently readable pages - the fruit of many years of teaching to finely hone the script - this will now remain my handy companion when I reach the last book of the Bible until such time as the old Revelation scars have healed.
It is currently out of print but there are still a few copies floating around the Internet so I would say get yourself a copy while you still can, keep your eyes peeled for when the reprint happens or you could leave a comment here to go into a draw to win a copy - because as it happens I have a spare. Think of it as a reward for not clicking off this post when you read the word "Revelation" at the beginning and for persisting to the end. I'll draw out a winner at the end of next week.
[Thank you to those of you do your Book Depository shopping via this blog, the proceeds of which help to fund book giveaways like this.]