Category Archives: Book of Revelation

Does the word ‘book’ appear in the NT – and in the Book of Revelation?

oldbook by Armini

(courtesy openclipart)

By Spencer D Gear

I was provoked to think about this in a post by childofdust on Christian Forums. He wrote:

There were no “books” in the ancient world. He might have rolled up a scroll or sealed a tablet or something, but no “book” was closed. And the Revelation itself (not the letters) is certainly not part of God’s word. But YHWH did continue to reveal himself to humankind through his Church. She is the body of Christ and the fount of his Spirit. Spirit-inspired Tradition has been with us since the beginning of the Church and continues till this day.[1]

[2]This is your idiosyncratic view. The Greek word, biblos (translated as ‘book’ in ESV), is found in Phil. 4:3; Rev. 3:5, 20:15. Arndt & Gingrich’s Greek lexicon gives the meaning as, book, later esp. sacred, venerable book; of a single writing; especially book of life (summary from Arndt & Gingrich 1957:140-141).

This includes the meaning from classical and koine NT Greek.

The classical Greek, NT, and church fathers also used biblion (see Rev. 13:8) which meant, according to Arndt & Gingrich, book, scroll, document, of the scroll of the prophets, of holy writings generally, certificate of divorce (summary from Arndt & Gingrich 1957:140).

So in classical and koine Greek there was an understanding of ‘book’, not as in the days of the printing press, but ‘book’, nevertheless.

Your view is false about the Book of Revelation as not being part of God’s Word. History refutes you. The oldest copy we have of the NT canon is the Muratorian Canon, which is dated about AD 170-200, and is a manuscript fragment. Have a guess what? It refutes your view. While it excludes some books from our current canon (it contained portions of 22 books), it most certainly does include the Revelation of John.

Athanasius, in his Easter letter of AD 367 to the churches under his jurisdiction as the bishop of Alexandria, listed the 27 books that we have in our canon of the NT – including the Book of Revelation.[3]

So when it came to the Council of Carthage in AD 397, it merely affirmed what had been generally accepted by the church over a long period of time – the 27 books of the NT, including the Book of Revelation. Church historian, Earle E. Cairns has noted,

The slowness with which the church accepted Hebrews and Revelation as canonical is indicative of the care and devotion with which it dealt with this question (Cairns 1981:118-119).

I urge you to become a student of church history. Then you would not make this kind of banal statement about the Book of Revelation not being a part of God’s Word. You are clearly wrong, based on the evidence from church history.

Works consulted

Arndt, W F & Gingrich, F W 1957. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature.[4] Chicago: The University of Chicago Press (limited edition licensed to Zondervan Publishing House).

Cairns, E E 1981. Christianity through the Centuries, rev ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.


[1] Christian Forums, Christian Scriptures, ‘Did God stop dictating his Word after the Book of Revelation?’ childofdust#7, available at: (Accessed 21 June 2012).

[2] The following is my response to him, ibid OzSpen#12.

[3] This information is from Cairns (1981:118).

[4] This is ‘a translation and adaptation of Walter Bauer’s Griechisch-Deutsches Wörtbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments und der übrigen urchristlichen Literatur’ (4th rev & augmented edn 1952) (Arndt & Gingrich 1957:iii).


Copyright © 2015 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 19 November 2015.

The meaning of Revelation 22:18-19



By Spencer D Gear

It is a common ploy to make these two verses apply to the entire Bible. Here is an example that I met on Christian Forums:

All the newer bibles are garbage that have been changed by Satans children to subtlety change Gods messages , not unlike what Satan did in the garden of Eden when speaking with eve[1]…. I have only spoken the truth showing thru scripture what happens when one changes the word of God, I would think one would be able to make an informed view that the newer bibles are in direct conflict with Gods warning in revelation 22 [verse 19][2]…. He changed Gods word and for this his name was taken away from the bible just as God promised in revelation 22:19.[3]

Revelation 22:18-19 states:

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. (ESV).

It speaks of “the book of this prophecy”. Which prophecy? The Book of Revelation.

We know this because the Book of Revelation was a prophecy given by “John to the seven churches that are in Asia” (Rev. 1:4). What was to be done with this prophetic Book of Revelation when it was first written?

“Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” (Rev. 1:11 ESV).

So this Book of Revelation (not the entire NT) – only this one book – was sent to the 7 churches of Asia [we now know that these churches are in what we call Asia Minor]. So, what was written in Rev. 22:19, if it were to have any meaning to the people in the 7 churches of Asia Minor COULD NOT have been referring to the entire Bible as it is one book, the Book of Revelation, that was in “the words of the prophecy of this book” and “in a book” and this one book was sent. It would have been strange to have the warning of Revelation 22:18-19 to apply to the whole of the OT and the NT for the “seven churches” of Asia Minor when only one book was sent to them to hear.

Therefore, the only meaning of this warning is to the prophecy of the Book of Revelation. The seven churches of Asia would know that, but people in the twenty-first century want to change that to give it a meaning that was not possible for the churches of Asia Minor to have understood.

Why don’t these people understand the intent of the writing of this book that had only one meaning to the people who first read it in Asia Minor – they had only one book, the Book of Revelation, and the warning against adding to the prophecy of this book could have only one meaning to them? It referred ONLY to the one book they heard or read in Asia Minor– the Book of Revelation.


[1] Christian Forums, Baptists, ‘The New International Version (NIV) Bible completely removes the word ‘Godhead’, Azadok2day#22, 5 July 2012. Available at: (Accessed 7 July 2012).

[2] Ibid., #49, 6 July 2012.

[3] Ibid., #53, 6 July 2012.


Copyright © 2013 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 29 October 2015.