|For a solid, orthodox commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians, this is a good choice. Michael W. Holmes wrote just before Y2K (1998) so eschatology was a hot topic then and is, I believe, a major challenge for the church today. I read this commentary almost non-stop cover to cover.|
Eschatology plays a big role in Christian theology because knowing the end of the story--Christ wins out over Satan--provides hope and purpose for the church. Neglecting eschatology--as we seem to be doing--destroys hope and leads the church to flounder. Happily, Holmes remains true to the faith and hope that we have in Christ.
Holmes analyses these letters in the context of scripture, especially Paul's other letters, both NT and OT. He is sensitive to Paul's word choices in the Greek and basic literary genre. He draws out the major themes in Paul's writing well and is extremely well read.
I found at least two points of special interest in reading this commentary.
The first point of interest is theological. Holmes interprets Paul's eschatology in view of his larger purpose, to encourage the church at Thessalonica, and in view of the wider experience of the NT. In the NT, we are generally taught that life will include trials and tribulations. For Holmes, the end times are no different. Quoting Hebrews 11, Holmes notes that the great saints of the Bible frequently did not experience the hope that guided their faith during their own lifetimes (p. 250). The order of events in the Day of the Lord is rebellion, appearance of the man of lawlessness, and the parousia (p. 238). In other words, we will not be raptured out of tribulations. Christian discipleship takes time and it includes trials.
The second point is expository. Holmes frequently notes a list of attributes in the text and then turns the list into questions to apply in our current context. This sounds simple, but it is enormously practical. Many commentators have trouble relating the Bible to everyday life. Holmes' matter-of-fact, down-in-weeds analysis of the text and development of applications is most helpful.
The NIV Application Commentary has been my default commentary over the past four years because the series takes the narrative of scripture seriously. Once I am acquainted with orthodox interpretation, I can judge a book from other dimensions. I have taught from the series the Books of Romans, Luke, and Genesis; I read Revelations, John, Esther, James, and, most recently, Hebrews. This line of thinking led me to start my study of Thessalonians with Holmes' commentary.
Holmes received his Phd from Princeton Theological Seminary, but apparently earned his masters of divinity at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS). He taught at Bethel College at the time of writing this commentary.
Dr. Stephen W. Hiemstra