New English Translation
To the Church in Sardis
“This is the solemn pronouncement of[c] the one who holds[d] the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a reputation[e] that you are alive, but[f] in reality[g] you are dead. 2 Wake up then, and strengthen what remains that was about[h] to die, because I have not found your deeds complete[i] in the sight[j] of my God. 3 Therefore, remember what you received and heard,[k] and obey it,[l] and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will never[m] know at what hour I will come against[n] you. 4 But you have a few individuals[o] in Sardis who have not stained[p] their clothes, and they will walk with me dressed[q] in white, because they are worthy. 5 The one who conquers[r] will be dressed like them[s] in white clothing,[t] and I will never[u] erase[v] his name from the book of life, but[w] will declare[x] his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 The one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
To the Church in Philadelphia
“This is the solemn pronouncement of[aa] the Holy One, the True One, who holds the key of David, who opens doors[ab] no one can shut, and shuts doors[ac] no one can open: 8 ‘I know your deeds. (Look! I have put[ad] in front of you an open door that no one can shut.)[ae] I know[af] that you have little strength,[ag] but[ah] you have obeyed[ai] my word and have not denied my name. 9 Listen![aj] I am going to make those people from the synagogue[ak] of Satan—who say they are Jews yet[al] are not, but are lying—Look, I will make[am] them come and bow down[an] at your feet and acknowledge[ao] that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept[ap] my admonition[aq] to endure steadfastly,[ar] I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is about to come on the whole world to test those who live on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have so that no one can take away[as] your crown.[at] 12 The one who conquers[au] I will make[av] a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never depart from it. I[aw] will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God (the new Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven from my God),[ax] and my new name as well. 13 The one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
To the Church in Laodicea
“This is the solemn pronouncement of[ba] the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the originator[bb] of God’s creation: 15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.[bc] I wish you were either cold or hot! 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going[bd] to vomit[be] you out of my mouth! 17 Because you say, “I am rich and have acquired great wealth,[bf] and need nothing,” but[bg] do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful,[bh] poor, blind, and naked, 18 take my advice[bi] and buy gold from me refined by fire so you can become rich! Buy from me[bj] white clothing so you can be clothed and your shameful nakedness[bk] will not be exposed, and buy eye salve[bl] to put on your eyes so you can see! 19 All those[bm] I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent! 20 Listen![bn] I am standing at the door and knocking! If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come into his home[bo] and share a meal with him, and he with me. 21 I will grant the one[bp] who conquers[bq] permission[br] to sit with me on my throne, just as I too conquered[bs] and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 The one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
- Revelation 3:1 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated due to differences between Greek and English style.
- Revelation 3:1 tn The phrase “the following” after “write” is supplied to clarify that what follows is the content of what is to be written.
- Revelation 3:1 tn Grk “These things says [the One]…” See the note on the phrase “this is the solemn pronouncement of” in 2:1.sn The expression This is the solemn pronouncement of reflects an OT idiom. See the note on this phrase in 2:1.
- Revelation 3:1 tn Grk “who has” (cf. 1:16).
- Revelation 3:1 tn Grk “a name.”
- Revelation 3:1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.
- Revelation 3:1 tn The prepositional phrase “in reality” is supplied in the translation to make explicit the idea that their being alive was only an illusion.
- Revelation 3:2 tn The verb ἔμελλον (emellon) is in the imperfect tense.
- Revelation 3:2 tn The perfect passive participle has been translated as an intensive (resultative) perfect here.
- Revelation 3:2 tn Or “in the judgment.” BDAG 342 s.v. ἐνώπιον 3 states, “in the opinion/judgment of…As a rule…of θεός or κύριος; so after…πεπληρωμένος Rv 3:2.”
- Revelation 3:3 tn The expression πῶς εἴληφας καὶ ἤκουσας (pōs eilēphas kai ēkousas) probably refers to the initial instruction in the Christian life they had received and been taught; this included doctrine and ethical teaching.
- Revelation 3:3 tn Grk “keep it,” in the sense of obeying what they had initially been taught.
- Revelation 3:3 tn The negation here is with οὐ μή (ou mē, the strongest possible form of negation in Koine Greek).
- Revelation 3:3 tn Or “come on.”
- Revelation 3:4 tn Grk “a few names”; here ὄνομα (onoma) is used by figurative extension to mean “person” or “people”; according to L&N 9.19 there is “the possible implication of existence or relevance as individuals.”
- Revelation 3:4 tn Or “soiled” (so NAB, NRSV, NIV); NCV “have kept their clothes unstained”; CEV “have not dirtied your clothes with sin.”
- Revelation 3:4 tn The word “dressed” is not in the Greek text, but is implied.
- Revelation 3:5 tn Or “who overcomes.”
- Revelation 3:5 tn Grk “thus.”
- Revelation 3:5 tn Or “white robes.”
- Revelation 3:5 tn The negation here is with οὐ μή (ou mē), the strongest possible form of negation in Koine Greek.
- Revelation 3:5 tn Or “will never wipe out.”
- Revelation 3:5 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.
- Revelation 3:5 tn Grk “will confess.”
- Revelation 3:7 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated due to differences between Greek and English style.
- Revelation 3:7 tn The phrase “the following” after “write” is supplied to clarify that what follows is the content of what is to be written.
- Revelation 3:7 tn Grk “These things says [the One]…” See the note on the phrase “this is the solemn pronouncement of” in 2:1.sn The expression This is the solemn pronouncement of reflects an OT idiom. See the note on this phrase in 2:1.
- Revelation 3:7 tn The word “door” is not in the Greek text but has been supplied in the translation. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context. Since the following verse does contain the word “door” (θύραν, thuran), that word has been supplied as the direct object here.
- Revelation 3:7 tn See the note on the word “door” earlier in this verse.
- Revelation 3:8 tn Grk “I have given.”
- Revelation 3:8 tn Grk “to shut it,” but English would leave the direct object understood in this case. sn The entire statement is parenthetical, interrupting the construction found in other letters to the churches in 3:1 and 3:15, “I know your deeds, that…” where an enumeration of the deeds follows.
- Revelation 3:8 tn This translation is based on connecting the ὅτι (hoti) clause with the οἶδα (oida) at the beginning of the verse, giving the content of what is known (see also 3:1, 15 for parallels). Because of the intervening clause that is virtually parenthetical (see the note on the word “shut” earlier in this verse), the words “I know that” from the beginning of the verse had to be repeated to make this connection clear for the English reader. However, the ὅτι could be understood as introducing a causal subordinate clause instead and thus translated, “because you have.”
- Revelation 3:8 tn Or “little power.”
- Revelation 3:8 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.
- Revelation 3:8 tn Grk “and having kept.” The participle ἐτήρησας (etērēsas) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. For the translation of τηρέω (tēreō) as “obey” see L&N 36.19. This is the same word that is used in 3:10 (there translated “kept”) where there is a play on words.
- Revelation 3:9 tn Grk “behold” (L&N 91.13).
- Revelation 3:9 sn See the note on synagogue in 2:9.
- Revelation 3:9 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “yet” to indicate the contrast between what these people claimed and what they were.
- Revelation 3:9 tn The verb here is ποιέω (poieō), but in this context it has virtually the same meaning as δίδωμι (didōmi) used at the beginning of the verse. Stylistic variation like this is typical of Johannine literature.
- Revelation 3:9 tn The verb here is προσκυνήσουσιν (proskunēsousin), normally used to refer to worship.
- Revelation 3:9 tn Or “and know,” “and recognize.”
- Revelation 3:10 tn Or “obey.” For the translation of τηρέω (tēreō) as “obey” see L&N 36.19. In the Greek there is a wordplay: “because you have kept my word…I will keep you,” though the meaning of τηρέω is different each time.
- Revelation 3:10 tn The Greek term λόγον (logon) is understood here in the sense of admonition or encouragement.
- Revelation 3:10 tn Or “to persevere.” Here ὑπομονῆς (hupomonēs) has been translated as a genitive of reference/respect related to τὸν λόγον (ton logon).
- Revelation 3:11 tn On the verb λάβῃ (labē) here BDAG 583 s.v. λαμβάνω 2 states, “to take away, remove…with or without the use of force τὰ ἀργύρια take away the silver coins (fr. the temple) Mt 27:6. τὰς ἀσθενείας diseases 8:17. τὸν στέφανον Rv 3:11.”
- Revelation 3:11 sn Your crown refers to a wreath consisting either of foliage or of precious metals formed to resemble foliage and worn as a symbol of honor, victory, or as a badge of high office—‘wreath, crown’ (L&N 6.192).
- Revelation 3:12 tn Or “who is victorious”; traditionally, “who overcomes.”
- Revelation 3:12 tn Grk “I will make him,” but the pronoun (αὐτόν, auton, “him”) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated here.
- Revelation 3:12 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
- Revelation 3:12 sn This description of the city of my God is parenthetical, explaining further the previous phrase and interrupting the list of “new names” given here.
- Revelation 3:14 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated due to differences between Greek and English style.
- Revelation 3:14 tn The phrase “the following” after “write” is supplied to clarify that what follows is the content of what is to be written.
- Revelation 3:14 tn Grk “These things says [the One]…” See the note on the phrase “this is the solemn pronouncement of” in 2:1.sn The expression This is the solemn pronouncement of reflects an OT idiom. See the note on this phrase in 2:1.
- Revelation 3:14 tn Or “the beginning of God’s creation”; or “the ruler of God’s creation.” From a linguistic standpoint all three meanings for ἀρχή (archē) are possible. The term is well attested in both LXX (Gen 40:13, 21; 41:13) and intertestamental Jewish literature (2 Macc 4:10, 50) as meaning “ruler, authority” (BDAG 138 s.v. 6). Some have connected this passage to Paul’s statements in Col 1:15, 18 which describe Christ as ἀρχή and πρωτότοκος (prōtotokos; e.g., see R. H. Mounce, Revelation [NICNT], 124) but the term ἀρχή has been understood as either “beginning” or “ruler” in that passage as well. The most compelling connection is to be found in the prologue to John’s Gospel (1:2-4) where the λόγος (logos) is said to be “in the beginning (ἀρχή) with God,” a temporal reference connected with creation, and then v. 3 states that “all things were made through him.” The connection with the original creation suggests the meaning “originator” for ἀρχή here. BDAG 138 s.v. 3 gives the meaning “the first cause” for the word in Rev 3:14, a term that is too philosophical for the general reader, so the translation “originator” was used instead. BDAG also notes, “but the mng. beginning = ‘first created’ is linguistically probable (s. above 1b and Job 40:19; also CBurney, Christ as the ᾿Αρχή of Creation: JTS 27, 1926, 160-77).” Such a meaning is unlikely here, however, since the connections described above are much more probable.
- Revelation 3:15 sn Laodicea was near two other towns, each of which had a unique water source. To the north was Hierapolis which had a natural hot spring, often used for medicinal purposes. To the east was Colossae which had cold, pure waters. In contrast to these towns, Laodicea had no permanent supply of good water. Efforts to pipe water to the city from nearby springs were successful, but it would arrive lukewarm. The metaphor in the text is not meant to relate spiritual fervor to temperature. This would mean that Laodicea would be commended for being spiritually cold, but it is unlikely that Jesus would commend this. Instead, the metaphor condemns Laodicea for not providing spiritual healing (being hot) or spiritual refreshment (being cold) to those around them. It is a condemnation of their lack of works and lack of witness.
- Revelation 3:16 tn Or “I intend.”
- Revelation 3:16 tn This is the literal meaning of the Greek verb ἐμέω (emeō). It is usually translated with a much weaker term like “spit out” due to the unpleasant connotations of the English verb “vomit,” as noted by L&N 23.44. The situation confronting the Laodicean church is a dire one, however, and such a term is necessary if the modern reader is to understand the gravity of the situation.
- Revelation 3:17 tn Grk “and have become rich.” The semantic domains of the two terms for wealth here, πλούσιος (plousios, adjective) and πλουτέω (plouteō, verb) overlap considerably, but are given slightly different English translations for stylistic reasons.
- Revelation 3:17 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.
- Revelation 3:17 tn All the terms in this series are preceded by καί (kai) in the Greek text, but contemporary English generally uses connectives only between the last two items in such a series.
- Revelation 3:18 tn Grk “I counsel you to buy.”
- Revelation 3:18 tn Grk “rich, and.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation, repeating the words “Buy from me” to make the connection clear for the English reader.
- Revelation 3:18 tn Grk “the shame of the nakedness of you,” which has been translated as an attributed genitive like καινότητι ζωῆς (kainotēti zōēs) in Rom 6:4 (ExSyn 89-90).
- Revelation 3:18 sn The city of Laodicea had a famous medical school and exported a powder (called a “Phrygian powder”) that was widely used as an eye salve. It was applied to the eyes in the form of a paste the consistency of dough (the Greek term for the salve here, κολλούριον, kollourion [Latin collyrium], is a diminutive form of the word for a long roll of bread).
- Revelation 3:19 tn The Greek pronoun ὅσος (hosos) means “as many as” and can be translated “All those” or “Everyone.”
- Revelation 3:20 tn Grk “Behold.”
- Revelation 3:20 tn Grk “come in to him.”sn The expression in Greek does not mean entrance into the person, as is popularly taken, but entrance into a room or building toward the person. See ExSyn 380-82. Some interpreters understand the door here to be the door to the Laodicean church, and thus a collective or corporate image rather than an individual one.
- Revelation 3:21 tn Grk “The one who conquers, to him I will grant.”
- Revelation 3:21 tn Or “who is victorious”; traditionally, “who overcomes.”
- Revelation 3:21 tn Grk “I will give [grant] to him.”
- Revelation 3:21 tn Or “have been victorious”; traditionally, “have overcome.”