Over the past few days I have been trying to come up with a topic to blog about. A topic that did not have to do with the end times because I know that branch of theology has comprised most of my blogs over the last year. Even though I had a few ideas bouncing around in my head, the Holy Spirit had a specific agenda for this morning’s reflection – to humble me. Because, you see, this post has to do with my Revelation commentary, Mystery Made Known, that I wrote almost a year ago.
I devote much of my time, energy and resources to this pursuit because to know God in His Word is my single greatest passion in life. Studying the Bible is not a chore for me, but a joyful hobby. I write blogs primarily because I enjoy communicating what I have been learning from His Word. So, when I realize that I made a mistake, a public mistake at that, it can be a hard pill to swallow let alone point out to others. However, I do think this is an important lesson for not just me but for all of us.
Here’s What I Got Wrong
I began an attempt to outline the book of Revelation earlier today. As soon as I made it to the churches (Rev. 2 – 3) I took down a copy of Mystery Made Known from my bookshelf to review something I had written regarding the church in Laodicea. In the book, on page forty-eight, is a spelling mistake. I misspelled, Laodicea, writing instead, Laodice. Spelling mistakes tend to drive me crazy. This one was particularly vexing especially since I preformed a spellcheck on the document as well as reread it three times before printing.
But it got worse. As I discussed the geography in Laodicea in my book, I failed to cite a source for where I got my information. Though I did not use any outside sources while writing the rest of the book, when it came to this section, I was reflecting upon various statements I had heard regarding the layout and history of the city. I understand there exists a level of ambiguity regarding plagiarism and the idea of common knowledge, but I also see that there is no way to pull out the geographical layout from what is written in the Biblical text alone. Therefore, I must commit to citing any extra-Biblical sources when the information cannot be found specifically in the Bible. Here is one for your reference.
Yet, and most humbling of the three, was when I realized this morning that I may have interpreted a passage incorrectly. The first was a spelling error, the second a citation omission, but this third was the nail in the coffin – not to sound overly dramatic but this is exactly how I felt as this realization hit me. In my commentary I talked about how the angel sent from God (Rev. 1:1) was Jesus appearing as the Angel of the LORD because that is who is seen and has a word for the churches throughout the first three chapters. However, Revelation 4:1 states that, after the messages were given to the churches, John heard the first voice speaking to him. Thus, the implication is that there were at least two voices so far in the text. The first voice was probably the angel sent by Jesus (Rev. 22:16) who initially spoke to John on the island of Patmos (Rev. 1:10-11) and the second voice was Jesus. Both passages (Rev. 1:10 and Rev. 4:1) seem to reveal that the trumpet-sounding voice came from an ordinary angel and not Jesus.
So, what did I learn and what would I like you to take away from this? First, whether you are reading a book or listening to a sermon always go back to what the Word of God says (Acts 17:11). The Bible is perfect and without error, but we are not. We are prone to make mistakes because our understanding is flawed. Thus, it is important to always take what we are reading or hearing and go back to the source, the Bible. Second, one of the reasons I keep going back to Revelation and studying passages I have studied again and again these last twelve months, is because of instances like this one. God’s Word will never be exhausted and there is always more to be gleaned. I know I do not have all the answers, but the Lord is growing me according to His plan and purpose (1 Cor. 3:6) and, while this is a humbling moment, I hope that I have maintained a teachable attitude as the Lord continues to mature me.
 Phil Logan and Paul J. Martin, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, 2015., pg. 990 – 991.