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Breaking the Code: Understanding the Book of Revelation Paperback – 1 Aug 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 111 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press (1 Aug. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0687492009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0687492008
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 14.1 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By zunbrown on 26 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book, and the Bible study series that accompanies it, are so clearly presented that even those running from reading Revelation found it encouraging. One participant of my bible study group let me know that she now sees the importance of this book in the Word. I have great appreciation for Dr. Metzger's work.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 49 reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Metzger Makes Sense! 7 Feb. 2007
By David D. Flowers - Published on
Format: Paperback
Are you intimidated by the book of Revelation? Are you confused by the many views people hold about this amazing book? Looking for a book that will help you understand what John saw and what his readers would have understood in the late first-century? If you are, then this book is for you.

Metzger makes sense of this special book we call Revelation. From the beginning Metzger claims that this book has been mistreated by two extreme views: those who concentrate all of their study on this one book and those who are fearful to even attempt to read and interpret it. Many have carelessly ignored the literary genre in which it was written... that being apocalyptic literature.

This little book works much like a commentary. It is easy to read as it is primarily a guide to understanding the "Code" or symbols John uses in this type of literature. I highly recommend this book to those who are concerned with the historical-grammatical approach to studying and interpreting the Scriptures. It is a wonderful book to use in a small Bible study group. (You can also purchase a video and a leaders guide) I have used this in a small group. My class loved it!

It is no secret that Metzger's book is for the common man. Meaning: those who have not spent their entire lives at school, do not have knowledge of Greek, nor have had the opportunity to study theology in an educational institution. Metzger has the common man in mind. I have had the privilege to do these things... yet I find this book to be a great little resource when doing introductory study on the book of Revelation.

There are plenty of books on the market for those who want to further explore the first-century world of John to our modern day. This book is for those who want a historical approach to the book. It is plain and simple. And this is what Metzger wanted to accomplish. Get this book and learn of the great hope that Revelation presents to those who are called "the overcomers!"
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Solid and readable 2 Aug. 2007
By J. Miller - Published on
Format: Paperback
The first thing one must admit in reviewing one of Metzger's work is that next to no one is qualified to review one of Metzger's works. One of the most noted biblical scholars of a century, it's unlikely that any casual reader can take aim at him.

That said, the book is written for the casual reader, and in that sense is very accessible and unintimidating. There are even points at which, for the scholar or preacher, one might wish he would go into more detail concerning the first century context. The details of the eruption of Vesuvius and the threat of the Parthians are eye-opening, but Metzger gives them each only a passing notice. Nontheless, for an introduction to the Book of Revelation from the perspective of one who is not anticipating a literal, science-fiction fulfillment of the book in the future, this is a perfect read.

What is strongest about the book is that Metzger unpacks some of the most significant images of the text: the beast, the prostitute, the dragon and the lamb. He shows the first-century implications for the Roman Empire and lets us into the heart of one of Jesus' disciples, comforting a persecuted congregation. He interprets the symbols the way apocalyptic literature should be interpreted, as cosmic projections of present-day events. And all of this is done within the realm of Christian orthodoxy. In the end, it's a solid, reliable, insightful, brief book by a humble and talented scholar.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Good, but overly brief 4 May 2010
By Kirialax - Published on
Format: Paperback
It is hard to say much on such a tiny, abbreviated book. Metzger strives to place Revelation in its historical context, and thus reads it as it would have been read in the first century, specifically in light of its many Old Testament references. He does this spectacularly for the first 30 pages of the book or so, as he explains the subtle messages to the Anatolian churches and many of the Old Testament references therein. However, the books starts to fall apart somewhat after this. It seems that at that point Professor Metzger was reminded of his page limit and popular audience, and as such it becomes extremely abbreviated and somewhat dumbed-down. A lot of the images are left unexplained, as are many of the historical references and Old Testament allusions.

In sum, I was rather disappointed because I expected a lot more from a scholar as eminent as Professor Metzger. However, I'm still giving it four stars because it is a good, easily available overview of Revelation and dismisses many of the fantastical elements that various crackpots have attributed to it over the years. If there is anything to be learned from this book, it is Metzger's own explanation that Revelation "means what it means, not what it says."
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Excellent 23 Jun. 2009
By Martin B. Cramer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Metzger looks only at what the Bible says and not, like many prophecy teachers today, what the news says. Teachers today try to make the events they see fit with what scripture says insted of just reading in the sense of when it was written. Metzger uses language that new learners and scholars can understand, thus opening the Word to all who will read and hear. People such as John Hagee and Jack Van Impe would do well to learn from this man and his Biblical writings.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Brief but valuable. 6 April 2008
By R. S. Arthur - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Apocalyptic literature does not lend itself to easy interpretation. It is written at a specific time to a specific people, undergoing trials or persecution in an historical context that has little meaning to the modern reader. Bruce Metzger's "Breaking the Code" is a brief (111 pp. including the index) but valuable key to the Book of Revelations, everybody's Rohrschach inkblot of religion and the Bible. The book was intended as a guide for bible-study discussions and other versions are available to group leaders, etc. His explanations are solidly orthodox and also scholarly without any particular theological ambitions. They are therefore not likely to offend any but the most sensitive of sectarian sensibilities. The book has a Protestant perspective (e.g. , "...the truth that Protestant Reformers empahasized...", the tangential mention of the Woman clothed with the sun being identified with Mary), but I used it as preparation for a bible-study with fellow Catholics and quoted from it frequently when trying to eluciate passages that are often obscure to the contemporary mind. While there are more encyclopedic references, such as Ford's Anchor Bible version which is now out of print, this small volume provides the best, concise, timely explication of the facts and events in the mind of St. John when he composed Revelations.
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