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What Does the Bible Say About..Two Authors of Revelation?

A religion/philosophy teacher at my college stated that he has read the Revelation at least 13 times in GREEK and he says that there is NO possible way that the person in the book we have dubbed “John” is the writer. He claims that the language quality varies from passage to passage. We both know that the beginning is an introduction someone added later but he says that the Greek goes from flawless to awful grammatically several times throughout the book. Being that he also can read Hebrew he says it seems more like another man, “Person X,” is writing a story about a man named John who had this experience. Since John was told to write these things down and it wasn’t specified during or after he assumes that John is forced to write them once he returns in the flesh. If John is the one and only writer (outside of the narrator in Ch.1) then why did he switch up the grammar style as this person claims? He says that the writer, “Person X,” places the Greek hymns in flawlessly to assure we separate the two people, X & John. After doing some Googling on the topic it seems well discussed but no defined solution is reached. Since the ultimate goal for Christians in to be taken when Christ returns it would an atrocity if this book was only a story. Is there an explanation for the simple mistakes followed by the flawless grammar aside from the 3rd person author theory?


I see no reason to believe that even the introduction was written by a separate person than the author of the rest of the Revelation. The style of an introduction is necessarily different from the style of the vision itself. That does not necessarily imply a different author.

I am not a Greek scholar, so I probably can’t answer those aspects of your question. One interesting aspect of what you said does stand out. You said the supposed second writer “places the Greek hymns in flawlessly to assure we separate the two people.” If this is the only example of the difference in styles then it is easy to explain. When I am writing and include a scripture, the styles are significantly different between my writing and the scripture. So it is with the Revelation. The styles of the hymns would be flawless because they are copied from another source. The author may have used hymns already in existence, and they would naturally be of a different style and quality.

I am also aware of arguments that the John of the Revelation is not necessarily the apostle John. This is a possibility. Nevertheless, it really does not make much difference. Even if this author’s style is significantly different from the gospel and letters of John, that may only indicate that it is a different John; or it may indicate that this is a much more mature John than in his earlier writings. It may even indicate that this was written before the gospel. The genre of the writing will also affect how the style compares to other writings attributed to John, though it would not necessarily explain differences in style within the book.

Another possible explanation for simple mistakes followed by flawless grammar is that John’s secretary was much more fluent in Greek than he was. Face it, if the author was the apostle and was in his eighties or nineties he probably reverted back to his native Aramaic to formulate his thoughts. Even if he dictated in Greek it was a second language to him. His secretary may have had time to clean up parts of it before John started dictating again. Consider also that this was probably a letter. John did not have the benefit of a word processor to go back and edit it. Once it was written it probably stayed essentially as written. He would not make a lot of edits that would require major rewriting, simply because of the work this would create for his secretary (not that my bosses care about major rework on letters they give me to type). Also, he was not writing for literary publication. He may not even have expected this book to remain in circulation for very long. The Holy Spirit may not have revealed to him that this was to become part of the scriptures for all time.

Does any of this make any difference? Is it, as you put it, an atrocity? I think not. That the apostle John may not have written it does not alter that it was recognized as part of the canon of scripture. We don’t know who wrote Hebrews, but that does not make it any less valuable.

Does the style or the actual name of the author change the facts? The book has happened just the way it said it would. The Roman Empire (Babylon the Great) brought great persecution on the church. The church survived that persecution and became greater than the Roman Empire, which subsequently disappeared. The church survived in spite of great persecution and became, in Paul’s words, “more than conquerors.” Since the book says five times that the events of it were imminent in the author’s time, we can look back now and see how accurate the book was. For us, who live after the events written about in the book, the message is clear; God was able to take the early church through the greatest persecution imaginable, so he can keep us through any persecution the devil may send our way today.