John Walvoord’s Revelation, a commentary originally published in 1966, has served pastors and Bible teachers for some forty-five years. The author went to be with the Lord in 2002, but recently Philip E. Rawley and Mark Hitchcock were tasked with revising and updating Dr. Walvoord’s commentary. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Mark Hitchcock about his work with the commentary.
Mark Hitchcock has earned a degree from Oklahoma State University and holds a law degree from Oklahoma City University and a Th.M. and Ph.D., both from Dallas Theological Seminary. Mark has been serving as senior pastor of Faith Bible Church in Edmond, Oklahoma since October 1992. He has authored over twenty books related to end time Bible prophecy.
1. How did you first meet Dr. Walvoord and how has he most influenced your life?
I first met Dr. Walvoord as a young boy when he would come and speak at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, OK. He would talk to me after the services. Of course, he had no idea then that someday I would be working on his commentary. Later when I became a Th.M. student at Dallas Theological Seminary I met with Dr. Walvoord several times. But it was during my years as a Ph.D. student at DTS that Dr. Walvoord and I would frequently have lunch at the Dixie House (a local restaurant).
Dr. Walvoord has influenced my life in at least three ways. He helped me to better appreciate biblical prophecy. Dr. Walvoord was also very unassuming and one of the least self-focused people I have ever met. He did not like to talk about himself. This was a great lesson for me. Dr. Walvoord was also very pragmatic and practical. Every great Christian leader that I have met has had this quality, a quality that I have tried to incorporate into my own ministry.
2. How has Dr. Walvoord’s commentary affected your own life and ministry?
For me, Walvoord’s commentary is still the standard Dispensational commentary on Revelation even though it was first published in 1966. As a pastor, I have preached through Revelation several times and Walvoord’s commentary has been my commentary of choice. I simply devoured it.
3. What was your role in the updating of this commentary?
Most of the major rewriting and editing was done by Philip Rawley. My primary role was to read the revised text to make sure it still faithfully represented the theology and interpretations of the original edition. I also added to the introductory material, especially the dating of the book (which was the subject of my Ph.D. dissertation) and the charts and diagrams throughout the book.
4. Who do you think would benefit most from use this commentary?
Pastors and teachers of the Bible would be the primary beneficiaries of this volume. But with the stylistic changes made in this volume, this work could benefit any reader interested in the book of Revelation or biblical prophecy. I believe that this commentary should really be in any pastor’s library.
5. Other than this commentary, what are some of your other favorite commentaries on Revelation?
I would probably choose Robert Thomas’ two volumes on Revelation, especially for the more technical discussions. Other pastorally friendly volumes might be the commentaries by Ryrie. MacArthur, Wiersbe, Stedman, Hindson, Phillips, and Morris.