Reading Revelation with Accordance
Last night my family and I read the first chapter of Revelation for our family devotions. I'm not quite sure how things will go with the rest of the book, but we had a great time discussing the first chapter. That's because I was able to use the Atlas and PhotoGuide to show my family the location of Patmos and the seven churches, as well as a few photos of the island of Patmos. I can't wait to get to each of the letters to the seven churches, simply because I want to see their reaction to some of the photos of those cities. For example, I expect jaws to drop when I show them the dizzying theater at Pergamum, cut at a steep angle into the face of a high mountain. It will also be fun to correlate the descriptions in each of those letters to the distinctive characteristics of each site.
The PhotoGuide makes this easy by explaining things like that the Altar of Zeus at Pergamum may have inspired the description of the city as the place "where Satan has his throne" (Revelation 2:13). It also explains that Laodicea's water supply was neither hot, like the springs at Hierapolis, nor cold, like the waters of Colossae. Thus, the description of the church there as "lukewarm" was a play on the city's geographical circumstances.
There's so much interesting stuff related to the seven churches that I imagine we could spend quite some time in chapters 2 and 3. Maybe that will give me enough time to figure out chapters 4 through 22!
Okay, maybe not. ;-)