"THE REVELATION OF JOHN THE APOSTLE," by Richard D. Draper and Michael D. Rhodes, BYU Studies, $29.99, 918 pages (nf)

The Prophet Joseph Smith once declared the book of Revelation to be "one of the plainest books God ever caused to be written" as noted in "the Revelation of John the Apostle." Joseph is in the minority, though; most people find this final chapter of the New Testament a little confusing. For the those who aspire to understand the beasts and women and plagues, "The Revelation of John the Apostle," a New Testament Commentary from BYU Studies, will be a welcome resource.

At over 900 pages, this commentary by Richard D. Draper and Michael D. Rhodes, both emeritus religion professors at BYU, may seem as intimidating as the book of Revelation of St. John the Divine itself. The reverse is true, though.

Draper and Rhodes break the text down phrase by phrase, utilizing ancient languages, cultures and traditions to interpret symbols and provide context for the modern reader. Furthermore, the authors point out how Revelation complements and corroborates Nephi's vision and the Doctrine and Covenants. The style is academic enough to be professional but still casual enough to engage casual readers.

The authors include the original Greek text, the King James translation, and the authors' own translations. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will appreciate the eighth Article of Faith anew as the book points out the flaws and errors in the King James translation. Each section of the book contains an introduction, the three texts, translation notes and comments, an analysis and summary; the chapters begin with an introduction and close with a conclusion. The result is a book easily referenced for studying small portions of Revelation and cohesive enough to read cover to cover.

Draper is an emeritus professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University. He was associate dean of religious education at BYU from 2004-07. Rhodes is an emeritus associate research professor of ancient scripture at BYU who has published in Egyptology, astronomy and LDS scriptural topics.

Rachel Chipman has a bachelor's degree in family life and human development. Her goals include reading more, writing more and learning to type while chasing her toddler. Her email address is racheldchipman@gmail.com.