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Revelation 1:1

Context
The Prologue

1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, 1  which God gave him to show his servants 2  what must happen very soon. 3  He made it clear 4  by sending his angel to his servant 5  John,

Revelation 1:4

Context

1:4 From John, 6  to the seven churches that are in the province of Asia: 7  Grace and peace to you 8  from “he who is,” 9  and who was, and who is still to come, 10  and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,

Revelation 1:9

Context

1:9 I, John, your brother and the one who shares 11  with you in the persecution, kingdom, and endurance that 12  are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony about Jesus. 13 

1 tn The phrase ἀποκάλυψις ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ (ajpokaluyi" Ihsou Cristou, “the revelation of Jesus Christ”) could be interpreted as either an objective genitive (“the revelation about Jesus Christ”), subjective genitive (“the revelation from Jesus Christ”), or both (M. Zerwick’s “general” genitive [Biblical Greek, §§36-39]; D. B. Wallace’s “plenary” genitive [ExSyn 119-21]). In 1:1 and 22:16 it is clear that Jesus has sent his angel to proclaim the message to John; thus the message is from Christ, and this would be a subjective genitive. On a broader scale, though, the revelation is about Christ, so this would be an objective genitive. One important point to note is that the phrase under consideration is best regarded as the title of the book and therefore refers to the whole of the work in all its aspects. This fact favors considering this as a plenary genitive.

2 tn Grk “slaves.” Although this translation frequently renders δοῦλος (doulos) as “slave,” the connotation is often of one who has sold himself into slavery; in a spiritual sense, the idea is that of becoming a slave of God or of Jesus Christ voluntarily. The voluntary notion is not conspicuous here; hence, the translation “servants.” In any case, the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.

3 tn BDAG 992-93 s.v. τάχος has “quickly, at once, without delay Ac 10:33 D; 12:7; 17:15 D; 22:18; 1 Cl 48:1; 63:4…soon, in a short timeRv 1:1; 22:6shortly Ac 25:4.”

4 tn Or “He indicated it clearly” (L&N 33.153).

5 tn See the note on the word “servants” earlier in this verse.

6 tn Grk “John.” The word “From” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied to indicate the sender of the letter.

7 tn Grk “Asia”; in the NT this always refers to the Roman province of Asia, made up of about one-third of the west and southwest end of modern Asia Minor. Asia lay to the west of the region of Phrygia and Galatia. The words “the province of” are supplied to indicate to the modern reader that this does not refer to the continent of Asia.

8 tn It is probable that the ὑμῖν (Jumin) applies to both elements of the greeting, i.e., to both grace and peace.

9 tc The earliest and best mss (Ì18vid א A C P 2050 al lat sy co) lack the term “God” (θεοῦ, qeou) between “from” (ἀπό, apo) and “he who is” (ὁ ὤν, Jo wn). Its inclusion, as supported by the bulk of the Byzantine witnesses, is clearly secondary and a scribal attempt to achieve two things: (1) to make explicit the referent in the passage, namely, God, and (2) to smooth out the grammar. The preposition “from” in Greek required a noun in the genitive case. But here in Rev 1:4 the words following the preposition “from” (ἀπό) are in another case, i.e., the nominative. There are two principal ways in which to deal with this grammatical anomaly. First, it could be a mistake arising from someone who just did not know Greek very well, or as a Jew, was heavily influenced by a Semitic form of Greek. Both of these unintentional errors are unlikely here. Commenting on this ExSyn 63 argues: “Either of these is doubtful here because (1) such a flagrant misunderstanding of the rudiments of Greek would almost surely mean that the author could not compose in Greek, yet the Apocalypse itself argues against this; (2) nowhere else does the Seer [i.e., John] use a nom. immediately after a preposition (in fact, he uses ἀπό 32 times with the gen. immediately following).” The passage appears to be an allusion to Exod 3:14 (in the LXX) where God refers to himself as “he who is” (ὁ ὤν), the same wording in Greek as here in Rev 1:4. Thus, it appears that John is wanting to leave the divine name untouched (perhaps to allude to God’s immutability, or as a pointer to the Old Testament as the key to unlocking the meaning of this book), irrespective of what it “looks” like grammatically. The translation has placed the “he who is” in quotation marks to indicate to the reader that the syntactical awkwardness is intentional. (For further comments, see ExSyn 63).

10 tn BDAG 106 s.v. ἀπό 5.d states: “The expr. εἰρήνη ἀπὸὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενοςRv 1:4 is quite extraordinary. It may be an interpretation of the name Yahweh already current, or an attempt to show reverence for the divine name by preserving it unchanged, or simply one more of the grammatical peculiarities so frequent in Rv.”

11 tn The translation attempts to bring out the verbal idea in συγκοινωνός (sunkoinwno", “co-sharer”); John was suffering for his faith at the time he wrote this.

12 tn The prepositional phrase ἐν ᾿Ιησοῦ (en Ihsou) could be taken with ὑπομονῇ (Jupomonh) as the translation does or with the more distant συγκοινωνός (sunkoinwno"), in which case the translation would read “your brother and the one who shares with you in Jesus in the persecution, kingdom, and endurance.”

13 tn The phrase “about Jesus” has been translated as an objective genitive.



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