Pastor’s Bookshelf: James

JesusJames*.jpgCommentaries on James are now available from a variety of angles, and the book is no longer dominated by how and why or why not the letter comports with the theology of grace in Paul. Instead, there is a powerful interest in James on his own terms and everyone has an angle on the sorts of issues that arise from that historical context.  Scholarship on James took on new interest with our first commentary, that of Peter Davids. My own commentary (NICNT Eerdmans) will be out next Spring.

The painting to the right, by a follower of Cimabue, is of James the brother of Jesus though at times it has been said to be the apostle James. But I haven’t been able to find a detailed study of this painting. By the way, everything written today about James is rooted in Martin Dibelius’ very old, detailed commentary but everything good in Dibelius has been absorbed in the recent commentaries.

P. Davids, The Epistle of James: A Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary)
, whose distinctive contribution was to see James as having gone through a redaction or two. I’m not convinced of his theory on this, but I am convinced that James’ text is not a simple linear piece of logic. The Anchor Bible by LT Johnson, The Letter of James (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries) is loaded with delicate observations about word studies as he examines James in his Greco-Roman context.

Alongside these two, I always read R.P Martin, Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 48, James
because this commentary is just so complete. All scholars know that one of the finer commentaries on James is by Rob Wall, Community of the Wise: The Letter of James (New Testament in Context)
and it reads well.

My former teacher and colleague, DJ Moo, The Letter of James (Pillar New Testament Commentary)
has two commentaries on James and I think this one in the Pillar series is one of the best in that series. Zondervan has a brand spankin’ new series that will be of use to pastors who want to keep up with their exegesis, and Craig  Blomberg writes this with an up and coming James scholar, Mariam Kamell, James (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)


"We can hope and work for a world where no child is ever unwanted... thy ..."

Our God Of Justice
"I perceive that Jesus influenced our culture toward defining love as a commitment to pursuing ..."

Universalism and “The Devil’s Redemption” and ..."
"Scot, thanks for sharing this. I’ll be offering a pretty heavy critique of Litfin’s latest ..."

Interview: Duane Litfin
"The unborn babies are not having their will considered"

Our God Of Justice

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Bob Wriedt

    I’ve never thought of Doug Moo as a DJ, but I find the idea fascinating.

  • really look forward to your offering this spring, especially since I’ll probably be able to get it at 60% thanks to the lovely little Eerdmans Bookstore 🙂
    Is there anything new or innovative that you are particularly excited about that you can share with us?

  • Allan Poole

    Having just finished with a three month sermon series on James, I found Richard Bauckham’s monograph on James (Routledge Press) to be very helpful. He addresses all the hot topics, situates James convincingly in wisdom tradition of the OT as interpreted by his older brother, and has some insightful essays that struck me as balanced and faithful. Recommended.

  • Dianne P

    Love, love, love James. Can’t wait for your commentary.
    Agree with Jeremy… how about tossing some teasers our way Scot?

  • James

    Oh, why do you do this to us bibliophiles Scot? 😉

  • James

    Oh, and I’m just really starting to get a sense of what commentaries are good, and which aren’t. Fee and Carson have both provided some fantastic surveys… but one thing I see over and over:
    Moo’s commentary (Series X) is the best on this book.
    Has the guy written any commentaries that aren’t the best? Or should I just skip the surveys and look up Moo’s corpus? 😀

  • Bob Smallman

    I have found Peter David’s contribution one of the most helpful in that series. Peter and I were classmates in Walter Liefeld’s Greek class our first year at Trinity. But, as I proudly tell folks now, we were in the same room together but hardly in the same class!
    Can’t wait for your NICNT contribution, Scot. Alexander Ross’ volume had to be one of the least helpful in the series, and Adamson’s was (at least for me) a real disappointment!

  • jeff brown

    When will your James commentary come out this year? I heard you mention it at a preaching conference last fall… I will be preaching through James this summer and was hoping to pick up a copy.