Sumatra with the Seven Churches takes readers back in time to ancient “Asia” (Turkey), where we consider Jesus’s messages to some of the world’s earliest churches. Readers encounter Jesus as Alpha and Omega, the alive-from-the-dead one who “is” and who was and who is coming.

In Ephesus we remember our first love; in Laodicea we learn what makes Jesus want to spew. In each city we consider background information that helps us understand the message crafted for them. In the process we find timeless truths that apply to our own lives in the here-and-now.

While most of the Book of Revelation is apocalyptic, the first few chapters contain letters or messages to seven churches. It is these chapters that are the focus of Sumatra with the Seven Churches. So grab a cup of your favorite brew and gather some friends or study alone. (The book is designed for both group and individual study.)

This and all the Coffee Cup Bible Study series books contain Monday-through-Friday Bible studies with devotional thoughts for light reading on the weekends. A leader’s guide is available for free on this web site.

For this study I teamed up with a former student, Crickett Keeth. I love her Bible studies, and wanted to introduce her to a broader audience. I think you’ll love what she adds, too.

I picked up a copy of Sumatra with the Seven Churches and am absolutely loving it! I love the research and expertise–meat, not milk!

Rachel Lee Carter, author, Bible teacher, speaker, professional model

I love all the Bible studies in this series! Love the format, the way the book opens flat, the writer's style, and just the good questions and lessons learned. So helpful! Would be great for a women's Bible study.

Barb R. Hamilton, MT

Further Resources

  • The Book of Revelation was intended for an aural audience. So consider finding a copy on CD and listening to it.


  • Bible.orghas wonderful textual notes on Revelation 1-3.



  • The Seven Churches of Revelation Rediscovered
  • You can find a number of video series about the Roman Empire on Netflix, Amazon, or perhaps through your public library
  • You can find at least three DVDs available that explore the seven wonders of the ancient world, such as the History Channel’s “Ancient Mysteries” documentary on the subject. Consider ordering one and viewing the segment about the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus. Bear in mind, though, that views of Artemis varied through time. In the first century she was not considered a fertility goddess, but a goddess of midwifery.


  • Look for the seven church locations on Google Earth. All are located in modern-day Turkey: Kusadasi (Ephesus), Izmir (Smyrna), Bergama (Pergamum), Akhisar (near Thyatira), Sardes (Sardis), Philadelphia, and Laodikeia (Laodicea).


  • The Lost Letters of Pergamum: A Novel by Bruce W. Longenecker and Ben Witherington is a work of biblical fiction that introduces readers to the style of New Testament writings. It  also presents the social and political world of Jesus and his first followers.
  • For Ephesus, I especially like Trebilco’s thick, academic work, The Early Christians in Ephesus from Paul to Ignatius.
  • Seven Deadly Spirits by T. Scott Daniels

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