YOUR Final Thoughts on BSF’s Study of Revelation

Hey all!

It’s been suggested to me to gather thoughts, ideas, comments, concerns, questions, etc on BSF’s Study of Revelation.  I’ve posted some specific questions on the Side Bar if you are interested in participating in those.  Also, I did a survey in November and asked what you all thought so far.  Those results are HERE if interested.

Please post in the comment section.  Any thing goes as long as it’s in a Godly-way.  Some suggestions have been:  what did you like most about the study; what did you like the least about the study; what changes would you make for the next go around; how would you rate the questions, the discussion, the leaders, your group; did you grow with God because of this study; was it worth your time and effort, etc.

Love to all!

37 thoughts on “YOUR Final Thoughts on BSF’s Study of Revelation

  1. I only have a few more weeks in this study and am left unsatisfied with alot of unanswered questions. I do not feel I have a good overview of the timeline of what occurs and when. Too many of the same, personal questions. This was my least favorite of the studies I have taken in my 7 years with BSF.


  2. I was very disappointed with BSF this year. What happened to the Challenge Questions? Why so many personal questions?( they were the same ones over & over & over again). We didn’t touch on half of the things in Revelation. I feel like BSF made this study POLITICALLY CORRECT!!!!!
    Why did BSF feel they needed to lower the level of content (dumb down) of Revelation?
    This was my least favorite of the studies I’ve taken in my 10 yrs of BSF.
    My leader was great and I would love to have her again.


  3. I agree with Peggy, but she says it better. As an old discussion leader, I thought this study was a bit shallow. BSF, you can do better!


  4. I agree with Peggy, to many persons questions. I am a leader, I know BSF can do better and they should have, but they didn’t, I learn some stuff. I hope they do better the next time, I might not be a leader when they have this study, they really need more challenge questions and not so many personal questions. I am 72 so if the Lord wants me to be a leader I will. God Bless. Ron


  5. Frankly, I am disappointed with this study. Although I greatly appreciate and respect the many hours, study, research, and prayer accompanying this session, personally, I feel the target was missed for the sake of being politically correct to avoid the risk of offending anyone. Although in secular terms this may be admirable, when it comes to the Word of God, I fail to understand why this is an overriding concern to the fact of compromising the integrity (truth) of the Bible.

    Three tremendous sources of help for me came from old books that belonged to my mother, an astute student of prophecy, Sunday School teacher for over 50 years, and former BSF leader from the early 60’s. One book was copyrighted in 1919 and is dead-on accurate in terms of history (unfolding events) since its publishing: The Book of Revelation, A Study of the Last Prophetic Book of Holy Scripture, by Rev. Clarence Larkin. The book is available FROM THE AUTHOR’S ESTATE – do NOT order the widely available published edition from Amazon, they are not the same! The second book, An Exposition of the Book of Revelation by David L. Cooper, Th.M., Ph.D., Litt.D., was copyrighted in 1972 by Biblical Research Society and is available for download in PDF format from the internet. Both expositories contain elaborate, detailed, hand-drawn charts and timelines that greatly increase understanding. The third book is a commentary by John F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, copyrighted in 1966 by The Moody Bible Institute.

    Conspicuously absent in this BSF study is acknowledgement of the relevance/application to our Jewish brothers and sisters – their return to their promised land, their heritage, their prophecy fulfilled, their etc. etc. etc. Why? In today’s world with increasing threat (and action) from this area’s enemies we are literally witnessing the unfolding of the end ages. The tiny country of Israel continues to play a vital role in world events and this becomes increasingly relevant day by day.

    There are many issues surrounding this study of Revelation but I refrain from public discussion. This is not the venue for such. An earlier post stated it well, each person’s understanding comes from the Holy Spirit. For those not familiar with this book or if you have deliberately avoided it for fear of confusion, it is a good general, topical study, and you will certainly leave with a greater understanding than at the beginning of the year, last September. To God be the Glory! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!


    1. Amen, Debbie.
      I, too, was very disappointed that there was NOTHING mentioned about Israel and God’s chosen people, which are the very foundation of God’s Word. Salvation comes from the Jewish people and I pray that our country will turn around and support [bless] Israel. I agree with Debbie that Israel is the center of how and when the world events will unfold.
      I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend studies by Chuck Missler on Revelation which have helped me to not only to understand Revelation, but also the history which has led us to where we are in prophecy. All 24 videos are available on youtube, just search Chuck Missler – Revelation.
      The focus of BSF has been on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And I can’t complain about that subject. All Praise be to You, Lord!


  6. I totally agree with Peggy and Jack! Revelation was so “hyped” up that I was really excited to study it. However, it was very disappointing. Too many “personal” questions and no “challenge” questions. I do think BSF should get back with the old format of Bible study and stop with “how “encouraged” are you” and “how does give you “hope” questions. I believe BSF should be focusing more on what the Bible is all about instead of what the people studying it are feeling. After all, we are not in Sunday school anymore, we want to learn what the Bible is all about!


  7. This was Revelation “lite”. If it weren’t for the ladies in my group I’d have left after the first month. No cross referencing to the OT which is what Revelation is the culmination of. The focus was on us and our feelings…so PC. Very disappointing. Study P. Sadler or Stam if you want some meat.


  8. I’m in agreement with the comments made. I was disappointed in the Revelation study. Felt like BSF was trying not to step on toes or be conversational. The questions repeated and I finally left blank because it was the same question asked in a few lessons back. Hopefully John will be better.


  9. BSF’s Revelation study has had an unanticipated effect on my life: I’ve realized how trapped we have become by depending on others rather than learning firsthand Bible interpretation. Our churches do not teach us. Video-based Bible studies and even “inductive” studies by *insert famous Bible teacher’s name here* spoon feed us. I credit BSF (and the Holy Spirit!) with igniting my appetite for God’s Word, but it is now time for me to move beyond. It is possible! I’m spending the summer with my sisters learning how, using a number of books including “Women of the Word” by Jen Wilkin, “How to Read the Bible Like a Seminary Professor” by Mark Yarbrough, and Howard Hendricks’ classic, “Living By The Book”. I’m excited!


  10. I understand the frustration some BSF’ers had with this study – repetitive questions, seemingly lack of depth, etc. I admit; I felt it, too. But for me, I realized it was the enemy trying to get my focus away off of what I was to learn. Once I recognized the real issue, I was back on track. Even the reptitious questions came alive by answering them in light of that week’s scripture/lesson instead of what I had answered before, etc. Sadly it took me some time to get back on track so there are some weeks where I see that I missed out. Satan was very active, not only in my life, but in others, in throwing things in our paths, to “force” us to redirect our focus. I should have seen it sooner; I knew he’d be especially difficult for this study. But I praise God for all that I learned and hope to review some lessons later. I also agree that Israel could have incorporated more. Perhaps those who wrote this study were under some attack as well – I imagine there will be revisions made the next time this study is offered.


  11. We’re not studying Revelations we’re in therapy. Studying would be going all over the Bible comparing earlier versions of God’s Revelations to John’s vision. Instead of the therapist version” how does this make you feel”. Where’s the meat? Frankly I’m trudging through it. The end will be better I just know. I have learned but the whole tone is different. Also, I love John but there are so many other studies we could be doing next year. I’ve been in for 8 years. John is my second time . I know there’s at least 2 – 3 I haven’t done. I like BSF but really what is going on??? God’s plan is mysterious and perfect. So acceptance is mandatory.


  12. I love your answers because some are a different view of what we both read..
    I know there is not right or wrong answer and I appreciate receiving your answers.
    Looking forward to the study of John next year.


  13. I am relieved to find others who agree with me. I dared not voice my strongly held amillenial views to others because of the general attitude of this study. I am convinced that premillenial teachings are in error. As with other scriptural errors, it should be explained and corrected. My concerns are for those who think they’re going to be whisked away before the Great Tribulation. Tell that to those in the Middle East who are enduring persecution, beheading, crucifixion.

    However, I think the biggest mistake of this study was to not study what Jesus said repeatedly – “the End”, the Day of Judgment – it’s not a long process, there is a final day coming. We will all appear at the Judgment Seat of God. – some for condemnation, some for reward.

    I think those who don’t hold a firm view have walked away confused by this study. Time will tell and be the correction of all erroneous beliefs.

    In the meantime, I still believe ‘we’re all here until it’s all over”! Stay diligent and in the Word!


    1. The most important issue here, Thea, is that you “dared not voice” your interpretation. I realized mid-study that BSF’s format does not allow for any real independent thought and even encourages error by their policy of “there is no wrong answer”. Of course there is a “wrong” answer, because one of the most important fundamentals of Biblical interpretation is that our mission is to understand the author’s intended meaning as first presented to the author’s intended audience. There is one meaning, and we strive to discover it. BSF seeks to encourage each student in their discoveries by not disagreeing with their answers; I understand that. The homiletics seminar is their answer to teaching interpretation, but it is incomplete and attended by a small percentage of students. But, even more importantly, feeling that you can’t voice your interpretation for fear of being shut down, points to a very serious error in the BSF model.


  14. I am unable to attend BSF anymore but I follow the study with Atozman. It seems to me that the one thing everyone seems to have left out is the dedication, research, and time Atozman gives for us. I basically agree with most of the comments, especially about being PC. The study was good but disappointing. I am far from a master of the scriptures but seems to me this study was weak, not enough in depth. Again, thank God for Atozman. She is truly God sent!


  15. I’m going to comment before reading any of the others so that I speak from MY heart. I am anxious to read the comments though! I have expressed some of this as we’ve gone along. This has been my worst year in BSF, and I’ve done them all, some more than once. What I liked most: it did keep me in the word and we had a great TL! What I liked least ties in with rating the questions: too shallow, too much left out, too many repetitive questions-over & over; too many ‘what do you think or feel’ questions, rather than digging into what God was saying. Our TL was great but my leader failed to connect with me at all, mostly an occasional text. Now that she found out that I didn’t register for John in the Fall, she is “concerned” that I stay in the word and wants to know if I’ve chosen another study. I’ve always been in some study and plan to go back to the ones within my church. I was a little offended that she thought I’d just drop Bible study, which goes back to not getting to know me or she would have known better. Bible study is never wasted, but did I grow with God through this study, probably not. Then again, without it I may have drifted, although I would have been in another study, hopefully deeper. Was it worth my time and effort: again, Bible study is never wasted, but I do believe I could have spent this past year in a deeper study. My prayer is that BSF somehow gets appropriate feedback and revises the study to a deeper level the next time around, maybe get back to more of the roots that Miss Johnson started. I know there is concern for the direction that BSF has gone and none of us want to see it derailed altogether. With all of my discontent, I also realize that there are those who rave about BSF and feel that they get much out of it, so I take personal responsibility for my own attitude & words and I recognize that I may be in the minority. I think if I hadn’t known the original BSF I’d be more content, too. (Other than the repetitious questions!!). Thanks AtoZMom for helping me through this year. Your hard work and insights were a wonderful resource to keep me going! I see that Israel & the Minor Prophets is changing to The History of Israel 1 & 2. Will I come back? I’ll be watching this blog to see how the next couple of years go! Everytime I hear “revised” in BSF I feel anxious. Thanks again AtoZMom!!


  16. This was my first time at BSF. I was expecting to learn something new but am totally disappointed. Did not learn anything and I agree, too many of the same personal questions. Very tiresome, trying to say something new every week of “What have you learned?”
    I am debating whether I will return next year.


  17. The Life of Moses was my first experience with BSF. I found the fellowship and sharing of different perspectives of the Old Testament very enlightening and the members of my group very helpful. So I was really looking forward to Revelation this year. The contrast was astounding. While the whole focus of the BSF questions last year was on learning and sharing our insights regarding the connection between the OT and the NT, the study of Revelation seemed to be more about evangelism than fellowship in the Gospel. At times, I felt like I was experiencing the baptismal version of waterboarding. Many of the personal questions (too many in fact) seemed to imply: Now that you realize you are a sinner in the hands of an angry God how will you repent and how will you evangelize your family members and friends so that you may all be together in heaven when the end comes. The fundamental question most theologians have about Revelation is if John is describing events before the millennium, after the millennium, or if the “thousand years” symbolizes the battle between good and evil that started with the Fall and will continue until God intervenes and removes Satan and his minions from the Earth. I guess this was another example of BSF Political Correctness, but that question was glossed over with a brief explanation. In the Lecture, we were steered to the post-millennial view which is favored by the Evangelicals. I do not subscribe to that view so I found myself pulling back in how I answered all those personal questions. I did not learn anything new this year, and I think my fellow group members lost an opportunity to share different views about that key question. But God moves in mysterious ways, so I am trusting in the Holy Spirit and signing up for John next year.


  18. I see Catholicism all over Revelation… No wonder people are confused. You would have to be Catholic to understand the significances and references… The symbolism to the sacraments is clearly written. Such as the tabernacle… WE become the tabernacle that housed Christ when we receive the Eucharist. I loved it when I see it through the church Jesus HIMSELF began. I thoroughly enjoyed finding my own answere in the Catechism of the Catholic Church… Thank you and God Bless..


  19. First of all I would like to say I love studying the Bible with BSF. However, this has been my least favorite of the 6 or 7 studies I have done with BSF. I agree that many of the questions have been redundant upon redundant. They have asked many of the same questions in every way possible. I really wish we’d had more questions that enabled us to have opportunity to truly dig through passages in the Bible to find answers to really good quality study questions. I have, though, grown through this study, and my anticipation of heaven and desire to serve the Lord has grown. For the last few lessons, my saving grace in this study has been our wonderful teaching leader, Cathy cook. She has obviously studied, read commentaries, and done a lot of background research on the passages for each week. Her great love and devotion to the Lord is very apparent in her lectures. Overall, it’s been a pretty good study, but it could have been so much better.


  20. I have attended BSF for 5 years and found Revelation to be very shallow this year. My TL and CL as well as my discussion group are all that kept me plugged in.
    Like many others stated, the lack of depth showed this year as the entire study was softened. BSF should help us grow in boldness in the Word, not coddle us with touchy-feely “how does this make you feel?” dialogue. Our feelings are not what are important. Truth is what we should all stand for. BSF was very withy-washy and clearly was not taking a bold stand for this study.
    Some newer BSF students might not have gotten a good perspective of a solid BSF study this year and I pray they will come back next year to really be fed.
    I appreciate AtoZMom for the perspective, diligence and excellent commentary every week. I feel there were many weeks this year I was fed more here than from BSF.
    I highly respect and cherish BSF and will return for John. I am just disappointed they seem to have dumb-downed BSF to not offend anyone.
    Vanessa Richards


  21. Disappointed. I was hoping this study of Revelation would go deep. I am offended by “what do you think” questions because that isnt helping me to understand what God is telling me. i learn more when I rely on the Holy Spirit to teach me. I could do my entire lesson in about one or two hours.
    I will return for John and hope it isnt so shallow. The gospel must offend and lately the study is pleasing and feel good to everyone. Not good.


  22. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this study to someone as it is. It was without depth, fragmented, and repetitive. Sadly, this was the revised version after a pilot last year. If this is the wave of the future for BSF, I won’t return. I’d rather be in a place where the learning is more substantial. In the past, BSF was known as the destination for those who wanted more. I’m not certain that will be the reputation in the future if other studies continue in this manner.

    I understand the need for personal application of scripture, but the questions became like nails on a chalk board. Insinuations that we are to always find joy in difficulty or that I have the ability to convert someone just because I’m determined were absurd. We are human with normal emotions in trial and we cannot force someone to believe. I found it to be discouraging when going through tough circumstances.

    The notes were really the only part of the study that was keeping me going week to week. I ended up printing several Rev. studies from the internet to parallel passage content. It was great having AtoZ Mom going deeper weekly for us in research.

    Have to say once again that it would be great to offer an electronic format to listen to the lecture. My schedule prohibits me staying late. BSF needs to modernize aspects of the offering if they want a younger generation to attend.

    I’m wondering why BSF is not asking for participant feedback.


  23. Although I have done many many studies with BSF this is my least favorite. The notes were not in depth enough and too watered down. I thought the study had too many personal questions and I am really not interested in giving my thoughts as I am here to learn about a book I have never read! I thought this series was more about witnessing to unbelievers rather than a true in depth study of the book of Revelation. In past years, I thought the notes were so rich and in depth and I would copy many of them in my bible. This year, I copied none because they really weren’t worth repeating. BSF I know you can do better than this! If not, I have to move on….sadly!


  24. Was VERY disappointed in this study of Revelation! There were far TOO many repetitious questions (sometimes in the same lesson!) and TOO many “feel” questions. The questions didn’t even scratch the surface of this book! I’ve had a previous study of Revelation in my church that touched on the “true” crux of this book. I know in years past, BSF study did also, as my mom was a leader when it first came to our city in the mid-60s. This year was NOT the study lesson/learning information that BSF has previously been known for. I sincerely hope that John proves to be a better study. If it’s anything like Revelation then I will not pursue further BSF studies because it’s NOT the in-depth study any longer that it’s always been known.

    GET BACK TO THE ORIGINAL CONCEPT OF BSF and DROP the “politically correct” concept of the lessons.

    Believe me, I’m sure Miss Johnson is tiring over in her grave for the study this year.


  25. I was disappointed that BSF didn’t take more of a stand on Bible doctrine concerning the prophecies in revelation. You can’t try to please everyone, they should only be concerned with teaching biblical truths.


  26. We just finished the study, so I thought I would weight in with my comments. I know a lot of people are disappointed that the study wasn’t deep enough. I think the study was about as deep as I expected it to be based on the fact that there were many people new to BSF this year who had not spent significant time in studying the Bible before. I would have personally liked for it to have been deeper, but I know that would have been harder on the new people getting into serious Bible study for the first time.

    Others were put off by the repeat questions. These were somewhat annoying to me, but I just chose to ignore them or not answer them or put my own spin on them.

    My main issue with the study was that the questions were very leading. If I didn’t already know that the official view of BSF was premillennial, pretrib, I could easily determine that from the way the questions were worded. One of the things that I wanted to do in this study was to set aside any previous studies I had done on Revelation and look at it with fresh eyes. BSF says that we are to work through the lesson for the week without looking at commentary and letting the scriptures speak for themselves, but the questions themselves presumed certain conclusions. Increasingly we were led to the conclusion that Heaven is our Hope and that we can endure suffering because we get Heaven in the end, and our Eternal Life starts when we get to Heaven.

    My Hope is not in Heaven. My Hope is in Jesus Christ alone. I’m glad that includes Heaven, but Heaven is not my Hope. Jesus came to give me an abundant life and that abundant life begins now, and not sometime in the future. I can endure suffering today because I know that Jesus can use it in my life to make me more like Him and to reflect His glory right now. I don’t have to wait until I reach Heaven for that. In fact, if I fix my eyes on Heaven, I will miss what Christ wants to do in my life today. My life on earth is not just marking time and waiting for my ultimate heavenly home.

    What I loved about the study was seeing how often the scene in Heaven returns to worship. Worship looks like one of the primary activities in Heaven and seeing that encouraged me to really think about the way I worship Jesus now. I was also amazed at how many times unbelievers were given a new chance to turn to Jesus. God is patient with us and gives us every opportunity to turn to Him. Even with the things that I didn’t care for in the study, I was certainly blessed by it.

    I am spending the summer doing a more concentrated study of the key concepts of Revelation and the principles for understanding and interpreting Biblical prophecy. I am signed up to do John with BSF in the fall, but I have a friend who does Community Bible Study (which is a similar concept to BSF) and they are doing Isaiah in the fall. I have always wanted to do a study on Isaiah and it seems like a good follow-up to Revelation, so I’m seriously considering that option.


    1. Thank you for your comments regarding your HOPE being in JESUS CHRIST and not HEAVEN. I think that was a strong part of my frustration this year with all the “leading the witness” questions. I am not reward driven. I don’t love Jesus BECAUSE it gets me a ticket to Heaven. I don’t love Jesus because I’m going to get a crown or “sit” on a throne with him and 2000+ years of believers. This whole idea of “what will you say to Jesus” seems so shallow. My worship hasn’t changed because He is going to give me all the prizes behind Gates 1 – 12. My urgency hasn’t changed because “Jesus is coming soon.”

      “We’re going to the Promised Land” probably seemed a long way off when the Hebrews were being grown into a nation in Israel but the day to day living consisted of slavery while making bricks for Pharaoh and giving birth and trying to keep babies and children alive. 400 years. That’s a lot of Hebrew people who never even got to leave for the Promised Land. Abraham never saw the mighty nation of Israel.

      I love Jesus because He first loved me.

      I really thought we would study the seven churches in depth. I thought we would spend a week on each one and learn about the development of the early churches and the geography and more.

      In the end it all felt really, “Oh, boy! Oh, boy! God wins, the devil loses, and we all get prizes!”

      There was so much we could have studied with Genesis and Revelation.

      There was so much we could have studied with the Gospel of John and Revelation. Jesus’ FIRST RECORDED MIRACLE was the Marriage at Cana in Galilee where He turned the water into wine. Mary and John were there. The other disciples were there. It was a MARRIAGE FEAST. WE ARE INVITED TO THE MARRIAGE FEAST of THE LAMB in REVELATION. The beauty and symbolism of the wine and the water was right there in the Gospel of John. What’s wrong with us Protestants that we can’t see this? What are we afraid of? That maybe the Catholics might be a little bit right on a few things? We act like Christianity jumped from 100 AD to the Anabaptists or Martin Luther, the Wesley Brothers, John Calvin, John Knox, and the Great Revivals in the 1800s and early 1900s.

      John was among the first four disciples called at Galilee. He was with Jesus for THREE YEARS. He was there at the FIRST WEDDING FEAST. He was there when Mary told Jesus there was no more wine with EXPECTATION only she could possibly have had. HE KNEW what it would mean when His ministry started. She told the servants to do what He asked. FAITH. Mary’s faith. John witnessed that.

      John was there and recorded the sermon/s on the mount. He was there for miracle after miracle and encounter after encounter. He was there at the Transfiguration of Christ. He was there in the Garden. He was there at the foot of the Cross with all the women (count them all from the various Gospel accounts!) including Jesus’ mother, Mary. Jesus Christ trusted John with the care of His mother. John was there at the empty tomb after the women reported it. John was there in the Upper Room. He was there at Pentecost.

      Years later, John is on the Isle of Patmos. He is an old, old man. The Revelation of John was given to him.

      My faith is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

      Altars. Incense. Martyrs. Churches. Gates. Foundations. Gardens. Weddings. Light.

      Thank you, AtoZ Mom, for all you do for those Christians who long for intellectual and spiritual depth and growth and who find BSF one of the few opportunities for the rich Bible study and discussion available wherever we live.


  27. I so enjoy reading all the comments and heart-felt thoughts about Revelations – BSF this past year. I learned, but also feel I could have explored many other area in greater depth. The rigidity of BSF regarding affirming all answers does not lead to true discussion and exploration. They become a personal opinion, correct or not. It was a good study, but could be improved.

    Thank you for your insights.


    1. Time is a human concept. God is the alpha and the omega. Revelation is about the ongoing struggle between Good and Evil in each person and among all nations. Revelation assures us that Good will triumph when we allow God to guide us individually and as part of the community of believers.


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