‘The Divine Marriage’ is a modern commentary which has the grace of sheer readability. This sets it apart from a lot of scholarship. Holland refrains from using terms that are likely to be misunderstood and uses simple language, which is clear and straight-forward. This is certainly a breath of fresh air! His sentences are short and to the point. He also tends to repeat himself, which I consider to be very positive. Many scholars (who frankly want to obey all the unwritten ‘rules of scholarship’) will despise some of this. But the reason Holland does it is because his mindset is really quite different and he doesn’t think like many other pastors or commentators. His repetition helps us to properly grasp and appreciate what he is saying and to see that his concepts actually are derived from the Bible. Even the structure is carefully geared towards helping readers understand. Chapters are presented with clear, gripping introductions. Conclusions are offered at the end of each chapter, which sum up the main points and draw the reader into the next section. And the commentary is verse by verse exposition, which happens to be very substantial. Not only this, but Holland also tends to apply what he believes Paul is saying. Readers will get the impression that Holland is very much desiring to interest and continue to engage them. Many find most commentaries to be useful for little more than checking out every once in a while, but certainly not to read through from beginning to end. But Holland’s commentary is more suitable than most for reading through and I am quite sure that great gain will be derived from anyone who does this.
In addition, something needs to be said about the way Holland interprets Romans. Holland seeks to enforce the OT background of Paul’s letter. This really enriches the study of the letter. ‘Explain the Scripture with the Scripture’ is a method which has been honestly sought by Holland – except he uses much more of the OT than usual in order to do this. OT concepts are clearly a primary authority for Holland in dealing with Paul’s letter. (Of course, Holland certainly does not neglect what the NT has to say either.) As a result, the work contains a healthy and wonderful balance of substance drawn from both testaments of Scripture. I believe this is an excellent model for biblical exposition and will definitely serve pastors, preachers and teachers well if they take the time to see how Holland interprets the NT.
If you spend much time with Tom Holland, you’re very likely to develop a far greater hunger for understanding the OT Scriptures! In this day, when the OT is so neglected in preaching and teaching, there is little doubt that Holland’s work is potentially one of the instruments for change. Overall, I believe that this commentary should prove accessible and wonderfully impacting upon the thinking of those who choose to read it. May the Lord use this ground-breaking work as an instrument for good!