James, Saint James: Theological Provocateur

James 1:22

The Epistle of James is one of the most practical books in the Bible. The exhortations within the letter encourage believers to put what they have learned in Christ into action. For James, knowledge and wisdom are not the end goal, but rather a means to an end. His desire is to see believers living out their faith, filled with grace and Godly wisdom.

James’ appeal is just as important as ever for students of Scripture. It’s not enough to simply study the Word of God if it doesn’t have any impact on your daily life. But deep analysis and relevant application are so hard to find in one resource. Enter the High Definition Commentary.

Like a high-definition television brings out all of the visual details in your favorite movie, the High Definition Commentary: James brings out all of the linguistic details in this letter. Those insights are then synthesized by Steve Runge into concrete applications, while beautifully designed graphics equip you to share your newfound understanding.

Hearer vs. doer

In his letter, James contrasts the hearer of word and the doer of the word. He uses the practical illustration of a mirror to get his point across. Here’s what Runge has to say about this short but challenging passage:

James 1-13

Hearer vs. Doer: Mirrors provide us a chance to see things that we otherwise might miss. The key question is what we will do with this knowledge. This is the dilemma James uses to make his point. He portrays the “perfect law of liberty” as something that reveals imperfections in us. We have two choices of how to respond. Either we act on the knowledge we gain from what we see, or we walk away and forget we ever saw anything in the first place. This is the difference between hearing and doing versus hearing and not doing.

What others are saying

Here’s what some of Steve Runge’s peers are saying about High Definition Commentary: James:

One aspect of Steve Runge’s work that always impresses me is how he weds his mastery of linguistic theory with how that theory informs praxis. Steve fervently desires to explain how language works so as to communicate meaning. He brings that neglected balance to the text of James with consummate skill. With the inclusion of creative and catchy illustrations that clearly convey the message of James, we are really helped to see both the meaning of the text and also how it impacts our everyday lives. Whatever background you bring to this book, you will find lasting help not only for understanding James’ message but also for living it out.

—William Varner, PhD, professor of Bible & Greek, The Master’s College


Not many authors are able to produce high-end scholarship while also being able to put the cookies on the lower shelf for everyone’s benefit. Steve Runge again shows that he is one such author with this fresh exposition of the letter of James, in an exciting and original commentary series. If you want to grasp the big picture of James, and understand how the picture is put together, this commentary will prove very helpful. Warmly recommended.

—Constantine R. Campbell, PhD, associate professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School


High Definition Commentary: James is a one-of-a-kind Bible resource and its available now! Get this volume and the other two volumes in the series—Philippians and Romans—for 15% off through the end of February.

Written by
Jake Mailhot

Jake Mailhot is the product manager for Lexham Press. He also writes about baseball and lives in Bellingham, WA.

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Written by Jake Mailhot
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