1. First impressions. Read through the entire book of Revelation in one sitting without consulting a commentary. Make notes regarding your impression of:
1.1 Identity and circumstances of the first readers
1.2 Purpose of the document
1.3 Mood and world view
1.4 What questions do you have about Revelation that you hope to answer before the course is finished?
2. Make a brief outline of the book (no more than one page). Attach descriptive or summary names to each major section. Then answer:
2.1 What patterns and structure do you see?
2.2 Are there any themes that reappear throughout? How do these themes resonate with or differ from the rest of the New Testament?
2.3 List the cast of major characters that loom large in the book.
2.4 List the major symbols that seem particularly important.
2.5 What is the climax of the book? Is there more than one?
2.6 Did you come across any sections that seem to give practical or pastoral counsel?
3. Author and readers
3.1 Examine every detail that can help you learn about the author. What does the text say or imply?
3.2 Examine every detail that can help you learn about the reader(s) and/or “hearers” of this Revelation. What does the text say or imply? Note the word of blessing in v. 3. Who is blessed?
4. What time frame does the author have in mind for fulfillment of his message, and how does that affect his tone and approach?
5. Explore the Christology of this chapter.
5.1 What titles does John give to Christ?
5.2 What are the origins and meaning of the symbolism ascribed to Christ?
5.3 What emotive response do you have to the picture of Christ? Is the imagery meant to comfort? Instill fear? Evoke joy?
6. What does this chapter reveal about John’s ecclesiology? What does this chapter suggest about the relationship of prophecy to the congregation?
7. What would this chapter say to those who want to find predictions of twentieth-century events in Revelation?