Various Outlines of the Book of Revelation
compiled by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

Many outlines have been proposed by different scholars, some focusing on patterns of seven, others on chiastic structures.
The first one below is my own suggested outline, adapted from various sources, and highlighting certain structural elements.
The next five examples show how a single scholar sometimes develops his/her views and changes terminology over time.
The other examples show a broader range of opinions, although this list is obviously not intended to be comprehensive.

F. Just, S.J.      E. S. Fiorenza       A. Y. Collins       C. H. Talbert    W. J. Harrington      J. M. Ford

Number of Verses per Chapter in the Book of Revelation:
ch.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
vv.
20
29
22
11
14
17
17
13
21
11
18
17
18
20
8
21
18
24
21
15
27
21


A Suggested Practical Outline (F. Just, SJ)

PROLOGUE (1:1-8)

The Introduction of the Book (1:1-3)
An Epistolary Prescript (1:4-6)
Two Prophetic Sayings (1:7-8)
VISIONARY REPORT (1:9—22:5)
John's Inaugural Vision & Commission (1:9—3:22)

An Audition and Vision of the Risen Christ (1:9-20)
Seven Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia (2:1—3:22)
       Ephesus (2:1-7)
       Smyrna (2:8-11)
       Pergamum (2:12-17)
       Thyatira (2:18-29)
       Sardis (3:1-6)
       Philadephia (3:7-13)
       Laodicea (3:14-22)

John's First Cycle of Visions in the Spirit (4:1—11:19)
Worship in the Heavenly Court (4:1-11)
The Scroll, the Lion of Judah, and the Lamb (5:1-14)
The Seven Seals (6:1—8:5)
        The first four seals (6:1-8)
        The fifth and sixth seals (6:9-17)
        Two interrupting visions:
                144,000 Israelites sealed by God (7:1-8)
                Countless Gentiles robed in white (7:9-17)
        The seventh seal and the angel with a golden censer (8:1-5)
The Seven Angels with Seven Trumpets (8:2—11:19)
        The first four trumpets (8:2-12)
        The fifth and sixth trumpets (8:13; 9:1-21)
        Two interrupting visions:
                An angel with a small scroll (10:1-11)
                The temple and two witnesses (11:1-14)
        The seventh trumpet (11:15-19)
John's Second Cycle of Visions in the Spirit (12:1—22:5)
Seven Symbolic Visions of the Past, Present & Future (12:1—15:4)
        The Woman, the Child, and the Dragon (12:1-17)
        The First Beast, from the Sea (13:1-10)
        The Second Beast, from the Earth (13:11-18)
        The Lamb and the 144,000 (14:1-5)
        The Three Angels with Messages (14:6-13)
        The Final Harvest and Vintage (14:14-20)
        The Victory Song of Moses and of the Lamb (15:2-4)
Seven Angels with Seven Plagues (15:1,5—19:10)
        The Seven Angels (15:1-8)
        The Seven Bowls (16:1-21)
        Elaboration on the Destruction of Babylon (17:1—19:10)
                The whore on the scarlet beast: Rome (17:1-18)
                The fall of Babylon: Rome's destruction (18:1-24)
                The Rejoicing in Heaven (19:1-10)
Seven Visions of the Last Things (19:11—22:5)
        The Coming of Christ, the Word of God (19:11-16)
        The Invitation to a Great Banquet (19:17-18)
        The Final Battle (19:19-21)
        The Binding of Satan (20:1-3)
        The Millennial Reign (20:4-10)
        The Final Judgment (20:11-15)
        The New Heaven, New Earth, New Jerusalem (21:1-8)
                An Elaboration on the New Jerusalem (21:9—22:5)
EPILOGUE (22:6-21)
A Collection of Short Prophetic Sayings (22:6-20)
An Epistolary Benediction (22:21)


Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, "Revelation," in Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, Jude, Revelation (Proclamation Commentaries; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977) 103-108.

1:1-8 - Introduction and Theme
    1:9—3:22 - Seven Prophetic-Apocalyptic Letters of the Resurrected Lord
        4:1—19:10 - Main Body: The Seven-Sealed Scroll; including:
                Seven Seals (6:1—8:1); Seven Trumpets (8:2—9:21; 11:15-19); Seven Bowls (15:1, 5—16:21)
                Babylon Visions (17:1—19:10) as an extension of the bowl septet
                Inserted: Small Scroll and miscellaneous visions (most of 10:1—15:4)
    19:11—22:5 - Visions of Judgment and Salvation
22:6-21 - Concluding Admonitions, Announcements, and Prayers

 
Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza
, Invitation to the Book of Revelation (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1981) 7.

A.   Prologue and Epistolary Greeting (1:1-8)
    B.   The Prophetic Messages to the Churches (1:9—3:22)
        C.   Christ: The Eschatological Liberator and Regent (4:1—9:21)
            D.   The Prophetic Community and Its Oppressors (10:1—15:4)
        C'.  The Trial and Sentencing of Babylon/Rome (15:5—19:10)
    B'.   Eschatological Judgment and Salvation (19:11—22:9)
A'.  Epilogue and Epistolary Frame (22:10-21)

 
Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza
, Revelation: Vision of a Just World (Proclamation Commentaries; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991) 35-36.

A.  1:1-8 Prologue and Epistolary Greeting

1:1-3 Title
1:4-6 Greetings
1:7-8 Motto
B.  1:9—3:22 Rhetorical Situation in the Cities of Asia Minor
1:9-10 Author and Situation
1:11-20 Prophetic Inaugural Vision
2:1—3:22 Prophetic Messages to Seven Communities
C.  4:1—9:21; 11:15-19 Opening the Sealed Scroll: Exodus Plagues
4:1—5:14 Heavenly Court and Sealed Scroll
6:1—8:1 Cosmic Plagues: Seven Seals
8:2—9:21; 11:15-19 Cosmic Plagues: Seven Trumpets
D.  10:1—15:4 The Bitter-Sweet Scroll: "Wear" against the Community
10:1—11:14 Prophetic Commissioning
12:1—14:5 Prophetic Interpretation
14:6—15:4 Eschatological Liberation
C'.  15:5—19:10 Exodus from the Oppression of Babylon/Rome
15:5—16:21 Cosmic Plagues: Seven Bowls
17:1-18 Rome and Its Power
18:1—19:10 Judgment of Rome
B'.  19:11—22:9 Liberation from Evil and God's World-City
19:11—20:15 Liberation from the Powers of Evil
21:1-8 The Liberated World of God
21:9—22:9 The Different Cosmopolis of God
A'.  22:10-21 Epilogue and Epistolary Frame
22:10-17 Revelatory Sayings
22:18-21 Epistolary Conclusion


Adela Yarbo Collins, The Apocalypse (NT Message; Wilmington, DE: M. Glazier, 1979).

Prologue (1:1-8)
    Part One: The Sealed Scroll (1:9—11:19)
    Part Two: The Open Scroll (12:1—22:5)
Epilogue (22:6-21)

 
Adela Yarbo Collins
, "Revelation to John," in HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1996) 930-32.

I. Prologue (1:1-8)
        A. Preface (1:1-3)
        B. Opening of a letter (1:4-6)
        C. Prophetic sayings (1:7-8)

II. Vision of Christ with seven messages (1:9—3:22)
        A. Vision of Christ (1:9-20)
        B. Seven Messages (2:1—3:22)

III. Visions of heaven and seven seals (4:1—8:5)
        A. Vision of God (4:1-11)
        B. Vision of the Lamb (5:1-14)
        C. Seven seals (6:1—8:5)

IV. The seven trumpets (8:2—11:19)

V. Seven unnumbered visions (12:1—15:4)

VI. The seven bowls and Babylon (15:1—19:10)
        A. Seven bowls (15:1—16:20)
        B. Babylon (17:1—19:10)

VII. Seven unnumbered visions and Jerusalem (19:11—22:5)
        A. Seven unnumbered visions (19:11—21:8)
        B. Jerusalem (21:9—22:5)

VIII. Epilogue (22:6-21)
        A. Sayings (22:6-20)
        B. Benediction (22:21)



Charles H. Talbert, The Apocalypse: A Reading of the Revelation of John (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 1994) vii.

A. The Seven Letters to the Seven Churches (1:1-8; 1:9—3:22)

1:1-8 Title and Introduction
1:9—3:22 Prophetic Call and Seven Letters
B. The Seven Visions of the End Times (4:1—22:5)
4:1—8:1 The Seven Seals
8:2—11:18 The Seven Trumpets
11:19—13:18 The Roots and Role of Roman Power
14:1-20 The Seven Agents of Judgment
15:1—16:21 The Seven Plagues of Wrath
17:1—19:5 The Role and Results of Imperial Power
19:6—22:5 The Consummation
C. Epilogue (22:6-21)


Wilfrid J. Harrington, Revelation (Sacra Pagina 16; Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1993) 22-23.
[W. Harrington calls this a "practical framework," since it is impossible to be sure of ancient author's intended structure.]

I. Prologue, Address, and Inaugural Vision (Ch. 1)
        Prologue (1:1-3)
        The Address (1:4-8)
        Vision of One Like a Son of Man (1:9-20)

II. The Messages to the Seven Churches (Chs. 2—3)

III. The Scroll Vision (Chs. 4—5)
        The Heavenly Temple (Ch. 4)
        The Lamb and the Scroll (Ch. 5)

IV. The Seven Seals (6:1—8:5)
        The First Four Seals (6:1-8)
        The Fifth Seal (6:9-11)
        The Sixth Seal (6:12-17)
        The Sealing of the Faithful (7:1-8)
        Song of Victory (7:9-17)
        The Seventh Seal (8:1-5)

V. The Seven Trumpets (8:6—11:19)
        The First Four Trumpets (8:6-13)
        The Fifth Trumpet (First Woe) (9:1-12)
        The Sixth Trumpet (Second Woe) (9:13-21)
        The Open Scroll (Ch. 10)
        The Temple Measured (11:1-2)
        The Two Witnesses (11:3-14)
        The Seventh Trumpet (11:15-19)

VI. The Woman and the Dragon (Ch. 12)
        The Woman and the Dragon (12:1-6)
        Victory in Heaven (12:7-12)
        Dragon and Woman (12:13-18)

VII. The Two Beasts (Ch. 13)
        The First Beast (13:1-10)
        The Second Beast (13:11-18)

VIII. Salvation and Judgment (Ch. 14)
        The Companions of the Lamb (14:1-5)
        Proclamation of Judgment (14:6-13)
        Harvest and Vintage (14:14-20)
                Harvest (14:14-16)
                Vintage (14:17-20)

IX. The Last Plagues (Chs. 15—16)
        Song of Moses and the Lamb (15:1-4)
        The Angels of the Bowls (15:5—16:1)
        The First Four Bowls (16:2-9)
        The Fifth Bowl (16:10-11)
        The Sixth Bowl (16:12-16)
        The Seventh Bowl (16:17-21)

X. The Harlot and the Beast (Ch. 17)

XI. The End of Babylon (18:1—19:10)
        The Fall of Babylon (18:1-8)
        Dirges Over Babylon (18:9-19)
        The Judgment of Babylon (18:20-24)
        Vindication of God's People (19:1-10)

XII. The End of Evil (19:11—20:15)
        The End of the Beasts (19:11-21)
        The End of Satan (20:1-10)
                Satan Bound (20:1-3)
                Reign with Christ (20:4-6)
                End of the Dragon (20:7-10)

XIII. The New Jerusalem (21:1—22:5)
        The New Heaven and Earth (21:1-8)
        The New Jerusalem (21:9—22:5)

XIV. Epilogue (22:6-21)



Josephine Massyngberde Ford, Revelation (Anchor Bible 38; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1975) 46-50.

J. M. Ford suggests four stages in this book's composition history:

Pre-Christian Stages:
        I. Revelation to the Baptist (Chs. 4—11)
        II. Revelation to a Baptist Disciple (Chs. 12—19)
        III. The Resurrection of the Firstborn (Chs. 20:1—22:15)
Christian Additions:
        IV. The Prophecies to the Seven Churches (Chs. 1—3; 22:16-21)
 

J. M. Ford also provides an outline based on the views of other scholars who see seven series of seven in Revelation (adapted from R. J. Loenertzop, The Apocalypse of St. John, tr. H. J. Carpenter, London: Sheed & Ward, 1947):

THE FIRST SEPTET: After a preliminary section to the whole apocalypse (1:1-8) and an introduction to the first septet (1:9-20) there are seven prophecies to the seven churches:

  1. Ephesus, 2:1-7
  2. Smyrna, 2:8-11
  3. Pergamum, 2:12-17
  4. Thyatira, 2:18-29
  5. Sardis, 3:1-6
  6. Philadelphia, 3:7-13
  7. Laodicea, 3:14-22

But since the seventh part of most septets (in the left column) usually says, "The seventh X seems to comprise all of the [next] septet," Ford's commentary subdivides chapters 4-22 into six series of six parts each (except the fourth set has seven parts!), framed by a Prologue (chs. 4-5) and Epilogue (chs. 21-22):

  THE SECOND SEPTET: After chapters 4—5, which are introductory to the second septet, come the seven seals:

  1. The white horse, 6:1-2
  2. The red horse, 6:3-4
  3. The black horse, 6:5-6
  4. The yellowish-green horse, 6:7-8
  5. The souls under the altar, 6:9-11
  6. The earthquake, 6:12-17
  7. The seventh seal seems to comprise all of the third septet.

SERIES ONE: A SEXTET

1) The white horse 6:1-2
2) The red horse 6:3-4
3) The black horse 6:5-6
4) The yellowish-green horse 6:7-8
5) The souls under the altar 6:9-11
6) The earthquake 6:12-17
THE THIRD SEPTET: After a preparatory vision (8:1-6) the seven trumpets are sounded:
  1. The earth is set on fire, 8:7
  2. The sea is turned to blood, 8:8-9
  3. The rivers and springs become bitter, 8:10-11
  4. The heavenly bodies are dimmed, 8:12-13
  5. The locusts, 9:1-12
  6. The horsemen, 9:13—11:14
  7. The seventh trumpet seems to comprise all the fourth septet.
SERIES TWO: A SEXTET
1) The earth is set on fire 8:7
2) The sea is turned to blood 8:8-9
3) The rivers and springs become bitter 8:10-11
4) The heavenly bodies are dimmed 8:12-13
5) The locusts 9:1-12
6) The horsemen 9:13—11:14
THE FOURTH SEPTET: After an introductory section (11:6-19) seven signs appear:
  1. The woman with child, 12:1-2
  2. The dragon, 12:3-6
  3. The beast rising out of the sea, 13:1-10
  4. The beast rising out of the earth, 13:11-18
  5. The Lamb and the virgins, 14:1-5
  6. The seven angels, counting one like a son of man, 14:6-20
  7. The seventh sign seems to comprise all the fifth septet.
SERIES THREE: A SEXTET
1) The woman with child 12:1-2
2) The dragon 12:3-6
3) The beast rising from the sea 13:1-10
4) The beast rising from the earth 13:11-18
5) The Lamb and the virgins 14:1-5
6) The seven angels, counting one like a son of man 14:6-20
THE FIFTH SEPTET: After an introductory section in 15:1—16:1, seven bowls of wrath are poured out:
  1. On the earth, 16:2
  2. On the sea, 16:3
  3. On the waters, 16:4-7
  4. On the sun, 16:8-9
  5. On the throne of the beast, 16:10-11
  6. On the Euphrates, 16:12-16
  7. The seventh bowl seems to comprise all the sixth septet.
SERIES FOUR: A SEPTET
1) The bowl on the earth 16:2
2) The bowl on the sea 16:3
3) The bowl on the waters 16:4-7
4) The bowl on the sun 16:8-9
5) The bowl on the throne of the beast 16:10-11
6) The bowl on the Euphrates 16:12-16
7) The bowl on the air
THE SIXTH SEPTET: After an introductory section (16:17-21) there are seven stages in the fall of Babylon:
  1. The description of Babylon, 17:14
  2. The explanation of Babylon, 17:7-18
  3. The fall of Babylon, 18:1-8
  4. The mourning for Babylon, 18:9-20
  5. The final ruin of Babylon, 18:21-24
  6. The song of praise at her fall, 19:1-5
  7. The seventh stage seems to comprise all the seventh septet.
SERIES FIVE: A SEXTET
1) The description of Babylon 17:14
2) The explanation of Babylon 17:7-18
3) The fall of Babylon 18:1-8
4) The mourning for Babylon 18:9-20
5) The final ruin of Babylon 18:21-24
6) The song of praise at her fall and the marriage of the Lamb 19:1-10
THE SEVENTH SEPTET: After an introductory portion (19:6-10) there occur the following scenes:
  1. The rider on the white horse, 19:11-16
  2. The supper of God, 19:17-18
  3. The capture of the two beasts, 19:19-21
  4. The angel of the abyss, 20:1-3
  5. The first resurrection, 20:4-10
  6. The judgment scene, 20:11-15
  7. The new Jerusalem, 21:1—22:5
Rev 22:6-21 is a recapitulation and finale but does contain Christian additions and doublets.
SERIES SIX: A SEXTET

1) The rider on the white horse 19:11-16
2) The supper of God 19:17-18
3) The capture of the two beasts 19:19-21
4) The angel of the abyss 20:1-3
5) The first resurrection 20:4-10
6) The judgment scene 20:11-15

 
Epilogue: 21—22


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