Before we select a canned interpretive model, shouldn't we first consider what is meant by Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ (Rev 1:1)?

Does the Greek better support "revelation OF" or "revelation FROM" Jesus Christ?

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    – ThaddeusB
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 3:28
  • 1
    Yes ;) (oh the joys of the genitive)
    – Dan
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 23:47
  • Geoff, it doesn't appear that you've accepted an answer. If you have received a legit answer or two please mark it as the answer. If not, what might you be holding out for? Do you have an opinion on the correct reading?
    – user10231
    Commented May 8, 2016 at 17:44

3 Answers 3


The translation of Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ is certainly “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The real question is whether the genitive phrase should be understood as a subjective genitive or objective genitive.

  1. Subjective genitive: “the revelation of Jesus Christ” (ἀποκάλυψις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ) is understood as “what Jesus Christ reveals” (ὃ ἀποκαλύπτει ὁ Ἰησοῦς Χριστός)

  2. Objective genitive: “the revelation of Jesus Christ” (ἀποκάλυψις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ) is understood as “what is revealed about Jesus Christ” (ὃ ἀποκαλύπτεται περὶ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ)

Friedrich Hermann Christian Düsterdieck wrote,1

Düsterdieck, p. 95, Rev. 1:1


Düsterdieck, Friedrich Hermann Christian. Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Revelation of John. Trans. Jacobs, Henry E. New York: Funk, 1887.

Düsterdieck, Friedrich Hermann Christian. Kritisch exegetischer Kommentar über das Neue Testament, Sechzehnte Abtheilung, Kritisch exegetisches Handbuch über die Offenbarung Johannis. 4th ed. Vol. 16. Göttingen: Vandenboeck and Ruprecht, 1887.


1 English: p. 95; German: p. 103

  • 5
    Probably one could argue that using “from” instead of “to” would serve the purpose of making the English unambiguous, reflecting the sense of a subjective genitive. Disambiguating when the English can perfectly well package the same ambiguity as the Greek isn’t my favorite decision, but it may not be wrong. (and +1)
    – Susan
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 3:33
  • 2
    Could the ambiguity be intended so that it is both a revealing from Him and of Him? Jesus is clearly an integral part of what 'plainly follows'.
    – Geoff Bull
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 3:48
  • @GeoffBull I tend to have a fairly high bar for believing that someone is being intentionally ambiguous - particularly at the level of syntax - at least in prose. But I could be wrong. I don't think there's anything in the grammar that prevents it.
    – Susan
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 5:39
  • Although I am not going to answer this question, I really feel it is both, not knowing the actual translation. John (Unknown who he actually was, tradition holds he was the John of the Gospels, another topic) was given a "revelation" "of" what is to come involving Jesus. Now was it only about him(Jesus), or was it from him as well, via a messenger? Often I think that is up to the reader to decide. I somehow doubt it changes the actual message,
    – seedy3
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 0:12

Chapter one verse 1 of Revelation sums it up pretty well I think. The revelation is OF JESUS CHRIST, as given by God the father (see john 12:49) unto him (Jesus) to show us things which must shortly come to pass. So to me, this was a third heaven angel giving John a revelation, or revealing who Jesus is. Chapter 22:16 says this. "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches."


In his book, "The New Testament as Literature: A Very Short Introduction," Kyle Keefer states regarding the phrase "the revelation of Jesus Christ":

"These words contain a grammatical ambiguity. The "of" could function like the phrase "loaf of bread," in which both words name the same object. If read this way, Jesus Christ will be revealed; he himself is the revelation. The "of" could also denote possession, indicating that the revelation belongs to Jesus and has its source in him, as in the phrase "wrath of God." This ambiguity need not be decided as either/or. Clearly the book contains a special message from Christ, but at the same time, the book carefully reveals the identity of the messenger. What will be revealed in this book belongs to Jesus alone, and the content of the prophecy (1:3) will explain who he is."

Conclusion: Both meanings are intentional.

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