What does Revelation 1:11 mean?
ESV: saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”
NIV: which said: 'Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.'
NASB: saying, 'Write on a scroll what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.'
CSB: saying, "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea."
NLT: It said, 'Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.'
KJV: Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
NKJV: saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”
Verse Commentary:
John is describing how he came to be given this revelation from Jesus. While "in the Spirit," John is surprised with a loud, powerful voice, like that of a war trumpet. The person who spoke with this authoritative voice commanded John to write what he saw in a scroll and send it to seven churches. This is the first of twelve commands in the book of Revelation. The rest appear in Revelation 1:19; 2:1, 2:8, 2:12, 2:18; 3:1, 3:7, 3:14; 14:13; 19:9; and 21:5.

The churches listed in Revelation 1:11 were actual churches located in what is today the country of Turkey. Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamum lay along the coast of the Aegean Sea, with Ephesus being the closest city to the island of Patmos. Smyrna was north of Ephesus, and Pergamum was north of Smyrna. The other four churches were situated in the interior of the country. From south to north they were Laodicea, Philadelphia, Sardis, and Thyatira. Many interpreters see strong similarities between the exhibited characteristics of these churches and the historical characteristics of the worldwide Christian Church from Pentecost to the rapture.
Verse Context:
Revelation 1:9–11 explains why John is on the island of Patmos: ''the word of God and testimony of Jesus,'' likely referring to some kind of persecution. He further explains that he was ''in the Spirit.'' This possibly refers to a spiritual state of mind, a sense of being controlled by the Holy Spirit, or a feeling of overt communication from God. While in that condition, John heard the Lord command him to write on a scroll what he saw, and send it to seven churches existing in that era.
Chapter Summary:
The Roman government had banished John to the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea, off the coast of Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey. While John was at Patmos, the risen, glorified Son of God appeared to him and commanded him to write ''the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this'' (Revelation 1:19). John pronounces blessings to those who read and obey Revelation, and then he greets his readers warmly and describes Jesus' appearance.
Chapter Context:
The apostle John begins this chapter by stating that he received the revelation of Jesus Christ by divine activity. God sent this vision to John while he was on the island of Patmos, likely as a punishment from the Roman government. This book follows John's four prior messages contained in the New Testament: the Gospel of John and the letters 1, 2, and 3 John. Chapters 2 and 3 tell what Jesus dictated to seven churches in Asia Minor, while the rest of John's message concerns future events.
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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