Our resident scholar

Tom Holland was born in Liverpool as Hitler’s bombs fell on the city. He became a Christian when he was 15, through his sister’s witness. He soon sensed a call to Christian service. His early career was in engineering, believing this would be a useful skill to use in the developing world as he sought to share the message of Christ. But in his early twenties, he was challenged about the need of the church in the United Kingdom and changed the direction of his studies from engineering to theology. He studied at what was then the London Bible College, now known as the London School of Theology.

After graduation, Tom was called to be the assistant pastor of a Baptist church in the town of Letchworth, which is 25 miles from Cambridge. He was to make use of the world-class facilities of Tyndale Library and the other excellent libraries in Cambridge.

At this time, Tom married Barbara, a science teacher, and they went on to have three daughters who have given them six lovely grandchildren.

During his preaching, Tom repeatedly encountered problems with the way that many commentators interpreted important biblical passages. He researched why this was and concluded that, despite the New Testament being a Jewish document, Greek sources were regularly used as the key to its writers’ thought. This discovery led him to study for a PhD, which he was awarded by the University of Wales in 1996 for the thesis: ‘The Paschal New Exodus Paradigm in Paul’s Letter to the Romans with Special Reference to its Christological Significance’.

During the course of his research, Tom discovered a major flaw in New Testament studies. The reason for the difficulties he had experienced in reading the NT letters was because he had been taught that Paul used Greco/Roman sources to illustrate his message and to build his arguments. Often these extra-biblical sources have usurped the Old Testament’s priority as the key text for understanding. More recently intertestamental studies have become an equally indispensable discipline for opening up the content of the New Testament.

Tom came to recognise that there was no evidence that Paul used these sources. In his research, Tom noticed that Paul cited the book of Isaiah 16 times and when these quotations are read in the sequence that Paul uses them, an incredible fact is observed. These texts from the Old Testament, when reading in the order used, give a history of the Fall to the Second Coming of Christ. It was these texts that informed and guided Paul, not extra-biblical texts. This lead Tom to focus his research on the way Paul used the Old Testament. Repeatedly Tom found that the difficult texts were difficult because non-biblical sources were being used as the hermeneutical key. Instead of opening the passages, these keys were blocking the readers understanding. This simple discovery has opened the door to identifying the Paschal New Exodus Paradigm for which Tom is famous.

For over forty years Tom has researched the influence of the Jewish Passover and the promises of a Second Exodus, which were made to those exiled in Babylon and given through Israel’s prophets. This material is the focus of Paschal New Exodus Theology, Paschal being French for the Hebrew word for Passover.

Tom pastored two churches in Hertfordshire. He was appointed as a lecturer at the Evangelical Theological College of Wales, which is now Union School of Theology with its research base in Oxford. He was Head of Research into Biblical Theology for twenty years and now in retirement is the Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the School.

During his time as research director, he not only did his own teaching research and writing but he also supervised 20 students in their doctoral research. Amongst these, he supervised a team of twelve scholars who researched specific aspects of Paschal New Exodus Theology and its influence on the writers of the New Testament.

Thus, the paradigm he has identified has been researched widely, with eminent New Testament scholars acting as examiners and awarding candidates their doctoral degrees. Often, they have admitted to the candidate to not having seen this theme previously, even in the New Testament letters that were their specialist area of study. They acknowledged that the research had changed their understanding.

Thus, every aspect of the paradigm has been thoroughly examined and validated. Tom is convinced that this Paschal New Exodus paradigm is the DNA of Biblical thought and understanding. Once understood, it brings the reader to grasp previously missed truths. These have been recognised by many leading academics as being revolutionary in their implications.

Tom’s concern is to do theology well so that the message of the Bible is made clear. His academic endeavours are rooted in his pastoral concerns, and he strives to make the fruit of his ground-breaking research available for everyone.

Tom brings the fruit of his extensive research to the Christian public in his writings. Use the links below to find out more about his books.

Contours of Pauline Theology
Romans: The Divine Marriage
Romans: Hope for the Nations
Tom Wright and the Search for Truth
God and His Children
Missing Lenses (due out October 2018)

Tom has preached and lectured in many colleges/universities and churches around the world. He continues to accept these appointments when they can be fitted into his diary. You can contact him at: tomholland@apiarypublishing.com