Justin Taylor at the ESV Study Bible blog also wrote me about my post and states that I have misunderstood the ESVSB note. He says:
I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood the ESVSB note as well. It certainly doesn’t deny that these were seven actual churches. But it does affirm that these seven were chosen as representative of “all the churches” (cf. 2:23, 2:7). But as Sean mentions with regard to the NLTSB, the ESVSB notes on the various letters show pretty clearly that these were actual churches with real historical situations being alluded to and addressed.
I am certainly willing to admit blame that I have misunderstood both study Bibles’ notes. I do not have the Revelation notes for the ESVSB yet. I am only working off of the partial online release which only covers through Revelation 2:7. I think this is worth bringing to the attention of our audience, however, because there are those who teach that the seven churches are a symbol representing all local churches, or the whole body of Christ. In my opinion, the ESVSB note sounds like this because it reads:
Christ’s selection of “seven,” symbolizing completeness, implies that he addresses the whole church through them.
Perhaps if I had not encountered this teaching, I would not have interpreted these notes the way I did. I certainly apologize for my misunderstanding and I hope that these posts will help clarify the position of the NLTSB and ESVSB for those who fall into the same misunderstanding as myself.
My thanks to Mr. Taylor and Mr. Harrison for taking the time to clarify their notes. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get such quick responses (or any response) from all of the other translation teams?