Review: Revelation (Reformed Expository Commentary)

35818879Richard D. Phillips is Senior Minister at the historic Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville, South Carolina. Phillips is a respected pastor-scholar with a D.D. from Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and an M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary. He is the author of more than thirty-five books, including several expository commentaries on the Old and New Testament. Most recently, Phillips has written a noteworthy commentary on Revelation for the Reformed Expository Commentary series.

The Reformed Expository Commentary series is a landmark work founded on four foundational commitments: (1) biblical—presenting a comprehensive exposition characterized by careful attention to the details of the text, (2) doctrinal—committing to the standards of the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, (3) redemptive-historical—seeking to uncover the unity of the Bible and its central message of salvation in Christ, and (4) practical—applying the text of Scripture to the contemporary challenges of life (p. xi-xii). The contributions in this series are intentionally designed to be accessible to both pastors and lay readers, and notable for a careful exposition of the biblical text that is doctrinally Reformed and Christ-exalting.

Revelation: Reformed Expository Commentary omits a formal introduction, but Phillips does much to inform the reader during the exposition. The commentary is comprised of material presented to the congregation of Second Presbyterian Church and reads much like a polished sermon transcript. Phillips is both insightful and informative, and his exposition of the Book of Revelation is suitably positioned to unveil the majesty of Christ for readers of all backgrounds. Phillips does well to address various interpretative approaches but ultimately preaches the book as a proclamation of hope for John’s immediate audience that symbolically describes the entire Church. In this sense, Phillips is fair-minded and even-handed in his application of the text and the contemporary significance is overflowing on nearly every page.

The size of the commentary is quite large (at over 700 pages) and could be overwhelming for some readers. That said, the readability and a practical nature of the series, especially Phillips’ work on Revelation here, is superb on a number of levels. It is certainly a volume that will assist the busy pastor with sermon preparation and delivery. The illustrations and information that emerge are invaluable and the keen reader will reap the reward of decades of fruitful ministry. It is also a volume that will greatly enrich the devotional life of lay readers and should be utilized by such. I am confident that this is one of the best expository commentaries on the market for the Book of Revelation and readers, whether they adhere to the Reformed tradition or not, will discover a tremendous amount of benefit from engaging Phillips.

If you are planning on preaching or teaching the Book of Revelation in the near future, or simply looking for practical guidance, then Revelation: Reformed Expository Commentary by Richard D. Phillips is a much have resource. It’s practical and informative, and readers will benefit from it immediately. It comes highly recommended.

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