Assignment: Interpreting Revelation

Assignment: Interpreting Revelation

Getting Started :

As you have heard in the video for this unit, Revelation employs several of the elements of apocalyptic literature to communicate its message. Revelation is written to insiders—people in the Christian communities of ancient western Asia who shared and understood most of the references and symbolism in the book. We face the challenge of decoding these symbols since we are separated from the writing of the books by a long time and a lot of space. Also, we tend to think that Revelation is about the future—not relevant to us in the here and now. However, much of Revelation was about the present situation faced by the churches mentioned in chapters 2 and 3. We say, “Hindsight is 20/20.” Revelation seeks to portray the present difficulties of the church more clearly by looking back on them from the end of time and space as we know it. That vision of the end is both horrifying and beautiful. Those extremes can make that hindsight even clearer, but they can also frighten and disorient us.
Do not fear! You can read Revelation, interpret it, and see its relevance to your daily life. You have had a chance to learn and practice close reading of biblical passages and the way that various contexts guide us in understanding them better. A little bit of help from a study Bible or short commentary can explain some of the unfamiliar images and symbolism for you. Finally, if you shift your thinking from considering Revelation as a set of future predictions to a book of message meant to comfort and inspire followers of Jesus in their current situation, suddenly the depiction of extreme events start to become meaningful and pertinent to us in the here and now. As with the rest of our work interpreting the New Testament, we are not asking you to solve all the mysteries of a given passage. You just need to read it analytically, explain it in its contexts, and make some connections to contemporary application. You can do that (with God’s help)!
Upon successful completion of the course material, you will be able to:
• Interpret a passage from Revelation
Resources:

• Bible
• Website: https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/ivp-nt/Revelation
Background Information:
This class stresses your direct interaction with Scripture, using the various contexts to inform your reading. While there are lots of commentaries and other resources out there on the Bible, you have not been asked to use these. This is to help you engage with the words of the Bible, rather than taking on someone else’s interpretation. However, because of its symbolism, we encourage you to make use of a quality commentary that can be found online for Revelation. This is at the following website: https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/ivp-nt/Revelation. This website contains sections and subsections that offer some explanatory comments on specific passages in Revelation. The commentary material should not replace your own close reading. Rather, use it to find explanations of some of the symbols and images that you do not understand. If you have any questions about how to use this resource, please ask your instructor.

Instructions:

1. You are allowed to choose a passage of your preference from anywhere in Revelation. Your passage should contain a complete idea or story. You should not start in the middle of something or cut a unit off early. Generally, your selection should be at least 3 verses long but no longer than 10 verses.
2. Once you have chosen your passage. You will want to read it closely, attending to its overall flow, the structure of sentences, key nouns, key verbs, and any important descriptive elements. Then you will want to consider the four contexts (immediate, literary, cultural-historical, and canonical) and see how they may inform your understanding of the passage. Remember that you can draw on the videos on “Literary Styles in the Bible,” “Cultures in and of the Bible,” and “The Story of the Bible” to help provide some material for these various contexts.
3. Find your passage in the online commentary presented above (https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/ivp-nt/Revelation). Read the commentary section on your selected passage. You can use this material to enrich your own reading and provide explanations for any symbolism you encounter there. If you use this material in your paper, be sure to cite it properly with APA format.
4. Compose a 650-750 word paper in proper APA format that contains the following:
a. A brief introduction thAssignment: Interpreting Revelation at identifies your passage and explains why you chose it (approximately 50-75 words)
b. A section that explores the details of the passage’s flow, sentence structure, nouns, verbs, and descriptors (approximately 250-300 words).
c. A section that explains the passage more fully by using two of the following contexts with connections to details in the passage: immediate, literary, historical-cultural, and canonical (approximately 250-300 words).
d. A short conclusion that states your main takeaway from your interpretive work and how that point may apply to our time and place (approximately 100-150 words).
5. Proofread your paper for content, organization, and mechanics.

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