1. Exposition

How might "beginning" be understood?

Revelation 3:14 (ESV)

14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

The Greek word used here can mean either beginning or ruler. The exegete needs to choose between the possible meanings of a given word, using a couple of criteria to make his choice: 1. What does the context require? 2. Does a possible meaning of a term do justice to the rest of the revelation of Scripture? The translation ruler falls more in line with Jesus’ second self-description as the one who testified to God’s identity through his own triumph on the cross and subsequent ascension. The translation ruler also falls in line with the big picture of Scripture concerning Christ’s identity (see Matthew 28:19; Ephesians 1:19–23; Colossians 1:15–20; Revelation 1:5). And significantly the concluding promise in Christ’s letter to the Laodiceans certainly suggests that the term ruler is the preferred translation here (see Revelation 3:21). Given Christ’s identity as sovereign ruler over all God’s creation, the Christians of Laodicea need to listen attentively to what he says to them, including his promises for good or ill.