Revelation 1:3: The Blessedness of Bible Study

Verse 3:[1] (Luke 11:28; Rev. 22:7) Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for (Rom. 13:11; Jam. 5:8; 1 Pet. 4:7; Rev. 22:10) the time is at hand.

[Blessed is he who, etc., μακάριος ὁ ἀναγινώσκων, καὶ οἱ ἀκούοντες τοὺς λόγους τῆς, etc.] Thus Daniel 12:12, μακάριος ὁ ὑπομένων, blessed is he that waits.[2] The foresignified retributions of God against the Jews and Romans were able to convey solace to Christians everywhere vexed. See Revelation 13:10 (Grotius). He commends the book, which he foresaw would come to seem useless to many (Durham). The sense: It is exceedingly profitable to read, to learn, and to keep those things that are found here (Menochius). For all these are to be joined (Ribera). [Thus they translate:] He that reads, and (understand, blessed are they [Piscator, Beza]) that hear (a Hebraic change of number [Beza]: he reads, they hear: for we read alone, we hear joined together [Cotterius, similarly Cluverus]: He adds this, that this book was not going to reach unto all immediately; but those that had obtained it were going to read aloud in good faith to others those things that they had read [Grotius]: Or, he changes the number, lest the unlearned, ignorant of reading, should appear to be excluded from this fruit [Pareus, similarly Durham]; and so that the public reading, hearing, and interpretation, of this book might be commended before all [Durham]: But with what fruit will we read and hear what we do not grasp? Response: God will be near and influence those piously reading these mysteries [Cotterius], and the seals of this book have already been opened [Durham]) the words (the word, verse 2: The word is one, as true, manifold, as it truly contains many things [Cotterius]) of this prophecy (τῆς, of the, in the place of ταύτης, of this:[3] See Romans 11:29 [Grotius]: Even if past and present things are described, verse 19 [Cotterius], yet future things principally, with respect to which it is called a Prophecy [Cotterius, similarly Durham]), and keep (that is, retain in memory [Grotius, similarly Lapide, Piscator], in such a way that they often consider them, and have confidence in them, and establish their lives according to those things [Piscator]: Or, observe [Beza, Gomar] through faith of the truth and love of the precepts [Gomar]) those things which are written in it (Piscator, Beza, etc.), namely, so that they might compare them with events, whence they might be further reinforced in faith (Grotius); so that they might be stirred by them unto obedience to God, and a holy life, and suffering for Christ (Lapide). Question: But how are we hence rendered blessed? Response: Because the Apocalypse discusses everywhere the ends especially of good men and of evil men, and the means unto those: the very calamities also, which are here predicted, cry out that there must be repentance (Cotterius). Blessed are they, because they know such things to be guided, not by chance, but by divine providence; because they are not offended by the cross of the Church, but persevere in it; because they know that the insolence of enemies is only going to endure for a brief time, and that they are in the end going to reign with Christ eternally (Apocalyptic Harmony). Τηρεῖν, to keep, here is the same as συντηρεῖν in Luke 2:19,[4] and διατηρεῖν in Luke 2:51[5] (Grotius).

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy: from hence is well concluded, that this is a portion of holy writ to be read publicly and privately, otherwise no blessing would have been pronounced to the readers or the hearers of it. It is also well from hence concluded, that this book is no history of things done, but a prediction of things to come to pass; for though prophecy in some scriptures signifieth more largely the revelation of the Divine will, yet here it must signify strictly. And keep those things which are written therein; that keep it in memory, and live in view of it, and as persons that believe it; they are blessed, as they will from it be comforted, concerning all the sufferings of the church, and people of God.

[The time, etc., καιρὸς, etc.] For the time (either, 1. in which those things will begin to be accomplished [Piscator]: or, 2. of certain things; as concerning the civil wars of the Romans, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem [Grotius]: or, 3. of judgment, or of blessedness [Menochius]; or, of seizing thence the most abundant fruit [Lapide, similarly Menochius, Tirinus], that is, for him that reads the words, hears in faith, and keeps in deed [Gagnæus]: Concerning the word καιρὸς, see Acts 1:7[6] [Grotius]: It is a moment of time [Camerarius]; or, an occasion, or opportuneness of time: In which he tacitly admonishes that present persecutions are not so much calamities as opportunities for rewards and crowns [Ribera, similarly Lapide]) is at hand (Piscator, Beza), or, is near (Camerarius), so that it is possible that some now living might attain to it (Piscator). Thus he renders them more attentive and vigilant, and excites them by the hope of near reward (Ribera). In the writings of the Prophets, קָרֺב יוֹם, near is the day, is common, as in Deuteronomy 32:35;[7] Isaiah 13:6;[8] Jeremiah 48:16;[9] Joel 1:15;[10] Obadiah 15;[11] Zephaniah 1:7,[12] 14.[13] John does not wish to be objected to himself what had been objected to Ezekiel, Ezekiel 12:27 (Grotius).

For the time is at hand; the season for the accomplishment of these things is nigh, not past, but the time when they shall begin to happen is not very far off.

[1] Greek: μακάριος ὁ ἀναγινώσκων, καὶ οἱ ἀκούοντες τοὺς λόγους τῆς προφητείας καὶ τηροῦντες τὰ ἐν αὐτῇ γεγραμμένα· ὁ γὰρ καιρὸς ἐγγύς.

[2] Thus Theodotion.

[3] The demonstrative use of the definite article.

[4] Luke 2:19:  “But Mary kept (συνετήρει) all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”

[5] Luke 2:51b:  “…but his mother kept (διετήρει) all these sayings in her heart.”

[6] Acts 1:7b:  “…It is not for you to know the times or the seasons (χρόνους ἢ καιροὺς), which the Father hath put in his own power.”

[7] Deuteronomy 32:35:  “To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time:  for near is the day (קָרוֹב֙ י֣וֹם) of their calamity, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.”

[8] Isaiah 13:6:  “Howl ye; for near is the day (קָר֖וֹב י֣וֹם) of the Lord; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.”

[9] Jeremiah 48:16:  “The calamity of Moab is near (קָרוֹב) to come, and his affliction hasteth fast.”

[10] Joel 1:15:  “Alas for the day! for near is the day (קָרוֹב֙ י֣וֹם) of the Lord, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.”

[11] Obadiah 15a:  “For near is the day of the Lord (קָר֥וֹב יוֹם־יְהוָ֖ה) upon all the heathen…”

[12] Zephaniah 1:7:  “Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God: for near is the day (קָרוֹב֙ י֣וֹם) of the Lord: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.”

[13] Zephaniah 1:14a:  “Near is the day of the Lord (קָר֤וֹב יוֹם־יְהוָה֙), the great day; it is near (קָרוֹב), and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord…”

2 thoughts on “Revelation 1:3: The Blessedness of Bible Study

  1. Westminster Larger Catechism 156: ‘Is the Word of God to be read by all? Although all are not to be permitted to read the word publickly to the congregation, yet all sorts of people are bound to read it apart by themselves, and with their families: to which end, the holy scriptures are to be translated out of the original into vulgar languages.’

  2. William Tong (for Matthew Henry): ‘We have here an apostolic benediction on those who should give a due regard to this divine revelation; and this benediction is given more generally and more especially.

    More generally, to all who either read or hear the words of the prophecy. This blessing seems to be pronounced with a design to encourage us to study this book, and not be weary of looking into it upon account of the obscurity of many things in it; it will repay the labour of the careful and attentive reader. Observe, 1. It is a blessed privilege to enjoy the oracles of God. This was one of the principal advantages the Jews had above the Gentiles. 2. It is a blessed thing to study the scriptures; those are well employed who search the scriptures. 3. It is a privilege not only to read the scriptures ourselves, but to hear them read by others, who are qualified to give us the sense of what they read and to lead us into an understanding of them. 4. It is not sufficient to our blessedness that we read and hear the scriptures, but we must keep the things that are written; we must keep them in our memories, in our minds, in our affections, and in practice, and we shall be blessed in the deed. 5. The nearer we come to the accomplishment of the scriptures, the greater regard we shall give to them. The time is at hand, and we should be so much the more attentive as we see the day approaching.’

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