New American Bible (Revised Edition)
II. Letters to the Churches of Asia
Greeting.[b] 4 John, to the seven churches in Asia:[c] grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne,(B) 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us[d] from our sins by his blood,(C)Read full chapter
- 1:3 Blessed is the one: this is the first of seven beatitudes in this book; the others are in Rev 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14. This prophetic message: literally, “the words of the prophecy”; so Rev 22:7, 10, 18, 19 by inclusion. The appointed time: when Jesus will return in glory; cf. Rev 1:7; 3:11; 22:7, 10, 12, 20.
- 1:4–8 Although Revelation begins and ends (Rev 22:21) with Christian epistolary formulae, there is nothing between Rev 4; 22 resembling a letter. The author here employs the standard word order for greetings in Greek letter writing: “N. to N., greetings…”; see note on Rom 1:1.
- 1:4 Seven churches in Asia: Asia refers to the Roman province of that name in western Asia Minor (modern Turkey); these representative churches are mentioned by name in Rev 1:11, and each is the recipient of a message (Rev 2:1–3:22). Seven is the biblical number suggesting fullness and completeness; thus the seer is writing for the whole church.
- 1:5 Freed us: the majority of Greek manuscripts and several early versions read “washed us”; but “freed us” is supported by the best manuscripts and fits well with Old Testament imagery, e.g., Is 40:2.